Sony Announces 20-70mm f/4 G Lens – A Perfect All-Rounder?

Sony has announced the new 20-70mm f/4 G full-frame lens, a standard zoom with a first-of-its-kind focal range, and a compact, lightweight design. The lens has a constant f/4 aperture throughout its zoom range and is the first Sony G lens to feature their XD linear focus system, previously reserved for the higher-end G Master lineup.

Although the compact 3.9″ length (99mm) and 17.2 oz (488 g) weight are impressive, it’s the lens’s headline 20mm focal length on the wide end of its range that steals the show. Compared to 24mm, a 20mm focal length offers an additional ten degrees of diagonal angle of view. The resulting 94° angle of view at 20mm makes this a significantly more attractive zoom range for landscapes and cityscapes. In contrast, previously, 24-105mm lens owners might have needed an additional wide-angle lens in their bag.

According to Sony, another reason they decided to go wider with this lens is to accommodate content creators that want a single lens for vlogging. Although 20mm is only just about wide enough for selfie-style videos, many creators will find it an acceptable trade-off if it means they no longer have to carry around an additional wide-angle lens. With video creators in mind, Sony has also included a de-click button for the aperture ring on the lens.

In total, Sony has packed an enormous number of features into a lens that costs $1098. At this price point, I’m surprised to see the XD linear focus system, two custom lens buttons, significant dust and moisture protection, a manual aperture ring with de-click, and an aperture ring locking switch. Pre-release rumors had this lens coming in at a much higher price point. Instead, Sony has undercut their own aging 24-105mm f/4 lens by $200.

sony 20-70mm weather sealing
The Sony 24-70mm f/4 G lens has a dust and moisture-resistant design using a range of internal rubber gaskets.

Sony 20-70mm f/4 G Lens Specifications

  • Focal Range: 20-70mm
  • Max aperture: f/4
  • Min aperture: f/22
  • Angle of view: 94°
  • Minimum focus distance (MFD): 9.8″ / 25 cm
  • Maximum magnification (MM): 0.39x
  • Lens design: 16 Elements in 13 Groups
  • Aperture blades: 9, Rounded
  • Filter thread: 72mm
  • Dimensions (ø x L): 3.1 x 3.9″ / 78.7 x 99 mm
  • Weight: 17.2 oz / 488 g
  • MSRP: $1098 USD
sony 20-70mm xd motors
The Sony 20-70mm f/4 G uses Sony’s XD linear focus motors.

Sony’s YouTube Video About The Lens

What Makes The 20-70mm Focal Range So Interesting?

For many years, the standard midrange zooms were either a 24-70mm f/2.8 or a 24-105mm f/4. The former lenses were much heavier and typically used by portrait photographers, wedding photographers, and photojournalists. The latter, the 24-105mm f/4 lenses, were embraced as perfect lenses for travel photographers, landscape photographers, and general purpose all-in-one lenses for those seeking high image quality and broad zoom range in a relatively lightweight package.

In the last few years, as mirrorless lens mounts have allowed more ingenuity in lens design, we have seen manufacturers experimenting with less common focal ranges for their standard midrange zooms. Nikon decided to go further on the long end when they created their Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens. Tamron decided to bring f/2.8 midrange zoom weights down to the level of the usual f/4 zooms by shifting their focal range to 28-75mm, creating the unbelievably popular 28-75mm f/2.8 G2 lens, a design then licensed to Nikon for the Z 28-75mm f/2.8. Tamron also launched the unique 20-40mm f/2.8, and Panasonic has a Lumix 20-60mm f/3.56.3 lens. All this means we now have a much wider choice than we used to when seeking a do-it-all lens.

I own the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, the Canon F 24-105mm f/4, and the Nikon Z 24-120mm; such is the benefit of running all three camera systems for the benefit of this website. This makes me very familiar with this focal range and, more importantly, the challenges associated with choosing one of these lenses for a photo shoot or a photography expedition.

