One of the Best Entry-level DSLR.
The Nikon D3400 is one of the best entry-level DSLRs one could buy now. Nikon finally came up with a camera that will carry beginners and entry-level photographers along. Though it is a bit small, it is highly regarded by photographers thanks to its excellent features, like the image quality, excellent AF system, and a compact body.
Even though this camera has been overtaken by the recently released Nikon D3500. This is just a redesign of the D3400 camera and having the similar features. The D3400 is unique as is very easy to use, not so expensive for the photography newbie.
Its features are the very best for entry-level photographers, and as much as these features are not so impressive or to be compared with higher-end DSLRs, it should not surprise or offend seeing it is mostly for entry-level.
• Good image quality
• Well-compact and light body
• Not so hard to operate or use
• Excellent battery life
• Traditional controls
• Solid AF system
• The screen is not touch-sensitive
• No 4K video
• Does not have a microphone port
• There is no Wi-Fi connectivity.
A successor of the D3300, the D3400 is quite similar to the D3300, mainly differing in its weight. There are some other improvement and features seen on the D3300 that is not found on the D3400 mainly the Bluetooth and improved battery life. It is capable of shooting up to 1,200 shots. The microphone port seen in the D3300 is no more on the D3400.
See also: Nikon D3200 Camera
There is also an added new kit lens with a stepping motor sort of for smooth focusing and to reduce vibration. The question is what makes the Nikon D3400 a beginner’s appeal and go to camera?
Key Features and Specifications of This Camera Include:
• A 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
• 11-point auto-focus system
• An optical viewfinder(95% coverage)
• ISO 100-25,600
• 1080/60p FULL HD video
• 420-pixel RGB metering
• 5fps burst speed
• Fixed 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot LCD screen
• Bluetooth connectivity
• Battery lifespan of 1,200 shots
• 455g of weight.
The Nikon D3400 comes with a 24.2MP and an APS-C sensor, just as it is found in the D3300. Possibly Nikon made it this way considering the fact this is an entry-level camera. With this resolution, images are very clear with a great amount of detail. There is also an EXPEED 4 image processor, an 11-point AF system and Full HD video capture, sadly there is no optical viewfinder, and maybe beginners do not entirely need it.
On the few connectivity options, D3400 has a Bluetooth LE connectivity, while it does not feature a Wi-Fi connectivity. The Bluetooth LE connectivity works with the SnapBridge app on smartphones for transferring of images.
ISO Sensitivity and Processor:
There has been a notable improvement on the ISO sensitivity. The ISO100-25,600 which is very good for very clear images and to shoot in varied light situations especially low light situations was improved from the ISO100-12,800 on the D3300. Also thanks to the EXPEED 4 processor, there has been an improvement on the speed (5fps burst speed) and performance. You can easily capture fast action scenes in even fractions of seconds.
The Full HD video recording is up to 60p which is very good. Nikon was really thinking of beginners when they manufactured this camera. You can easily shoot images and videos, transfer data and playback and perform many tasks with this camera thanks to the excellent processor.
See also: Sourcing for a Camera in 2018
The 11-point AF system quickly tracks and locks onto your subject. It features one cross-type point in the center. The AF system focuses continuously on a subject when set especially with Nikon’s 3D tracking technology. The camera also does autofocus in live view.
The optical viewfinder with 95% is not up to the expected 100% and is a bit small, but is the same with the D3300and is with a pentamirror construction, but the fixed 3.0-inch size, 921,000 dot resolution LCD screen is very good, there seems to be a problem when shooting in far from ideal situations, it also does not offer the user touch control. It also has 0.85x magnification which is good when composing your shots.
Nikon has included a guide mode feature to help beginners and newbies in photography to better understand and operate this camera, know how the camera works. Also to make sure the user is not confused, not knowing what to do with a particular button or dial and its functions, there is the ‘?’ button. This button will help to explain the functions of any button or dial. With the help of these buttons and modes, the user is expected to achieve their goals and get the kind of shots they need.
One problem though is that there is no external microphone port as seen on the D3300. The camera now only works with a built-in- monaural microphones. Luckily there is the built-in flash for proper illumination of your photos.
The problem is that the flash seems to fire when it is not needed as it is very sensitive. The best thing to do is to switch to ‘no flash mode found on the control dial. It is also made with an integrated hot shoe to enable an external flash. The HDMI type-C outputs help you connect your camera to HDTV for movie playback, even though an HDMI cable is needed for that. There is also a multi-format memory slot that accepts SD cards and SDHC, SDXC.
Generally, the Nikon D3400 is very good and well supplied with quality and up to date features such as the AF system, video features, and sensor. In comparison with rival cameras like the EOS Rebel T6 (EOS 1300 D), we were able to infer it was even better.
Body and Handling:
D3400 is well compacted, small and lightweight and built with a polycarbonate construction. Its design is similar to the D3300 and Nikon has followed it up with the same design when producing theD3500. Nikon has always followed a similar path of a previous camera, using it to produce a new camera. Hence such has been done with the D3400.
For better handling, nice touch and feel quality, there is a textured rubber coating on the camera grip. The camera grip is also deep to ensure a better hold of the camera. There is also a space near the camera rear with the same rubber coating where you could rest your thumb.
This space has a dial for changing settings, especially when shooting in different modes like the aperture and manual modes.
In terms of weight, D3400 is lighter than the D3300 and some other cameras though the difference is small. This camera is very light, one of the lightest DSLR. You don’t really need to worry while using it for long hours. It weighs 395g but comes with a battery and 18-55mm kit lens usually extended before usage.
The mode dial for different shooting modes is rotated and easily gripped due to its largeness. The exposure compensation button is for toggling the rear control dial, especially when changing aperture. There are many options for the beginner. These dials are very good for beginners, though not compared with higher-end DSLRs.
The buttons on the camera are well noted, like the shutter button is located on the top of the camera, at the normal position of your finger. There are other buttons such as the Auto mode button, P.A.S.M (this is better uses as you advance in photography). The guide mode helps the user better understand the operations of this camera. The Effect mode helps to add effects and styles, filters to your images. This should be very appealing to photographers.
There is also the Fn button which is beside the lens mount. It is used in place of the main control for ISO. On a closer look, you would find out these buttons are properly grouped, with most buttons for changing settings at the right, while most menu buttons are at the left.
See also: Nikon D800
Nikon D3400 has an 11-point AF system with a single central cross-type AF point. As is seen on most APS-C cameras, the 11-point Multi-CAM 1000 AF of this camera covers much of the frame.
The 11-point is centered at the middle of every scene and environment. There is usually the need for the user to focus and recompose. You do this by simply pressing the shutter release button slightly.
The AF is very quick and speedy. It quickly locks focus very fast and keeps track of a moving subject, but this is reduced in low light and is better in good light situations. It reduces when shooting in live-view. Thanks to the AF assist lamp, the AF performance is not reduced even in low light situations. The AF points are selected using the four-way controller, while you choose your modes.
Performance and Image Quality:
In terms of performance, the D3400 shoots at 5fps burst speed. It lasts 21 JPEG, nine RAW. You are able to capture fast action and sports shots and momentary facial expressions.
With the D3400, you are able to shoot quality images with much detail thanks to the lack of anti-aliasing filter. There is less noise, while the colors are very bright and active, displaying some amount of warmth in different shooting situations. The metering seems stable, it does not overexpose when focusing on a dark subject, but it underexposes in very bright light. Thanks to the exposure compensation button that works with the rear control dial especially when changing aperture, this exposure adjustment is very fast and momentary. It ensures details are not lost in shadows.
See also: Nikon D850 Review
The Auto White Balance of D3400 is good performing better in different conditions. There is an actual improvement in artificial lighting, the camera produces accurate colors with much warmth that are less affected by orange or yellow tinge.
ISO performance is also very good this is reflected in the fact that at ISO25600 the highest, images are still good and OK. Even in low light situations, the ISO performance does not disappoint. Images are found to be at their best at ISO800, ISO1600, and ISO3200. You would hardly detect any tint of noise, while the images are well colored.
Nikon has added the Picture Control Options with many color options. There is also the Flat Option in video recording as a foundation for grading. There is also the Standard mode when shooting all the time. The Vivid mode is suitable for shooting flowers and vegetation.
As the camera comes with an 18-55mm, most beginners are always tempted to settle with this, this will always affect image quality and detail especially when shoot extreme and far distances but the camera will always perform better with good lens like 50mm and good aperture setting. The 18-55mm kit lens will always bring with it chromatic disorders and aberration.
See also: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review
The battery shoots an impressive 1200 shots when fully charged, better than most DSLRs capable of shooting with LCD and EVF. The camera has no Wi-Fi connectivity, but you could transfer images using the Bluetooth SnapBridge system. The Bluetooth LE connectivity works with the SnapBridge app on smartphones and iPhones.
While this camera shoots in Full HD, it does not shoot or record in 4K. It is not recommendable for videography, but it is still good for recording videos. Considering the fact that it was meant for the beginner, you could use it to record some videos. One small advice though is to always enable the manual control to eliminate errors and blur while recording and panning.
Comparison and Verdict:
Nikon has produced a very good camera suitable for beginners and entry-level. They have followed a similar path of the D3300 to produce the D3400 and now recently the D3500. All of them featuring a similar design, small body, and lightweight.
Thanks to the price which has actually dropped, it a great choice and very affordable for beginners. Also thanks to the Guide mode, all possible confusions and lack of knowledge are well clarified, with it you hope to become a better photographer, getting better at photography skills.
Though there are inadequacies in the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity and the fact that it is not touch sensitive, the fixed screen and only a Full HD camera, you have the Bluetooth LE connectivity to successfully transfer images to smartphones. One advice though is that every user should soon start saving towards getting a better lens.
The image quality and video quality is an excellent source of encouragement for beginners, not to mention the improved battery life. With the battery, one need not worry too much especially when working on occasions and programs.
While there’s been a successor and better upgrade in the form of the D3500 and the D5300. Also, Canon’s Canon EOS Rebel T6 and Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D is a worthy mention as competitor, the Nikon D3400 with good resolution and image quality ticks most of the boxes for the entry-level user and is worth its every penny.
Nikon D3400 is sold at $546.95 Amazon.
below is a video review:
A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography