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Nikon launches entry-level D3400 DSLR for beginners

By Shawn Knight ยท 17 replies
Aug 17, 2016
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  1. Once you’ve made the decision to move past the smartphone and step up to a real camera, you’ll find that there’s a wealth of options to choose from at a plethora of price points. A great place to start – whether you’re an aspiring photographer or just someone that wants to better preserve the memories that you’ll cherish later in life – is with an entry-level DSLR like Nikon’s new D3400.

    As the successor to the D3300 (and the D3200 before it), this budget-minded DSLR features a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor sans low-pass filter that employs Nikon’s Expeed 4 image processor. Both are carryovers from the D3300 but there are some tangible changes when you dig a bit deeper.

    The ISO range, for example, checks in at 100 to 25,600 which is up from 12,800 on the top end and you also get nearly double the battery life. According to Nikon, you can squeeze around 1,200 shots out of the camera before needing to recharge the battery (or swap in another to keep shooting).

    Other noteworthy features include an 11-point autofocus system, five frames per second continuous shooting, 1080p video recording at 60 frames per second and SnapBridge connectivity, an always-on low-energy Bluetooth connection that makes transferring images to your smartphone or tablet a breeze. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi isn’t an option although that can be added by using a third-party memory card like those sold by Eye-Fi.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the D3400 weighs just 395 grams which is around 15 percent lighter than its predecessor.

    The Nikon D3400 will be sold in your choice of black or red color schemes early next month. You can pick it up as a kit with Nikon’s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens for $649.95 or as part of a two lens kit with the aforementioned 18-55mm lens and a 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED (non-VR) lens for $999.95.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,372   +1,372

    Sounds like a great camera... not sure this qualifies as "entry level" though, as DSLRs tend to start under $500.... this is closer to a mid-level DSLR...
    Reehahs likes this.
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,372   +1,372

    Never mind... mis-read.... that's with the extra lens.... still, at $650, not quite entry level...
    Reehahs and p51d007 like this.
  4. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Maniac Posts: 257   +245

    Since when does an entry level DSLR camera start at $650?
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,599   +3,771

    Since, maybe when they're quoting the list price?

    OTOH, maybe Nikon pays the Chinese people who work for them better than some other companies, and you should be glad to pay $650.00.:D No?:'( (Call me a dreamer, if you must).

    Other than possibly for the first few months, I've never seen these kits go out at full pop anyway.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  6. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 630   +403

    Better get a sony a6000 than paying and carrying a bulky camera like this. or yet, invest in a proper midrange dslr.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,599   +3,771

    Really? Is 14 ounces too heavy for you? Poor baby. I bet you can barely pick up your phone. :D
    Reehahs likes this.
  8. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,867   +1,143

    If you get one, regardless of which one, do yourself a favor and PLAY with it. by playing with it, I mean take it off the green (A) mode once in a while. I come from the old film SLR's back in the 70's & 80's that didn't have all the automatic modes.
    I made it a habit of carrying around a pad of paper & pencil. I'd write down the settings, so when the film was developed, I could see what worked and what didn't. Now all that is stored in the exif data, but I never use the auto mode, it's second nature to know what settings to use. You can really create some interesting photos by moving off of the (A) mode once in a while.
  9. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 630   +403

    Ok let me answer you back.

    bulky - Of large size for its weight
    heavy - Of comparatively great physical weight or density

    Those two words are entirely different. I bet my brain is larger than yours. :eek:ops. just joking. you know I am a fan of yours.

    Oh well like I said, Picture quality and features is comparable to the compact aps-c of sony e series or even the fuji x series. Majority of people are tired of having big cameras where small cameras available today can beat or entirely perform in par with these entry models dslr.

    PS:I am talking about entry dslrs here ok.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,599   +3,771

    Actually, auto exposure did come into play during the mid(?) to late 70's. I had a Conon "EF" which had single mode automation. IIRC, it had the sucky "shutter priority" type.

    The way to defeat auto exposure, was simply dial a different ISO speed index into the camera, higher or lower, depending on what you were trying to accomplish.

    Both negative film and digital imaging are poor for FX based on exposure. Slide film made it easy to silhouette or wash an image out because of its limited exposure latitude. One of my biggest favorites was Kodak "Infrared Ektachrome", a false color slide film.
    Unless I'm doing studio work, (which is something I haven't done in a very long time), I never move the dial off "A". What I think you mean is, "P" or program modes.

    "A" on most DSLRs, stands for "Aperture priority automation", the best way of going about taking pictures on the fly, (IMHO).

    When you're using aperture priority, you set the F-Stop the camera sets the shutter speed. Which is great when you're already wide open, and you run out of light. With the camera in "shutter priority" mode, the lower limit of the shutter speed is fixed, and if the lens can't open up more, you can get massive underexposure.

    So, over and under exposure is accomplished either by dialing a different ISO speed into the camera, or the included with every (?) DSLR "exposure compensation" or "exposure bracketing" functions. The camera stays on auto.

    Again, (IMHO), manual settings are a massive waste of time, as you have to meter, and possibly set shutter speed and aperture combinations, in what could amount to before every shot.

    But again, what I think you're talking about are "P" or "Program" settings. The "A" is normally aperture priority auto, and the "S" is shutter priority.
    Reehahs likes this.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,599   +3,771

    Well, mass in a camera isn't necessarily a bad thing. Weight and sufficient area to grasp are key factors in taking sharp photos. I understand cameras with image stabilization are en vogue ATM. BUT, and this is a big BUT, IS won't help you if the subject is moving. It's only good if you flinch, or you're in low light. If you're inside a museum, trying to take pictures with a 300MM F 5.6, I figure the bad shots are your own damned fault. Today's sensors low light capabilities are astounding, and thus should take away the rest of the need for IS.

    So, calling a 14 ounce camera "bulky" is a bit absurd, and I'm sticking with that story.

    I did however, go to look at the Sony, and they had a few lenses on that page, which easily rivaled the price of Nikon glass. Accordingly, if I were to undertake building a camera system, it would still be with Nikon (or Canon), but Nikon's glass is all interchangeable for the past 50 years, which is something you can't say for Sony, nor Canon either.

    Oh, and when I'm not playing around with either full frame fisheye, or UWA lenses, my favorite go-to rig is an ancient D-90 with a mechanical 80-200 F2:8 zoom. It weighs about 4 pounds.(22 oz body, 46 oz, lens).

    This lens: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80200.htm#spex
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  12. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,372   +1,372

    If you're not going to take the camera off auto (A or P, whatever), then mass/weight is really your only consideration... If you're not going to use all of the features of the DSLR, you might as well use your iPhone...

    An entry level DSLR USUALLY costs around $500... that's why I said $650 was a bit steep for one, but it's clearly a pretty good one. But one of the reasons a DSLR is better than a traditional point and shoot camera is all of the "cool features", most of which are lost if you are simply using "auto"...

    Unless your purchase's purpose is to make yourself look like a real photographer (I know lots of people do this), your smartphone will be taking the same quality photos 95% of the time... Save your money and use your iPhone/Galaxy/etc...
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,599   +3,771

    Do you even understand what "aperture priority automation' does?

    I'm thinking no, you haven't a clue. You have every bit as much control using it as you do in manual, but you can shoot faster. The camera manipulates the shutter speed to adapt to changing light conditions.

    Now, I have a degree in photography with a 3.5+ GPA, and all I'm hearing from you is a bunch of crap about cell phones.

    First and foremost, cells phones, in almost their entirety have fixed focal length lenses with a "semi normal" angle of acceptance. That's pretty much garbage for any serious pictorial work, no matter how the camera derives its exposure information.. But I'm sure, you find it very useful for selfies.

    Now, if you knew anything about what you claim you do, you'd know that the "exposure bracketing", and, "exposure compensation" controls, essentially countermand the auto derived exposure settings. And......, you still don't have to meter between shots.

    Also, like I told the last fool who was haggling about price, the number published is the LIST price. You'll easily be able to do better than that a few months from now.

    Hell, I bought a supposedly "refurbished" D-3200 for something like $280.00. The shutter had all of a half dozen activations on it.
  14. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,372   +1,372

    You're definition of "auto" and mine are different... I'm talking about people who buy DSLRs, don't touch any settings, and simply take photos... those people are just as well served by their cell phones and probably only purchased their camera to look like photographers...

    I know you love trolling, but you really don't have to be a genius to see we really aren't even arguing...
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,599   +3,771

    I admit there can be a vanity component to owning a DSLR, even way back when you had to put film in them. (Of course they were only "SLRs" then).

