Best Canon Wide Angle Lens for Landscape – The Complete Guide

Landscapes are one of the most popular photography subjects in the world, but to really capture the beauty of a landscape, nothing is better than a good wide angle lens. If you are the happy owner of a Canon DSLR and wonder what is the best Canon wide angle lens for landscape photography you can buy in 2018, you are at the right place!

Actually, I will first list the top 5 Canon wide angle lenses, and then complete the selection with 3 more lenses made by other brands, for Canon DSLR cameras. These alternatives are totally worth considering as well! I will select a top pick for Canon lenses and a top pick for non-Canon lenses, if it can hep you make your choice.

In the last part, I will discuss what are the factors you need to consider before deciding what lens to buy and some frequently asked questions in relation with the selection of lenses I am presenting.

Let’s dive in!

The 5 Best Canon Wide Angle Lenses for Landscape Photography

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM Lens

The Canon 16-35 mm f/4L has gained a solid reputation in the world of wide angle lenses for its excellent image quality and sharpness that fully satisfy the most demanding photographers. Its low light performance is very satisfying as well despite being “only” an f/4 lens – and it costs half the price of the f/2.8 version.

It features an efficient USM autofocus, a good image stabilization and the perfect optics quality that has made Canon’s L series so thought after.

It is with a full frame camera that you will get the most of its ultra wide field of view, but it is perfectly compatible with APS-C cameras as well.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 3.3 x 4.4 in / 8.3 x 11.3 cm
  • Weight: 1.36 lbs / 615 g
  • Focal length range: 16-35 mm
  • Aperture range: f/4 – f/22
  • Compatible formats: Full frame, APS-C

Pros

  • Compact
  • L-series optics quality
  • Good autofocus
  • Image stabilization
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Weather & dust resistant
  • Fits full frame and APS-C

Cons

  • Some distortion and vignetting start appearing at 16 mm

Canon EF 17-40 mm f/4L USM LensOur Top Pick | Canon

Quite similar to the one above, the EF 17-40 mm f/4L USM shares the same L-lens build quality, for a slightly wider focal length range, slightly lighter weight, and cheaper price! They also have in common a good weather sealing and a silent USM autofocus system.

The lens delivers really sharp images and the colors are very well rendered. The image stabilization is also very effective and allow you to shoot hand-held pictures in low light without camera shake making your photos blurred.

Just like for the 16-35 mm above, it is compatible with both APS-C and full frame cameras, but you will need a full frame to really enjoy the 17 mm wide angle.

For all these features (17 mm wide angle, acceptable f/4 maximum aperture, great autofocus, weather sealing…) and the fact that it works on both full frame and APS-C cameras, I think this lens offers a very good quality and a good value for money – It is my top pick for Canon lenses.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 3.31 x 3.82 in / 8.4 x 9.7 cm
  • Weight: 1.1 lb / 499 kg
  • Focal length range: 16-40 mm
  • Aperture range: f/4 – f/22
  • Compatible formats: Full frame, APS-C

Pros

  • Great L-series quality
  • Compact & lightweight
  • Good USM autofocus
  • Image stabilization
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice focal length range for landscapes
  • Fits full frame and APS-C

Cons

  • Distortions at 17-20 mm

Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

Another very nice wide angle lens from Canon but this time only aimed at APS-C cameras (EF-S mount). With a crop factor of 1.6x, this lens offers an equivalent of 27 to 88 mm which is not the widest around but still good for most landscape pictures.

The big advantage of this lens is the f/2.8 aperture, making it a “fast” lens – you can keep fast shutter speeds even in low light and get clear and sharp pictures. In addition, the Image Satibilization system gets rid of camera shake.

The USM autofocus works fast and quietly, making this lens very pleasant to use.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 3.3 x 4.4 in / 8.4 x 11.2 cm
  • Weight: 1.42 lb / 644 g
  • Focal length range: 17-55 mm
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 – f/22
  • Compatible format: APS-C

Pros

  • Good image quality
  • Great f/2.8 maximum aperture
  • USM autofocus
  • Good Image stabilization
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Average wide angle
  • No lens hood is included

Canon EF-S 10-18 mm f/4.5 IS STM Lens

The Canon EF-S 10-18 mm is an affordable lens option designed for APS-C cameras offering a real, great wide angle with a full frame equivalent of 16-29 mm. Very compact and lighweight, it’s a great lens to take on a trip or a hike.

The lens offers a solid Image Stabilization system, which can get useful in low light because its maximum aperture is quite average at f/4.5. Its smooth and silent STM autofocus system is great if you are shooting video.

Overall, a good option if you want an entry-level, really wide angle at an affordable price for your crop Canon camera.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 2.83 x 2.94 in / 7.2 x 7.5 cm
  • Weight: 0.53 lb / 240 g
  • Focal length range: 10-18 mm
  • Aperture range: f/4.5 – f/29
  • Compatible format: APS-C

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Very portable
  • Wide angle
  • Smooth STM autofocus
  • Image stabilization

Cons

  • Maximum aperture is not very bright

Canon EF-S 10-22 mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens

While definitely not the most recent lens, it remains an excellent mid-range pricing wide angle lens for Canon APS-C cameras today. Its 10-22 mm focal range is equivalent to a 16-35 mm on a full frame which is quite versatile, ideal for landscapes, architecture and street photography for example.

Its maximum aperture is variable, from f/3.5 at 22 mm to f/4.5 at 10 mm – quite average but enough for most cases. In low light conditions at 100 mm, you will have to rely on the Image stabilization system, and use higher ISO sensibility from your camera.

The USM autofocus is fast and effective, and the build and optics quality are better than on the 10-18 mm above, resulting in a higher image quality. Of course, it comes at a higher price.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 3.31 x 3.54 in / 8.4 x 9 cm
  • Weight: 0.85 lb / 386 kg
  • Focal length range: 10-22 mm
  • Aperture range: f/3.5-4.5 – f/22
  • Compatible format: APS-C

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Wide angle
  • Good USM autofocus
  • Image stabilization
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Maximum aperture is quite average

3 Great Wide Angle Lenses for Canon From Other Brands

Rokinon FE14M-C 14 mm f/2.8 LensOur Top Pick | Non-Canon

Rokinon is a Korean brand producing both affordable and high quality lenses. It is also known as Samyang, Bower or other brand names, depending on where in the world you are from. Only the name changes, the products are the same. I personally own the Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 and I absolutely love it! It works great with my Canon 6D.

Its fixed 14 mm focal length offers an ultra wide angle, especially with a full frame camera – but the lens is perfectly compatible with APS-C cameras as well. In my opinion, this 14 mm focal length on a full frame is a real game changer for landscape photography.

You might be wondering, what’s the catch? A lens that is so great and affordable? Well, the lens is fully manual. There is no autofocus system. This left me intimidated for a long time before I decided to take the plunge, and honestly it’s not more complicated than autofocus once you get the hang of it.

The f/2.8 maximum aperture is another great feature, enabling to use fast shutter speeds even in low light. If you are looking for performance at an affordable price and are ready to live without autofocus, this lens is all you need and it is my top pick for non-Canon lenses!

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 3.43 x 3.78 in / 8.7 x 9.6 cm
  • Weight: 1.22 lb / 553 g
  • Focal length range: 14 mm fixed
  • Max. aperture: f/2.8 – f/22
  • Compatible formats: Full frame, APS-C

Pros

  • Ultra wide angle
  • Solid build quality
  • Great optics quality
  • Very bright lens (f/2.8)
  • Strong lens hood
  • Fits full frame and APS-C

Cons

  • Manual focus
  • You may or may not like the fixed focal length

Tamron 10-24 mm f/3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD Lens

This Tamron 10-24 mm lens was designed to offer a great wide angle for APS-C cameras, giving the equivalent of a 16-38 mm lens in full frame. The lens is strongly built and resistant to humidity, which is always good to have when you are shooting wild landscapes.

Its sophisticated autofocus system coupled with great optics quality result in clear and sharp pictures. The Vibration Compensation system helps get these sharp images in low light conditions, as the maximum aperture is pretty average.

Another good quality option for you to consider if you have an APS-C camera and a mid-range budget.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 3.3 x 3.29 in / 8.5 x 8.4 cm
  • Weight: 0.97 lb / 440 g
  • Focal length range: 10-24 mm
  • Max. aperture: f/3.5-4.5 – f/22-29
  • Compatible format: APS-C

Pros

  • Good overall quality
  • Very wide angle
  • Good autofocus
  • Vibration Compensation
  • Moisture-resistant build

Cons

  • Not-so-bright maximum aperture

Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 Art DC HSM Lens

Sigma has long been a trusted quality lens manufacturer for Canon and other camera brands. The great attribute of this lens that immediately catches the attention is of course the fantastic f/1.8, truly enabling to keep fast shutter speeds even in very low light and avoiding sacrificing image quality by using high ISO.

Its focal length range doesn’t offer the widest field of view (equivalent to a 28-56 mm on a full frame camera), but it is wide enough for most landscape pictures. The ultrasonic autofocus offers good performance and images are very sharp.

Not the most lightweight nor the cheapest, this lens is an interesting option for APS-C cameras if you are looking for a really wide aperture and a reasonably wide angle lens.

 Quick Specifications

  • Size: 3.07 x 4.76 in / 7.8 x 12.1 cm
  • Weight: 1.79 lb / 812 g
  • Focal length range: 18-35 mm
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 – f/16
  • Compatible format: APS-C

Pros

  • Strong build quality
  • Amazing f/1.8 maximum aperture
  • Good autofocus

Cons

  • Not the widest angle on APS-C
  • No image stabilization
  • A little heavy

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Factors to Consider Before Making a Choice?

There are so many lenses with so many different specifications available that it’s not always easy to know what to look at and what features to prioritize. We will try here to list the most important factors to pay attention to when choosing your wide angle lens:

Focal length: You are looking for a wide angle lens so obviously, the focal length is the first thing to look at. The smaller the number, the wider the field of view. However, you need to consider the camera you will be using: full frame or APS-C? Some lenses can be adapted to both, some others work only for APS-C cameras. These are usually the ones with very wide focals like 10 or 12 mm – it becomes the equivalent of 16 or 18 mm on an APS-C camera (Canon APS-C cameras have a crop factor of 1.6x).

If you have an APS-C camera, don’t forget to do this conversion or you will be surprised to get a lens that is not as wide as you expected! If you have a full frame camera, don’t rush and get a 10 mm lens, often they are designed for APS-C only. Pay attention that the lens is compatible with your camera format!

Maximum aperture: A large maximum aperture is always very good to have because the brighter the faster: large apertures (small f-numbers) allow you to use faster shutter speeds, avoiding blurry images because of camera shake. With a fast shutter speed, you freeze the movements and get a sharp, clear image. A maximum aperture of f/2.8 and below is great, f/4 is fine. over f/4.5 is okay but not amazing. In my opinion, f/5.6 is really the limit of what’s acceptable for a maximum aperture.

Autofocus: Maybe not as crucial as it is for wildlife photography for example (because you need to track moving animals and keep them in focus etc.), a good autofocus is still important for landscape photography just like it is for any kind of photography – no one likes a soft focus and wants sharp, crisp images.

You may have noticed that one of my top picks is a manual focus lens, but it’s very easy to get a whole landscape perfectly in focus by setting the focus ring on 3ft or infinity. With a short experimentation, it is easy to find the perfect setting for your manual focus.

Image Stabilization: Most lenses offer some sort of image stabilization, which is always good to have, particularly in low light. It is especially useful when your lens doesn’t have a very large maximum aperture and you are at risk of getting blurry pictures in low light. A good stabilization system can save your pictures and efficiently compensate the vibrations and camera shake. That said, I would still give priority to a large aperture.

But if you can get both the large aperture and the stabilization, it’s even better!

Size & weight: Landscape photography is by definition practiced in the outdoors and often involves transporting the camera for hours out in the wild. Choosing a lightweight and compact lens can make the experience much more pleasant.

Weather sealing: I would consider this a nice-to-have feature for most amateur photographers, but if you are going to shoot in bad weather, in extreme humidity (like in the jungle), of in sand dunes for examples, then weather and dust sealing can be an important point to take in consideration.

Now the game is of course the get the widest angle with the largest aperture with a good autofocus and image stabilization. It’s difficult to have everything, but you need to find the best compromise. For example, my Canon top pick may have an aperture of f/4 only, but it checks all the boxes otherwise. My non-Canon top pick offers and amazing ultra wide angle with a very large aperture, great image quality and for a very affordable price – and the sacrifice is made with the autofocus. I still think it’s a good compromise and great value for money.

 

USM or STM Autofocus, What’s The Difference?

You may have noticed that I have mentionned USM and STM autofocus types a few times and may be wondering what’s the difference between them. USM (UltraSonic Motor) and STM (Stepper Motor) refer to two different autofocus motors. I will not get into technical details here but I will try to explain the key differences between them.

To make things simple, USM motors are faster to focus and are widely used in professional-class lenses. They are almost silent but not completely. STM lenses are really great for video because the focusing process is smoother (but slightly slower), and practically silent. STM motors are more commonly found in amateur-class lenses.

But honestly, for landscape photography, you have all the time you need to focus your picture (unlike bird photography for example), so focusing speed isn’t really an issue. Both are just fine for landscapes, just know that USM is faster but STM is cheaper.

 

Why Don’t You Show Lens Prices on This Page?

I don’t like showing prices in my articles because well, we never really know for how long it will be accurate. Prices vary all the time and instead of running the risk to show erroneous and outdated information I prefer to provide a link for you to check the latest price of the different lenses directly.

 

How Did You Select Your Top Picks?

It’s a bit tricky because your best option depends on what camera format you have (full frame or APS-C). If you have a full frame, I maintain my two top picks. If you have an APS-C camera, for the Canon lens I would choose the 10-22 m for its wider angle.

My top picks are the lenses that I believe offer the best compromise in their features and quality, and offer them for a good price. It is not really about finding the very best no matter how much it costs, nor finding the cheapest lens possible, it’s more about finding a good value for money.

Final Thoughts

A good camera and a good lens essential in photography and landscape photography doesn’t escape this rule. If you own a Canon DSLR, you have plenty of great options and on this page you have the best selection and all the information you need to make your final choice for your wide angle lens.

I hope this guide was valuable and useful to you on your search of the best Canon wide angle lens for landscape photography you can get in 2018!

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