The New Nikon D3400 is a great introduction to the world of DSLR Photography

The Nikon D3400 DSLRNikon’s new D3400 DSLR camera is an entry-level camera aimed at photographers who want to move up from compacts or bridge cameras, and succeeds the impressive D3300. The Nikon D3400 keeps the 24.2 megapixel sensor and superb EXPEED 4 processor and now offers NFC connectivity and a very promising new lens.

The D3400 Is Nikon’s most accessible and cost conscious entry-level DSLR camera. Not the cheapest in its category, it could be argued that it offers the most technologically advanced camera for the price. The most obvious improvements are the addition of built-in NFC (Bluetooth) connectivity so that you can load your pictures onto a mobile device, and then onto a social media platform. There are also some new scene modes and effects. However, the cost has been kept right down, to compete with high end compacts and bridge cameras – and it is clear that their target is enthusiasts who want to expand their photographic boundaries and explore digital SLR cameras.

Watch our Nikon D3400 unboxing video

This Nikon D3400 unboxing video shows you what you get in the box when you buy the Nikon D3400 from a shop or on the internet. The box contains everything you need to start taking pictures straight away apart from a memory card. As well as the Nikon D3400 camera itself, you will get a Nikon strap, the battery and the charger. If you order the kit lens, the new AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, then that comes in the box too.

The new Nikon D3400 is the latest entry-level DSLR camera from Nikon. It has a 24.2 megapixel DX format sensor, which is the biggest in this category. The Nikon D3400 succeeds the D3300, and the main improvements to the D3400 are extended battery life (though that sounds better than it is) and Bluetooth connectivity. Using Bluetooth, the D3400 can connect to a smart phone or tablet,  and allows you to transfer images and so put your photographs onto your social media sites. The Nikon D3400 has a very quick EXPEED 4 processor which has been taken from the D7000 range, 5fps continuous shooting (which is comparable with more expensive DSLR cameras from Nikon), a 3 inch 921k-dot LCD monitor,  full 1080p HD video recording at 60p with autofocus, a superb ISO range of 100-25600 and 11-point diamond autofocus system.

The Nikon D3400 Key Features

24.2-MP DX-format CMOS DX sensor: The sensor in the Nikon D3400 is derived from the  SonyAPS-C CMOS sensor which appeared first in the D7200 and was acclaimed as top in its category. It provides great quality images. 24MP is still the standard to beat in this range of DSLRs and Nikon will probably hold back the larger sensors for their higher range cameras.

D-Movie: Record finely detailed Full HD video clips you’ll want to share. Take advantage of smooth recording (up to 60p at 1080) and a built-in mono microphone.

EXPEED 4: An upgrade from the D3300, Nikon’s fast and powerful image processing engine provides high-speed operation, remarkably clear images with excellent color reproduction, and enhanced movie recording.

High ISO (100 to 25600): This range will easily give most photographers what they need. The processor and sensor make low light images relatively noise free.

11-point AF system: The 11 focus points give the D3400 a solid AF performance, in a diamond pattern in the centre of the frame. It uses Through The Lens.  (TTL) phase detection,  allowing some tracking focus and multi-focusing.

420-pixel RGB metering sensor: Delivers precise metering for exact exposures optimizing auto exposure, auto-focus, and auto white balance. Available options are Matrix metering, Centre-weighted metering and Spot metering.

5 fps continuous shooting: At the upper end of what is available at this level, this means that the Nikon D3400 can easily capture action and sport.

Effects mode: Create distinctive photos and movies with your Nikon D3400 using a range of special effects, including Selective Color and Miniature. The is a wide variety of options. You can view your chosen effect in real time as you shoot.

D-Movie AF modes: Live view auto-focus works as you shoot movie clips. Keep subjects in sharp focus with full-time servo AF (Autofocus) (AF-F). Relax and let the camera keep track of your subject with subject-tracking AF or face-priority AF.

8 Scene Modes: Capture great shots just by selecting the mode that matches the subject or situation you’re shooting. Scene modes optimizes the settings shutter-speed, ISO (film speed), and aperture, which is ideal if you want to quickly capture perfect shots or are new to D-SLR photography. In addition there are 10 special effects modes – all operated from the Mode Dial.

High-resolution LCD: See every detail of your photos and movies thanks to the high-resolution 7.5 cm (3.0-in.), 921k-dot LCD monitor with wide-viewing angle and high contrast ratio. Compose shots or apply special effects with clarity whether you’re shooting indoors or out.

Download our Nikon D3400 Guide

Nikon d3400 guideThis is a great guide to Nikon’s latest DSLR camera. The Nikon D3400 is produced for enthusiasts who want to move up from compact or bridge photography and take more control of their pictures taking. This Guide will explain exactly what the Nikon D3400 has to offer and also compare it with it’s closest rivals. It is Absolutely Free! Just click HERE and download it straight away.

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The full Nikon D3400 review

This Nikon D3400 unboxing video shows you what you get in the box when you buy the Nikon D3400 from a shop or on the internet. The box contains everything you need to start taking pictures straight away apart from a memory card. As well as the Nikon D3400 camera itself, you will get a Nikon strap, the battery and the charger. If you order the kit lens, the new AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, then that comes in the box too.

The Nikon D3400 has plenty going for it, with a solid toughened plastic body, a very good Autofocus system, extended battery life and excellent image quality. It is aimed at people who want to move into DSLR photography from compact or Bridge cameras. It is easy to use in the basic settings with intuitive controls. It gets a little more complicated when wanting to set up the camera for semi-auto or manual use, but produces excellent stills and video. This camera is for people who want to take their photography to the next level. Very compact and lightweight body, superb battery life, good AF performance, very compact and quiet kit lens.

Nikon D3400 build quality

The Nikon D3400 is built with toughened plastic and feels solid and robust in your hand. However it is not weather sealed, which means that you should be careful when using it in very wet or cold weather conditions. The D3400 is one of the smallest DSLR’s you can buy from Nikon and pretty much any company for that matter. Being a very lightweight camera can sometimes mean you’re more inclined to pick it up and take it out with you, rather than being worried that’s it’s going to be too heavy. The lens is the new AF-P which is extremely good. It is very quick autofocus and very quiet – which makes it very good for shooting videos. On the top of the camera right here we’ve got all of the buttons that’ you’d expect to see on a beginner DSLR and also this Mode Dial which allows you to select the mode you want to be in. Of course you’ve got all of the basic beginner modes, like sports and portraits etc, but also aperture, shutter and manual modes for when you want to get a little bit more advanced.

Nikon D3400 LCD screen

The Liveview screen on the back is a 3 inch screen which has 920,000 dots. This gives you a very reliable view of what you will see in the final image or video. Even in bright daylight it was actually pretty easy to see. It is however missing something that I really do like to see and that’s an articulated screen. The screen is ideal if you are moving up from cameras which only shoot through a screen. It is also used for navigating through the menus.

Menus

So let’s quickly talk about the menus on the D3400. If you’ve ever used a Nikon camera before you’ll feel right at home with the menu system. However, it will be a little tricky for new users. There are only 4 menus and that means that each menu has a lot of options. This can be quite confusing. If you switch the dial on the top to Manual Mode, you’ll get a lot more settings that you can change which can be great. A couple of the interesting modes on the dial are “Guide” and ” Effects”. The former is something we’ve been seeing on Nikon’s entry-level model for quite a few generations now, and is indicative of the kind of user the company is targeting with this camera. It helps beginners get to learn and understand how their camera works, and how they can best use the device to get the type of pictures they’re after. The ultimate aim of the mode is that once you’re familiar with what to do, you’ll be able to achieve those shots unaided. The Effects mode is likely to appeal to the Instagram-type generation who want to apply filters and quirky looks to their shots. In this mode, you can choose between “super vivid” or “toy camera” effects.

The Nikon D3400 & NFC

So one of the good things about the Nikon D3400 is NFC connectivity. NFC ( Near Field Communications) is actually a Bluetooth connection and is pretty quick at sending a resized image from your camera to your mobile device, ready to upload to a social media platform. To me this is the perfect camera to have this feature, because it’s targeting a younger generation of users who love to share their photos on instagram and Facebook. It was pretty easy to setup the NFC, but you have to download some software to do it.

