In the world of camera lenses, Sony’s commitment to innovation and versatility shines through again with the introduction of the FE 20-70mm F4 G lens. This trans-standard zoom lens arrives as a compelling addition to Sony’s lineup, aiming to provide photographers and videographers with a reliable and adaptable tool for capturing a wide array of subjects and scenes. It builds upon Sony’s legacy of high-quality optics while offering a practical compromise between focal length range and aperture, making it suitable for diverse photography styles and lighting conditions.
As a successor to the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II, the FE 20-70mm F4 G enters the scene with a more accessible approach, allowing enthusiasts and professionals to explore its capabilities. With a versatile focal length range from 20mm for wide-angle shots to 70mm for tighter compositions, this lens empowers creators to frame their vision precisely. The f/4 maximum aperture, while not the brightest in its class, strikes a balance between portability and low-light performance, ensuring that photographers can confidently tackle a variety of shooting scenarios. Sony combines optical excellence with ergonomic design and customizable controls in this lens, promising a versatile and dependable tool for the modern image-maker.
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens represents a significant addition to Sony’s extensive lineup of full-frame lenses. Positioned as a versatile trans-standard zoom lens, it addresses the needs of both photographers and videographers, offering a flexible focal length suitable for a wide range of shooting scenarios. This lens’s introduction is notable as it provides photographers with a more affordable alternative to the high-end FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II lens. It also showcases Sony’s commitment to continuously improving and expanding its lens offerings, catering to the diverse demands of its user base.
One key feature distinguishing the FE 20-70mm F4 G is its constant aperture of f/4 throughout the zoom range. This consistency ensures that photographers can maintain a consistent exposure when zooming in or out, making it easier to capture shots without needing to adjust settings frequently. Additionally, the lens’s build quality and design reflect Sony’s dedication to creating lenses that are not only optically superior but also durable and reliable. The premium feel of the lens, coupled with its versatility, makes it a compelling choice for photographers looking to enhance their gear collection.
TECHNICAL SHEET / CHARACTERISTICS
|Maximum covered format||24×36|
|Real focal length||20-70mm|
|Equivalent focal length 24×36||-mm|
|Number of diaphragm blades||9|
|Minimum focusing distance||250mm|
|Dimensions (L x Diameter)||99-78.7mm|
|Resistance to dust and humidity||Yes|
|Manual focus shortcuts||Yes|
|Detachable focus ring||No|
|Diaphragm ring||Smooth or notched rotation|
|Recommendations for use||Landscape and architecture, Versatility and travel|
New Trans-Standard f/4
One of the standout features of the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens is its new trans-standard f/4 aperture setting. This setting sets it apart from its predecessor, the Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS, with a variable maximum aperture of f/4-5.6. The constant f/4 aperture throughout the zoom range is a notable improvement as it offers more consistent exposure settings while zooming in or out. This is particularly advantageous for photographers who need to quickly adapt to changing shooting conditions or for videographers who require consistent lighting in their video work.
The new f/4 aperture also brings improvements in low-light performance. With a maximum aperture of f/4, this lens allows more light to enter the camera’s sensor compared to a variable aperture lens that might reduce its aperture size as you zoom in. This means that photographers can achieve better results in dimly lit environments, such as indoor shooting or evening photography, without excessively increasing ISO settings. Additionally, the constant f/4 aperture enables more control over depth of field, making it easier to achieve creative effects like subject isolation and background blur, commonly desired by portrait and landscape photographers. Overall, introducing this new trans-standard f/4 aperture enhances the versatility and performance of the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens, making it a compelling choice for various photography and videography applications.
Price and Availability
While more versatile and accessible than the f/2.8 model, the FE 20-70mm F4 G still comes with a price tag of €1,600 starting from February 2023. This marks a significant increase compared to the Zeiss version, which also features optical stabilization and was launched for under €1,200.
