Our Top 3 Picks
A wide angle lens an essential tool for a photographer. Choosing the right wide angle lens for your needs and budget can be hard. Here are the best Nikon wide angle lenses in 2021.
We compared a lot of wide angle lenses for F-mount Nikon cameras, ranging from DX to FX, from prime to zoom, from Nikon to third-party. In the following, we created two separate lists for primes and zooms. The ranking is based on the lenses’ comprehensive value.
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]
Until recently, zoom lenses also compromised image quality. However, today’s wide angle zooms give you almost the same performance. The difference is negligible.
Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD
Sigma offers you a very usable and reasonably priced lens for your Nikon DX camera. Its most attractive feature is the constant f/3.5 aperture throughout the zoom lens range. This makes it ideal for video work.
You can also use manual mode easier, as you don’t have to reconfigure your exposure every time you zoom
Image quality, while not the best, is acceptable. You can shoot detailed, colorful images with this lens.
Autofocus is quick and accurate. Sigma’s HSM system works well.
The lens is made out of plastic, which brings down durability, but in turn, makes the lens lighter.
If you’re starting out with a DX Nikon camera (for instance, a D3300), this an inexpensive and easy entry to the world of wide angle lenses.
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G
If you’re looking for a wide angle zoom lens for your DX camera made by Nikon, this will be your choice. The lens improves on the previous Sigma lens in image quality. It delivers sharp images with good contrast.
It also improves on the zoom range, 24mm nears what some consider a “wide normal” angle of view.
Build quality is slightly better, plasticky, but more robust.
With this wide angle zoom lens, you’ll have to sacrifice the constant aperture. Thus, we don’t recommend this lens for video work.
You’re paying a higher price, but you’re also getting slightly better quality with this lens. If you’re planning to stick with DX cameras for a while and want a great all-purpose wide angle zoom, this is a great option.
Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art
This is the first lens on our list to be designed for full-frame cameras. With their ‘Art’ line of lenses, Sigma soars to new heights rarely reached by third-party manufacturers before.
In terms of image quality and usability, this lens is at a comparable level to top-of-the-line Nikon glass.
It is built of metal and plastic, feeling solid and heavy in the hands.
On full-frame format, this lens is ultra-wide. So wide, that even if you put it on a DX camera, it still remains very wide.
If you currently have a DX camera, but you’re planning to upgrade to FX, this a great choice. You won’t have to look for a new lens and will get more out of your existing Sigma 12-24mm Art.
Yet, you may find one downside. Due to the bulbous front element, you can’t attach filters easily. There are solutions, but they are hard to set up and inconvenient.
If you’re planning to use your wide angle zoom lens with filters, we recommend taking a look at Nikon’s own 16-35mm F/4 VR.
Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM FLD AF
This is the widest lens you can get on DX format. The Sigma 8-16mm gives you the same angle of view on DX as the 12-24mm on FX.
It delivers you sharp, detailed images, with decaying resolution only towards the extreme corners at 8mm.
Though not a part of the ‘Art’ line, Sigma constructed this lens very sturdily, much better than their cheaper ones.
Mounting filters is hardly possible because of the big front glass.
However, the reason you get this lens is its ultra wide angle lens. There is really no other way to achieve that on DX.
If you don’t mind the aperture and the filters, you get fabulous value with the 8-16mm Sigma lens.
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro
Tokina is one of the less-known lens manufacturers, but their products represent excellent value. The 16-28mm f/2.8 is no exception.
This lens offers you a constant f/2.8 aperture at a very reasonable price.
Picture quality is outstanding. In its class of fast wide-angle lenses, only Nikon’s 14-24mm surpasses is.
With all-metal construction, it feels comfortable in your hands.
The autofocus could be faster, but it is accurate. Similarly to previous lenses, filters are a problem on this one as well.
However, it’s the price of this wide angle lens that is hard to beat. Coming in at only a third of the cost of the Nikon 14-24mm, it’s undoubtedly a bargain.
Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 Pro DX
This wide angle lens is the little brother of the 16-28mm. It fits DX cameras, yet you can use it on full-frame with compromises too. At 16mm and above, it covers the FX sensor as well.
On the DX lens market, though, it represents a class of its own. There’s no other zoom that offers f/2.8 aperture throughout its whole range, only the previous versions of this very lens.
This version improves slightly on them in terms of image quality. Also, this is the first to go up to 20mm instead of 16mm. The 4mm of extra reach can help you out in a lot of situations.
Construction and materials are the same as on the 16-28mm. However, this lens is not held back by the lack of a filter ring. You can use 77mm screw-on filters.
For a DX lens, its price is not the lowest, but in our opinion, it’s still an outstanding offer.
This is our favourite DX lens for Nikon.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Do you want a lens that is perfect for serious landscape photography? Are you planning for a lot of video work? Or just want a great all-rounder wide-angle zoom? This 16-35mm is the ultimate choice for you.
It excels in image quality, delivering corner-to-corner sharpness, and remarkable contrast. Add to that the possibility to use screw-on filters, and this lens becomes the tool of the professional landscape photographer.
The constant aperture of f/4 and the image stabilization (VR) also make it an excellent asset for you as a video creator.
It is constructed from top-grade plastic, which makes it lighter but keeps it well-protected.
You get great value for the price.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
This lens from Nikon is their ultimate wide angle zoom lens for you if you’re willing to pay its price. It is bulky, heavy and sturdy, and does not compromise on any front.
Image quality is the best on the market, photos are razor-sharp throughout. So good, in fact, that this is the only Nikon lens we have seen adapted onto a Canon camera.
If you want to exploit its full functionality, you have to stick with Nikon bodies, though.
Autofocus is quick and snappy.
This is a professional lens, and with that comes professional pricing. However, if you want the absolute best out of your wide angle zoom lens, there is no other option.
If you’re looking for outstanding optical performance or specific features, primes lenses are for you. We listed our favourite Nikon wide angle lens options, including some very unique lenses and great all-purpose ones.
Please note that all lenses below are designed for FX Nikon cameras.
Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 20mm f/2.8D
This Nikon wide angle lens will attract you with its size. Put this on your camera, and you’ve got an excellent little kit.
You can use that to your advantage in street photography or when traveling.
It’s designed for full-frame sensors and film. Image quality is good enough, though not razor-sharp at f/2.8, it will satisfy most of your needs.
Construction-wise it’s also not the best, the main material is plastic. For a lens of this size, that is fine.
This is possibly the oldest lens on this list, being introduced in 1994.
Yet, it holds its value incredibly well. It remains a feasible choice for today’s advanced DSLRs.
Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 Macro
Venus Optics is a new company on the market. In recent years, they’ve built a reputation for designing unique lenses.
This 15mm f/4 Macro lens combines a wide angle of view with 1:1 macro capability, that makes up for very special photos.
The lens is superbly built and designed. Take a glance at it and you can tell that it’s an extraordinary piece of glass.
Nikon PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED
- widest aperture: f/4
- fits DX or FX cameras
- weight: 885g
- tilt-shift image control
- best optical performance
The PC 19mm f/4 is also a very special professional lens, the most expensive one on our list as well.
With this, you can control your image in ways that even your eyes cannot see.
The shift function enables you to change the perspective of your photo. This way you can correct for parallel lines.
Additionally, you can modify your focal plane with the tilt knob, which creates sharpness and blur in unusual places.
Of course, image and build quality are outstanding, but this what you expect.
If you’re planning to make a serious career with architecture photography, this is the lens for you.
Venus Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D
This lens gives you an ultra-wide angle with a fast aperture.
Its main selling point is “Zero Distortion”. Indeed, distortion is virtually non-existent. This is really impressive for a lens so wide as 12mm.
For its price, it is not an absolute bargain, but pretty good value. It gives you stunning images.
Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art DG HSM
Sigma’s offering from their ‘Art’ line is the astrophotographers’ dream.
It boasts an ultra-wide angle of view with a fast aperture of f/1.8. That makes it a unique lens on the market, and an ideal choice for you if you’re shooting astrophotos or low-light action.
The lens is bulky and heavy. Its front element sticks out forward, so filters are hard to install. In terms of construction, it features all the Art design elements and materials, making it a sturdy lens.
The photos you get with it are razor-sharp even at the widest aperture. It is very rare that you can get notable background separation with an ultra-wide-angle lens. With this one, it’s possible.
You get a very special from Sigma. You have to pay the price for it, but it is reasonable.
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC
If you’re searching for the ultimate value, look no further. This small 14mm lens from Rokinon (or Samyang, depending on where you live) a real bargain.
It features all-metal construction and excellent image quality, comparable to the Nikon 14mm f/2.8 lens at a fifth of the price.
There are a few tradeoffs, though. First, the common problem of filters. You can’t screw them on, but third parties offer holders for the lens.
The lens is manual focus and aperture only. That means you have to set your focus and aperture on the lens, and not on the camera
Also, there is no metadata transmitted. You won’t find the f-stop, the focus distance, or the lens type embedded in your photos.
Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM
Another Sigma ‘Art’ lens making it onto our list. This one is the 20mm lens you can find with an f/1.4 aperture.
Construction and optical quality meet the high standard of the ‘Art’ series.
The lens is big, bulky, and rather front-heavy. It is extremely versatile. The bulbous front element is apparent, making it hard to use filters.
Otherwise, this lens is great for general use.
This lens represents great value and features top-notch optics.
(Be aware that there have been a few reports of this lens having inaccurate autofocus. In that case, most camera stores can calibrate it to work properly. With the optional USB dock, you can do it yourself as well. However, our copy had no such problems.)
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED
Our winner ironically is the least wide lens on the list.
The 24mm f/1.4 is the most versatile if you’re looking for a general-purpose wide-angle prime. It has all of the best Nikon qualities, including a solid plastic and metal body, top optical performance, and great autofocus.
Its fast aperture makes it ideal for shooting moving subjects or hand-holding in low-light.
This is a lens that a lot of professionals use, so if you’re aiming for the very best, it’s the right choice for you.
Nikon released their brand new mirrorless camera series lest year.
The Z6 and Z7 cameras are both full-frame and feature a new lens mount.
There is only one native wide-angle lens option for the new mount, the 14-30mm f/4 S.
However, you can mount any of the previously mentioned lenses on the Z cameras with an adaptor.
Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4S
With their new series, Nikon admittedly aims to reduce the size of professional photography equipment.
This lens does just that. It is made out of plastic but feels solid.
Despite the slow aperture, its image quality is remarkable.
If you’re looking for a wide-angle option for your Z camera, this is nice option.