    As far as a definition of "automation" goes, I take it to be, "any method of control in which the camera enters all or part of the exposure information being transferred to the media".

    My definition of "full manual exposure" is using a separate light meter, setting the aperture manually, and composing and focusing the shot with your head stuffed under the focusing cloth of a 4x5" view camera. With a bit of manually opening the shutter and counting off the seconds on your watch, thrown in for still more DIY fun.

    Your definition "of automation", relies on the camera supplying ALL of the exposure information being delivered to the media, And that, is what the "P" (Program) modes are all about. The camera works against a model for certain types of photographic situations, (landscape, portraits, or what have you), and makes a full determination of the exposure, with no user interference.

    Since most cell phones have a fixed focal length lens, and no DSLR kit is without a basic zoom, the DSLR wins here, for the simple reason of subject size and framing in the photo, (AKA "composition").. So, the DSLR still wins, but the margin is a bit closer..

    If you're insisting that some people who buy DSLRs don't even bother to twist the zoom ring, I unfortunately have to concede in a few instances, that may very well be the case.

    My endorsement of "aperture priority automation", indexes how I approach difficult shooting situations, such as ice shows and the like. You have to manage framing, keeping the subject within the auto focus and metering sensor areas. Beyond that, the camera has to simply supply the shutter speed computation. To do that part manually, would lower the percentage of successful shots even lower than it already is. Because....., the subject is moving in and out of rapidly changing light situations, and even the color of the costume, (its "reflectance value"), affects the outcome. (IE, you bounce the meter off a bright white shirt, the camera will return an underexposed image).

    So, you crank the tele wide open, and let the camera take its best guess for a suitable shutter speed. Sometimes you get the shot, and sometimes the bear gets the camera.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
  16. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,372   +1,372

    A simple "I agree" would have sufficed... but thanks for the unnecessarily long diatribe...
  17. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,867   +1,143

    My Nikon D5000, has a Green (A) for auto mode. I always use manual, always have. My old Canon SLR did have a few auto settings, but I never used them. The only "auto" I use on my camera these days, is the auto focus mode. Mid 50 year old eyes with bifocals even with the diopter just don't focus as well as they use to.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,599   +3,771

    OK, this is (allegedly) the top of a D-5000:


    As you can plainly see, the function dial has 4 primary exposure modes: "P, A, S, M" These correspond to P= "Program", (no user control) S= "Shutter Priority Auto", (User sets shutter speed, camera sets aperture), "A"= "Aperture Priority Automation", (User sets aperture, camera sets shutter speed), and finally "M", The function of which you should already be well aware.

    I could explain the "scene modes", but these are simple variations of the program mode, and that's what the instruction manual's job is, to explain in detail, worthless features.

    I've explained fairly thoroughly in previous posts, why I think "Aperture Priority Auto", is by far the best mode to use for all general, and most special purpose shooting.

    So, this begs the question, "do you have some sort bastard version of the D-5000, or or you mistaken"?

    I have a D-5100, and the controls are identical to the ones shown on the picture. As are the other 4(!) Nikon DSLRs in my possession.. D-80, D-90, D-3000, D5100, & D3200.

    As far as eyesight goes, mine are pushing 68, and I too wear bifocals. When you're shooting, you have to make a choice. 1: Either wear the glasses, and set the diopter accordingly. Or 2:, Take off the glasses and adjust the diopter to correct your vision in its entirety. This is actually superior if you going to have your head stuck in the viewfinder for any extended period of time, if only that it prevents you scratching your glasses on parts of the camera body. Drop the glasses back down off your forehead, should you need to change location or you've finished shooting.

    Additional D-5000 info & specs available here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d5000.htm

    FWIW, The camera's meter supplies the exact same information to you which it supplies to the shutter actuator. So, the only thing you're doing is wasting time. The only differential manual exposure will have versus auto, is if YOU put in in.

    An easier way to "argue" with the AE, is to change the metering pattern, or use some form of exposure compensation provided by the camera.

    Now, by setting only the aperture, you control the depth of field, which is the all important factor which relates to what's in focus in the photo, and what's not. After that, you either have to change the ISO, should your lens not be "fast enough", (sufficiently wide aperture), to allow for adequate shutter speed to prevent apparent camera movement in the scene.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

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