Best 10-20mm Lenses For Nikon – 2019 Complete Buyer’s Guide

A 10-20mm lens can be defined as an ultra-wide-angle lens and is arguably the most important camera accessory among photographers exploring architecture and landscapes. Offering more than an incredibly wide angle of view, a 10-20mm lens can achieve a lot more than the standard 28mm lens.

While this unit helps shoot some of the sharpest and most versatile images, choosing a quality lens can be an extremely technical and daunting task.

To ensure you make the right investment, this guide includes detailed reviews of some of the best models for Nikon, and the aspects to consider before making your purchase. So, read on to find the lens that truly completes your camera bag!

Comparison of the Best 10-20mm Lenses for Nikon

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC

  • Designed with seven diaphragm blades and thirteen elements arranged in ten groups
  • Comes with an ultrasonic ring-type autofocus system, an 82mm filter thread, and a petal-type hood
  • With a maximum aperture of f/3.5 through the entire zoom range, the Sigma EX DC is the best overall model on our list
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Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC

  • Ultrasonic-type ring-type AF motor is designed with full-time manual focusing
  • With a minimum focus of 9.45”/0.24m, the Sigma f/4-5.6 the runner-up on our list
  • 77mm filter thread and an ultra-wide-angle that offers a maximum view of 102 degrees
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Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

  • Autofocus stepping motor makes the Nikon AF-P NIKKOR the best for the money
  • Minimum focus distance of 0.8ft (0.22m) and an angle of view of 109 to 70 degrees
  • Designed with 14 elements in 11 groups, including three aspherical elements to reduce flares
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Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II

  • Equipped with a high/low torque-modulated Drive and Vibration Compensation
  • Designed with 16 elements arranged in 11 groups and an electromagnetic diaphragm system
  • Fluorine coating and moisture-resistant construction protects the lens surface from oil and water
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What Does 10-20mm Lens Mean?

As mentioned above, a 10-20mm lens falls under the category of an ultra-wide-angle lens and captures images with an incredibly wide angle of view. A popular model among landscape and architecture photographers, it enables users to capture much of the foreground, along with the surrounding elements.

Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II

Because the focal length is extremely short, it further results in a larger depth of field, even at larger apertures. The unit’s ability to achieve infinity focus at incredibly close distances also enables it to capture images with an extremely sharp background and foreground.

To put it simply, a 10-20mm lens creates more exaggerated perspectives, making it perfect for evening silhouettes, stunning sea and landscapes, and real estate photography. It can also be used for candid shots but features a bit more distortion compared to a moderate-wide angle lens.

What to Look For When Buying a 10-20mm Lens

Invaluable for landscape and travel photography, wedding photography, and street photography, 10-20mm lenses are one of the most useful and versatile lenses available today. However, as with all lenses, there are some aspects you should consider before finalizing your purchase. Some of these things include:

Maximum Aperture

This feature is extremely important for astrophotographers. An f/2.8 lens is able to capture more light compared to a lens with an aperture of f/4, enabling photographers to capture a sharper, less noisy, and brighter Milky Way.

Image Stabilization

Designed to significantly reduce blur in photographs, image stabilization is an extremely useful feature when shooting in low light situations or working handheld. Although this feature has become incredibly common in newer models, it is still advisable to check if it’s available on older models.

Manual or Auto-focus

Auto-focus has also become a common feature, with some models offering the option to switch between manual and auto-focus. While manual focus saves weight and money, auto-focus is still preferred by most photographers. Thus, it’s advisable to choose a lens with the focusing feature you’re more comfortable with.

Quick Take - Best 10-20mm Lenses for Nikon

Before we dive into our review, here are the best 10-20mm lenses for Nikon:

  1. Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC
  2. Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC
  3. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

Review of the Best 10-20mm Lenses for Nikon

With so many lenses available on the market, finding the best one can be an extremely time-consuming and difficult task. To help narrow down your options, here are detailed reviews of some of the best 10-20mm lenses for Nikon. Read on to find the model that best suits your photography needs!

