6 Best Wide Angle Lenses For Nikon (Mirrorless and DSLR)

I use my wide-angle lens more than any other lens in my bag. Something about that look I love for landscapes and even shooting environmental portraits.

I’ve been shooting Nikon for over a decade and owned or tried just about everything out there. The best wide-angle lens right now isn’t even a Nikon, it’s the Tamron 17-35 f/2.8-4. The combination of excellent optics, ease of use, and affordability make it an easy choice.

As a Nikon shooter, I’ve tried a lot of different lenses and there are a lot of great choices, so to help you make an educated decision based on your specific needs and budget, I’ve broken down the rest of the options here as well.

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Top Pick

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD

Ultimate wide angle workhorse at an affordable price

This lens is the ultimate wide-angle workhorse at an affordable price. I use it every time I’m out shooting landscapes.

I can’t say enough good things about this lens. I have been using it for over a year now and it remains my go-to lens for wide-angle photography.

The center of the lens is tack sharp throughout the zoom range and aperture range. It also has enough resolution that you can use it with the highest megapixel Nikon cameras such as the 45.7 megapixel Z7ii or D850.

So long as you don’t need a constant f/2.8 aperture, this is the perfect lens to keep in your bag at all times since it doesn’t take up too much space or weigh too much.

Probably my favorite part about this lens is how small and light it is compared to other lenses in this class. For comparison, the popular Nikon 16-35mm f/4 is 24.0 oz compared to this lens’s 16.2 oz. Plus, you get the wider f/2.8 aperture at the wide end with this lens. At 3.5 in. (90mm) long, it sits nicely in the bag without taking up too much space.

If you want a lens to shoot stars at night, you may want to go with a wider maximum aperture and look at one of these Nikon astrophotography lenses.

When the lens is wide open, there is a very slight softness around the edges but it is hardly noticeable. Stopping down to around f/5.6 to f/8 will clear that up and give you impeccable image quality.

Overall, the combination of image quality, compactness, lightweight, and affordable price make this the wide-angle lens I would recommend to any Nikon shooter.

I am a firm believer that good photography can be created with any price range of gear.

So to help you find the right wide-angle lens at the price range you’re comfortable with, I’ve included a budget-friendly pick.

Best Budget Option

Tokina 17-35 f/4 Pro FX

For the budget conscious, this Tokina lens is a great entry point into the world of wide-angle photography at a very inexpensive price point.

Tokina lenses have been around for many years. While Tamron and Sigma have upped their lenses to a similar price range as the big camera brands, Tokina has continued to be a good quality budget lens company.

The Tokina 17-35 f/4 Pro FX Lens is a great all-around use wide-angle lens and you can get it for less than half the price of the Tamron that tops this list.17-55mm is a great wide-angle zoom range. It can cover a nice variety of situations from landscapes to wide-angle portraits.

As far as image quality goes…you are going to settle for some compromises here because of the lower price.

Center of the frame sharpness is pretty good, but you are going to see some softness as you work out towards the edge of the frame. It’s not something that most people viewing your images will even notice, but it’s there. The edge softness becomes more pronounced at higher focal lengths but you can get back some sharpness by stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8.

From a practical standpoint, this isn’t that big of a problem since you’ll be shooting at higher apertures for landscapes and edge sharpness is less of an issue when shooting portrait images.

Tokina also makes a 16-28mm f/2.8 which will give you a little bit better image quality, but its also more expensive, and at that point, you’re getting close to the price of the Tamron above which is far superior in image quality, so I don’t really recommend the Tokina 16-28mm.

Best Z-Mount Option

Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S

Skip the very expensive 14-24mm version and go with this 14-30mm f/4 lens for excellent image quality and the ability to use regular filters as well as a much smaller and lighter size that is great for long hikes.

The new Nikon Z mount is all about improving image quality and this lens takes full advantage of that.

This is one of the sharpest lenses I’ve ever used and even on the 45.7 megapixel Z7ii it is able to resolve every pixel sharply. So the image quality is excellent.

What really excites me about this lens is the usability of it. As far as I can tell from my research, it is currently the only 14mm zoom that takes “normal” 82mm filters. That’s a big deal for me since I use filters often for shooting landscapes.

The lens is also very light and compact for one with a 14mm wide focal length. It weighs in at 17.1 oz. (485 g) and measures 3.5 in. (89 mm) in diameter and 3.3 in. (85 mm) in length. That’s about the same weight as the Tamron above but more compact.

Nikon also has a 14-24mm f/2.8 model. But similar to the DSLR version of that lens…while the image quality is amazing, there are some drawbacks. It is double the price of the 14-30mm and while it does accept filters on the front, you need 112mm filters.

The differences in image quality between the f/4 and the f/2.8 lenses are minimal so unless you shoot night skies and absolutely need that wide f/2.8 max aperture, save yourself over $1000 and go for the 14-30mm f/4 lens.

Crop Sensor Pick

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

This is basically the crop-sensor version of the full-frame top pick above. Excellent image quality at the lower cost of a 3rd party lens maker.

