FOR an entry level camera with a price tag of around $500, Nikon's D3400 is certainly worth considering as a first choice in a DSLR.
We put the 24.2 megapixel camera to the test while doing a basic photography lesson walking the streets of Brisbane.
It was easy to use with a combination of buttons and control which work together intuitively to achieve changes in lighting and focus that will set your photos apart from anything that can be achieved on a smart phone.
The D3400 is not a big step up on the previous model - but it does offer SnapBridge connectivity which allows us to transmit photos you take to your smartphone for sharing on social media.
The photos, which are about 2 megabytes in sizes, can be continually streamed to your phone via low energy Bluetooth.
Even when the phone is in sleep mode, images can be transferred across.
You can choose to share everything across as you shoot or select ones to transfer later.
The camera comes with an 18-55 kit lens which works fine but you will want to add other better lenses as you learn the craft.
The camera is light and easy to handle - and actually smaller than Canon's entry level EOS1300DD which makes it ideal for taking on your travels.
One of the best features of the camera, especially for new users, is the Guide Mode.
It allows novices to select the best settings for different situations by displaying setting with sample images.
There are also guides for setting up the camera and viewing, touching and deleting photos.
One of the biggest improvements on the previous model is battery life.
It has almost doubled from 700 shots in the D3300 to 1200 shots.
One of the downsides to the new model, however, is the removal of the built-in vibration system for cleaning the sensor.
There is also no longer a jack for an external stereo microphone or accessory terminal for remote controllers. Probably not a big deal for entry level users, though.
The camera shoots video in full HD but not 4K - with a maximum resolution of 1920x1080 pixels at 60fps for NTSC and 50fps in Australia.
The in-built microphone system will be fine for most jobs.
Most reviews of the camera have given it high marks for its colour accuracy and focus.
We found the same experience with the focus both fast and sharp, to the point of the finest details, including with moving objects.
The camera offers the ability to shoot in RAW mode while the ISO or light sensitivity range is an impressive 100 to 25600.
Other reviews have reported noise becoming noticeable at ISO6400 and increasingly obvious by ISO128000.
But for an entry level camera, we found the ability to shoot in most low light situations to be exceptional. There are also 10 special effects mode which are fun to play with.
Video clips remained in strong focus, again despite moving objects.
The camera is also more than adequate for faster shooting with one test noting it could record a burst of 22 large/fine JPEGs in 4.1 seconds.
If you are prepared to pay a little more, the more upmarket D5500 (or new D5600) kit, which has built-in dust control and a better autofocus system with 39 points (compared to 11) might be a better option. It also has a vari-angle touch screen, which is a big plus.
- 11 point AF system
- Exposure Modes: Auto modes (auto; auto, flash off ); programmed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperture-priority auto (A); manual (M); scene modes (portrait; landscape; child; sports; close up; night portrait); special effects modes (night vis
- 24.2 Megapixel
- Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 25600 in steps of 1 EV Auto ISO sensitivity control available
- Weight: Approx. 445 g
- Screen Size: 3.0" LCD Screen