Nikon D3400 BURST MODE & AUTOFOCUS

Burst Mode is how fast the camera can take photos in a row per second. The Nikon D3400 pretty good for this level of camera, offering 5 shots per second. Most of the time when you take a photo you’ll only be taking one shot anyway so it won’t make a big difference, but if you want to take some photos at a sports game or of a bird, could be the best DSLR in this category for you. It is not so long ago that 5FPS would have been in the professional cameras, so the D3400 is definitely a good option if you want to give action photography a try. Autofocus in stills mode is actually surprisingly good, it’s snappy and should be fast enough for most situations.

Video

The Nikon D3400 shoots excellent quality video. It can shoot 1080, which is Full HD and can shoot 60 frames per second at that standard. The advantage of 60FPS over 30FPS (which is common in most other cameras in this category) is that the video appears a lot smoother and also, if you want you can slow it down for a slomo effect. Video is where the kit lens really show how good it is. You can shoot video in the auto setting or have full manual control. We are missing a microphone jack though unfortunately, so if you are in need of some better audio, I might advise looking at the D5000 series.

Overall

Despite the D3400 being an “entry-level” camera, it can produce some excellent images – especially once you’ve got to grips with how it works.

Colours are vibrant, without going too far into being unrealistic, with a pleasing amount of warmth under a variety of different shooting conditions. Detail is great, too, perhaps in no small part down to the fact that the camera’s sensor doesn’t have an anti-aliasing filter getting in the way of detail resolution.
Automatic white balance copes well under different conditions, although you may find that images are little more warm when you switch to the cloudy setting when skies are overcast. Under artificial lighting, the camera copes well to produce accurate colours, which aren’t too blighted by a yellowish or orange tinge that many cameras are often afflicted by. Under general-purpose metering, images are well exposed. You may find you need to dial in some exposure compensation in high-contrast settings to ensure details aren’t lost in the shadows, but no more so than I’d expect from a camera sensor of this type. Low light, high ISO performance is pleasing. All of the ISOs are usable, even the highest setting of ISO 25600. For best quality, stick to speeds of below ISO 3200. At between ISO 1600-3200 images are great, with very little noise and image smoothing, which is only really apparent if you scrutinise at 100%.

Download our Nikon D3400 Guide

Nikon d3400 guideThis is a great guide to Nikon’s latest DSLR camera. The Nikon D3400 is produced for enthusiasts who want to move up from compact or bridge photography and take more control of their pictures taking. This Guide will explain exactly what the Nikon D3400 has to offer and also compare it with it’s closest rivals. It is Absolutely Free! Just click HERE and download it straight away.

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How to set up your Nikon D3400

1) Charge your battery

It is always better to fully charge your battery before you start to use it for the first time. It will be tempting to put the battery in and take advantage of whatever charge is in it, but in our experience it is better for the long-term performance of the battery if you charge the battery to full and use it down to zero. You can check the battery’s charge level by checking the battery indicator, bottom left of the LCD screen, when you switch on the camera. Also, it is wise to use a Nikon battery as opposed to a generic battery. Sometimes the generic batteries are not recognized by the camera or accessories. At room temperature a full battery recharge will take about two hours. Always switch off the camera before removing the battery.

2) Attach your lens

The lens should be an AF-S or the new AF-P lens for you to get the most out of the camera functionality.

3) Insert the memory card

Suitable memory cards are: SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. Make sure that the card’s write-protect switch is set to enable writing and erasing. The Memory card is inserted in the chamber on the grip-side of the camera. Do not force it.

4) Turn on the camera

Using the on/off switch.

5) Select your language, time zone and date

The first time your Nikon D3400 is switched on, the screen will ask you to set the date (and format), timezone and language. The date and time information will be added to the metadata for each image that you shoot. You change these details by using the crosskeys and pressing set, when completed. If you can be bothered, you can go in and change this information if you move to a different time zone.

