This excellent course is designed for you!
This is a superb course for anyone who wants to get the best out of their Nikon D3400 camera. Ideal for anyone who has just bought their first DSLR, it covers the basics really well, explaining each button and setting in detail. Then it explains how to use the settings so that you can produce beautiful professional-level photography.
The author, Jeremy Bayston, has been a picture editor for national newspapers for over 25 years and brings a wealth of experience to this manual. He has produced specially made, exclusive videos, which go into greater detail on effects, menus, modes, shooting videos, getting the best sound for movies, and much more.
Has exclusive videos about the Modes, Menus, Autofocus, Flash and more.
Helps you get a great feel for the camera, exploring the shooting modes, and effects.
Explains the settings to get better results from exposure, lighting and focus.
Tips and tricks, to help you master focusing, metering and flash.
The brilliant tips and tricks on metering, focusing, how to use the flash and how to shoot great movies have come from years of working with some of the best photographers in the industry. There are chapters on best equipment, lenses and setting up studio lights. And for anyone who wants to use the Nikon D3400 to shoot movies - it is a great video camera - the are chapters on video basics and how to get the best sound, and much more.
This is a very accessible manual, telling you all you need to know to get started with the Nikon D3400. Then it shows you how to take great pictures and videos with this Nikon DSLR camera. For more experienced photographers, this guide explains the functions so that you can quickly get started. It also explains the camera controls, and guides you through all the Menus and Custom Settings to help you best set up the camera for your specific shooting needs. The videos explain things in great detail.
With this manual, you get the perfect blend of photography instruction and camera reference that will take your images to the next level. If you have a Nikon D3400, you owe it to yourself to watch this course. It can help you progress you from absolute beginner to accomplished DSLR photographer!
this video all about the buttons. Before cameras were digital - with a computer inside them - they didn't have many options and so didn't have many buttons. After all, the craft of photography is really just about controlling light, and so analog cameras only had to manage the three basic pillars of photography - Shutter Speed, Aperture and film sensitivity.
Digital cameras also manage these options, but can offer so much more. The back screen allows you to review your pictures and videos and in some cases, to edit them by changing the crop, tone or style of the picture. The fact that you have a a large memory card means that the camera must offer you some control over saving and naming your images. Electronic filters allow you to change pictures after you have taken them, rather than pre-planning some of your shots.
All of these functions - and they are a great bonus - require buttons and dials so that you can tell the camera what you want to do. Watch the videos and if you have any questions, please contact me and I will try to answer..
There are many options on the Nikon D3400 DSLR camera. Some of them are very important for everyday picture taking, some are very useful, but only occasionally. Here I shall look at controlling the ISO, which is something you will do every time you take a picture - at least when you are in the Manual Modes - and then the Monitor brightness, which is something that you may need to change at a specific moment, buy probably not too frequently.
ISO is one of the three settings which sets the exposure for your photographs. The other two - shutter speed and aperture - control how much light hits the sensor in the Nikon D3400. Shutter speed does it by controlling how long the shutter is open and exposed to the light, whereas Aperture controls how large the opening is. The ISO refers to something a bit different: how sensitive the sensor is to the light. Back in the days of film, you'd buy a roll a film that had a specific ISO rating (or ASA rating). The most common was ISO 100, which was good for general-purpose photography and people photos. If you were shooting sports or street photos you might have used ISO 400 or 800. The fastest film generally available was 1600. Whilst being very quick, it produced very grainy images. Now cameras offer up to 25,600 with very little noise, which means you can shoot in almost complete darkness.
To change the ISO settings on the Nikon D3400, you must first go to the Shooting Menu. When there go down one more from IMAGE SIZE to ISO SENSITIVITY settings. When you switch the camera on for the first time, the settings are set so that the AUTO ISO sensitivity control is on. That means that when you are in the basic presets the camera will choose the ISO setting. If you look below the AUTO ISO sensitivity control, there is an option to set the maximum sensitivity. When you switch the camera on for the first time the maximum will be ISO 25600. I would say that when you're taking normal pictures you probably don't want to go above 1600, possibly 3200. By leaving it as it is you allow the camera to choose far higher ISOs than you otherwise might wish. So if you go into this setting, I would suggest that you make the maximum setting, as I say, 3200. I would also switch the ISO sensitivity control OFF because that hen means that you have more control over the ISO in the basic settings and also in the manual settings. After you have done this, you can easily change the ISO by pressing the I button in the back of the camera and using the multi-selector to select and change the ISO.
The reasons to change the monitor brightness is that sometimes, either in direct sunlight or when it is very dark, you might want to change the brightness of the back screen monitor so that you can see the picture or the video more clearly. The way to do that is to go into MENU and go down to SETUP MENU and move down to MONITOR BRIGHTNESS.
Click on that and then you can move it either up 5 or down 5. Just to bear in mind that changing the brightness of the monitor does not change the exposure of the picture. The two are not related so you could have a very bright monitor to see the detail of what you're photographing and it won't affect the photograph itself, but it is a good way of checking detail and making sure that you've got the right composition for your picture if the lighting conditions behind the camera aren't so good.
There are is one more thing to mention and that is the BEEP. When you set up your camera for the first time you will notice that when the camera focuses correctly it will beep. That is great for the first few times but after a couple of days that will really start to annoy you. So the thing to do is go into MENU and then coming to SETUP MENU and two pages down at the bottom you will see BEEP. I would suggest you select that and you turn it off because it will otherwise become very distracting.
Setting up your camera properly when you get it is very useful because it ensures that you get the best quality pictures and video.
The first thing you need to do is to get your battery and to charge it. When you buy the camera you will receive a battery and a battery charger and, although the battery may look like it is fully charged, it is worth just getting it an extra hour or so in the charger to make sure. The reason for that is that by fully charging and then fully draining your battery as you use it, it does extend the life of your battery. Once you've charged it, you then place it into the camera which is in the socket here at the bottom. It can only go in one way - it goes in with these contacts at the top and it goes in only one way, so if it doesn't go in very easily you're putting it in the wrong way. Then you just close the door.
The next thing you need to do is attach the lens. If you bought the kit lens, which is a great buy, then you will get that in the box with the camera. If you look on the side of the camera here, there is a white dot and if you look on the side of the lens you will see also there is a white dot. So, take off the two caps very carefully, match up the two white dots, gently fitting it into the bayonet socket and then twisting it anti-clockwise until it clicks.
Now, although you get nearly everything you need in the box when you buy the camera, for you to take pictures pretty much straight away, the one thing you don't get when you get box is a memory card. Of course you need a memory card to store the pictures and the videos that you shoot on the camera. We suggest getting a SanDisk card and the reason for that is that sound discs will guarantee the life of the card. It is important to remember they won't guarantee what's on the card but if the card fails SanDisk will replace the card. It is a little extra. The way you put the card into the camera is on the side socket here. You open it up by pulling it slightly forward and you put the card in facing to you. Just push it in until it clicks and what you'll notice is that when you push it in completely a green light flashes on the back of the camera to say that it's being done properly. If you need to take the card out then you just press the card and it's on a spring and it will just bounce out again.
On the other side are two other ports. These are very useful because they are a USB port which allows you to transfer your pictures directly from the camera to a laptop computer and beneath that an HDMI port which allows you to show your pictures on a TV. Neither of these leads are available in the box so if you want to do either of those things you need to buy the leads separately. Once you've inserted your memory card the next thing to do is to switch the camera on. But first take off the lens cap and activate the lens. What I mean is that you press the button on the side of the lens and you extend the lens out. You need to do this in order for the camera to work because if you don't the camera won't take any pictures.
Once you've done that you can switch on the camera. Once you have done that you will see in the back screen that you've got various choices to make. First, choose your language and you do that by moving the cross keys left to right and up and down.Then select the language and pressing OK. Ignore the SnapBridge option for now. You choose your date in a similar fashion and you also then choose your time zone in exactly the same way, by using the cross keys on the back. All of these things can be changed later anyway so don't worry too much if you get them wrong or in fact if you don't want to worry too much about them now and bypass those options and to return to them afterwards.
The next thing to do is to format your card. The first time you use your card you need to ensure that it's formatted correctly for this camera. Press the menu button - the menu that you are looking for is the Set Up menu. That is the spanner icon, so you go down here and then the second one down is format memory card. Now there's always an element of danger when you format memory cards, particularly once you started using the camera. If you format the memory card, you delete everything on it. Even pictures that you think you have protected will be deleted so you need to be very careful when you format cards. However when you're doing it for the first time you are perfectly at liberty to go to YES and click OK and it will format the memory card and attune it to this camera properly.
Well you can shoot pictures with this camera now, but the best thing to do is to select your image quality and your compression quality before you do so. The first thing to do is to go back into menu. In this instance we're looking at the Shooting Menu and if you go to down then the first thing you come across is IMAGE QUALITY. Now image quality talks about compression rates not about the file size but the compression rate is important. You can shoot RAW images with this camera but I would recommend initially at least, shooting JPG. The option I would choose would be JPG FINE Because that's the best compression rate for this camera. Once you have done that, you move one down to IMAGE SIZE and again there's no point shooting medium of small images with this camera I would say the best thing to do is to shoot large images. The memory card will probably be enough - a 16 or 32 gigabyte memory - to shoot hundreds of pictures so you are not limited by memory space as we once were so there's no reason not to shoot large and not to shoot fine JPG images. As we are in the Shooting Menu, why don't we go down one more from IMAGE SIZE to ISO sensitivity. When you switch the camera on for the first time, then the settings are set so that the Auto ISO sensitivity control is on. That means that when you're in the basic Preset Modes the camera will choose the ISO setting. If you look below the Auto ISO sensitivity control it will set the maximum sensitivity according to what's chosen there and when you get the camera and you switch it on to the first time the maximum is 25600. I would say that when you're taking normal pictures you probably don't want to go above 1600 probably 3,200 at the most. By leaving it as it is, you allow the camera to choose far higher ISOs than you otherwise might wish. So if you go into this setting I would suggest that you make the maximum setting as I say 6400 and I would also switch the ISO sensitivity control OFF because that then means that you have more control over the ISO in the basic settings and also in the manual settings.
After setting the ISO I would stay in the Shooting Menu and move one down again to white balance. It is important. Initially I would put white balance on auto. What white balance does is it sets the white in the picture. If you know anything about colors you know that white is a combination of all colors and so once the camera can set white, it can also set the values for all the other colors. So it is very important and it is also very important if you're shooting somewhere where the balance of light is not normal, for example if you are shooting in an office where the light may be slightly blue, or if you are shooting at home under artificial light where the natural color of the light might be slightly yellow. Now you are not going to see this with your naked eye because your brain manages to filter that those tones and those colors out, but the camera will see it and it's important that the camera is initially is on AUTO so that it can set the white balance itself and try to balance all of the different color components that it sees through the lens.
Now you're in a position to take a picture or shoot a video. You can either do this through the live view screen which enables you to see what is through the lens or you can do this through the more conventional DSLR way which is to look through the viewfinder. The viewfinder can be attuned to your eyesight. So if you look through the viewfinder and although the camera says what you're looking at is sharp, it doesn't look sharp to you, you can use the dioptric adjuster which is on the side here to change the focal length of the viewfinder which means that you can look through it and it looks sharp when in fact the camera says it looks sharp. That's very useful so take some moments just to focus and refocus on a few different things and just check that the viewfinder, when you're looking through it, looks sharp when the camera says that it is sharp.
One of the things that I change almost straight away is the Auto timer. Cameras have timers on them now in order to help save the battery charge and that means that sometimes they switch themselves off and it can be really annoying. But you can set your own auto timer length by going into the camera and into the Menu Settings. Go into menu and you go into the Setup Menu then by going down on to the next page - there are quite a lot of settings here - you will see AUTO OFF TIMERS as an option. If you select that then you can either select Short, Normal or Long which is a fairly generic term that talks about how long the camera will be on before it switches itself off or how long the back screen will be on before it switches itself off. Or you can go down to CUSTOM and you can select those lengths of time that you prefer. That's what I do. I go down to CUSTOM and check the ones that I want which are playback and menus, image review which is the length of time the images on the back screen for you just to look at after you've taken it. Live view which is the live view screen and the standby timer which is how long the camera is on standby before it switches itself off.
The next thing I'd be looking at here is the monitor brightness. Now the reason for that is that sometimes either in direct sunlight or even when it's very dark, you might want to change the brightness of the back screen monitor so you can see the picture or the video more clearly. The way to do that is to go into MENU and go down again to Set Up Menu and move down from the Memory Card option which we have seen before, to MONITOR BRIGHTNESS. In order to go in you click on that and then you can move it either up five or down five. Now just to bear in mind that changing the brightness of the monitor does not change the exposure of the picture the two are not related, so you could have a very bright monitor to see the detail of what you are photographing and it won't affect the photograph itself. But it is a good way of checking detail and making sure that you've got the right composition for your picture if the lighting conditions behind the camera aren't so good.
There are a couple more things to mention before the end of the video. The first one is the beep. When you set up your camera for the first time you will notice that when you start taking pictures, when the camera focuses correctly, it will beep and that is great for the first few times, but after a couple of days that will really start to annoy you. So the thing to do is go into MENU and then coming to Set Up Menu and two pages down at the bottom you will see BEEP and I would suggest you select that and you turn it OFF because it will otherwise drive you mad.
Now the last thing I want to show you is very useful once you have taken your pictures. If you go into Playback Menu, once you have taken a picture and go down to playback display option then you will see that you have options that give you information on the picture once you have it. so you've got the options of showing the highlights, the RGB histogram, shooting data and overview. These are really useful bits of information and they're useful for you to recall and go back to once you've taken the picture and you just want to see what settings you have or actually during the live shoot when you can look through the RGB a histogram or the tonal histogram where your picture may be failing or just not working to its optimum. So they are very useful things to have and by allocating and switching those on when you go into Playback Mode and you look at your pictures by pressing the Cross Keys up or down, you will be given these pieces of information with the picture also viewable on the view screen. It is a really useful way of just keeping control and keeping an eye on the various options and settings that you have when you take a picture so for example it will give you as I say the histograms but also the ISO. It will give you the focal length, it will give you all the various autos in terms of white balance or whether the flash was on etc. In the old days when you were shooting with film you would have taken a notebook and written all of this down, but because it's available on the back screen it makes it a whole lot easier.
The menus are important because they allow you into the very heart of the camera. The playback menu manages the options you have after you have taken your picture.
The shooting menu offers you the chance to change some of the options before you start to shoot. for example, file size, ISO and White Balance.
This lecture is about choosing how to make changes to the set up of the camera. Of course, you will have seen the set up video, but occasionally you might want to change options like monitor brightness, time zone or format the card.
I would normally recommend that you edit your images on a computer with a large screen. However, you can make changes inside the camera this is perfect if you want to upload your images straight from the camera to your social media platforms.
The Mode Dial is really useful and you will be using it regularly from day one. It allows you to tell the camera the sort of picture you want to take, or the kind of conditions you are shooting in. In all but the Manual Mode, the camera will try to achieve the best possible exposure. This is very useful, but you will need the camera to respond differently depending on the lighting conditions, the speed of the subject, of the required depth of field. The lecture explains..
Picture styles and Effects give you the chance to play with your images. They are the bonus of having that computer in the camera. Enjoy..
Understanding how the autofocus system works in this camera is really important. This video shows you the various options, both when you are shooting through the view finder and also when shooting through the life view screen.
