Which Wide-Angle Lens for a Canon 30D: Canon 10-22 or Canon 14mm

October 15th, 2007

Cherie Irwin is purchasing a new wide-angle lens for her Canon 30D and wants some advice. Cherie says:

“I’m thinking about purchasing a new wide angle lens, since I am experiencing some major distortions and focusing issues with mine after I dropped it on the ground. I took into my local camera shop, and they can’t determine what is wrong with it. Since I have the Canon 30D, I’d like to go ahead and purchase the Canon 10-22mm. It has great reviews, and I’m not certain that the 14mm Rectilinear would work well on a sensor with a 1.6x crop factor. I know, based on some of the Flickr posts, that some of the contributors work on a similar frame with a 14mm lens. But, many of my clients have complained about the long center plane and stretching that the rectilinear lens creates…my competitor uses one”

Here’s what I told her:

To me the sigma 10-20mm is an ideal RE lens for the 30D since it would effectively be a 16-32mm almost identical to what I shoot with (16-35mm on a 1Ds) and the thing I love about it is I can use it for exteriors and interiors. I try to use the 16 end only in small bedrooms and bathrooms and stay between 20 and 24 in larger rooms. Using a 14mm rectilinear (22.4mm on a 30D) would reduce your flexibility a some but it is famous for not having any barrel distortion. I would go with the Sigma 10-20mm just because of the flexibility of a zoom.

Anyone out there using a 14mm on a cropped frame body? I know Scott Hargis uses a 14mm on a Canon 20D. Cherie would like hear your arguments for using either of these two lenses. Help Cherie decide what to do.

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13 Responses to “Which Wide-Angle Lens for a Canon 30D: Canon 10-22 or Canon 14mm”

  • I’m actually looking at the Canon 10-22mm. The Sigma didn’t get great reviews, and I’m not sure that it would be a great improvement over what my Tokina 12-24mm offered…before I dropped it, of course.

  • Both lenses are rectilinear, it’s the name of the geometric projection. 23mm is too long for interior work. If it’s enough for you, get a kodak V570 in your pocket.

    The canon 10-22 is nearly free from distortions, too, and is highly regarded:

    The sigma 10-20 can be corrected with care (not putting the door frame in the shot) or DxO.

    If I were starting again, perhaps I would choose a canon 1.6x system with the 10-22, or a 5D with the excellent Sigma 12-24

    A fastest workflow is a sufficient reason to choose a system.

  • I’ve heard good things about the Canon 10-22, although I’ve never used it. (I’m using a Nikon body/Sigma lens) Have you checked out the Flickr forums? This might also be a stupid question, but would you be able to rent the 2 lenses just to try it out for a week or so? (Some of the higher-end camera stores in Montreal allow you to rent out equipment, usually by the day or week…) My feeling is that it’s better to spend a little upfront to test them against each other rather than invest big money and realize that you made the wrong choice afterwards.

  • I use the Sigma 10-20mm lens which works well for me and this is my experience.
    I always batch process them through DXo first and save as 100% jpegs to save on huge tiff file sizes unless it’s something special. I find DXo removes all the vignetting and purple fringing and it really is a very noticeable improvement. It also removes the mild lens distortion with this lens.
    With it on the Nikon D80 I always have it set to -7 exposure bias when outside as it tends to over expose a little but leave it on 0 when doing interiors.
    I always have the lens hood on.
    There’s also a very slight red colour cast on whites in the sunshine, easly fixed with photoshop (yellow with the Sigma12-24mm).
    Of course, with a wide angle lens like this, the camera has to be perfectly level so use a spirit level on the flashmount

  • Cherie,
    It was late last night when I did this post and responded to your question. I mistakenly read “Canon 10-22” as “Sigma 10-20”.

    I think the Canon 10-22mm would be an excellent choice.. based on Ken Rockwells review. Although, I’m interested to hear what Scott Hargis says about the Canon 14mm since he uses it. If he doesn’t comment here I’d contact him directly.