6) Format your memory card

Obviously, we recommend that you get the best memory card that you can, particularly if you intend to shoot much video. SDHC cards tend to be faster and more reliable, and professionals tend to use SanDisk cards because of their lifetime warranty. We always recommend that you format your card before you start to use it. Put your card into your Nikon D3400 and select Format Memory Card in the Set Up Menu. The camera will warn you that all data will be lost (and everything, even protected images and movies will be lost if you select this). Select Yes, then press OK. Personally, I would format my card after every full use (i.e. after I have done a shoot and uploaded my images or movies to a hard drive).

7) Adjust the viewfinder to your eyesight

Use the dial which is above right of the viewfinder eyepiece to change the focus of the viewfinder. Remember, this does not affect the focus of the lens or the camera, just you. This is particularly useful if you wear glasses when using a camera. Make sure that the lens cap is off. Direct the camera at something light colored and look through the viewfinder to see the thin black lines that show the camera’s Autofocus area. Check out the data information at the bottom of the screen. Turn the Dioptric adjuster until the lines and the data look sharp. Obviously this can be changed at any time.

8) Set your Auto Off Timer setting

There is nothing more irritating than the camera switching itself off after only a few seconds. Whilst it helps to save battery life, it can interrupt your train of thought and slow you down. You can change the length of time it takes for the camera to turn off. Go to the Set Up Menu and select Auto Off Timers. Choose the Custom option to select what is best for you.

9) Adjust the LCD monitor brightness

Go to the Set Up Menu and choose Monitor Brightness. Then use the crosskeys to adjust the brightness. Press set to complete. The optimum setting for checking exposure on the LCD is 0.

10) Set your ISO

ISO manages the sensitivity of you sensor to the light coming into the camera. The Nikon D3400 will be on AUTO ISO setting to begin with, which is very convenient in most cases. However, you will want to control this at some point, not least because the ISO setting has a direct impact on the quality of your image. It is easy to control the ISO by using i Button. But for the i Button to work, you need to switch the Auto ISO option off. Go to the Shooting Menu and select ISO Sensitivity Settings, then switch Auto ISO Sensitivity OFF.  The ISO will still be automatic in the Basic Modes, but will now be able to control it in the M, A, S and P Modes. As a rule of thumb, ISO 100-400 is suitable for sunny/bright light, ISO 400-1600 for overcast/dusk, ISO 1600-6400 for low light/night-time shots. I would advise not to go beyond ISO 800 under normal circumstances – usually you can change the shutter speed or aperture to keep the ISO down. If in doubt, take the shot and check the exposure on the LCD screen for a rough guide.

11) Set JPEG quality

Using JPEG compression means that you will lose some degree of quality in your image immediately. However In most cases it is not noticeable and the space saving advantage is overwhelming. First go to Shooting Tab 1 and select Image Quality. We recommend that you choose the best quality and Jpeg compression. Go to The Shooting menu and choose Image Quality, then select Jpeg fine. Whilst this JPEG setting takes up the most memory on your card, it keeps as much information as possible and so helps you to produce the best image outcome. If you don’t want to lose any quality, you can save your images as RAW files, or both RAW and JPEG.

12) Learn how to read the information in your playback options.

When you have taken your photos, you can learn an enormous mount about them by using the review options. The basic information will tell you the shutter speed, f-number and exposure rating if it has been adjusted. However, press the crosskeys and you will also be given ISO, file size, metering, shutter and histogram information. The RGB Histogram setting splits the image into its constituent colors, Red, Green and Blue so that you can see the color density. To select what you want to see, go to the Playback Menu and then Playback Display Options. I recommend you choose RGB Histogram, Shooting Data and Overview.

13) Setting white balance

Our eyes are so attuned to our light sources that we rarely notice the differences between them. However your camera is far more objective and you will find that ambient light that you thought was white will have green or orange color casts that effect the quality of your images. The Nikon D3400 has a good auto option. To change white balance, go to the Shooting Menu and choose White Balance. You will then be presented with options, which can be navigated via the crosskeys or the Dial Mode. You can also change the white balance using the i Button.