I LOVE white balance! In the days of film, getting the right white balance was a nightmare and if you failed, that could ruin all your pictures. Now your D3400 will help you to control the whites in your shots, but also you can use this function to be extra creative. Play with it!
The idea of using flash can be quite daunting, but these videos will explain it to you so that you will be happy to give it a try. Remember the craft of photography is about controlling the light, and flash is all about you getting the pictures you want. This video talks about the internal flash.
`Now let's start looking at the flash gun and see how it can improve the range and dispersal of light.
Don't be afraid of off-camera flash. Check out the various ways you can use it to be creative with your pictures here.
THE NIKON D3400 VIDEO SET UP
The Nikon D3400 is an entry-level DSLR camera designed by Nikon for people who are moving up from bridge cameras or from compact cameras and whilst it takes excellent stills it also shoots superb video. One of the selling points of this camera is that it shoots Full HD video which is 1080 at 60 frames per second, which is really very impressive, and gives you a very smooth and very high quality video reproduction. One of the downsides however is that it doesn't have an external microphone socket and that is very much in common with most cameras in this category - though ironically its predecessor, the Nikon D3300, does have an external microphone socket and I would say that if you're going to shoot a lot of video, which will require a lot of sound when you're actually recording the video - perhaps you are doing interviews or you are recording bands - then you might want to look at the D3300 rather than this camera.
On the other hand one of the things that I really do like about this camera is that it has a lot of effects and modes, so that you can be quite creative with the way that you shoot stills and those effects are translated through to videos too which is really quite fun. So you can have a lot of fun with photo illustration which shoots a sort of comic effect but in video. You can have fun with the miniature effect which shoots a sort of time lapse but within the miniature effect option, and you can also have some great fun which I found with toy camera effect which gives a really OLDE WORLDE type of shot through video with vignette and quite unsaturated color.
Before you shoot video you need to change some of the settings in the menus. So first of all switch the camera on and press the menu button and you are looking for the shooting menu. The video options are right at the bottom of the page so you could use the multi selector to go all the way down or you can press it one up and, because it's on a rotating dial, it means that you go straight to movie settings. Then you can choose your FRAME RATE and FRAME SIZE. There are two different frame rates one is NTSC which is mainly for America and that will give you 60 frames per second or 30 frames per second, and the other is PAL which is mainly for Europe which will give you 50 frames per second and 25 frames per second. It is quite important that you choose the correct one for your country so it's worth checking if you are not sure. I would recommend 1080 at the highest frame rate, obviously. It will go down to 720 which is perfectly acceptable for social media for YouTube etc. If you move one down on the menu you can have a look at movie quality which, of course, should be high rather than normal and then go down one more option to microphone. The D3400 doesn't have an external microphone socket, but it does have an internal microphone which can be reasonably effective over short distances.
You have three options for microphone - the first one is AUTO, which is okay and worked reasonably well for ambient sound, the second one is MANUAL, which I would recommend because it gives you more control over the sound that you're recording. If you are in manual you should be aiming for your sound to peak at 12, so if you can test out the recording before hand - if somebody's talking for example - then what you're really looking for is when that person is at their loudest, to peak on 12 and you can use the multi selector to move the sensitivity up or down to ensure that that happens. The final one is to switch microphone OFF and I don't recommend that at all even if you don't intend using the sound used having the sound on the video is actually a very useful way of selecting clips when you're editing. Coming out of that you then go on to wind noise reduction which doesn't make a huge amount of difference. The final option is manual movie settings. If you leave that off, then even if you go into manual on here you won't be on manual settings because you've switched it off here. If you switch it on here you can use the manual settings and the auto settings so I would recommend that you switch that on.