Facing Strong Competition
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens enters a market segment that faces strong competition from other lens manufacturers. Notably, it competes with lenses like the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art and Sigma DG DN 28-70mm F2.8 Contemporary, known for their fast and constant f/2.8 apertures. These Sigma options offer excellent low-light performance and greater creative control over depth of field compared to Sony’s f/4 aperture. Tamron’s 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD and its newer 28-75mm F2.8 DI III VXD G2 lenses also provide formidable competition. These Tamron lenses are known for their optical quality and affordability, offering an attractive alternative for budget-conscious photographers seeking a versatile zoom lens.
The Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens is another contender in this competitive space. Its constant f/2.8 aperture makes it a strong choice for low-light shooting and creative depth-of-field control. These alternatives emphasize Sony’s challenge in marketing the FE 20-70mm F4 G lens, as potential buyers may consider lenses with faster apertures, especially if they prioritize low-light performance or artistic effects like bokeh. To succeed in this competitive environment, Sony must highlight the unique advantages and strengths of the FE 20-70mm F4 G, such as its compact size, versatile focal length range, and high-quality optics, to attract photographers and videographers seeking a balanced combination of performance and portability.
The FE 20-70mm F4 G adheres to Sony’s recent lens specifications: compact and lightweight, weather-sealed construction, a diaphragm control ring with smooth or notched rotation, configurable buttons, and an autofocus switch.
The ergonomics of the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens are carefully designed to provide users with a comfortable and intuitive shooting experience. Here’s a closer look at its ergonomic features:
- Rotating Diaphragm Ring: One of the standout ergonomic features of this lens is the diaphragm ring with smooth or notched rotation. This ring allows for precise control over the aperture, making it easy to adjust exposure settings on the fly. Videographers, in particular, will appreciate the smooth rotation of the ring for seamless aperture changes during video recording.
- Configurable Control Buttons: The lens incorporates configurable buttons that can be customized to perform specific functions based on the user’s preferences. This customization enhances user control over the lens and camera settings, allowing for a personalized shooting experience.
- Smooth Focusing Ring: The focus ring on the lens is precise and smooth, making manual focus adjustments effortless. This is essential for photographers who prefer manual focusing or require precise control over focus in various shooting situations.
- Zoom Mechanism: While not explicitly mentioned in the provided text, most zoom lenses, like the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G, feature a well-designed zoom ring. This ring allows easy zooming in and out, ensuring quick focal length adjustments.
- Compatibility with Sony Camera Bodies: Sony has designed this lens to be fully compatible with its range of camera bodies. This ensures a seamless integration between the lens and the camera, contributing to a user-friendly shooting experience.
- Compact and Lightweight: Despite its versatile focal length range, the lens remains compact and lightweight. This makes it easy to handle and carry, enhancing overall ergonomics during shooting sessions, especially for travel or on-location photography.
- Consistent Design Language: The lens’s design language aligns with Sony’s overall lens lineup, providing a cohesive and familiar aesthetic for users who own multiple Sony lenses.
- Optical Stabilization Considerations: It’s important to note that this lens lacks optical stabilization. However, its ergonomics should still allow for steady shooting when paired with Sony camera bodies equipped with in-body image stabilization (IBIS).
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens offers excellent ergonomics with a rotating diaphragm ring, configurable control buttons, and smooth focusing and zooming mechanisms. These design elements contribute to a user-friendly experience, allowing photographers and videographers to work comfortably and efficiently while maintaining precise control over their shots.
Compact Yet Extensive – Build Quality and Design
Despite being slightly bulkier and heavier (488g and 7.8 x 9.9 cm) than the Zeiss model, this lens is well-constructed and features high-end ergonomics.
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G exhibits a solid build quality and a modern and functional design. Here’s a detailed breakdown:
- Durable Construction: The lens is robust with high-quality materials, making it suitable for various shooting conditions.
- Tropicalization: It is designed to resist humidity and dust, adding to its durability and reliability, especially for outdoor use.
- Weight: While it is not the lightest lens in its class, it balances build quality and portability.
- Size: It has 7.8 x 9.9 cm dimensions, making it a compact option for a versatile zoom lens.
- Controls: The lens offers configurable control buttons for ease of use and customization.
- Diaphragm Ring: The presence of a diaphragm ring with smooth or notched rotation adds a premium touch and is especially appreciated by videographers for precise aperture control.
- Ergonomics: The lens feels comfortable in hand and complements Sony’s modern camera bodies, maintaining a consistent design language.
- Minimalist Aesthetic: Sony follows its signature minimalist design language with clean lines and a sleek overall appearance.
- Matching Lineup: It shares design elements with other G and GM optics, ensuring a cohesive look when used alongside other lenses from Sony’s lineup.
- Focal Length Ring: While not mentioned explicitly, it typically features a focal length ring, allowing users to change the zoom manually.
- Compatibility: The lens is designed to work seamlessly with various Sony camera bodies, ensuring compatibility and ease of use.
- Optical Quality: The design focuses on maintaining optical quality and minimizing distortions, essential for a versatile zoom lens.
- Zoom Mechanism: The zoom mechanism is smooth, allowing for easy and precise focal length adjustments.
Overall, the build quality and design of the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens are geared towards providing photographers and videographers with a reliable and user-friendly tool that can withstand different shooting conditions while delivering excellent optical performance.
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens offers impressive sharpness across its focal length range, delivering excellent image quality even at its widest aperture of f/4. This lens consistently delivers sharp and detailed images when tested on a high-resolution camera like the Sony A7R IV with a 61-megapixel full-frame sensor.
At its widest focal length of 20mm, the lens performs admirably with a sharpness close to its peak levels, even wide open at f/4. The maximum sharpness is achieved just a stop at f/5.6, and the image quality remains very sharp at f/8. This means that photographers can confidently use this lens for wide-angle shots, whether for landscapes, architecture, or group photos, without worrying about compromising image quality.
As you zoom in to the mid-range focal lengths, such as 50mm, the lens continues to impress. It maintains excellent sharpness at f/4 and reaches its peak at f/5.6, ensuring that images are consistently detailed and crisp throughout this range. Whether you’re shooting portraits or general photography, this lens delivers high-quality results.
Even at the longest focal length of 70mm, the lens maintains its sharpness, offering a strong wide-open performance at f/4. The maximum sharpness is achieved at f/5.6, and image quality remains very good at f/8. This level of sharpness makes the lens versatile for capturing subjects at longer distances or achieving some compression in your shots.
Overall, the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens’s sharpness is a standout feature, and it ensures that photographers can consistently capture detailed and crisp images across its focal length range, making it a valuable tool for a wide range of photography styles and situations.
Distortions and Corrections, Chromatic Aberrations, and Vignetting:
Distortions and Corrections: The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens exhibits noticeable barrel distortions at its widest focal length of 20mm. These distortions can be quite prominent, with distortion levels exceeding 8%. However, it’s essential to note that modern Sony cameras automatically apply distortion correction when using this lens, which means that in-camera JPEGs and video footage will have this distortion corrected. For photographers shooting in raw format, you may need to rely on post-processing software to rectify these distortions, which might involve some cropping. While distortion is a drawback, it’s somewhat mitigated by the camera’s correction capabilities.
Chromatic Aberrations: Chromatic aberrations are well-controlled in the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens, and they are minimal and hardly noticeable in real-world shooting scenarios. Chromatic aberrations, often seen as colored fringes along high-contrast edges, are effectively managed by the lens’s optical design. This ensures your images remain free from distracting color fringing, even in challenging lighting conditions or scenes with significant contrast differences. The minimal presence of chromatic aberrations contributes to the lens’s overall image quality and minimizes the need for post-processing corrections.
Vignetting: Vignetting, the darkening of image corners compared to the center, is noticeable, particularly at the lens’s widest focal length of 20mm and when shooting at its maximum aperture of f/4. Even when you stop down the aperture, some degree of vignetting can still be observed in the periphery of the image. While vignetting can be corrected during post-processing, its presence at wide apertures may be a consideration for photographers who prefer to work with minimal post-production adjustments. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that vignetting is a common characteristic in many zoom lenses, and the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G’s performance in this regard is on par with industry standards for this type of lens.
In Practical Use
The FE 20-70mm F4 G is a versatile lens suitable for various photography needs. It pairs well with other lenses to create a comprehensive kit. Landscape and architectural photographers will appreciate the wider angle despite some distortion correction required. For portraits, the 70mm focal length provides pleasing subject separation, although the f/4 aperture is limited for a lens in this class.
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens is a versatile and reliable tool for photographers and videographers across various genres. Its focal length range, from 20mm to 70mm, allows for a broad spectrum of shooting possibilities. At the wide end (20mm), it captures expansive landscapes, architecture, and group shots, delivering sharpness and clarity throughout the frame. As you zoom in, the lens effortlessly transitions to standard and short telephoto focal lengths (50mm to 70mm), making it suitable for portraits, street photography, and even some wildlife or sports photography. This versatility ensures that you can confidently carry the lens for an entire day of shooting without the need to frequently switch lenses.
While not the brightest available, the lens’s f/4 maximum aperture still provides decent low-light performance. It’s particularly well-suited for outdoor photography in various lighting conditions. While it may not excel in extreme low-light situations or offer the same level of subject isolation as faster lenses, it strikes a balance between portability and light-gathering capability. The lens’s sharpness is impressive, even at wider apertures, ensuring that your images maintain detail and clarity throughout the zoom range. It’s an excellent choice for photographers who prioritize image quality and versatility. Moreover, for videographers, the lens’s smooth and silent autofocus operation, combined with its zoom range, makes it an ideal choice for capturing cinematic sequences without requiring frequent lens changes. The physical controls on the lens, including the diaphragm ring and focus ring, provide tactile feedback and customization options for precise adjustments during shooting.
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens is a versatile zoom lens designed to offer photographers and videographers a wide range of functionality. Here’s a detailed look at its functionality:
- Focal Length Range: The lens covers a focal length range from 20mm to 70mm, making it highly versatile for various shooting scenarios. It suits landscape, architecture, street, portrait, and general-purpose photography.
- Maximum Aperture of f/4: While not an ultra-bright lens, the f/4 maximum aperture can still deliver good low-light performance and allow for creative control over depth of field. It’s a practical choice for outdoor and indoor shooting.
- Smooth and Precise Zoom Control: The lens features a zoom ring that allows for smooth and precise zooming, enabling users to quickly adjust the focal length to frame their shots effectively. This is particularly useful for capturing subjects at varying distances.
- Rotating Diaphragm Ring: The lens includes a diaphragm ring with smooth or notched rotation, which provides photographers with precise control over aperture settings. This feature is especially valuable for adjusting exposure settings on the fly and for videographers who need seamless aperture changes during video recording.
- High-Quality Optics: Sony has designed this lens to deliver excellent image quality. It incorporates advanced optical elements to reduce aberrations, distortions, and chromatic aberrations, resulting in sharp and clear images with minimal optical defects.
- Compatibility with Sony Cameras: The lens is fully compatible with Sony’s E-mount mirrorless cameras, ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance. It’s designed to work harmoniously with Sony camera bodies, allowing for autofocus and exposure control.
- Configurable Control Buttons: The lens includes configurable buttons that can be customized to perform specific functions based on the user’s preferences. This customization enhances user control over the lens and camera settings.
- Compact and Lightweight Design: Despite its versatile focal length range, the lens is compact and lightweight. This makes it a practical choice for travel and on-location photography, as it doesn’t add excessive weight to the camera setup.
- Optical Stabilization Consideration: It’s important to note that this lens does not feature optical stabilization (OSS). However, it can benefit from the in-body image stabilization (IBIS) in many Sony camera bodies. This combination helps reduce the effects of camera shake, especially at slower shutter speeds.
- Versatile Shooting Applications: The lens is well-suited for various photography styles, including landscapes, architecture, portraits, street photography, and more. Its functionality caters to still photographers and videographers who require versatility.
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens offers comprehensive functionalities, including a versatile focal length range, smooth zoom, and aperture control, compatibility with Sony cameras, and customizable buttons. Its design prioritizes image quality, making it suitable for photographic applications and creative shooting scenarios. While not the brightest lens, it balances performance and portability, making it a practical choice for many photographers.
The lens is well-suited for
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G suits a variety of photographers, making it a versatile lens for different shooting scenarios. Here are some groups of photographers for whom this lens is well-suited:
- Travel Photographers: The lens’s focal range, from 20mm for wider landscapes to 70mm for closer shots, makes it an excellent choice for travel photographers who want a single, compact lens for capturing a wide range of scenes and subjects on the go.
- Street and Documentary Photographers: Its versatile focal length, sharpness, and autofocus performance make it a great option for street and documentary photographers who need to adapt to different situations and subjects quickly.
- Landscape and Architecture Photographers: While it doesn’t have an ultra-wide angle, the lens still offers a wide perspective at 20mm, making it suitable for landscape and architectural photography. The lens’s sharpness and optical quality ensure that details are captured crisply.
- Portrait Photographers: At 70mm, this lens can create pleasing portraits with background blur (bokeh), making it a suitable choice for portrait photographers. While it has a maximum aperture of f/4, it can still produce attractive background separation for subject isolation.
- Hobbyists and Enthusiasts: For those who want an everyday lens that can handle various photographic situations without carrying multiple lenses, the FE 20-70mm F4 G is an excellent option. Its solid build quality and ease of use make it suitable for photography enthusiasts who want a reliable, all-purpose lens.
However, suppose you prioritize low-light performance and need a lens for professional work, especially in dimly lit conditions or for achieving a more pronounced background blur. In that case, you may want to consider lenses with wider apertures.
The Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G is a versatile and well-built zoom lens that offers photographers a tool for various shooting scenarios. While it may not boast an exceptionally wide maximum aperture like some of its competitors, its f/4 aperture is sufficient for most situations, and it helps keep the lens compact and lightweight. The lens’s sharpness, even wide open at f/4, is impressive, delivering crisp and detailed images throughout its zoom range. Chromatic aberrations are effectively controlled, ensuring that your photos are free from distracting color fringing.
However, the lens suffers noticeable barrel distortions at its widest focal length, and vignetting is present, especially when shooting wide open at f/4. These optical characteristics can be mitigated, thanks to in-camera correction for JPEGs and video, but photographers working with raw files may need to address them in post-processing. Overall, the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G’s versatility, solid build quality, and strong optical performance make it a reliable choice for photographers who prioritize a well-rounded zoom lens for their Sony mirrorless camera system.
Advantages of the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G:
- Versatile Focal Range: This lens offers a versatile focal range from 20mm to 70mm, making it suitable for various photography styles, including landscapes, portraits, street photography, and more. It eliminates the need for multiple lenses, making it convenient for travel and everyday use.
- Compact and Lightweight: The lens is relatively compact and lightweight, which enhances its portability and makes it a great choice for photographers on the move. It won’t weigh you down during long photography sessions or while traveling.
- Excellent Sharpness: The lens delivers excellent sharpness, even at its widest aperture of f/4. This ensures that your images are crisp and detailed, allowing for high-quality results in various shooting conditions.
Disadvantages of the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G:
- Limited Maximum Aperture: The lens has a maximum aperture of f/4, which may not be ideal for photographers who frequently shoot in low-light conditions or desire more pronounced background blur (bokeh). Lenses with wider apertures like f/2.8 are better suited for such scenarios.
- Strong Distortions at Wide Angle: At its widest focal length (20mm), the lens exhibits significant barrel distortions, which can affect the straightness of lines in architectural photography. Correcting these distortions in post-processing may lead to some cropping.
- Price Point: While it is more affordable than some premium Sony lenses, the FE 20-70mm F4 G still falls in the mid to high price range. Some photographers may find the price tag relatively steep, considering the f/4 maximum aperture and the availability of competing lenses at similar price points.
These advantages and disadvantages should be considered in the context of your specific photography needs and preferences to determine if the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G is the right lens for you.