Best ultra wide-angle lens for Nikon DSLRs: 8 tested

Ultra wide lenses to help you see the big picture

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM - £430/ $480

One of the first ultra-wide zooms designed for APS-C cameras, Sigma's original 10-20mm has stood the test of time. It might lack the constant aperture of the newer version but it's lighter in weight, has a more typical 77mm filter thread and is £70 easier on the wallet.

Despite its price, the lens boasts ring-type ultrasonic autofocus and comes with Sigma's usual extras, including a flower-shaped lens hood and good-quality carrying pouch. Overall build quality is high, and a match for the bigger, constant-aperture Sigma 10-20mm. Both editions of the lens carry Sigma's 'EX' designation, denoting superior build and optical quality.

Performance

This is one of the sharpest lenses in the group, even at the maximum available apertures of f/4-5.6. There's plenty of image contrast, and autoexposure values are consistently accurate in any light. Some lenses, such as the Samyang, are poor in this respect. Distortions are slightly more noticeable than with Sigma's 10-20mm f/3.5 lens, but it's a great buy at the price.

Sharpness

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Sharpness is impressive, even at large apertures, where the lens outperforms Sigma's pricier 10-20mm f/3.5 model.

Lab test at f/8
Sharpness at 10mm: 2402
Sharpness at 14mm: 2430
Sharpness at 20mm: 2124

Fringing

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

There's quite a lot of fringing towards the image corners at 10mm, especially in the f/8 to f/22 aperture range.

Lab test at f/8
Fringing at 10mm: 0.24
Fringing at 14mm: 0.25
Fringing at 20mm: 0.41

Distortion

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Barrel distortion is apparent at 10mm, turning to mild pin-cushion distortion that remains fairly constant from 14 to 20mm.

Lab test at f/8
Distortion at 10mm: -3.06
Distortion at 14mm: 1.11
Distortion at 20mm: 0.979

Image test verdict

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

See full res image

Image quality proved impressive in our lab tests, especially for sharpness at large apertures, where it's the best Sigma lens in the group.

Read the full Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM review