Nikon D3400

5 FPS, 24MP DX, 1080p Stereo

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

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Nikon D3400

Nikon D3400 (15.6 oz./442g with battery and card) and included 18-55mm VR AF-P (about $497 with lens) bigger. It comes complete with lens at Adorama, also in red. You also can get it at B&H, also in red, at Amazon in all forms and at Crutchfield in all forms. It also comes as a kit with both the new 18-55mm VR AF-P and new 70-300mm DX AF-P lenses at Adorama and at B&H.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Nikon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

March 2017   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Flash   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews

Ken Rockwell's Nikon D3400 User's Guide

 

Nikon D3400

Top, Nikon D3400. bigger.

 

Nikon D3400

Rear, Nikon D3400. bigger.

 

Nikon D3400

Nikon D3400. bigger.

 

Sample Images

(more at High ISOs and throughout the review)

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Crazy Chairs

Crazy Chairs, March 2017. Nikon D3400, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 18mm at f/4 at 1/60 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear. bigger or camera-original file.

 

Skylight, Scripps Memorial

Skylight, March 2017. Nikon D3400, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 32mm at f/9 at 1/320 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original file.

 

Brick and Sky, Scripps Memorial

Bricks against the Sky, March 2017. Nikon D3400, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 48mm at f/0 at 1/320 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original file.

 

Stairway to Hell, Scripps Memorial

Stairway to Hell, March 2017. Nikon D3400, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 28mm at f/4.2 at 1/50 at Auto ISO 1,100, Perfectly Clear. bigger or full-resolution file.

 

Introduction

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

New   Good   Bad   Missing

Adorama Pays Top Dollar for Used Gear

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Crutchfield

I buy only from these approved sources. I can't vouch for ads below.

The Nikon D3400 is a fantastic little DSLR. It is Nikon's most advanced inexpensive super-compact DSLR ever, replacing the previous D3300. The D3400 adds a new Bluetooth system to let its images load automatically and continuously to your phone.

The D3400 includes the superb 18-55mm VR AF-P lens as shown.

The D3400 is the lightest Nikon 35mm or digital SLR of all time at just 15.6 oz. (442g) with battery and SD card.

The Nikon D3400 packs ultra-high image quality into a small and light package that you'll want to carry everywhere.

The D3400 weighs about as little as a LEICA screw-mount camera, and makes LEICA's M cameras feel like pigs by comparison.

The D3400 is also very quiet and refined, a huge bonus compared to Nikon's pro cameras when shooting candidly.

While not as fast or as distracting as Nikon's professional cameras, the D3400 has more resolution than any Nikon professional DSLR ever! The D3400 has 24 MP compared to the $6,500 Nikon D5's mere 20 MP. (The D810 has more pixels, but is a consumer camera.)

The D3400 has the same 24 MP resolution and 5 FPS frame rate of the $6,500 LEICA M10 in a much smaller and more flexible package.

The Nikon D3400 is a wonderful camera for anything.

The D3400 has more than enough speed for chasing kids, school sports and theatre, and far more pixels than anyone will ever need.

You need a real DSLR like this to capture photos of motion, sports, kids and action. Smaller non-DSLR cameras like mirrorless, micro 4/3, cell phones and point-and-shoots just can't focus as fast to follow all the action.

The D3400 is for people who want great pictures. More expensive cameras are for people who want fancier cameras.

While I cover all the more expensive Nikons which are of interest to hard-core photographers, when my normal friends ask what camera to get, it's always this inexpensive D3400 or the older, less expensive and almost identical D3300. The only reason I often shoot fancier cameras is that I have to go into menus to set the advanced features of the D3400, while my bigger cameras usually have dedicated knobs or buttons to let me make those adjustments more quickly. No worries, most people don't even know what these adjustments do, which is why the D3400 does away with the extra buttons to save us all money — and all the features are still there in the menu system.

 

New since the D3300

● New standard 18-55mm VR AF-P kit lens focuses instantly and silently under all conditions, a huge improvement over the old, slow 18-55 VR II standard with the USA version D3300.

● Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Nikon Snapbridge app to keep the camera connected to your phone continuously for automatic picture transfers.

● ISO 100 ~ 25,600. (D3300 stopped at ISO 12,800 in normal modes.)

● Adds Vignette Control to prevent dark corners.

Retouched images are now saved with the same selected prefix as the original image, not CSC as in the D3300, but there is no more Color Balance retouch feature.

● Adds the option to set custom file names. I set my files to be D34_1234.JPG instead of the default DSC_1234.JPG. You can set the first three characters to taste.

● Rated 1,200 shots per charge, up from 700 in D3300 — but that's because:

● Only half the built-in flash power of the D3300 . Since CIPA battery life is rated with the flash firing half the time at full power, the weak flash of the D3400 uses much less battery power. The battery itself and actual battery life will be the same as the D3300 in real shooting since the flash fires at whatever power is needed for the correct exposure. No problem, the D3400's built-in flash works great!

● No sensor cleaner (D3300 and every other current Nikon DSLR has this).

● No accessory terminal for use with GPS or wired remote controls (D3300 has this).

● No Mic input socket (D3300 has this).

● No analog video or audio outputs. (D3300 has this).

● No standard-definition video recording options. (D3300 has this).

● No longer compatible with any lens with an aperture ring, even if it's AF-S. (D3300 worked with AF-S and AF-I lenses with aperture rings).

● No more Panorama Mode (D3300 has this).

● 0.425 oz. (12g) lighter than the D3300.

● Time lag until scrolling starts during zoomed playback with the directional control held down improved from the too-long delay in the D3300.

 

Good

● Small and light — as small and light as a mirrorless for a lot less money with even better performance!

● Extremely high image performance.

● Fast.

● Very quiet.

● Low price.

 

Bad

● Nothing, really. For the price it's an absolutely fantastic camera for every kind of shooting, and Nikon's lightest SLR or DSLR ever.

 

Missing

● Built-in flash only half as powerful as other cameras or the older D3300 — but the D3400's built-in flash still works great!

● No accessory terminal for use with GPS or wired remote controls (D3300 has this).

● No Mic input socket (D3300 has this).

● No analog video or audio outputs. (D3300 has this).

● No standard-definition video recording options. (D3300 has this).

● No more Panorama Mode (D3300 has this).

● No sensor cleaner (D3300 and every other current Nikon DSLR has this).

● No longer compatible with any lens with an aperture ring, even if it's AF-S. (D3300 worked with AF-S and AF-I lenses with aperture rings).

● No GPS.

● No WiFi; uses Bluetooth to send images to your phone.

Among the ways Nikon saves costs to keep the price down is to minimize the number of buttons that most D3400 users would never use anyway. Compared to a professional $6,500 Nikon D5, the things Nikon took off to save money are:

● No one-click playback zoom (pressing (+) only zooms in a little, not all the way).

● No depth-of-field preview button.

● No 3 FPS CL mode; only runs at 5 FPS in Continuous advance mode.

● No voice notes (used by reporters to record spoken notes with the images)

● No battery percentage number, just a three-bar battery icon.

● No auto LCD brightness control, missing in most other Nikons, too.

● No easy way to set Auto ISO ON/OFF or image size etc. directly; you have to stop and look at the menus or control panels.

● The D3400's built-in flash can't work as a commander for wireless flash, but the D5 doesn't even have a flash.

● No automatic exposure bracketing (simply use the Exposure Compensation control and make sequential shots yourself).

● No HDR or multiple exposure modes, thank goodness.

● There is a Recent Settings Menu, but it doesn't have the programmable My Menu option.

● No second memory card slot.

For $6,000 less than the D5, I think I'll live, and the D3400 comes with a lens included and has a built-in flash sorely lacking in the D5. Neither the D5 nor the D3400 has Wi-Fi or GPS, thank goodness.

Ryan Hacking

Paella at the Farmer's Market, 13 March 2017. (Nikon D3400, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 31mm at f/7.1 at 1/50 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full resolution.

 

Lens Compatibility

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Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Nikon D3400

Lens mount, Nikon D3400. bigger.

Autofocus works great with modern AF-P and AF-S lenses, but only if they have no aperture ring (are "G" type).

The D3400 does not work well with manual focus lenses or any AF lens with an aperture ring. If a lens has an aperture ring, the D3400 will not be able to autofocus (turn the focus ring manually and look for the green OK dot on the lower left of the finder), and it will not be able to meter or set exposure (use Manual exposure and pray).

It works great with all kinds of lens diaphragms, both traditional and the new E-diaphragms.

More at Nikon Lens Compatibility.

 

Specifications

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Image Sensor

24 MP.

15.6 × 23.5 mm DX.

1.5:1 aspect ratio.

1.52× crop factor.

No sensor cleaner.

 

White Balance

Auto, incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual, all except preset manual with fine-tuning.

 

Image Sizes

6,000 × 4,000 pixels native (LARGE, 24MP).

4,496 x 3,000 (MEDIUM, 13.5MP).

2,992 x 2,000 (SMALL, 6MP).

No crop modes.

 

ISO

ISO 100 ~ 25,600 and Auto ISO.

No push or pull Hi+ or Lo- modes, just plain and simple ISO 100 ~ 25,600.

 

Active D-Lighting

 

Still Formats

JPG and/or compressed 12-bit NEF (RAW)

sRGB and Adobe RGB.

 

Video

Frame Sizes and Rates

1,920 x 1,080 at 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25 or 23.976 FPS.

1,280 x 720 at 59.94 or 50 FPS.

 

Movie File Format & Coding

.MOV containing H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding video and linear PCM audio.

 

Longest Take Duration

29:59 at normal quality, 20 minutes at High quality.

 

Audio

Recorded only along with video.

Mono microphone built in.

No mic-in socket.

 

Autofocus

11 Points.

Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection.

Rated to work from LV -1 to +19.

AF-Assist light rated to help from 1.5~12 feet (0.5 to 3 m).

 

Finder

Lightweight pentamirror.

95% coverage.

0.85x magnification with 50mm lens (smaller than FX cameras because it's 80% of a smaller area).

18 mm eyepoint.

-1.7 to + 0.5 diopters.

Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VII screen.

 

Shutter

Vertical metal focal-plane.

1/4,000 ~ 30 seconds in third-stop steps.

Bulb.

Time exposures with optional ML-L3 remote control.

Front and rear receivers for use with the optional ML-L3 remote control.

Flash Sync: 1/200.

Self timer: 2, 5, 10, 20 seconds with 1 to 9 exposures

 

Frame Rates

5 FPS, in manual focus and at 1/250 second or faster.

Slower shutter speeds or expecting autofocus to focus for each frame will slow it down.

 

Flash

1/200 sync speed.

i-TTL and CLS compatible.

 

Built-in Flash

Yes, pops up.

GN 22'/7m (26'/8m in manual mode) at ISO 100. (The D3300 and most other cameras are a stop better, rated GN 39/12).

Does not control wireless flash, you'll have to buy the SU-800 to work as commander.

 

External Flash

Dedicated ISO 518 hot-shoe with sync and data contacts and safety lock.

No Prontor-Compur (PC) terminal; use the built-in flash to trigger your slaves or use an AS-15 hot-shoe adapter for corded sync.

 

Light Meter

3D Color Matrix Meter II, 420 RGB pixels.

8mm center-weighted.

3.5mm spot on any of the 11 AF points.

i-TTL flash metering for use with SB-5000, SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB-500, SB-400 and SB-300.

Meter Range: LV 0~20 (spot meter: LV 2~20).

 

Live View

Single-servo AF (AF-S); full-time-servo AF (AF-F) and Manual focus (MF)

Face-priority AF, Wide-area AF, Normal-area AF and Subject-tracking AF.

Contrast-detect AF anywhere in frame; the D3400 selects the focus point automatically when face-priority AF or subject-tracking AF is selected.

 

LCD Monitor

3" (76 mm) diagonal.

921,000 dots VGA.

170º viewing angle.

Does not swivel.

 

Connectors

Type C mini-pin HDMI.

USB.

 

Bluetooth

v 4.1.

Rated 32 ft/10m range, line of sight.

 

Storage

One SD, SDHC or SDXC card.

 

Power & Battery

Rated 1,200 shots, no bluetooth, CIPA (every other shot made with full-power flash).

EN-EL14a rechargeable Li-ion battery: 7.2V 1,230 mAh, 8.9 Wh.

This is the same battery and charger as the D3300, D5500, D5300 and D5200 and is similar to the EN-EL14 of the D5200, D5100, D3100 and P7000.

 

Nikon EN-EL14a

EN-EL14a battery. bigger.

 

MH 24 Charger

Nikon folding-plug MH-24 charger. enlarge.

The MH-24 charger has a folding unpolarized USA plug, as a charger should. It's much better than the clumsy abortions like the MH-25 we use with the D810 and D610 etc.

Optional EH-5b AC Adapter, which also needs an EP-5A Power Connector.

 

Size

3.9 x 4.9 x 3.0 inches HWD

98 x 124 x 75.5 millimeters HWD.

 

Weight

15.580 oz. (441.7 g) with battery and card, actual measured.

Rated 15.7 oz. (445 g) with battery and card.

Rated 14 oz. (395 g) stripped.

 

Environment

Operating

0 ~ 40º C (32 ~ 104º F).

Up to 85 % RH.

 

Quality

Nikon D3400

Bottom, Nikon D3400. bigger.

Made in Thailand.

 

Included

Nikon D3400

Box end, Nikon D3400. bigger.

D3400 with BF-1B Body Cap.

EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery with terminal cover.

MH-24 Battery Charger.

DK-25 Rubber Eyecup.

AN-DC3 Camera Strap.

 

Announced

Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 12:01 AM NYC time.

 

Promised for

Early September 2016.

 

Price, USA

March 2017

$497 with 18-55mm VR AF-P lens.

$597 as a kit with both the new 18-55mm VR AF-P and new 70-300mm DX AF-P lenses.

 

August 2016

$647 with 18-55mm VR AF-P lens.

$997 as a kit with both the new 18-55mm VR AF-P and new 70-300mm DX AF-P lenses.

Nikon D3400

Box, Nikon D3400. bigger.

 

Getting a Legal USA Version

(for USA only)

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Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

A legal USA version has a warranty card from Nikon USA with a serial number that matches the serial number on the sticker on the bottom of your camera:

Nikon D3400 USA Warranty Card

USA warranty card, Nikon D3400. bigger.

If you got a kit with a lens or lenses, there should be another card for each lens, also with a matching serial number.

The serial number on the card must match the serial number of your camera or lens, otherwise you have no warranty for that item. The serial number on the box should also match the serial number on your camera.

In the USA, your box should say "US" after the model number and color code above the UPC code:

Nikon D3400

USA box, Nikon D3400. bigger.

I wouldn't worry too much about the box, but if you don't have cards with matching serial numbers, you got ripped off with a gray market version from another country. This is why I never buy anyplace other than from my personally approved sources. You just can't take the chance of buying elsewhere, especially at any retail store, because non-USA versions have no warranty in the USA, and you won't even be able to get firmware or service for it — even if you're willing to pay out-of-pocket for it when you need it!

If a gray market version saves you $100 it may be worth it, but for $50 or less I wouldn't risk having no warranty or support.

Always be sure to check your box while you can still return it, or just don't buy from unapproved sources or at retail so you'll be able to have your camera serviced and get free updated firmware as needed.

Get yours from the same places I do and you won't have a problem, but if you take the risk of getting yours elsewhere, be sure to check everything while you still can return it.

 

Performance

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Overall   Finder   Autofocus   Image Quality

Exposure   Flash   High ISOs   Auto ISO

Auto Distortion Correction   Ergonomics

Quiet Mode   Movies   Mechanics   Drop Test

Playback   LCD   Power & Battery   Data & Bluetooth

 

Overall

The D3400 works fantastically well. A few years ago a camera this good would have been unimaginable at any price.

The D3400 can make extraordinary images in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, and has loads of internal processing power to accomplish everything it does very quickly. It's ergonomically very well thought out and handles and operates marvelously, and even its LCD is brilliant.

Technically it's unbeaten, and ergonomically it's as good as a camera with as few real buttons in this price range gets.

Used properly, the images look great at any ISO, and auto white balance is wonderful under almost any light.

 

Finder

Performance          top

The D3400's finder is bright and sharp, specially with the slow kit lenses for which it is optimized. It has a very precisely etched screen showing the location of the AF areas, a nice touch.

Better than the D810, the AF zones are indicated with light-up LED spots that don't interfere much with the subject you're trying to see. (The D810 uses ugly, obstructive black LCD squares that turn on and off instead.)

The D3400's matte field won't properly show the restricted depth-of-field with lenses faster than f/4, but that's OK because this is how Nikon got the finder so bright.

The finder certainly isn't as huge as an FX camera or as big as the D7200 because the D3400 uses a hollow, lightweight pentamirror instead of a solid glass pentaprism, which is exactly how I'd want a lightweight camera to work.

Better than the D810, the D3400 shows exposure compensation to thirds of a stop on its in-finder bar graph. The D810 only shows half-stops, so they don't show when you've only got ±0.3 stops compensation set, which the D3300 does!

 

Autofocus

Performance          top

Autofocus is fast, silent and accurate. Of course it's limited by your lens; the included 18-55mm VR AF-P uses new autofocus technology that's as good and fast as Nikon's best lenses ever.

Set to its default AF-A and Auto-Area select modes, the D3400 figures out where and how to focus, and just does it.

It doesn't formally have face recognition, but still does a pretty good job of finding faces and ignoring clutter.

The selected points are shown with little LED dots. They aren't that bright, but bright enough to show us what's going on without distracting us.

The rear selector moves incrementally between AF areas with each click, and a center-push returns to the center AF point.

The D3300 has AF-S (single and lock), AF-C (continuous), and AF-A (automatic selection between the previous two modes) autofocus. This is better than the D5300, D800 and D4, which no longer have the brilliant AF-A mode.

 

Image Quality

Performance          top

Technically, image quality is fantastic.

Color rendition is superb; the D3400 uses all the same picture controls, with matching results, to all the other current Nikon cameras.

Auto White Balance continues to get better with every generation of Nikon camera. With the D3400, AWB usually gets exactly the results I want under any light.

 

Exposure

Performance          top

Exposure is superb.

It's almost always perfect in any light.

 

Flash

Performance          top

The built-in flash is superb. A Nikon hallmark for decades, just pop up the flash and the camera does the rest to get natural, balanced images with expert fill-flash automatically.

Here's a sample. Notice how warm and natural this shot in a dark kitchen looks when shot with flash:

Ryan Hacking

Ryan Hacking, March 2017. Nikon D3400, FLASH ON, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 34mm at f/5 at 1/60 at Auto ISO 900, Perfectly Clear. bigger.

 

Ryan Hacking

Ryan Hacking. Nikon D3400, NO FLASH, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 30mm at f/4.2 at 1/50 at Auto ISO 1,100, Perfectly Clear. bigger.

This second dark shot is how any camera without flash would look. Unless you also use an external flash, this is the best you'd get with the $6,500 Nikon D5 or LEICA M10, which have no built-in flash.

The D3400's built-in flash let you make significantly better pictures than these more expensive cameras in real-world conditions unless you also hauled a big flash with the other cameras.

Lighting is the most important technical aspect of any photo, and with the always-ready built-in flash of the D3400, you'll get better photos than if you just had a more exotic camera without flash.

The color balance of the D3400's flash is also beautiful.

Katie photographs the dogs

Katie photographs Toby; Go Bruins! March 2017. Nikon D3400, flash ON, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 18mm at f/4 at 1/60 at Auto ISO 560, Perfectly Clear. bigger.

 

High ISO Performance

Performance          top

High ISO performance is superb. Bravo!

The D3400 looks great at any ISO; use whatever ISO you need to get a sharp picture.

I let my Auto ISO run all the way up to ISO 25,600.

 

Sample Image Files

Click any for the camera-original © files to explore on your computer; mobile devices rarely show the full resolution files properly.

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

These images look about the same at this web size up to ISO 25,600; the highlights, shadows and colors match very well across the entire ISO spectrum. Some years ago this wasn't possible; higher ISOs on older cameras would look quite different from lower ISOs even at small print sizes. Today, the D3400 looks great even at its maximum ISO 25,600. BRAVO!

As you can see, pretty much any ISO you need will work well for reasonably sized web or print images.

 

Crops from above

These are 600 x 450 pixel crops from the original images above. They will vary in size to fit your browser window; if they are about 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, the complete images would print at 40 x 60" (1 x 1.5 meters) at this same high magnification. if they are about 12" (30cm) wide on your screen, the complete images would print at 80 x 120" (2 x 3 meters) at this same high magnification.

While images at high ISOs look great at reasonable print sizes, the differences are much more obvious at extreme magnifications as shown below; we lose details and subtle textures at higher ISOs. As ISO climbs, we lose grain in the wood, the sparkles in the black wood grain, and everything gets softer. Fireplace bricks inside the grille disappear first on the left then the right, and the dust on grill vanishes.

Click any for the same camera-original © files as above to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely show the full resolution files properly):

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

Nikon D3400 High ISO Sample Image

 

Katie gets braces

Katie checks out her new braces, March 2017. Nikon D3400, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 55mm at f/5.6 at 1/100 at Auto ISO 560, Perfectly Clear. bigger.

 

Katie gets braces

Katie gets braces, March 2017. Nikon D3400, Nikon 18-55mm VR AFP at 55mm at f/5.6 at 1/100 at Auto ISO 1,000, Perfectly Clear. bigger.

 

Auto ISO

Performance          top

Auto ISO works great. When you use this feature (I always do), the D3400 will shoot at your selected ISO, and when the light starts to get dark, will automatically increase its ISO to maintain the slowest shutter speed you've previously programmed.

The D3400 can select the slowest shutter speed based on zoom setting or lens focal length. One cannot select an offset from the auto-selected slowest shutter speed as one can in higher-end cameras, but just like all other Nikons with this feature, you always can set the slowest Auto ISO shutter speed manually wherever you like.

The auto-selected slowest shutter speed isn't smart enough to set itself differently based on whether or not you have VR on or off.

 

Auto Distortion Correction

Performance          top

Better than my Canon 5D Mark III, my Nikon D3400 can correct lens distortion automatically as I shoot, and even better, we never have to load any lens profiles. So long as you're using a compatible lens, you 're good to go right out of the box.

To get this automatic as-you-shoot correction, just set MENU > SHOOTING MENU (camera icon) > Auto distortion control > On. (default is off.)

 

Ergonomics

Performance          top

Nikon does a great job with its inexpensive DSLRs — better than it does with its professional cameras!

Press the exposure compensation button and the rear LCD lights magically so you can see to set it before you bring the camera to your eye. The D3400 even highlights the value to make it obvious.

The PLAY button is still on the wrong side, demanding a second hand to hit PLAY.

With MENU and many other buttons on the left, you'll always need two hands to work the D3400.

Assigning the Fn button to select image size and Quality is pointless because you've got only one dial. Therefore with this option, you have to spin past all the options, and usually will get something wrong. On bigger cameras, this option allows you to use two dials, one for size and one for quality, but with only one dial, forget it.

To set the Fn and other controls, these settings are all hiding at MENU > SETUP (wrench icon) > Buttons.

The Self Timer resets after each shot. You can set it to shoot up to 9 frames each time all by itself, hoping you'll catch at least one shot with everyone's eyes open.

 

Quiet Mode

Performance          top

The D3400 is probably Nikon's quietest camera, even in its normal shooting modes. This is because the D3400 is small and light, so there's less moving around than in bigger Nikons. The D3400 is a great choice when you need to be quiet.

The D3400 is a very quiet and refined camera.

The quiet mode isn't much quieter than the usual modes. All it does is add some the shutter delay and prevent the camera from charging the shutter until after you've removed your finger from the shutter button.

This splits the shutter sound into two parts, presumably so you could hide the camera under a jacket when you take your finger off the button, but in actual use, all it does is make the D3400 work more slowly and make the finder stay black after each photo — and it's not really any quieter than the regular mode.

The good news is that the D3400 is a very quiet camera in its regular mode anyway, much quieter than Nikon's loud professional cameras.

Set the Quiet mode by pressing the bearded rectangle button on the rear bottom right of the D3400, and selecting [Q].

 

Movies

Performance          top

Audio is mono: the built-in mic is mono, and there is no external mic jack.

Autofocus for movies is slow, as are most DSLRs.

Movie AF may be slow, but it doesn't hunt or get lost. It focuses, but slowly, and with the included AFP lens, it's silent.

 

Mechanical Quality

Performance          top

Nikon D3400

Nikon D3400. bigger.

 

Nikon D3400

Bottom, Nikon D3400. bigger.

The D3400 is mostly plastic, with a metal lens mount and tripod socket.

This is perfect: it's light weight, and the durable parts are still metal.

 

Drop Test

Performance          top

I dropped my D3400 and 18-55mm VR AF-P at a random angle from 3 feet (1 meter) onto solid concrete. It bounced.

It's fine and I can't see any marks.

The CF card got jostled and popped halfway out of its slot, so I had a flashing - [ E ] - ? warning in the finder and the camera wouldn't take a picture. When I pressed the ? button as hinted by the finder, the message on the rear LCD told me that I had no SD card. I checked inside the card door, and voilà, the card was half popped-out, so I pushed the card back in and all is fine.

 

Playback

Performance          top

Playback is fast and clear, as we expect from Nikon.

You can activate and deactivate different playback screen options in MENU > Playback > Playback Display Options

The Play and Zoom (+) and (-) buttons are on the wrong (left) side, requiring a second hand to control.

If you zoom-in with the YRGB histogram screen active, the histogram shows the values only for the area to which you've zoomed.

 

LCD

Performance          top

The D3400 has a superb LCD. It's fixed; it doesn't move or swivel.

The D3400's LCD is big, bright, sharp and color-accurate. You couldn't really put a bigger or better screen on a camera this small.

The LCD is covered with uncoated clear plastic, not heavy anti-reflection coated glass as on some much fancier cameras.

I love the LCD of my D3400!

 

Power and Battery

Performance          top

The USA MH-24 charger has a folding plug for travel.

The light blinks amber while charging, and is steady when done.

Unlike fancier cameras, the battery gauge is only a 3-segment indicator that gives not much warning when the battery gets low.

Like most DSLRs, the battery lasts forever. I can go weeks without charging. The biggest worry you should have is being lulled into forgetting to bring your charger on a long trip!

 

Data

Performance          top

When formatted, cards are correctly titled "NIKON D3400."

The first folder is titled "100D3400."

SMALL BASIC JPG files (2,992 x 2,000 pixels), the way I shoot my D3400, have a median file size of 1 MB, and can be printed at any size. Depending on the subject, they'll range from about 600kB to 1.2 MB.

LARGE BASIC JPG files (6,000x 4,000 pixels) have a median size of about 2.6 MB, ranging from 1.2 to 3.9 MB.

 

Bluetooth & the Snapbridge app

The Snapbridge app was the fastest and easiest image-transfer app to load and connect on my iPhone 7 Plus. Astoundingly it did actually capture my D3400 shots in my iPhone's camera roll all by itself.

Sadly the files placed in my iPhone's Camera Roll have randomly generated file names, making it impossible to sort them out later.

Worse, the whole thing stopped working after the first try, and never worked again, so I gave up. If I want a photo in my iPhone to do something with, I just shoot it on my iPhone.

Nikon Snapbridge Pairing Failed

Typical response after the first try. bigger.

 

Compared

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

The D3300 is the same camera as this D3400, just without bluetooth. See the few differences above at New.

The D5000 series (D5600, D5500, etc.) are also mostly the same, with the D5000 series adding a flipping touch screen and a stereo (versus mono) microphone for video.

The D7200 , D7100 and D7000 are quite different, being much more solid and advanced cameras that can autofocus with old lenses and meter with manual focus lenses, and have more buttons, dials and controls for advanced users who change advanced settings often. The D3400 has the same settings, just that you too often have to find them in a menu instead of just having a button for them in the D7200.

Full-frame FX cameras like the D610 and D750 are almost identical to the D7200, but with a larger image sensor that requires the use of larger and heavier lenses. The advantage of FX cameras is that they have bigger viewfinders, and if you like soft backgrounds, tend to have shallower depth of field in similar situations compared to the other cameras.

The Canon Rebel T6 has about the same performance at the same price, just from a different brand. If one looks or feels better to you, get it. Each offers the same high performance in an inexpensive, small and lightweight package. See also Canon versus Nikon.

 

Usage

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

See my Nikon D3400 Plain-English User's Guide and see How to Use the Nikon D3400's AF System.

 

Recommendations

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

The D3400 is a fantastic little camera, especially if you want a small DSLR that might be able send its images to your phone.

The D3400 is small, light, quiet, easy to use, has a great flash and takes great pictures. It's one of my very top camera recommendations, and if price matters, is the top camera today.

If you don't need Bluetooth or don't want to send your images to your phone, then last year's D3300 is also a good choice, with a more powerful flash, external mic-in socket and a sensor cleaner, but comes with a much slower-focusing AFS lens if you get the USA version. Battery life is the same in actual shooting; any improvement comes at the expense of under-exposed flash or fill-flash photos.

I don't know that I'd depend on the Snapbridge app and Bluetooth to get images to my iPhone; I had spotty results, so either of the D3300 or this D3400 are my top suggestions as a basic high-quality camera that produces fully professional results at minimum cost. Get the D3300 if you can get it with the AFP lens gray market, otherwise the AFP lens that comes standard with the D3400 autofocuses much better than the old AFS 18-55mm lens included with the USA version of the D3300.

 

Lenses

The D3400 comes included with a great 18-55mm VR AF-P lens that focuses instantly. I doubt you need anything more to start. It covers wide-angle to medium telephoto, and also focuses so close that I doubt you'd need a dedicated macro lens.

If you need a telephoto to bring things closer, the 55-200mm VR II is inexpensive and excellent. The 55-300mm VR is bigger, and zooms even closer in. Neither of these two lenses focus quickly; if you want ultra-fast focus for action, the brand-new 70-300mm VR AFP is superb. I'd get the 55-200mm VR II for light weight and low cost (the photos are superb), or the 70-300mm VR AFP for longer range or faster focussing.

Very few people know How to Use Ultrawide Lenses. If you do, the Nikon 10-24mm is the best, along with the Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8.

I got my D3400 complete with a great lens at Adorama, also in red. You also can get it at B&H, also in red, get it at Amazon in all forms and get it at Crutchfield in all forms. It also comes as a kit with both the new 18-55mm VR AF-P and new 70-300mm DX AF-P lenses at Adorama and at B&H — but I don't recommend that kit because it includes the cheap, unstabilized 70-300mm lens. You really need the stabilizer of the 70-300mm VR AFP for best results.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Nikon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken, Mrs. Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

More Information

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Ken Rockwell's Nikon D3400 User's Guide

How to Use the Nikon D3400's AF System

Nikon's D3400 User's Manual

Nikon's D3400 page

 

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13 March 2017, 17 August 2016