6 Ultra-Wide Angle Prime Lens Options for Sony Landscape Photographers

What ultra-wide angle prime lens makes a compelling case to you? Here are six worth looking at.

Landscape photographers don’t always prefer using prime lenses. This is mostly because of the versatility that zoom lenses offer especially when in shooting scenarios wherein moving closer isn’t a viable option. However, there are prime lenses that make the cut either as alternatives to zoom lenses or as additional options for when their unique attributes come in handy for the shooting scenario. Below are six notable prime lens options that you might want to consider depending on what they uniquely offer and how they fit your preferences.  

1. Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 G Master

We recently reviewed this new G Master lens, and you can find that here.

This recently released ultra-wide angle lens from Sony is definitely compelling even by the name alone. A 14mm wide lens gives quite a unique perspective with its angle of view while distortion is pretty well controlled. An opening of f/1.8 given this lens’ angle of view offers quite a lot of room for shooting the night sky for night-time landscapes, star trails, or even time-lapse. The Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM performs with outstanding optical quality wherein sharpness is fantastic. The only downside is the lack of a filter thread for common-sized circular or square filters, but it does offer the use of rear-mount gel filters instead. 

2. Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 G Master

Definitely, a contender to the 14mm f/1.8 G Master is the next widest lens in the GM roster. While this isn’t as wide as the first one, it does offer additional low-light capabilities with an opening of f/1.4. If you’re not particularly after extremely wide focal lengths, 24mm is a pretty versatile choice. At the same time, an aperture of f/1.4 can give you cleaner night sky images as well as significantly good background blur in shooting intimate and uniquely shallow depth of field landscapes. Just like the 14mm, this lens comes in a very handy size and hardly significant weight. This one, however, offers the convenience of being able to mount traditional circular filters or standard-sized square filter holders through the 67mm front filter thread. Either as an alternative to heavier ultra-wide angle zoom lenses or as an additional option out in the field, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 G Master is one of the top choices. 

3. Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G 

This lens is virtually a middle ground for the 14mm and 24mm G Master options. This super-wide angle lens released in 2020 is quite a popular wide-angle prime option not just for landscape photographers but for videographers as well. With the release of the compact Sony a7C, a lot of filmmakers, vloggers, and even travel photographers paired it up with the Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G due to its handy size, the manual aperture ring, and its friendlier price tag of just $898. Among other options for landscape photographers, this one also offers the convenience of a 67mm filter thread diameter for use with traditional filters, just like the 24mm f/1.4 GM.

4. Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

This other 20mm option is also a compelling alternative to the earlier discussed 20mm f/1.8 G. The $1 price difference is virtually negligible that someone in the market for a 20mm wouldn’t even consider it a differentiating factor. This lens offers a bit of extra low-light performance with the opening of f/1.4 compared to f/1.8 and may come in handy for shooting at night. However, several trade-offs are present with the Sigma option. The Sigma 20mm f/1.4 is significantly heavier, coming in at 950 grams compared to the ultra-light 373 grams that the Sony 20mm comes in. The Sigma 20mm is also roughly two inches longer, which might be significant when bag space is limited. One significant difference when shooting landscapes would be the fact that the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art comes with a built-in non-removable lens hood and consequently no front filter thread. 

5. Tamron SP 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD

Perhaps one of the less popular options from Tamron would be this 20mm f/2.8 lens. Introduced at just $299, this compact and lightweight super-wide angle lens is a compelling choice for a first-timer on a budget. This lens weighs just 221 grams and takes up 2.87 x 2.50 inches of space. This 20mm lens doesn’t offer apertures as big as the Sony and Sigma equivalents, but the f/2.8 opening isn’t bad either. It also comes with a 67mm filter thread diameter in front and a convenient 1:2 magnification with a minimum focusing distance of just 10.92 cm. 

6. Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D

If you’re a manual lens enthusiast or one who doesn’t mind the lack of auto-focus, this lens is very well known for a couple of handy features. Much like the other ultra-wide angle options that this Hong Kong-based manufacturer offers, this Laowa 15mm f/2 lens is very well known for outstanding optical performance. Add to that it is guaranteed to be free from distortion, it is a popular lens for architecture and real estate photographers along with the brand’s other 15mm lens option, which is the Laowa FF 15mm f/4.5 Shift lens. This all-metal and glass lens comes in at just 500 grams, 2.6 inches wide, and 3.23 inches long. A 72mm front filter thread can also be revealed by removing the reversible all-metal lens hood. 

Making choices in lenses should definitely be driven by logical factors such as image quality, angle of view, low-light performance, and ultimately, which of them would fit your lens budget. Each of the above-listed lenses either set the standard in quality or offer a unique feature or capability over others available in the market. There are definitely many more similar options especially from third-party brands such as the Zeiss Batis 2.8/18, a handful more options from the Sigma Art line, as well as some notable prime lenses from Rokinon. If you have any significant experience with any lenses you would like to add, feel free to tell us about them in the comments. 

