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A wide-angle lens is essential for landscape photography. When you’ve just hiked to the top of a summit or are looking out over a luscious valley, you want to do justice to the entire scene in front of you.
Landscape lenses under $500 offer wide-angle capacity with a great range of features. As all of the landscape lenses featured here are prime lenses, they offer compact, lightweight construction, which is perfect for travel.
Quick Answer: Our Best Lenses
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8STM
- This Camera Lens Accessories Kit comes complete with Manufacturer's Supplied Accessories and a One Year Manufacturer Supplied Seller Warranty, and Includes the following:
- Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens - EF-S Mount Lens/APS-C Format - 38mm (35mm Equivalent) - One Aspherical Element - Optimized Lens Coatings - STM AF Motor Supports Movie Servo AF
- 52mm 3pc Filter Kit (UV, CPL, FLD) - UV Filter protects your lens from scratches and fingerprints, CPL Filter removes unwanted reflections from surfaces such as water or glass, FLD Filter allows camera use under fluorescent lighting
- Commander Deluxe Starter Kit for Digital Cameras - Includes mini table top tripod - compact and portable, 5 sensor swabs, microfiber cloth, 2 universal screen protectors, memory card wallet - keep memory cards safe in one place, lens cap keeper
- 52 mm Tulip Flower Lense Hood which allows for greater versatility, Pen Brush, Rubber Air Dust Blower - This bundle is Compatible with Canon Cameras, including EOS 7D, 7D Mark II, 60D, 60Da, 70D, 80D & Rebel T1i, T2i, T3, T3i, T4i, T5, T6, T5i, T6i, T6s, SL1 Crop Sensors
For APS-C shooters, the Canon APS-C 24mm f/2.8 is a fantastic value. Slightly wider than a standard zoom lens, it’s perfect for a range of landscape scenery. The compact size and weight make it ideal for travel. The optical design features one aspherical element to minimize distortion and spherical aberrations, both common issues for wide angle photography.
If you’re a Canon photographer and want a slightly narrower, more versatile budget lens for landscape photography or are looking for a full frame camera option, the Canon 40mm f/2.8 is another great choice.
Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE
The Samyang 24mm f/2.8 is a full-frame auto-focus lens for Sony E mount cameras. If you’ve steered clear of Samyang lenses in the past because you didn’t want all-manual lenses, the time has to come to check out their newest offerings.
The 24mm f/2.8 is just one in a fantastic lineup from Sanyang with modern features. The lens boasts outstanding performance, compact size, high quality build, versatile focal length, and an excellent price point. There is nothing to dislike here. The 24mm f/2.8 a big step up from its predecessors and well worth the upgrade.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art DC HSM
- Offering the bright F1.4 aperture and an angle of view extremely close to that of human vision
- Macro Focus Range : 0.30 m, Focal Length : 30 mm
- Placed under the Art category, this large-aperture standard lens with an angle of view equivalent to 45mm on a 35mm camera
- A rear focus system prevents focus-dependent variation in aberration, making high-level image quality possible throughout the entire image
- Filter Size 62mm Maximum Magnifications 1:6.8
Sigma has completely changed the lens game over the past decade by rolling out their stellar Art lenses. The 30mm f/1.4 strikes a nice balance in their lineup with a low price point and versatile focal length. While you won’t get the range of a zoom lens, you’ll get a more compact design. The low light capacity is unrivaled.
The biggest con of the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is minor vignetting and softness when you’re shooting all the way open. Shooting at or above f/2.0 shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of your landscape photography. The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is available for Canon EF mount, Nikon F mount, and Sony A mount.
Sony E 20mm f/2.8
- Superior Image Quality
- Minimum Focus Distance : 0.66 ft (0.2 m), Maximum Magnification ratio : 0.12x
- Focal Length- 20 mm, Compact Length;Lens not Zoomable
- superb value and performance. Angle of View (APS-C)-70°. Maximum aperture (F)- 2.8. 35 mm equivalent focal length (APS-C)- 11.82 inch
- Broaden your view with a wide angle:From a vast cliff to a stretching sandy beach, fit everything in with a 20 mm wide angle.Angle of View (APS-C):70°
The Sony E 20mm f/2.8 is a super compact pancake lens for APS-C E mount cameras. Extending just 0.8” from the mount, you won’t find a more compact, lightweight setup for APS-C E mount cameras. The 30mm equivalent focal length is a great choice for landscape photographers.
The lens performs well in low light and creates a beautiful shallow depth of field. The three aspherical elements minimize aberrations while the rear focusing design improves auto focus and achieves a minimum focus distance of 7.9.”
PANASONIC LUMIX Professional 25mm Camera Lens G F/1.7 ASPH
- Micro Four Thirds a versatile MFT 25 millimeter lens with a natural viewing angle Suitable for a wide variety of occasions (35 millimeter camera equivalent: 50 millimeter)
- F1.7 brightness beautiful background bokeh effect from its large diameter F1.7 aperture
- Super lightweight compact at only 125G/ 2.05 inches Length, Lens construction 8 elements in 7 groups (2 aspherical lenses, 1 UHR lens)
- Photo and video Hybrid photography enabled for both photo and HD video recording with quiet and smooth fast action stepping motor focusing
- Angle of View:47°
The 25mm is a must-have prime lens for all mirrorless micro four-thirds shooters, landscape photographers or otherwise. The focal length is plenty wide for landscape photography and works beautifully for portraits, street photography, and more. It’s compact and high quality with fast performance, even in low-light settings, and makes it easy to create stunning bokeh backgrounds.
If you want to go wider than 25mm for landscape photography and stay under $500, the PANASONIC LUMIX G II 20mm f/1.7 ASPH lens and the PANASONIC LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH lens are both great options.
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 Premium
- Yields 50mm (35mm equivalent) equivalent field of view
- Macro focus range: 0; 24 m, focal length: 25 mm
- Seven blade circular diaphragm
- Aperture range: f/1; 8 22
- Micro 4 Thirds mount; Close up shooting performance Up to 25 cm away
The Olympus 25mm f/1.8 takes the micro four thirds game up another notch. If you shoot landscape photo and video and take a lot of hand-held long exposures, it’s worth the significant jump up in price from the Panasonic 25mm.
The 25mm f/1.8 is Movie & Still Compatible (MSC), offering fast, nearly silent focusing and aperture performance.
Compact prime lenses never look as impressive as professional zoom lenses. Don’t let the small size discourage you. Within hours of putting a wide-angle prime lens on your camera and heading out for a few landscape shots, you’ll be blown away at the image quality.
Choosing the right landscape lens for your camera and your photography needs ensures you’ll be shooting with it for years to come.
Landscape photographers, what are your favorite budget landscape lenses?
Are there other under $500 wide-angle lenses you recommend?
Rose Clearfield is a freelance writer and hobbyist photographer. She lives in southeast WI with her husband, son, and three cats. She bought her first DSLR in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since. With an education background and a passion for writing, she loves helping people learn how to take better pictures.