If you’re shooting a crop sensor Nikon camera, then you already know that full-frame wide-angle lenses aren’t quite wide enough due to the 1.5x crop factor.

So that 18mm focal length gives you the same field of view as 27mm on a full-frame camera. That’s why dedicated crop sensor lenses like this Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 are very useful at the wide end of the zoom range.

Note: If you are planning to upgrade to a full-frame camera soon, then you may want to skip this lens since it won’t work on a full-frame camera. The options above are all compatible with Nikon full-frame cameras so if you can deal with the narrower field of view temporarily, then you won’t have to buy a new wide lens when you upgrade your camera.

The Tamron 10-24mm falls pretty much into the same category as its full-frame big brother at the top of this list…but for crop sensor cameras.

Ultra-Wide Pick

Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6

Laowa is known for making some impressive ultra-wide lenses and this is one of their best at controlling distortion even at 10mm.

This is the widest zoom lens available for full-frame mirrorless cameras. If you don’t have a wide-angle lens yet, I would recommend going for one of the options above, but this is a really cool ultra-wide lens that can get you very unique shots.

Note: Links above are for Nikon Z Mount version.

It is available in L Mount and Z Mount (however the L Mount version does not accept rear filters).

The close focus distance on this lens is a very impressive 5.9 in. (15 cm) from the sensor. That lets you get super close to foreground elements for landscapes and even shoot wide-angle macro shots.

Venus Optics, the makers of Laowa lenses are always pushing the limits of what you can do with wide angle lenses. This is one of their best examples of that. Despite the fact that you can zoom out all the way to 10mm, the distortion in this lens is relatively well controlled.

I love this lens for big indoor spaces such as cathedrals or even sports arenas. It can really enhance that feeling of a massive building.

But it works great for landscapes as well, especially if you have an interesting foreground element. I like the idea of having a rear filter, because that helps to avoid vignetting even at the widest setting, but it can get a little tedious to take the lens off the mount to switch filters.

Runner-Up | Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8


Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8

Laowa is known for making some impressive ultra-wide lenses and this is one of their best at controlling distortion even at 10mm.

You might be surprised to see the venerable Nikkor 14-24mm here in the runner-up spot.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing lens. It boasts impeccable image quality, a 14mm wide end of the zoom range, and a fast f/2.8 constant maximum aperture. So if the best of the best image quality is what you absolutely need, then this might be your lens.

But there are drawbacks.

First is the size and weight. This lens weighs 35.5 oz. (1000g) and measures 5.2 in (131.5mm) long with a diameter of 3.5 in (98mm). That makes it wider than the entire length of the Tamron above. So it may not be the lens you want to carry with you on a long hike.

Second, it is almost triple the cost of the Tamron 17-35. So you have to decide if a constant f/2.8 and 3 more mm at the wide end is worth that much more of an investment.

Lastly, and for me the deal breaker…you need a special filter mount system because of the large bulbous front element. I like to work quickly and use magnetic lens filters, so the prospect of setting up a square filter system on this lens every time I want to use a filter is not very appealing.

I think that I end up getting more shots (and often better shots) because I spend less time playing with the gear and more time paying attention to the light and finding a good composition.

But if none of those three things seem like a problem to you, then you certainly won’t be disappointed with this lens. Some of the best landscape photographers in the world use it, so maybe I’m wrong.

What To Look For In A Wide Angle Lens

If you’re looking for a solid wide-angle lens then there are a few things you should pay close attention to when making your choice. I’ll cover the factors that I took into account when making my picks.

But first, I want to add that I am assuming you’ll be using the wide-angle lens for the most common types of wide-angle photography, such as landscapes, cityscapes, etc.

Image Quality

When it comes to choosing lenses, the main factor is almost always image quality.

This can be especially true when shooting at wide angles because wide lenses have a tendency to introduce issues like distortion, edge softness, chromatic aberration, or others. Some lenses do a better job at controlling this than others.

I made sure to choose lenses for this list that do a good job at controlling these issues (given the price point). In general, the more expensive a lens is, the better the image quality.

Versatility (Zoom or Prime)

Generally speaking, I like to use zoom lenses for wide-angle work. Many lenses on this list are just as sharp as their prime lens counterparts and the ability to change the focal length can have a huge difference in the compositions you’ll be able to find in the field.

Build Quality

Most of you are going to be out shooting landscapes with your wide-angle Nikon lens. That means throwing it in the bag for a long hike, having it out in harsh conditions, and just generally subjecting it to regular abuse.

So in addition to cleaning it on a regular basis, you want to have a lens that is built to handle those types of things. A good sturdy body and weather sealing are important if your lens will be out in the elements so be sure to take that into consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Nikon wide-angle lens should I buy?

The two wide-angle lenses I recommend from Nikon are the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD if you are using an F-mount camera or the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S if you are using a Z-mount camera. Both have excellent image quality and sharpness and are slightly more affordable than some of the other options.

What are wide-angle lenses good for?

Wide-angle lenses can be used for any type of photography where you need a wider field of view. The most common uses for a wide-angle lens are landscape, cityscape, and astrophotography but you can use them for portraits as well if that’s the look you want.

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