Difference Between a 300mm and 400mm Lens in 2023

difference between a 300mm and 400mm lens

Today I am gonna talk about a question that plagued me when I was starting out in sports photography and that was whether or not you should just jump to 400 or get 300 mm 2.8. So in this post, we will talk out the difference between a 300mm and 400mm lens.

Now, both are stapled lenses, and in sports photography, I am really gonna go through the details of why I use each lens and if each lens would suit the purpose that you want. So, I hope you guys appreciate it, give me a thumbs up if you liked our post.

Difference Between a 300mm and 400mm lens

The difference between a 300mm and a 400mm lens is much but you will surely get a clear, detailed, and magnified photo if you shoot with a 400mm lens because with a 400mm lens you get ¾ angle of view of a 300mm one. Also, the 400mm is more heavier and larger than the 300mm lens.

More Differences Between a 400mm and 300mm Lens

Physical Difference Between the Lenses

The 400mm lens is about 15-inches long. The length may vary for an inch or half depending on the manufacturer. The 300mm lens will generally be about 10mm to 15mm long.

Both lenses have about 3-4mm difference but when you put on a lens hood, it’s a whole different story then. Comparing them physically especially when lens hoods are put on, the 400mm lens appears really big than the 300mm, and that’s one thing to be taken into account when using this 400mm massive lens compared to the 300mm.

Now oftentimes, I won’t shoot with the lens hood on especially with Nikon. The Nikon lens hoods are in two pieces, so I will remove one piece. And yeah, these are extremely expensive, so be cautious while using them.


Another factor really considered above all is the weight. A 300mm lens will generally be about 3 kilograms and a 400mm will generally be about 4 -5 kilos. Now, recent lenses have really dropped the weight and are trying to make sub 3 kilograms lenses which is absolutely astonishing for something of this size.

Also, if you are a traveler, it will be harder for you to take a 400mm lens with your because is going to be longer and a bit heavier. On the other hand, the 3oomm is comparably smaller and lighter which makes it easier to carry.

Price Difference

These are really big lenses and would probably cost you a lot. If you are considering purchasing a 400mm lens from any of the big three manufacturers like Sony, Canon, or Nikon, it might cost you around $12000. Yup, that is a 5-figure price, but these lenses are expensive.

A 300 2.8 is going to be anywhere from 5 to 6.5 grand. So, it’s literally half of the cost. So, you are gonna be doubling how much you got to pay for a 400mm.

I would strongly recommend buying these lenses used because they are built so well that they are near indestructible. The only thing that usually fails on these is focus motors and the manufacturers usually have almost 15-20 years of warranty.


So, the next thing is used. When using a 300mm and 400mm lens, you are going to include a lot of field of view, so things like soccer, baseball, athletics, you get very remarkable results. For me, I always use a monopod with it.

If you are someone who likes to shoot and moves around like some ton different angles on the fields, the 400 is something, I would not really suggest. I would prefer a 200mm to 300mm lens because it is so light to move around you.

Learning Curve of 300mm vs 400mm lens

The other thing to be considered is the learning curve in each of these lenses as I think the 300mm has a much less learning curve. So, the 400mm’s learning curve is a lot more just because it’s that much more of a tight frame that makes it a little bit harder to get used to.

So, that panning with the 400mm takes more getting used to than with the 300. I think that the 300 is just a bit more natural to me and that’s for my experience, so take that as you may. That’s just one thing to consider.

Final Verdict

According to my experience, these big 300mm and 400mm lenses aren’t necessary, these are just additional, and they alter the way you shoot. So, for me personally, if I had to choose between the 300mm and 400mm, I would choose the 400mm because it has more features and is more fun to use.

In terms of image quality, the 400mm is superior and there is really no doubt about it and of course by image quality I don’t just mean sharpness. There is other stuff like magnification, clarity, and details, etc.

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