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

PROS

  • Includes a carrying case and rear and front caps
  • Super multi-layer coating helps reduce ghosting and flare
  • Captures images with an incredibly exaggerated perspective
  • Four correction lenses offer correction for distortion, resulting in tack-sharp images
  • Inner focusing system gets rid of front lens rotation, making it suitable for polarizing filters

CONS

  • Corners are a bit soft at wider apertures
  • Lacks optical stabilization feature
  • Color fringing is noticeable around the corners of the image

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers were impressed with the performance and quality of the Sigma, with one user stating that it captured stunning landscape shots. They also loved the build quality and said that the auto-focus worked smoothly. While customers loved the incredible wide view, they stated that the corners were a bit fuzzy. Some also experienced flaring issues when shooting in sunlight.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The image quality offered by the Sigma is what truly sets it apart from its competitors. Contrast and sharpness are excellent and remain consistent throughout the entire zoom range. Furthermore, color fringing is extremely well controlled, and chromatic aberration and distortion are only noticeable around the corners and at the shortest end of the zoom range.

Who Will Use This Most

Featuring an f/3.5 aperture throughout the zoom range, the Sigma is the perfect option for low light photography. The unit can also be used for architecture, photojournalism, group pictures, building interiors, wedding photography, and landscape photography.

Bottom Line

Offering numerous incredible features at an extremely affordable price, the Sigma is undoubtedly one of the best 10-20mm lenses available today. Sharpness is truly impressive, particularly in the center of the frame, while distortions and color fringing are virtually minimal. When it comes to a top-value, high-performance DX-format lens, the Sigma cannot be beaten.

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

PROS

  • Backed by a 1-year warranty
  • Ultra-wide angle of view provides greater freedom of expression
  • Lightweight and compact design makes it easy to store and carry around
  • Inner focusing system controls aberrations while keeping the length of the lens consistent at the same time
  • Three aspherical lenses and three SLD (special low dispersion) elements provide optimum image quality through the entire zoom range

CONS

  • Mid-frame area is a bit soft from 12-14mm
  • Features a moderate amount of barrel distortion at 10mm

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers found the price point to be extremely attractive and were impressed with the preliminary shots. Users stated that it captured incredibly sharp images, had fast and accurate focus, and loved the instant manual focus override. However, customers found some distortion at 10mm and reported that the images turned soft towards the edge. Some people also found the sensitivity to light a bit difficult to control.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Sigma primarily stands out to us because of its focus speed and accuracy. The Hypersonic Motor focuses quietly and quickly without rotating any filter threads. The unit also offers full-time manual focusing, and clearly displays the focus distances in a window. Furthermore, the AF/M switch is incredibly easy to reach, while the manual focus ring is smooth and firm with no play.

Who Will Use This Most

The Sigma f/4-5.6 is the perfect option for building interiors, party and group pictures, and landscape photography. Since this unit boasts a minimum focus distance of 9.4” at all focal lengths, it is ideal for shooting close foreground subjects for greater creative potential.

Bottom Line

An extremely powerful unit for landscape photography and numerous different wide-angle applications, the Sigma f/4-5.6 certainly deserves a place on our list of top picks. Featuring a maximum view of 102 degrees and a ring-type AF motor, the model ensures greater freedom of expression and captures incredibly sharp images. However, barrel distortion is noticeable at 10mm.

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens

PROS

  • Durable, compact, and lightweight design makes it ideal for outings and travel
  • Vibration reduction image stabilization ensures sharp videos and handheld photos
  • 7-blade aperture design creates a beautiful, soft, round blurring background effect
  • Enables photographers to use slower shutter speeds for capturing brighter images in low light
  • Allows users to easily capture videos and photos with dramatic leading lines in tight interior spaces

CONS

  • Lacks a focus distance scale
  • Edges turn a bit soft at 10mm
  • Mounting plate is manufactured with plastic

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost all buyers found that the Nikon offered excellent value for money and recommended the unit to other photographers as well. Users loved the contrast and colors and stated that it captured incredibly sharp images. They were also impressed by the vibration reduction feature and found the focus to be fast and accurate. However, customers reported that corners became soft at f/8 and higher apertures, while some were disappointed with the lack of weather-sealing.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Offering numerous features at an incredibly affordable price, the Nikon’s value for money makes it stand out from the crowd. Firstly, the lightweight, compact design makes it extremely easy to carry around and travel with. Secondly, it’s designed with Nikon’s newer stepping auto-focus motor, ensuring accurate and fast auto-focus. Lastly, it’s one of the first lenses from the newer series that comes with a built-in vibration reduction feature.

Who Will Use This Most

Nikon’s ultra-wide-angle zoom lens is perfect for shooting sprawling cityscapes and landscapes, interiors, architecture, and beautiful group photos. The unit’s vibration reduction feature and near-silent auto-focusing further make it ideal for recording video, while its lightweight, compact design makes it an incredible travel companion.

Bottom Line

Recently added to Nikon’s lineup, the NIKKOR 10-20mm is a lightweight, neat, and incredibly travel-friendly zoom lens. Designed with Vibration Reduction and a near-silent AF-P stepping motor, the unit beats camera shake and ensures extremely sharp images. However, color fringing and distortion could be improved.

Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon APS-C Digital SLR Cameras

PROS

  • Driving power of the HLD ensures precise and stable focusing
  • Corrects distortion and transverse and comatic chromatic aberration
  • Vibration Compensation makes it easier to shoot handheld, even in low-light conditions
  • A large aspherical lens and Low Dispersion lens elements ensure stunning resolution throughout the zoom range
  • Broad-Band Anti-Reflection coating suppresses reflection and improves light transmission, resulting in crisper, clearer images

CONS

  • Slight vignetting and chromatic aberration at wider apertures
  • Less robust compared to other wide-angle models from Tamron

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost every photographer who invested in the Tamron was impressed by the quality of the images it captured. Users found the color rendition and chromatic aberration to be truly stunning and were impressed by the AF sharpness and Vibration Compensation. They also loved the build quality and stated that it had good control of distortion and fringing. However, some buyers found it a bit slow for astrophotography, while some experienced distortion at the widest angle.

Why it Stands Out to Us

A complete redesign of older models, the Tamron 10-24mm is manufactured with high-quality, durable plastic and features an all-black lens barrel, straight lines, and cleaner construction. The entire model is weather-sealed, with a fluorine coating on the front lens to help repel water and oil. The unit further includes a lens hood that can be removed while the lens cap is kept on.

Who Will Use This Most

The Tamron 10-24mm is an extremely versatile model and can be used for anything from casual snapshots to detailed landscapes. Since the front threading does not rotate when zooming or focusing, the unit is also ideal for landscape photographers and individuals who prefer using filters.

Bottom Line

With improved optical performance and a revolutionary HLD auto-focus system, the Tamron 10-24mm captures incredibly sharp images with a truly stunning color rendition. While there is some vignetting at the widest aperture, the versatile zoom range, and a low price tag more than make up for it.

Pros and Cons of 10-20mm Lenses

While a 10-20mm lens is an extremely useful lens, it has both advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

The biggest benefit of a 10-20mm lens is how much of the background, foreground, and surrounding elements it can capture in one image. Some other advantages include:

Incredibly Beautiful Images

A 10-20mm lens enables photographers to capture images at an extremely close range from the subject. This can be extremely helpful in tight spaces, like narrow streets and interiors. The unit’s ability to capture the subject in its entirety, even at an incredibly close range, further gives viewers the feeling of being at the moment and place of the capture.

More Freedom

Because of the short focal length, a 10-20mm lens can be used at slower shutter speeds. This gives users more freedom in framing and composing their shots.

Compact and Lightweight

A 10-20mm lens is smaller and lighter than zoom lenses. This makes them easy to store and carry around, further making them ideal for street photographers.

Cons

However, no lens is perfect. Some drawbacks of the 10-20mm lens include:

Filter Use

The biggest disadvantage of this model is the use of lens filters. Since 10-20mm lenses usually have built-in petal-shaped hoods and big front elements, it’s practically impossible to attach standard filters, like ND and polarizing filters.

Distortion

These models also create distortion, particularly around the edges. If the lens is not used with care, it can become extremely inconvenient for some subjects, such as portraits.

Conclusion

Choosing the best 10-20mm lens is even more difficult than selecting a standard lens because even the highest quality models have compromises. Nevertheless, all the aforementioned models are excellent options that will help you take incredibly beautiful and sharp images. Above anything else, make sure you purchase a model that best suits your requirements, and stick with your choice!