Download our Nikon D3400 Guide

Nikon d3400 guideThis is a great guide to Nikon’s latest DSLR camera. The Nikon D3400 is produced for enthusiasts who want to move up from compact or bridge photography and take more control of their pictures taking. This Guide will explain exactly what the Nikon D3400 has to offer and also compare it with it’s closest rivals. It is Absolutely Free! Just click HERE and download it straight away.

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The Modes and Effects on The Nikon D3400

Auto Mode: This Mode is the basic point-and-shoot mode that will automatically choose the best aperture, ISO and shutter-speed for the job in hand.

Auto Mode No Flash: If the flash is not wanted, turn the dial one more click and the camera will shoot automatically without flash. Shooting without flash can slow down shutter speed and lose detail in dark conditions.

Portrait Mode: This Auto Mode can be used for taking portraits. The camera will prioritize skin tones. It will be shot will a shallow depth of field (wide aperture) to make the in-focus subject stand out more.

Landscape Mode: This Auto Mode slows down the shutter speed to give more depth of field and greater detail in your shots. Landscape mode will turn off the flash and so this mode should ideally be used with a tripod. The camera will try to boost greens and blues in the image and boosts the sharpness during processing. It tries to get down to the lowest ISO to give you maximum detail.

Child Mode: This Auto Mode is great for intimate lively snapshots. Consider it a combination of portrait mode and sports mode. It will try to boost vivid colors.

Sports Mode: This switches the camera to a higher ISO and a fast shutter speed to capture the action. It also switches off the pop up flash.  It will switch the focus mode to dynamic and widen the aperture. Be aware of noise, though, which can slip in to your images when you shoot at high ISO.

Close up Mode: As the name suggests this is ideal for close up photography though a macro lens will give you more scope in this area. Again this should be used with a tripod. The camera will keep the aperture small, but try to maintain a high shutter speed. It will achieve this by using the flash or raising the ISO.

Night Portrait addresses the problem of photographing a subject in relative darkness. The usual result is an overexposed face with the background lost – and so no context. This mode slows the shutter speed to give you more background and less overexposure of the subject in the foreground.

The Effects Modes

Effects Mode: This mode allows you to change the style of the image and can be quite a fun feature. To navigate these Effects, turn the Mode Dial to Effects and then use the command dial to change. The effect the camera is in will always shown in the top left hand corner of the Live-view screen. Effects available are: Night vision; Super Vivid; Pop; photo illustration; Toy Camera; Miniature effect; Selective color; Silhouette; High key, Low key.

Night Vision shoots BW images with high ISO, so it can appear grainy. The Auto-focus does work though you may prefer to use manual as the AF assist illuminator is switched off along with the flash.

Super Vivid really pumps up the saturation and contrast to give you a surreal, bright vibrant picture.

Pop increases the saturation for a bolder image.

Photo illustration makes it look like a drawing by emphasizing the lines and flattening the texture in the colors. Actually this is a really interesting effect, which can be enhanced in liveview before you take the picture. You can effectively shoot your own comic book. If you use this effect in video mode, it will playback as a series of stills.

Toy Camera Effect makes the photograph look like it was taken with a cheap toy camera with a plastic lens. Expect poor quality color reproduction and vignetting.

Miniature Effect When used at some distance from the subject and at an angle, this effect makes the subject seem like a model or toy. It is quite a dramatic effect. It can also be used during Movie Mode where it produces a silent high speed video, compressing the film by about 15 – 1 (fifteen minutes down to one minute).

Selective Color, (or Schindler effect after the girl in the red coat in Schindler’s list) This makes the whole picture monochrome except for your selected colors which then stand out more. The flash is turned off for this, so a tripod is often recommended. This can be enhanced in liveview before the shot is taken.

Silhouette – Shoots so that the foreground is silhouetted against the background. The flash is turned off so a tripod is recommended.

High Key Reduces shadows and emphasizes the light available. A good example would be shooting a blonde model against a white background.

Low Key Is the opposite of High Key, it increases shadow, reduces the light sources with just the extreme highlights. No Flash, so a tripod is recommended.

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