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Nikon D3400 Review
Welcome to my Nikon D3400 review. When I first set off traveling, rather foolishly, I overlooked the importance of taking a quality camera. All the places that I missed on gettin good, vibrant, pin-sharp photos still haunts me to this very day. All I had was my Iphone 5s. Yeah the photos might look alright on that tiny screen but bang them on a laptop with a bigger screen and all you can see are pixels. It simply couldn’t do justice to the places/things I’ve seen.
This prompted me to invest in a good DSLR and never waste those once in a lifetime photo opportunities again. After looking around the net for nearly a month, reading numerous data sheets, comparisons and reviews, the one that always stood out from the rest was always the Nikon D3400.
After using the D3400 and loving the ease of which the aspiring photographer (me), with just a few days of practice and a few setting changes, can create some truly magnificent photos. I thought it would be rude not to review this quality bit of kit and spread the word, so here it is… My Nikon D3400 review.
So where does the Nikon D3400 fit into the market?
As soon as you start the search for a new camera, you’ll quickly figure out that the cost can vary massively from, say £80 for your standard point and shoot, right up to paparazzi machine at around £10k. Then there’s the lenses, 5 figures if you want the best!
Anyways, back to the D3400. The Nikon D3400 is what the professional photographers would call “an entry level DSLR” while, people who just appreciate a nice tack-sharp photo would say “a briliant camera”.
Aimed at the novice/hobby photographer, the Nikon D3400 offers many traits that constitute the basis of a very capable piece of equipment without all the complex extras of a £5k camera, of which most people would never use.
In a nutshell, my honest opinion is that the D3400 is possibly the best camera on the market for less than £500.
Features and specifications of the Nikon D3400.
- 24.2MP: 24.2 million effective pixels mean images stay just as sharp when enlarged. One of the class leaders.
- ISO sensitivity: ISO 100-25,600 means that the sensor is highly sensitive for taking photos in darker condition.
- Continuous shooting: Will continually 5fps (frames per second) at full resolution.
- 3″ monitor: Plenty big enough to view and edit snap-shots. 921,000 dots in total.
- Full HD movie recording: Records at full HD 1920×1080 at 60fps.
- Long battery life: The EN-EL 14A Lithium-ion battery is class leading, allowing you to take up to 1200 shots on a single charge.
- Low weight: At 395g (camera body only) the D3400 is a pleasently light camera.
- Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G vr lens: The kit lens that comes with the D3400 is a great all-rounder, with selectable auto/manual focus. Also has Nikon’s “VR” anti-vibration technology built in.
- Snap-bridge technology: Nikon’s snap-bridge technology enables you to share photos instantly from camera to smartphone/laptop via a free to download app.
- Expeed 4 image processor: Gives more control over image shooting perameters, deeper blacks, better colour tone and less noise.
- 11 point auto-focus: Extremely fast to help with focusing on a moving target.
- Nikon “F” mount lens: Using Nikon’s F mount gives you the oppertunity to purchase and utilise over 50 different lenses.
Setting up your Nikon D3400.
After getting my D3400, I was all too eager to get out and get snapping. I plotted a route through a park and around some waterways, blasted about 300 photos in no time. Only to return home (with still a full battery), put the SD card in my laptop and if I’m honest, be a little disappointed.
Having used my friends Nikon D3200 (2 generations older) in the past I knew that my “washed out” photos just weren’t right.
Back to trawling the net, looking for advice from any Nikon D3400 review!
After changing the settings numourous times in trial and error/reading other peoples prefered settings, I’ve come up with some general settings that I feel make more vibrant/sharp photos:
Turn the selector dial to M and hit the menu button, then the camera icon (shooting menu) and then working through the menus, enter these settings:
Image quality: JPEG Basic – The other choices use a lot more memory but the photos come out looking pretty much the same. (Use RAW if you require uploading them to a photo editing suit as this will give you more control over the images).
Image size: I go with large – Its really your own preference, large takes photo at 24MP medium at 13.5MP and small at 6MP.