  • I use the Canon 10-22 for real estate photography for both interior and exterior shots. I think it’s a great lens, and the results usually “wow” the agents I shoot for. I’m also an agent. I started shooting for other agents because of the horrible photos they usually take and put on their flyers and in the MLS….and, since I’m in a slow market, it helps pay some bills… 😉

  • I do use the Canon 14L on my 20d. Not sure what long center planes and stretching are…never experienced it, never heard of it actually. There are some issues with the original 14mmL and full-frame sensors (as in 5d and MarkIII) but even then it seems acceptable to me, from what I’ve seen on Ken Rockwell’s site. Lightroom has a good correction for the minor vignetting issue with full-frame sensors.

    Otherwise, the lens rocks. I’ve been shooting alongside another photographer lately who uses the Canon 10-22, and there’s no doubt that the 14 is superior — sharpness, color fidelity, and distortion. The issue with the 10-22 isn’t just curvature, it’s the way near objects appear to be pulled or stretched into the foreground in a weird way.

    The 14 is EXPENSIVE. I paid $1800 for mine new. The used ones aren’t much cheaper. On the other hand I expect it to last me a long, long time, and I use it every day. And the time I save in post by not having to deal with barrel distortion, CA issues, and sharpness more than makes it worth it! I used B&H’s “Bill Me Later” financing to make the purchase possible back when I had little to no clientele.

  • Thanks everyone! Justin, I think you have the right idea. I’m just going to have to rent both lenses to see which one will work for me. Like Scott, I need to reduce editing time. On the other hand, I need to flexibility too.

    Scott, from what I hear, the perspective distortion of the 14mm on a full frame camera is pretty intense. So I was curious as to how it worked with on a 1.6x crop sensor. Price isn’t an issue for me. I’m killing myself trying to keep up with demand these days…editing is a nightmare! My current Tokina 12-24mm has crazy distortions, and they are completely unpredictable. I shoot on a monopod with retractable legs that are perfectly even, and I double check to make sure that my camera is level at the beginning of every shoot with a bubble level in the hot shoe. But at the end of the day, I am extremely frustrated! Both the horizontal and vertical perspective are exxagerated on the left side and the barrel distortion is never the same despite the fact that every image is shot at 12mm. DXO can’t even begin to effectively fix the distortions.

    BTW, it was Ken Rockwell’s reviews that made me second guess the 14mm on a 30D frame and made me reconsider the 10-22mm from Canon. I think that I’ll go ahead and rent both and do some comparison shots to see which one will sufficient satisty my needs.

  • I have the Canon 10-22 and The Tokina 12-24. I must say while the Tokina is built proof when it comes to build quality, The canon has the edge over it with lest distortion and lens flare, I also find the extra 2mm to be a big advantage.

    Go the Cannon!

  • Sorry, Last post was me!

  • Cherie, the perspective distortion is exactly the same at the same FOV. The 10-22 at 14 mm will produce the same (23mm eq.) on a cropped sensor. The 10mm setting will produce exactly the same perspecive as a 16mm on a full frame.

    For your needs, the answer is simple:
    * you have a 1.6x crop camera, get a dedicated 10mm zoom
    * you have a full frame camea, get a 14mm (or the 12-24 sigma)

  • Vince, when I went by the local camera shop, I was really surprised to find that the Canon 10-22 wasn’t built as nicely as the Tokina. You could say that I was disappointed until I mounted it to my frame and snapped a few shots. I was amazed at how quickly the Canon lens focused. I can’t believe that I deleted off the comparison shots because I wanted to compare distortions. The camera shop was loaded with verticals, so it was the perfect place to take comparison shots. I guess that I’ll have to go back and try again.

  • Cherie,
    I use the EF-S 10-22 on a 1.6 crop body and it work well for me. I do try not to use the 10-side unless I have to since it does have some distortion on that end, and more so when wide open. The 10mm side when stopped down, say anything smaller than 5.6, becomes negligible. It does have a light-feeling plastic body, especially compared to the Tokina or an L-series. However, if it was manufactured with a sealed metal body, it *would* be an L-series and twice as much. I haven’t had any durability issues with mine being used indoors and outdoors equally.
    Of course, if money is no object, you could always go with a 4×5 view camera with a digital back! Complete perspective control… BTW, how much time are you spending in post processing?

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