The Nikon D3400 is aimed at families and DSLR newbies, which means the modes on its dial are all about giving users a push in the right direction. The traditional PASM (program, aperture priority, shutter priority) modes are flanked by a range of scene presets and a Guide Mode, which walks amateurs through the various settings of their new toy and suggests the best ones for the current scene. Guide Mode will also give simple step-by-steps on how achieve certain effects, making it simpler for newbies to achieve professional-looking motion blur and soft backgrounds.
Just like the D3300 it replaces, the D3400 makes use of a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and Nikon has placed a focus on low-light photography with a maximum ISO of 25,600. Image processing is handled by an Expeed 4 engine designed to deliver clearer high-ISO shots, and the camera's maximum burst rate is five frames per second.
There's also an 11-point autofocus system, aimed at making sure parents can keep their kids in focus as they run around the house or sporting field. Users are less likely to miss a shot of the kids because of a flat battery, either – compared to the 700-shot battery in the D3300, the new camera's 1,200-shot unit is a major improvement.
When it comes time to show the world what you've learned in Guide Mode, the D3400's Bluetooth LE connectivity makes it easy to transfer photos across to a smartphone or tablet. Once it's connected, the Nikon SnapBridge software can be set up to automatically transfer every image as it's taken, or users can manually transfer specific ones later on.
Interestingly, Nikon hasn't included Wi-Fi for image sharing, relying solely on the Bluetooth connection. That could be changed with an aftermarket SD card, but if the SnapBridge system works as advertised it's not likely to make much of a difference.
Pricing for the base D3400 kit starts at US$649.95, and includes an AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens.