Are you on the hunt for wide-angle lenses that won’t break the bank? Well, we have a sweet selection of the best Tamron ultra wide-angle lenses under $500. Tamron is a third-party lens manufacturer that has a reputation for making good lenses with durable weather sealing, which is a big bonus if you are a landscape, wildlife, or travel photographer.
A lens is classed as ultra wide-angle if the shortest focal length is under 24mm, and this applies to both prime lenses and zooms. Distortion can be a problem with ultra wide-angle lenses, but this can usually be fixed in your image editing software.
Every photographer should have a good wide-angle lens, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that they don’t have to cost a fortune to perform well. We’re here to talk about the top Tamron ultra wide-angle lenses under $500, so let’s get to it.
1. Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD
This lens takes the top prize of the Tamron ultra wide-angle lenses under $500 because it’s not just sharp and lightweight, but weather sealed too. It gives a brilliant performance in all kinds of weather conditions, and sharpness is outstanding all across the zoom range.
It’s a great choice for traveling with because it’s so light, but also very sturdy. The AF system is spot-on for accuracy and is very quick and quiet. The weather sealing, including a rubber gasket around the mount and fluorine coating on the front element, is a massive bonus for a lens under $500. Tamron overhauled the original 10-24mm lens back in 2017, and the remade 10-24mm has improved significantly over its predecessor.
2. Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2
The Tamron 20mm f/2.8 is made for Sony full-frame/APS-C E-Mount cameras. This is one of a trio of full-frame prime wide-angle lenses for Sony E cameras. They are small and light, and you can get them for a decent price. The Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 has an almost silent AF motor and locks onto focus points very accurately.
As with most Tamron lenses, the 20mm is weather-sealed, but it also boasts a magnification level of 1:2, and you can get in quite close to focus on your subject with the closest focus distance of a mere 11cm. Barrel distortion is an issue with this lens, but you’ll get that with most budget ultra wide-angle lenses, and it can be easily fixed in an image editor such as Lightroom or Capture One.
3. Tamron SP AF 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di II LD
If you’re looking for super-short focal lengths in the ultra wide-angle range, then the Tamron SP AF 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di II LD may suit you. AF can be on the slow side, and of course there is barrel distortion as there is on most ultra wide-angle lenses.
This small and lightweight zoom is well-made, and the price is certainly an attractive feature. As far as image quality goes, contrast and color are good, but there is some corner softness going on with this affordable lens, although razor-sharp image corners may not matter to you. Distortion is there, but it’s surprisingly limited for an ultra-wide lens.
4. Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2
The Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 is for a Sony full-frame E-mount. This lens is great for shooting interiors and big landscapes alike, and has a minimum focusing distance of only 12cm. It’s weather-sealed and durable, as well as being available at a reasonably cheap price.
Image quality is excellent, and sharpness is good across the whole frame, even when shooting at f/2.8. It has the usual caveat of barrel distortion, but it’s less noticeable in the Tamron 24mm than the Tamron 20mm. Of course, Sony cameras have automatic correction built-in, so if you are shooting with it switched on, distortion won’t be an issue.
5. Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II LD Aspherical
This lens has an almost ridiculously long name, but it’s a light, compact, standard zoom lens that covers extreme wide-angle views at 17mm, and goes up to a handy general-purpose 50mm. This makes it good for portraits as well as big landscapes and interior shots.
Sharpness is fantastic at f/2.8 across the focal length range, but softens a bit at 50mm. If you stop down to f/4, sharpness is excellent through the focal range. Chromatic aberration isn’t a problem with this lens except in the corners at 17mm, but that is expected in most ultra-wide lenses. The Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II LD is a great all-rounder for capturing a variety of scenes and subjects.
6. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD
This is the updated version of Tamron’s 18-270mm super zoom lens. It is smaller, lighter, and has a Piezo Drive (PZD) motor for swift and silent AF. Tamron markets the 18-270mm as the ultimate travel lens, but many photographers will use it as their default “do-all” lens.
While prime lenses give the best optical quality, zoom lenses are often more practical, but some sacrificing of image quality has to be made, especially if the zoom range is wide. Image quality isn’t the best with the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, but if you keep it around the middle of the aperture range you can get nice sharp images.
7. Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC (Budget Winner)
Coming in as the budget winner in our Tamron ultra wide-angle lenses under $500 buying guide is the all-in-one Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC, which offers less of an extreme focal range than the 18-270mm and is made for Sony’s E-mount NEX series of mirrorless cameras, as well as for Canon EF-M mount. For a lens with such a large zoom range, the Tamron 18-200 is fairly light and compact, but it is still front-heavy when using with Sony NEX cameras.
This affordable lens offers versatility at the expense of image quality, but sharpness at shorter focal lengths is very good, although it drops off as you zoom in. Like all Tamron lenses, the 18-200mm is very solid, weather-sealed, and costs less than the Sony equivalent lens.
It Makes Sense to Look for Tamron Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses Under $500
Many people prefer to stick with their camera manufacturer’s lenses instead of looking for the best third-party lenses from manufacturers like Tamron and Sigma. These lenses are often cheaper, and although in the past they may have gained a reputation for being of poor quality, nowadays third-party lenses are often as good as, if not better than, lenses from the camera makers.
We hope you enjoyed this look at the best Tamron ultra wide-angle lenses under $500, and if you’re looking for some other third-party lens bargains, then there are plenty of options for Tokina zoom lenses under $500, too. If you are a Canon EF-S shooter, there are some very good third-party lenses for the EF-S mount that range in price.