Sony has unveiled its new FE 20-70mm F/4 G lens which they claim offers no compromises in image quality, AF performance, and when shooting video.
- Full-Frame | f/4 to f/22
- Ultra-Wide Standard Zoom
- Fast Internal Focusing System
- Supports Micro-Step Aperture Control
- Fluorine Coatings
- Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
- Dust & Moisture-Resistant Construction
Typically we have seen lens manufacturers releasing lenses with a 24-70mm focal range, but Sony has increased the range out to 20mm. The only issue with doing this is that the max aperture is F/4 and not F/2.8. There would have been no way to make a full frame 20-70mm zoom with an F/2.8 aperture without increasing the size, weight, and cost. Well, how about a 20-105mm F/4? Again, you would run into the same issues with increased weight, size, and cost.
As the 20-70mm F/4 looks to be primarily aimed at content creators who are looking for a wide-angle lens that they can use on small, compact mirrorless cameras, it wouldn’t have made much sense to make the lens larger, heavier, and more expensive.
Sony currently has the Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS and FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lenses and the new FE 20-70mm F/4 G is not a replacement for the current FE 24-70mm, it is just another additional lens in Sony’s line-up. Sony also has the FE 24-70mm F/2.8 GM and FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II, but those lenses are larger, heavier, and more expensive.
The FE 20-70mm F/4 G tips the scales at just 488g / 17.21 oz. As a comparison, the Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS weighs 426g / 15.03 oz, and the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS weighs 663g / 1.46 oz. Sigma’s 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E weighs 835g / 1.84 lb, and Sony’s own FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II weighs 695g / 1.5 lb.
According to Sony, there is now a greater demand for ultra-wide-angle lenses as a lot of content creators doing Vlogging or live streams, want a lens with this type of focal range.
The only other full frame zoom lens that I am aware of that starts at 20mm is the Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD. Yes, that lens has a limited focal range, but you need to remember that it has a maximum aperture of F/2.8. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you don’t want to make a large, heavy, and expensive lens, then if you increase the focal range on the wide end you can’t have a fast aperture. Conversely, if you want a faster aperture then the focal range will be reduced.
The optical construction of the FE 20-70mm F/4 G consists of 16 elements in 13 groups, with a 9 blade aperture. There are 2 advanced aspherical elements and 3 extra low-dispersion pieces of glass. Sony claims that the lens has low distortion and low chromatic aberration. Sony also states that by using the latest lens design technology the lens has reduced focal breathing when using compatible Sony cameras that feature Lens Breathing Compensation. What you do need to be aware of is that if you are using lens Breathing Compensation, there will be a slight crop to your image.
The 20-70mm features two XD Liner Motors and the AF speed is claimed to be up to 60% faster with improved tracking performance over the current 24-70mm F2/8.
The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm when using the AF and 25cm when used in manual focus mode.
The 20-70mm doesn’t have any OSS, but you can take advantage of Sony’s Active Mode image stabilization in select cameras.
The lens has an aperture click switch so you can change between hard stops and using a clickless aperture. There is also a Focus Hold button, IRIS LOCK switch, and a manual focus ring.
The 20-70mm features a dust and moisture-resistant design and the front element has a fluorine coating. The lens also has a 77mm front filter diameter.
There isn’t any direct competition because no one else makes a 20-70mm F/4 full-frame E-mount zoom. In saying that, you could make an argument that the following lenses are what people may be looking at as an alternative.
- Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS $898 USD
- Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E $1,099 USD
- Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II $2,298 USD
- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens (Sony E) $899 USD
- Tamron 20-40mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens for Sony E $699 USD
Price & availability
The Sony FE 20-70mm F/4 Greatils for $1,098.00 USD.