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Are any ultra-wide angle digital point and shoot cameras made? By ulta-wide angle I mean anything under 24mm equivalent, although ideally I'd be after something around 12mm.

I'd prefer something small and light (hence not a DSLR), so a fixed lens would be ideal.

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Depends on quality requred, but many major camera makers make wide angle add on auxillary lenses. Results vary. –  Russell McMahon Sep 26 '12 at 8:18

8 Answers 8

Ultra-wide rectilinear lenses are hard and expensive to build (especially hard for the tiny sensors usually used in compacts) and quite hard to use well even by professionals, so compact cameras either provide safer (tighter) angles or fisheye lenses.

Action cameras usually use ultra-wide fisheye lenses. For example, GoPro HD Hero sports 170 degree angle of view; Veho Muvi HD10 160 degrees.

As for film point -and-shoots, there's Lomography Fisheye.

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An "action camera" might well suit me best, thanks. –  fmark Oct 10 '12 at 23:02

From a quick search on dpreview it turns out that, while the majority of fixed lens cameras have a maximum equivalent focal lenght of 24mm, there are some which are wider (e.g., without trying to be exhaustive, Pentax X5, Nikon Coolpix L810).

No camera appears to be equivalent to a 12mm, which may be related to the crop factor. You would need a 2-3mm lens (since these kind of cameras have a crop factor of about 5-6) to achieve an equivalent field of view of a 12mm on a FF sensor.

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Ultra-compact fixed-lens cameras top out at 21mm, with the majority being 24mm wide. It's a very nice wide-angle but with not so much distortion as to make it hard to use.

For much more ultra-wide in a smaller package I recommend a small Micro Four-Thirds SLD (links to the lightest ones) like the Olympus E-PM1 (aka PEN Mini) and either the Zuiko 9-18mm which is very light or the Panasonic 7-14mm which is even wider but somewhat heavier.

Notice that except for the Tryx, all cameras with a wider-than-24mm lens are heavier than the Olympus E-PM1 plus 9-18mm lens which comes in at just over 400g. This combination is very compact and as a bonus gives much superior image quality than the typical fixed-lens camera.

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The GoPro Hero 2 has a wide angle lens with 170 degrees and 10 megapixels. The latest edition black model has other bits and pieces to make it more versatile. Priced around $400 up.

Another possibility would be to get a Pentax K-01 with the 10-17mm fisheye to 28mm equivalent zoom (love this lens.) This would be smaller than a full on DSLR but still much heavier than a point and shoot and not pocketable.

I too would love to have a compact fisheye to wide angle zoom compact. Hey makers - there is a niche market out there. That way, just the 2 cameras do almost everything a normal photographer would wish to do.

I have not seen reviews for the GoPro in terms of IQ, but I could not imagine it is anywhere near a DSLR.

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The Samsung WB210 is a point & shoot with a normal focal length of 24mm (equivalent) & an ultra-wide mode at 21mm (equivalent). I shoot a lot in both focal lengths & I am very happy with mine, after I learned its' limitations.

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There are several "Sport Cameras" or "Action Cameras" that come to mind. They are marketted a little differently and boast "ultrawide angle lenses" in degrees of FOV rather than focal length. Most of them are at least 120° (~10mm equivalent) and many of them are even more than that up to 170°.

Some brands/models include:

  • GoPro series
  • Garmin VIRB
  • Replay XD
  • Polaroid Cube
  • Veho Muvi
  • Xiaomi Yi
  • Drift Stealth/Ghost
  • CountourROAM

Also, almost all of these are highlighted as HD video cameras, but almost all of them also provide 5MP, 8MP, 12MP or 16MP still picture capabilities and some of them are also waterproof to 100 feet or more. They range in price from about $75US to $500US.

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According to DPreview.com, Samsung makes a bridge camera which has a 20mm ultra-wide-angle capability: Samsung WB2200F Announced Jan 7, 2014 16 megapixels | 3″ screen | 20 – 1200 mm (60×) It is by no means a light camera, because it weighs 1.56 lbs, but it has the widest angle available in a fixed-lens small sensor camera.

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The Nikon 1 series has a 6.7-13mm lens, which is 18-35mm equivalent.

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Although arguably not a "point and shoot"... –  mattdm Sep 17 at 23:43
Definitely not, but small and somewhat light and "not a DSLR" –  MikeW Sep 18 at 0:19

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