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14 Comments

Kevin Harding's picture

Don't forget the wonderful Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero Distortion lens. Superb for UWA shots but it doesn't stop there ... you can pair it with the Laowa Magic Convertor to morph it into a 17mm Shift lens up with up to 10mm shift in either direction.

Do note however that for Sony users you need to buy either the Canon or Nikon version of the 12mm lens to use the Convertor, as strangely there's no Sony to Sony version. I use the excellent Sigma MC-11, for using the lens at its native 12mm, on my Sony cameras.

It's a heavy setup but gives amazing results. Filters can be used if you use square filters, with Nisi, Haida and Laowa themselves having special adapters, The Haida or Nisi are far better than the Laowa which shows vignetting.

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

Oh I absolutely agree with this. I just didnt include this one because my experience with it isn't extensive. I've reviewed almost every other Laowa ultra wide prime except this and I kinda feel bad that I havent. Lol.

The MSC is heaven sent, too! Used it with a variety of lenses before I got the Laowa 15mm shift.

Dg9ncc /portable's picture

Plus Tokina Firin 20mm f/2 native for Sony FE. No adapter required.

Works nicely for astro shots, low light conditions. Not too heavy, too bulky nor feeling cheap.
No plastics, simple usage. Possible to add filters with 62mm diameter.

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

I've never seen one as the distributor in my country doesnt seem to care so much about it. Now you got me curious. :)

Leo dj's picture

The only reason to own a ultra wide prima is astro photography.
The new 14 f1.8 seems a wonderful lens for that goal, but i don't find it worth the money, weight and space for the small percentage astro i do while traveling.

16-35 f2.8 is the ultimate travel lens for me. Great versatile lens (from landscape to city life). It's on the camera 80% of the time.
In my portrait work i don't mind the changing of primes constantly, but while traveling i learned i love this zoom much more than the Loxia 21 and Laowa (hated the mf too) 15 combo i had before.
Sometimes i'd like to go a bit wider. Usually i stitch those. Only with skyscraper cities i'd prefer to heb the 12-16 range as well.

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

I totally agree with the first statement. Still zooms for me unless I have extra funds and space for the 14mm GM.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"The only reason to own a ultra wide prima is astro photography."
Uh, no. There are other reasons. Venue shots in event work are one example.

Chris Suchocki's picture

I had the 16-35 and sold it for the Zeiss 18mm 2.8. Not for astro, strictly for weight savings and travel. Maybe your comment is meant for professionals, but I've found great use for my UWA prime.

EDWIN GENAUX's picture

The title should be Night Landscapes! A full frame not mentioned is the Voigtlander 10mm f/5.6, yes also good at night. Landscapes are different at night being sharper wide open vs day where you capture at about 2 stops above wide open or f/8 to f/11. The lenses also give a panoramic view but in 3:2 ratio and sometimes too much sky and ground needing to be cropped. Also if you are just doing the scenery it will be far away and detail hard to see. A pano with a longer lens may do better for detail and closer looking. Primes are great but no IS. For landscapes you need a telephoto, because you may not be able to walk into to frame. For landscape the 1224mm f/4 (cost less) or f/2.8 both great for Milky Way also and the 24240mm (360 in APS-C mode) also gives a different perspective for a landscape for something far away. If you can take a shot at 12, 24, 50, 70, 100 and some higher of a landscape to learn what each prime limits are and a hard pick out of the bag. Last the wider you go a subject has to be closer with a big wide background subject. Get more subject in a canyon or cave or above a canyon. Where those new primes shine are for night panos, the distortion is hardly there even with lens tilted up and you get sky that is above and behind you and really sharp where programs (Ps,Lr, ON1 Photo RAW) stitch using just stars so PTGui not needed that much. The 10mm is good at Horseshoe Canyon because to do a pano you need to be right on the edge where a puff of air and your gear goes over and down. Remember always keep the wide LEVEL things will curve. Always use a chipped lens easier to get a lens correction or remember later.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Also don't forget Samyang's 18/2.8. It's not going to set the world on fire, but it's quite good when stopped down to f5.6 or f8, and it's much better, even at the edges, than one would expect for the measly $300 or so Samyang's asking for it, enough to realize the benefit of jumping from a 24MP to a 42MP sensor. It's also quite small and SUPER-lighweight. And, I like the semi-hard "pouch" that's included, as it provides more protection than the typical flopsy ones. Bang for the buck is very high with this one.

Chris Suchocki's picture

In the interest of joining the other commenters, don't forget the Zeiss Batis 18mm 2.8. A fantastic piece of glass!

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

I totally agree! I have just a bit of experience with it but it was enough to say that it's an optical gem.

Mark Smith's picture

My favorite lens is the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8. Not sure how it got left out because for my money the lens is second to none. And no, I don't use it for astro photography but for landscapes. A phenomenal lens.

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

The list isn't a top 6 list but merely recommendations. These are lenses I've personally reviewed and as I said at the end, everyone's welcome to pitch in their recommendations. Thanks for mentioning yours. I hope to be able to try that soon.