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Sony 20-70mm F4 G Lens Comparison

Sony has rewritten the rules with the January 2023 release of the latest standard zoom for mirrorless cameras, which arrives in the form of the Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G Lens. This is the first full-frame mirrorless zoom lens to offer 20mm at the wide end, which is around 18% wider than a standard 24mm focal width.

Sony 20-70mm F4 G Lens Comparison, vs 24-70mm F2.8 GM and 24-105mm F4 G lenses

The extra width presents a significant gain for photographers and videographers who shoot ultra-wide subjects such as landscapes, interiors, city shots, as well as videos and vlogs.

An extremely lightweight design ensures this is one of the lightest standard Sony lenses, making it a great all-day single lens choice and a good option for travel. A standard zoom is arguably the most versatile of any single lens, covering almost any day-to-day subject, including portraits and lifestyle.

Shot with Sony 20-70mm lens

© Ananda-Joinet sample photo from Sony

We’ve compared the new 20-70mm G with the popular Sony FE 24-105mm F/4 G OSS as well as the recently updated EISA award-winning Sony FE 24-70mm F/2.8 GM II, pitting two G lenses with the standard G Master zoom. You can also watch our hands-on video review and ogle sample photos to help you decide which of these three lenses is best for your needs.

Sample 52mm focal length, camera settings: 1/800 sec. f/4. ISO 250

Sample @52mm focal length, camera settings: 1/800 sec. f/4. ISO 250

Key Sony 20-70mm F/4 G features

Highlight features at a glance include:

  • 488g full-frame standard zoom for Sony mirrorless cameras
  • Two high-speed XD Linear Focus Motors
  • Compact 72mm filter thread
  • Customisable buttons and a de-clickable aperture ring
  • Reduced focus breathing
  • Dust and moisture resistant design

The newest addition to Sony’s lens range has all of the ingredients to make a classic, relatively budget-friendly general purpose lens, with features which blur the line between G and G Master results.

Sample 20mm focal length, camera settings: 1/320 sec. f/8. ISO 250

Sample @20mm focal length, camera settings: 1/320 sec. f/8. ISO 250

Sony standard zoom lens specs comparison

We’ve highlighted key specifications and compared the Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G vs Sony FE 24-105mm F/4 G OSS vs second generation Sony FE 24-70mm F/2.8 GM II lenses for you to see which is the best choice for you.

Specification

Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G

Sony FE 24-105mm F/4 G OSS

Sony FE 24-70mm F/2.8 GM II

Lens groups/elements

13/16

14/17

15/20

Special elements / coatings

Three ED (Extra Low Dispersion), two AA (Advanced Aspherical), one ED (Extra Low Dispersion Aspherical) and one aspherical element / fluorine

Two AA (advanced aspherical) elements, ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements / Nano AR Coating, fluorine

Two XA types plus two ED and two Super ED glass elements for high resolution. / Nano AR Coating II, fluorine

Angle of view (35mm)

94°-34°

84°-23°

84°-34°

Aperture blades

9 rounded

9 rounded

11 rounded

Aperture range

f/4 - f/22

f/4 - f/22

f/2.8 - f/22

Maximum magnification ratio

0.39 x

0.31 x

0.32 x

Optical stabiliser

Body integrated

Optical SteadyShot

Body integrated

AF actuator

XD Linear Motor x2

Direct Drive SSM

XD Linear Motor x4

Weather sealing

YES

YES

YES

Filter size

72mm

77mm

82mm

Dimensions (D x L)

78.7 x 99 mm

83.4 x 113.3 mm

87.8 x 119.9 mm

Weight

488 g

663 g

695 g

Price

£1399.00

£999.00

£2,099.00

©Liam-Man Shot on Sony

©Liam-Man sample image from Sony

Which Sony standard zoom lens should you choose?

Choosing between these three lenses is a personal decision, which comes down to your specific requirements and the subjects which you most regularly shoot. All three offer extremely versatile focal widths, with the G Master being a classic holy trinity lens, whereas the 24-105mm has the longest telephoto, with the new 20-70mm being the widest.

All three are compatible with APS-C cameras, in which case the Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G has an effective increase in focal length to 30-105mm, due to the crop factor.

Where the new lens particularly shines is through its weight, low distortion results and compact design, although there is mild vignetting at the ultra-wide end, this can be easily removed in post and is naturally eliminated when zoomed in slightly. The second generation GM lens is especially lightweight for the extra stop of light and the special glass elements which it includes, but it can’t compete with the 20-70mm in terms of weight.

Sample 70mm focal length, camera settings: 1/60 sec. f/4. ISO 1000

Sample @70mm focal length, camera settings: 1/60 sec. f/4. ISO 1000

What are the differences between 20mm vs 24mm

20mm vs 24mm may not sound like a big difference, but with a 94° field of view you can capture a lot more of the scene. Foreground elements can be exaggerated and it’s a popular focal length for vlogging, as it fits more of the subject and background into the frame.

For these reasons hybrid shooters or content creators who vlog and record videos may be drawn to the Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G, especially as it’s light enough to handhold for longer. If you do capture videos the benefits of a de-clickable aperture ring, reduced focus breathing as well as fast and quiet AF motors will be most welcome.

20-70mm lens in the field

Sony 20-70mm F/4 G ergonomics and handling

The 20-70mm F/4 G follows the trend of recent Sony lenses, by including customisable control buttons, with two available on the barrel. These can be set via your camera menu to hold focus, switch between ISO, drive modes, Eye AF and many more useful settings for stills and video.

You’ll also find a zoom ring, smooth focus ring (although perhaps not quite as smooth as the G Master) and aperture ring, which supports de-clicking for silent exposure changes.

Sample image © Ananda-Joinet

© Ananda-Joinet sample image from Sony

Video review

Watch our Sony 20-70mm F/4 G video review right here.

Sony has also included weather sealing to help keep dust and moisture out of the lens, along with a fluorine coating to repel water, oil and other contaminants. Lastly the 72mm thread lets you screw-in lens filters to suit your style of shooting, whether you need an ND filter for long exposures, LEE filter system for landscapes, a circular polariser or any others.

If you’re considering a standard zoom lens as your go-to option for stills and video the 20-70mm F/4 G is a great choice. It delivers high quality results from a strong optical design, fast and quiet AF and the opportunity to customise to suit your own workflow.

Browse our comprehensive range of Sony mirrorless lenses or head directly over to reserve your Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G and tell your story with the latest compact, lightweight general purpose option.

*Sample images by Gareth were captures with the Sony A7 IV camera.

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By Nick Dautlich on 17/01/2023

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