Photographers who love to explore vast landscapes and architecture are often in need of a good wide-angle lens, and it has become a preferred accessory for them. Usually, camera manufacturers equip these lenses with a 28mm focal length or 24mm sometimes, but they just don’t do the job in some cases.
While you may not get the desired results with these basic lenses or they may turn out to be a great disappointment, wide-angle lenses come to the rescue, offering a practical benefit of their wider angle of view. They allow you to fill the entire frame with your subject and can do a lot more than what a basic 28mm lens has to offer.
If you are a Nikon DSLR user on a budget with a passion for architecture and landscape photography, we have picked some good lenses for you. Here’s our guide to the best Nikon wide-angle lenses under $1000.
1. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR (Overall Winner)
Noticeably smaller in size than most full-frame wide-angle lenses, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR weighs a little more than half of its competitors. This is due to a relatively modest aperture of f/4 rather than the f/2.8 rating of most of the competing options.
This FX-format lens features a removable hood and filter attachment thread. Thanks to the two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements in the optical path, image quality is well-optimized and Nikon’s Nano Crystal coating keeps ghosting and flare to a minimum.
Other key attributes include a weather-sealed mounting plate and a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system, which is fast, practically silent, and enables full-time manual override.
Although sharpness may drop a bit at the long zoom end, you get excellent picture quality at the short end of the range. The ‘VR’ optical stabilizer comes in handy while shooting in museums and other areas where you might not be allowed to get your hands on a tripod. However, it only offers 2.5 stops of image correction.
2. Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
While the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD wide-angle lens may not go as wide as the more expensive Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, it’s still a lot wider than most lenses.
With a fixed and wide aperture of f/2.8 and optical image stabilization package, Tamron has been able to develop a series of fast zoom lenses and they have stepped into the territory of super-wide-angle lenses with this great 15-30mm f/2.8 lens.
Featuring a sturdy build, weather-sealed design, Vibration Compensation system, and ring-type ultrasonic autofocusing system, this is undoubtedly one of the best Nikon wide-angle lenses under $1000. Although it’s not small in size, it feels quite balanced when mounted on full-frame Nikon camera bodies.
Talking of the image quality, you get exemplary sharpness from the center to edges of the frame, throughout the entire zoom range. Vibration Compensation of up to four stops gives you a great benefit while shooting handheld or in poor lighting conditions, and color fringing is handled quite well.
3. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED
The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED lens deserves a sweet spot in the group of excellent wide-angle lenses for your Nikon camera, as currently it’s believed to be the sharpest of the lenses among Nikon’s ultra-wide-angle lens options.
While you will love shooting wide open with this 20mm lens, stopping down a lower aperture delivers stellar sharpness. The lens shows incredible resistance against chromatic aberrations, ghosting, and flare. Thanks to its lightweight build, the autofocus system works fast and accurately.
When mounted on a DX-format Nikon camera, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED delivers a 30mm field of view, meaning it still doesn’t leave the category of the wide-angle lenses. Its small size and light weight allow you to use it on a DX-format Nikon body easily and it works nicely there as well.
Along with architecture and landscape photography niches, this high-end Nikon 20mm lens can also be an ideal option for wedding photography.
4. Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II
At the shortest focal length, the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II delivers a maximum viewing angle which is wider than any other lens under $1000 available for Nikon full-frame cameras.
Equipped with a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system, this lens has a fast and silent operation. Sharpness at the center is amazing throughout the whole zoom range, however, it may drop off a bit at extreme edges of the image frame when shooting wide open at short focal lengths.
While barrel distortion has always been a problem for super-wide-angle lenses, this Sigma keeps it well under control. The lens lacks an image stabilization system, but if the maximum possible angle of view is what you are after, this wide lens should be at the top of your list.
5. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED (Budget Winner)
While the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens may not have the larger angle of view and fixed maximum aperture rating like the Nikon 16-35mm lens, it’s smaller in size and costs less. This concludes that Nikon is aiming this lens towards it’s more amateur users.
The lens doesn’t come with the Vibration Reduction (VR) technology unlike the Nikon 16-35mm lens, however, the overall lens construction quality is pretty impressive. It also lacks the Nano Crystal Coating and features Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating instead, but resistance against flare and ghosting effects is still quite good.
Sharpness is maintained well even in extreme edges of the image frame and chromatic aberrations are very well handled. Overall, this affordable lens offers decent performance and the best value for starters.
Picking the Best Nikon Wide-Angle Lenses Under $1000
For architecture and landscape photographers, a wide-angle lens is arguably an essential piece of equipment. It enables them to fill the entire image frame with the subject and creates a wider perspective. A quality wide-angle lens for your Nikon DSLR is also a must-have if you are into portraiture and wedding photography.
To help you choose a good lens that perfectly suits your needs and budget, any of these lenses on our list of Nikon wide-angle lenses under $1000 will be a good choice and reliable purchase. Happy shooting!