300mm vs 400mm lens: Everything You Need to Know

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Most of you must be very passionate about photography or getting clicked by someone. Does this question often plague you, “which lens will be better for my camera?” To have an answer to this question, you must first know the differences between the lenses, which are often considered to be similar. 

In this blog, you can explore in detail the differences between a 300 mm and a 400 mm lens that are used for different fields in photography. This will help you pick the right lens for the right picture and boost your overall photographic knowledge. 

Key differences – 300mm vs. 400mm lens:

Shape and size of lens:

While a 400 mm lens is 15 inches in length with slight variations, a 300 mm lens is mainly 10 inches long. The 400 mm lens, therefore, appears much bigger than the 300 mm lens. This variation in the shape and size between the two lenses results in obvious differences in weight. A 400 mm lens weighs between 4 – 5 kilos, whereas a 300mm lens weighs around 2-3 kilos. This makes it evident that traveling with a 300mm lens camera will be much easier than traveling with a 400 mm lens camera.

Image sharpness: 

The camera with a 400 mm lens prime will provide sharper images than the 300 mm lens. The angle of view of the 400 mm lens will be somewhere around ¾ of the angle of view around 70-300 magnitude.


Major manufacturers LIKE Sony, Nikon, and Canon sell a 400 mm lens camera for around $12000. A 300 mm lens camera, on the other hand, is sold at literally half of the former’s price, which is around $5000 to 6000 dollars. Therefore, a 300 mm lens is always more affordable than a 400mm lens. It just lags in terms of its focus motors that are better in the 400 mm lens camera.


 In the case of photography where a lot of angles are used (for example: in sports photography) a 400 mm lens is highly recommended. On the contrary, where the photographer needs to move around a large number of places and fields to get that ‘one shot’ (example: wildlife photography), a 300 mm lens is the most appropriate lens. 

A 300 mm lens is also highly recommended for capturing images of scenic beauty and landscape of a particular region. A common telephoto, therefore, uses a coverage within 75- 300 mm lens (Telephoto: used for enlarging photos and secondly for making distant subjects appear at proximity.

Learning Curve of 300 mm vs. 400 mm lens: 

The learning curve of a 300 mm lens is lesser than that of a 400 mm lens. Therefore, a 300 mm lens provides more naturalistic images than a 400 mm lens. Further, the 400 mm lens has a much tighter frame than the 300 mm lens making it much harder to use. 

It is because of this learning curve that panning a particular object or landscape with a 400 mm lens is much more widely used than panning the same with a 300 mm lens. The learning curve also makes the images captured with a 400 mm lens with higher quality and focus than a 300 mm lens camera.

How far does a 400 mm lens reach?

A 400 mm lens camera reaches a distance of almost 75 yards in crop frame, and for full-frame, it reaches 51 yards. On a full camera, the standard 400 mm lens has a magnitude of 8x magnification. However, the magnification may differ among the manufacturers.

For example, Nikon DX has a crop factor of 1.5x to 12x magnification. The Canon sensor, on the other hand, provides a 1.6 x to 8 x magnification in respect of the full-frame calculation. The Four-Thirds sensor of 2x crop factor is equated with a 16x magnification sector which makes this lens quite more impressive than the 300 mm lens.

How far does a 300 mm lens reach?

A 300 m lens reaches a distance of 55 yards in crop frame and 38 yards in full-frame. If we divide a 300 mm lens by 50, we get a 6x magnification, whereas it is 8x magnification for a 400 mm lens. A 300 mm lens zooms around 300/17 in comparison to the eye that can zoom a particular image at 100/15.

 Thus, a 300 mm lens zooms around 16.7 inches sized image. The 300 mm lens is particularly relevant for a 750 mm zoom that is suitable for either telephoto or a super zoom lens. In case one wants a picture close to a distant subject, then one might get closer to it. These phones or devices are ideal for wildlife photography or for those situations where it is difficult to reach proximity to wild animals.


Both 400 mm and 300 mm lenses are used as additional devices to improve the picture quality and alter the shot. However, it is worth noting that these lenses are always not necessary. In special situations, for example, wildlife shoots, sports photography, etc., these lenses can be widely used. 

A 300 mm lens is much simple and more portable than a 400 mm lens. Since these lenses are used to cover special and important events, thus using the 400 mm despite its huge size and weight is recommended over using a 300 mm lens.

Who will not want the pictures of such special events to be of superior quality, clarity, and expression? 

For covering the shot with clear details and magnification, an 400 mm lens is much preferred recommended than a 300 mm lens.

What is worth noting is the fact that both 300 mm and 400 mm lenses are quite sturdy and hard. Besides, both lenses cover a wide range of applications. So, to get the best out of both lenses, it is essential to know their differences and use them accordingly. 

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