Ultra wide-angle lenses come in at different focal lengths depending on the camera they are bolted to. On an APS-C or crop sensor cameras, this can be 15mm or less, while on a full-frame this is 24mm and below as the most common types.
There’s the added complication of these lenses being either regular rectilinear lenses or the fisheye types. Today we’re bringing you a list of the best Canon ultra wide-angle lenses under $250.
In this price range, you will have to make some compromises over things like the build quality and some of the more fancy features. But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy good, affordable optics within today’s budget.
As we are working with such a tight budget, there will be examples of good lenses that are just a touch over, but still worth inclusion. Hopefully proving that a Canon ultra wide-angle lens under $250 can still have lots of creative potential in the ultra wide bracket.
1. Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM (Overall Winner)
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is the first example of a wide-angle lens that is just a fraction over our planned budget, but it’s definitely worth the inclusion as a very good lens with top-performing optics. Designed specifically for EF-S-mount cameras, the equivalent focal length of 16-28.8mm should still be wide enough for most uses.
Optically, the lens comprises of one ultra-low dispersion and one aspherical element, plus a Super Spectra coating for reducing lens artifacts. The stepping motor (STM) is respectably quick to lock into focus and while not being the quietest around, is fantastic for still images.
The inclusion of an optical image stabilizer with four stops of compensation is impressive in this budget range. Although this lens has a relatively slow and variable aperture, it’s still very capable in low-light conditions.
This wide-angle zoom may have some downsides like a non-metal mount and plastic lens barrel, but it displays very low lens anomalies such as chromatic aberration while providing wonderful sharp images with a good degree of color and contrast.
If you can stretch a few dollars over our required budget, this ultra wide-angle zoom is worth every penny.
2. Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC
Samyang has been producing some wonderful optics over the last few years, and the 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC is no exception. It is equally capable on both full-frame and crop sensor cameras, providing a 22.4mm equivalent focal length on the latter. This lens provides a respectably wide and constant f/2.8 aperture, with full manual focusing and a manual aperture ring.
Two aspherical, three high refractive indexes, and two extra-low dispersion elements are included in the optical mix with an Ultra Multi-Coating applied to all lens elements to reduce lens flare and ghosting. The lens has a very substantial feel with an all-metal lens barrel.
As this lens has all-manual workings, you will have to spend more time achieving sharp focus. Some distortion can be seen which can affect building shots but should be fine for landscapes. Once the lens has been stopped down to f/5.6, the full-frame comes into wonderfully sharp focus, with plenty of rich color definition.
Basically, this is a great lens for the asking price, if you don’t mind its full manual working.
3. Samyang 8mm f/3.5 Fish-Eye CS II
If you need to go as wide angle as possible, then a fisheye lens is the usual route. The Samyang 8mm f/3.5 Fish-Eye CS II is a manually focusing lens, with a manual aperture ring and very solid construction. The Samyang is very capable on crop sensor cameras providing a 12mm viewpoint.
There’s a good deal of glass within the lens to correct for all those stray light rays. These include 10 elements arranged in seven groups, with super multi-layer coatings on each lens element. The lens comes with a built-in petal-shaped hood which is most needed for protecting that fragile, bulbous front element.
One of the benefits of a fisheye lens is that it’s always sharp throughout its depth of field. But for the very sharpest results, f/8 is the sweet spot. With a little deliberation over focusing, this lens can provide excellent images for the price point.
4. Opteka 6.5mm f/3.5
It’s amazing the difference in prices depending on which camera mount you opt for. In the case of the Opteka 6.5mm f/3.5 for the Canon platform, it’s the cheapest of the bunch and with the link we have supplied, you also get a bunch of goodies such as a memory card, tripod, and cleaning kit.
This lens is equally capable on full-frame or crop sensor cameras with a 10.4mm equivalent focal length on APS-C models. The lens is well made with a full aluminum alloy lens barrel and full manual workings.
This is definitely a fun lens to use, with a respectably close focusing distance of 30cm, providing some very creative shots. Fed with enough light, this lens can produce very respectable sharpness throughout the frame.
At this price point, it may not have the ultimate definition of much higher-priced versions, but we were happily surprised with the levels of contrast and detail, especially when stopped down to f/8.
5. 7artisans Photoelectric 7.5mm f/2.8 (Budget Winner)
The 7artisans Photoelectric 7.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens is probably as cheap as you can go for good quality glass without resorting to DIY methods. This example is to show that there are solutions out there for Canon EF-M-mount mirrorless cameras, which in this case provides a 12mm viewpoint.
This lens has a surprisingly wide f/2.8 aperture, with a 180-degree view, 11-blade diaphragm, and built-in lens hood. As with most budget-friendly fisheye lenses, the aperture will need to be stopped down to f/8, which is not so much a problem with this type of lens, mainly due to its characteristic of having a sharp depth of field.
At this price point, everything is a bonus and the 7artisans provides very respectable images which you normally wouldn’t find at this price point.
Stretching the View of the Best Canon Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses Under $250
The Canon ultra wide-angle lenses under $250 examples above show that even on a limited budget, you can still buy into respectable optics. As previously mentioned, you may have to forego ultimate build quality and resolving power. But in this price range, ultra wide-angle photography is more accessible than ever and with some examples, will allow you to experiment in this field without a massive monetary outlay.