Entry level DSLR

Hi All,
I know a few of you guys are right into cameras and photography, so I would like a second opinion.

I’m looking at a “Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens Kit” for an entry level DSLR.

I know nothing about cameras, so would like some feedback on my choice.

Thanks in advance.

Joker.

All entry level DSLR’s are better than the top range a few years ago, you can’t go wrong! Ken Rockwell has a photography web business and is a complete nutcase, but knows his stuff. He says this of it, and I happen to agree:

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…

His review is here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3300.htm

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3400.htm

It would be well worth reading his user’s guide here:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3400/users-guide/index.htm

last edited by bitingmidge

Ken Rockwell’s full recommendation:

Recommended Cameras
all equipment reviews

The Best Camera for Most Things

Nikon D3400

Nikon D3400 and included 18-55mm VR AF-P.

What camera do I suggest for my friends and family when they ask? What’s the best camera that can handle every kind of photo situation, but still lightweight and at a reasonable price?

The Nikon D3400.

You can pay a lot more, but no camera does anything significantly better than the D3400 for most people’s photography. Especially if you have kids in sports, a DSLR like the D3400 is a huge step up from a point-and-shoot, mirrorless or an iPhone because it can zoom-in (especially with a telephoto lens) and focus fast enough to track all the action

You can pay more for fancier cameras, but no camera takes better pictures than a D3400. The reason guys like me pay more for fancier cameras isn’t for better pictures; it’s for more controls and options that let us few who actually know how to use all these controls to get to them faster. The D3400 has the same adjustments, just that you’ll more often have to use a menu to set them instead of a knob or button. If you shoot all day every day as I do, it’s worth it, otherwise, there’s no reason to pay more since most people have no idea what these other settings do.

The D3400 is far superior to any mirrorless, superzoom or compact camera because it’s a real DSLR, meaning you view and the camera focuses live directly through the lens optically, not via an electronic screen. The D3400 focuses fast enough to catch people and kids doing anything in any light, while other kinds of cameras get lost hunting.

Sure, you can buy fancier DSLRs, but you don’t need to unless you want to. The D3400 is the most basic DSLR sold today, and is all I’d ever need. Sure, feel free to pay more as I’ll expand below (and many people do), but you’re only buying more durability or convenience, not better pictures. Better pictures come from knowing how to take better pictures, not from a better camera.

If you already have a preference for Canon, the Canon SL1 is even a little bit smaller and equally excellent. The differences between the SL1 and D3400 are a matter of which fits your hands better or which has controls or menus that you personally might find more convenient. I prefer the D3400, but if you’re already shooting Canon, the SL1 is just as fantastic. The Canon Rebel T6 is another top choice at about the same price.

*Also consider the Sony A6000 as a small, inexpensive and high-performance camera. It’s a little smaller, but costs more and has less battery life.(

The Nikon D3300 is the older model of D3400. It’s the same camera, without bluetooth but with a slightly more powerful flash. Either is excellent.

I looked at the D3400 as a comparison to the Canon I was thinking of buying, and found it had everything I wanted. I can’t remember if it had a flip-out viewing screen, but that is something worth having. Otherwise, for speed, etc, it’s fine. (My daughter then bought me a canon that has far more than I need!)
Down the track, you may find that you want other lenses. It’s called GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).

Thanks guys for your input. It has been very helpful.

I’ll chuck in a negative although probably doesn’t apply much now but the entry level DSLR’s don’t have a servo so in the future any additional lenses will have to have there own focusing motor.
The lens will have HSM or similar stamped on it to show that it has it’s own built in servo.
I don’t think the 3400 has a flip out screen, another negative, using the screen rather than the viewfinder drains the battery quickly.

Thanks Bunny … the servo thing is something I was unaware of.

@joker said in Entry level DSLR:

Thanks Bunny … the servo thing is something I was unaware of.

Any new lens will work - old (legacy) ones may not. It’s not a problem for you. Ditto with the screen - battery drain is old school, my (other brand) has digital screen and viewfinder and I only get 450 shots out of a battery. So I have two batteries (so should you)

@bitingmidge said in Entry level DSLR:

@joker said in Entry level DSLR:

Thanks Bunny … the servo thing is something I was unaware of.

Any new lens will work - old (legacy) ones may not. It’s not a problem for you. Ditto with the screen - battery drain is old school, my (other brand) has digital screen and viewfinder and I only get 450 shots out of a battery. So I have two batteries (so should you)

Don’t buy original brand batteries, Duracell make some damned good copies at a small fraction of the price for an original.

BTW I just happen to have a lovely Nikon 70-300 lens, the good version not the cheap one, in great condition that I no longer have use for, and will part with for about 1/2 new cost.

you can still buy secondhand lenses without a servo which can be in excellent condition, be aware of this if you get the camera.
I have bought a few this way.

i

@termite said in Entry level DSLR:

Don’t buy original brand batteries, Duracell make some damned good copies at a small fraction of the price for an original.

Batteries Direct are also good & much cheaper than originals. Suspect they come from the same factory.

the d300 and canon 5d batteries are identical except the terminals are on opposite sides.
we have 3 batteries for each camera and car chargers too.

Thanks all. The good wife ended up buying the D3400 yesterday afternoon (christmas present for son). She also bought a 70?-300 lense, bag and a couple of memory cards to go with it.

Thanks again for all your advice.

Brilliant! I’m sure he’ll be thrilled, as will you with the pics he takes!

Don’t skimp on the cards, I did once and they take forever to process when bracketing.

@bunyip said in Entry level DSLR:

… I did once and they take forever to process when bracketing.

What does that mean when translated into english? :)

Bracketing will take 3 to 9 shots with a preset + - exposure factor so one of them will be right if you are unsure about correct exposure in a trying setting, also rapid shooting such as I used to do with showjumping banging off 9 frames per second for about 3-4 seconds.
The shots are taken and then the camera downloads the info to the card, a slow card can take quite a few seconds and hold you up.
My preference is for Sandisk Extreme Pro but there are some lesser ones that are probably still fast enough for you.
There are a lot of good cards but beware that some Chinese are slippery and sell fake cards.
I also use Lexar, Samsung and aim for class 10.

yep don’t go slower than extreme pro, and use a card reader for downloading as it’s a lot quicker than downloading from the camera.

Edit. If you have USB 3 you can now get USB 3 card readers, I’ve got one and they fly.

last edited by Termite

Forgot the card reader, and use USB 3, I discovered recently that the blue insert in the USB ports indicate it is USB3, no one ever told me and my computer has 4 USB 3 and 4 USB 2.
USB3 is considerably faster.

@bunyip said in Entry level DSLR:

Forgot the card reader, and use USB 3, I discovered recently that the blue insert in the USB ports indicate it is USB3, no one ever told me and my computer has 4 USB 3 and 4 USB 2.
USB3 is considerably faster.

USB 2 = 60MB/second. USB 3 = 640MB/second. You will need to use USB 3 cables with USB 3 equipment, all your USB 2 gear will work on a USB 3 socket.

last edited by Termite

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