ISO sensitivity: This controls how sensitive the light sensor is. The lower lighting conditions require a higher ISO. If the ISO gets too high, you’ll start to see what is called “noise”. Or a slightly fuzzy photo to you and me.
- I set the ISO sensitivity to 100.
- Auto ISO sensitivity control: ON – Darker it gets the camera will automatically turn up the ISO setting.
- Maximum sensitivity: 6400 – As stated earlier if the ISO goes too high, the images will suffer from excess noise. To counteract this put the m aximum setting in at 6400. Once it gets so dark the camera reaches 6400, from then on it will start to use a slower shutter speed to let more light in.
Minimum shutter speed: 1/125 – The slowest shutter speed the D3400 will use before it starts turning up the ISO sensitivity. If the shutter speed is too slow you’ll get a fair bit of motion blur, well unless you’re using a solid tripod.
White balance: Auto – The D3400 is pretty good at gettin the white balance correct, so let it do its thing!
Set picture control: Go to vivid – Set sharpening to 4, clarity to +2 and saturation to +1. Hit OK to save. * Vivid really brings out the vibrancy of colour but you may find it overwhelming if photographing people so you may want to take it back neutral.
Colour space: leave on sRGB
Active D lighting: Leave on – Makes images come to life by adding highlights and shadow detail.
Noise reduction: Leave it on.
Vignette control: Leave it on normal.
Focus mode: AF-A
AF-area mode: I prefer single point AF
Optical VR: Leave it on – It’s pretty good at reducing motion blur.
Movie settings: I change down to 1280×720 and 60fps for a smaller file size. 1920×1080 at 60fps just chews up your memory card.
That’s it! They are my prefered Nikon D3400 settings. Although different environmentss/subjects require slightly different settings, I have found those to be good alrounders.
*Note: These settings only have any control over the M,A,S,P on the selector wheel.
I don’t fancy the D3400, what are my options?
During my search for the best DSLR in the sub £500 market, there was only really one competitor to the Nikon D3400 and that was the Canon EOS 1300D. Both were of similar price and roughly the same spec so let’s have a compare:
What extras may I need?
As with most DSLR’s these days, buying the camera is only part of the job. the other bits of kit to consider are:
32GB 80mb/s SD memory card: Pretty much all cameras come without a memory card, so you’ll have to add that onto the price. It’s recommended that you buy one that has a write speed of at least 60mb/s otherwise if you start shooting at 5fps of FINE JPEGS your internal buffer memory will get backed up and shooting will dramatically slow down.
Lowepro Nova 140 AW: Having a camera bag is not an absolut nessesity but with a DSLR you need to transport a fair bit of gubbins around with you. I.e lens cap, body cap, spare battery, charger and larger lens. The Nova 140 AW is small and compact but will swollow the above with ease. It even has a hidden waterproof cover, should the heavens open mid shoot.
Nikon Nikkor 55-200mm lens: The 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the D3400 is a great lens for fairly close range shots but for wildlife you’ll need a little more reach, this is where the 55-200mm comes in. This lens still lets you snap away at close range but also at a fair distance.
Nikon D3400 for dummies guide: Well does what it says on the tin.
Nikon D3400 bundle: If you’re the type of person that wants all the gear straight off the bat, then maybe a bundle is for you.
What other buyers have said about the Nikon D3400…
The Nikon D3400 review on Amazon is VERY positive, with an average score of 4.6 stars out of 5 from 425 reviews. However some buyers did find one or two little niggles with the D3400:
Janine said: “I do give it 4 stars as that Nikon took away the microphone port.”
On the other hand, 324 out of the 425 buyers gave the Nikon D3400 5 out of 5 stars:
Nate said: “I’ve shot on tons of different cameras in the years I’ve been doing photography, and this one is right up there with some of the best” and Jefery L Mabe said: “This is a fantastic entry level camera that is capable of taking some AMAZING photos!”
If you’re looking to get into photography or just a good quality, well built camera to take pictures of the kids as they grow then look no further, for the money, you just can’t beat the Nikon D3400. In my opinion the best DSLR in its price range.
Also, check out my action camera review.
So there you have it my Nikon D3400 review!! Thanks for reading!