The issue I have always had with standard zoom lenses is that 24mm is often wide enough for general-purpose travel photography but rarely wide enough for all the landscape or cityscape photography opportunities that often present themselves along the journey. It would be almost unheard of for me to pack a 24-70mm or 24-105mm lens in my bag without also needing to pack either a wide zoom like a 16-35mm, or a wide prime like my Sony 20mm G lens.

This is where the new Sony 20-70mm lens shines. Not only is it lighter than any 24-105mm or 24-120mm lens, but in most cases, it negates the need for me to pack an additional wide-angle lens, further increasing the already significant weight savings. Of course, there will be times when I want to go wider than 20mm, particularly on shoots heavily focused on landscape photography. However, 90% of my travels include a wide variety of photographic subjects. For these trips, unless I need a faster aperture for astrophotography, the 20-70mm lens will be a fantastic companion to my longer focal lengths.

Another important consideration when choosing a lens kit for one of my trips is focal length overlap. If you’re trying to be efficient with your packing, it doesn’t make sense to carry around a lot of overlap. The new 20-70mm f/4 G lens matches up perfectly with a 70-200mm. For many people, it will be a much better choice than the Sony 24-105mm f/4 if they seek something lighter than the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II.

Press Release

Sony Electronics Introduces New Standard Zoom with Launch of the Ultra-Wide FE 20-70mm F4 G Lens

New Addition to Sony’s E-mount G Lens Line-Up Offers Versatile Zoom Range, Outstanding Image Quality, and Supreme Autofocus Performance

SAN DIEGO, CA – Jan. 17, 2023 –Sony Electronics is redefining its standard zoom category of lenses with the introduction of the full-frame E-mount 20-70mm F4 G (model: SEL2070G) that boasts a versatile zoom range, a remarkably compact and lightweight form-factor, and a constant F4 aperture throughout the zoom range. With impressive Sony G LensTM image quality, high speed accuracy and tracking autofocus (AF), and a smart design for maximum mobility and operability, this new lens is designed for a wide range of creators. The FE 20-70mm F4 G is the perfect choice for a variety of content capturing scenarios including vlogging, video production, portraits, and landscapes.

“The FE 20-70mm F4 G is our 71st E-mount lens and is redefining the standard zoom in our G Lens category to meet the needs to today’s content creators,” said Yang Cheng, Vice President, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics Inc. “Having tools that creators can utilize to create both still and video content is ever more important. The FE 20-70mm F4 G ranges from 20mm to 70mm in a compact form-factor – this is an excellent lens option for hybrid content creators and those seeking versatility in a standard zoom.”

Compact with a Standard Zoom Range Ideal for Hybrid Creation

With an unprecedentedly¹ wide 20mm to 70mm zoom range and constant F4 aperture, the FE 20-70mm F4 G offers outstanding optical performance in a compact and lightweight form-factor. ​ Combined with a compact Sony AlphaTM brand mirrorless body, this lens can deliver superb image quality in just about any situation at all focal lengths. The versatility of this lens makes it an ideal selection for still, video, and hybrid content creation.

A key benefit of a zoom lens that includes a 20mm offering is its ability to maintain a wide-angle-of-view when shooting video with a 16:9 or 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This allows content creators to capture more within a single frame, which is critical when vlogging or selfie-style shooting. The wide-angle also provides content creators with additional flexibility to crop their frames in the post-production process to increase the effectiveness of image stabilization. This is an increasingly popular editing technique that benefits creators who are filming without the stabilization support of a gimbal.

Image Quality Consistent with the G Lens Line-Up

With Sony’s latest technology, the new lens boasts unique G Lens image quality in a surprisingly compact and lightweight package. With two AA (advanced aspherical) elements, one aspherical element, three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements, and one ED aspherical element, this lens simultaneously corrects chromatic and spherical aberration for extremely high optical performance across the whole zoom range. Optimized coatings add high flare and ghost resistance for extraordinary contrast and clarity.​

Beautiful bokeh is achieved with full-frame image sensors and is further enhanced by a 9-blade circular aperture and optimally controlled spherical aberration. This combination supports the naturally rendered bokeh, offering impressive, memorable imagery.

The FE 20-70mm F4 G has a minimum focus distance of up to 11.8” (30 cm) at the wide end and up to 9.8” (25 cm) at the telephoto end of the zoom range when using AF², making it easy to maneuver around subjects to find the ideal angle.

Maximizes Camera AF Performance for Stills and Video

The lens’s focus group is driven by two of Sony’s latest XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors, providing a fast, quiet, low-vibration focus drive. Thrust efficiency has been significantly improved over previous models³, resulting in up to a 60% increase in AF speed4. Because tracking performance has been improved by about two times compared to previous models5, moving subjects are tracked with consistent reliability and precision. Reliable tracking is achieved when shooting continuous stills of fast-moving subjects at up to 30 frames per second with the Alpha 1 camera6 and can smoothly record when shooting video at a high frame rate.

Video Performance Designed for Refined Imagery

The FE 20-70mm F4 G features the latest lens technology to reduce focus breathing, as well as focus and axial shift when zooming. This lens has also been carefully designed for quiet operation when shooting movies, with advanced XD linear motors and a newly developed aperture unit that dramatically reduces noise and vibration.​

The Alpha brand series cameras’ Active Mode7 image stabilization is highly effective at the wide 20mm end of the FE 20-70mm F4 G zoom range. This can be particularly useful for shooting smooth, stable handheld footage while walking.

Focus is especially critical when shooting high-resolution 4K or 8K movies. The FE 20-70mm F4 G’s compact design and XD linear motors work with Alpha series camera bodies to easily acquire accurate focus and smoothly track fast-moving subjects. The ability to leave focusing to the camera when solo shooting can be a huge advantage.

In addition, the Linear Response MF8 ensures that the focus ring responds directly and linearly to subtle control when focusing manually and an independent aperture ring offers direct, intuitive aperture control.

High-Level Operability and Reliability for Any Environment

The new FE 20-70mm F4 G’s independent focus, zoom, and aperture rings feature optimized diameter, width, and positioning for full control when shooting stills as well as maximum versatility when recording video. ​

Customizable focus hold buttons are provided in two locations for easy access and convenient control. A focus mode switch on the side of the lens makes it possible to switch between autofocus and manual focus to quickly adapt to changing shooting conditions. To offer additional creative control, the FE 20-70mm F4 G is compatible with circular polarizing filters despite being a wide-angle zoom lens. It also includes an Iris Lock switch to prevent unwanted changes while shooting.

Lastly, the FE 20-70mm F4 G has a dust and moisture resistant design9 and the front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels fingerprints, dust, water, oil, and other contaminants10.

Pricing and Availability

The new FE 20-70mm F4 G will be available in March 2023 for approximately $1,099 USD and $1,499 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

New content will also be posted directly at the Sony Photo Gallery. For detailed product information, please visit:

A product video on the new FE 20-70mm F4 G can be viewed HERE.

Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new FE 20-70mm F4 G and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony Alpha brand.

Notes

¹ January 2023, Sony survey of full-frame constant F4 standard zoom lenses.
² 0.25 throughout the zoom range when focusing manually
³ Compared to the SEL2470Z.
4 Compared to the SEL2470Z. Sony test conditions.
5 Compared to the SEL2470Z. Sony test conditions.
6 “Hi+” continuous shooting mode. Effective at 1/125 sec. or higher shutter speed. In AF-C mode at shutter speeds of 1/250 sec. or higher the maximum continuous frame rate will depend on the shooting mode.
7 With a compatible camera. Active Mode causes a slight reduction in angle of view.
8 This feature also works effectively with cameras such as the α7 IV and FX6 AF Assist function, giving creators enhanced artistic control.
9 Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof.
10 While making it easier to wipe off any contaminants that do become attached to the lens surface.

Photo of author

Dan Carr

Professional photographer based in Yukon, Canada, and founder of Shutter Muse. His editorial work has been featured in publications all over the world, and his commercial clients include brands such as Nike, Apple, Adobe and Red Bull.

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