Once you've changed the menu settings you can start looking through the camera to see what you're actually seeing when you want to shoot a video. In order to do that you have to press the Live View button at the back. There are two quite important buttons here for when you are in Live View and one is the info button on the top and the other is the i button which is down on the bottom left-hand corner next to the screen. When you switch initially to Live View you will see a lot of information going along the top of the screen. Now, because you have switched on to Live View this isn't yet on to video mode and so a lot of the information is, in fact, for stills so for example you will have what mode it's in, whether it's on auto or manual aperture priority, flash on/off, the shutter setting, the auto focus settings, the picture control setting, the white balance and whether the stills size and quality. If you press the info button on the top once then, you will now be in video mode, and that tells you more relevant information about what you have actually got as settings for video. If you are in this mode and you press the i button, that gives you all the things that you can change when you are in this mode. If you are on auto it allows you to change the frame size and quality, the microphone settings, the wind noise reduction and the focus mode. If you switch the camera to M for manual and go into that setting then it will give much more information. It will show movie frame size and quality, the white balance, the microphone settings, ISO, the picture control, wind noise reduction, auto focus area mode control and the focus mode. So that is one really useful way of seeing what is available to you when you are shooting video. If you press the i mode again to come out of that and then press the info button again, then that information disappears, so that the screen is fairly bare, but we do get the marker showing the extent of the video. When you're shooting video you will notice that you don't get the entire full screen that you would when you're shooting stills and that is because the area of the sensor being used to shoot video is smaller, and so you get a smaller area on the screen that actually is included within the video range. That will change slightly if you're shooting 1080 or if you're shooting 720 so it's worth keeping an eye on. If you press the info button one more time, then you get the grid so that you can keep everything level.
In many ways the settings for shooting stills or videos on a DSLR are the same. For example, you can use the dial mode to select the mode in which you want to shoot either stills or video. You can have it on AUTO you can have it on Manual and the parameters are effectively the same. You can change your ISO, you can change your aperture or you can change your shutter speed. The only extra element when you are shooting video is your frame rate and that is selected when when you chose 1080-60 or 1080-50 or 30 or 25 or 720, so the frame rate is the extra element for video. Now if you are shooting at a given frame rate it is recommended that your shutter speed is twice that frame rate. So if you are shooting at 30 frames per second, the shutter speed should be about 160th. Likewise if you're shooting at 60 frames per second then your frame rate should be about 125th. You do have some flexibility here, you could easily go up to 1/200th or 1/400th if that's what you want without the video suffering too much.
In terms of keeping quality as good as possible then you'd like the ISO to be as low as possible and the aperture, of course, will control your depth of field. The three elements here, ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed can all be changed when you are in the manual setting. The odd one out, in a sense, is aperture because you cannot change the aperture when you are actually shooting the video, so you need to pre-set your aperture and you can only do that outside of Live View. When you are in the back screen you can change aperture by pressing the exposure button on the top and using the main dial. Now at this point you can also change the ISO and the Shutter Speed in exactly the same way. You can change the shutter speed by using the main dial on its own and you can change the ISO by looking at the i button and moving across and choosing the ISO and changing it. However you may want to change either the ISO or the shutter speed whilst you are actually shooting the video, in which case you can either use the function button which you have preset to change ISO and use the main dial which will change the ISO, even if you're shooting at the same time. Or you can use the main dial on its own to change the shutter speed. Again even if you're shooting video at the time and the great thing about using the back screen is that you can instantly see the change, in either changing shutter speed or ISO, the image will go lighter or darker.
Sound is one of the few things that can really trip up a photographer. Watch this video and read the resource and you will understand how to get the best sound in almost any situation.
You may not be interested in using the Bluetooth connectivity for this camera. It is, after all, quite limited. But it is worth knowing how to operate it nonetheless. Also, it is very useful to know how to update the firmware, to keep your camera up to date.
I have worked as a picture editor for British newspapers for nearly 30 years. I am a professional picture editor, photographer and videographer. I have published three camera manuals and run my photography website and YouTube channel. I am passionate about photography and love learning about new cameras and photographic techniques. I also enjoy sharing all I have learnt from some of the excellent photographers i have worked with over my career.