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.
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8STM
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
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
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
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
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.