Nikon D3400 vs D3300, D3200, and D3100
Before comparing the D3400 to other current cameras on the market, it is worth stepping back a bit and seeing how this camera holds up against older versions in the same lineup. Here is a table comparing it to the D3100, D3200, and D3300:
|Nikon D3100||Nikon D3200||Nikon D3300||Nikon D3400|
|Released||September 2010||April 2012||January 2014||August 2016|
|Max Frame Rate (Stills)||3 fps||4 fps||5 fps||5 fps|
|LCD Screen||230,000 dots||921,000 dots||921,000 dots||921,000 dots|
|Max Video Frame Rate at 1920 × 1080||24 fps||30 fps||60 fps||60 fps|
|Bluetooth||No||No||No||Yes, which lets you use SnapBridge|
|GPS||Yes, with GP-1 or GP-1A||Yes, with GP-1 or GP-1A||Yes, with GP-1A||Yes, with SnapBridge|
|Battery Life||550 shots||540 shots||700 shots||1200 shots|
|Weight (Body Only)||16.0 oz / 455 g||16.0 oz / 455 g||14.5 oz / 410 g||13.9 oz / 395 g|
|Dimensions||124.5 × 96.5 × 73.7 mm||127 × 97 × 79 mm||124.5 × 99.1 × 76.2 mm||124 × 98 × 75.5 mm|
As you can see, aside from the 24 megapixel sensor added to the D3200 and beyond, the new features in this lineup are relatively limited. If you are looking for an especially well-priced DSLR, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a D3200 or D3300 instead (especially used or refurbished to get the best deal).
However, if battery life and SnapBridge capabilities are particularly important to you, the newest version is still the one you’d want. Though it doesn’t add too many new features, it is true nonetheless that the D3400 is the most advanced camera in this lineup.
Nikon D3400 vs Canon Rebel SL2
The current Canon camera which competes against the Nikon D3400 most closely is the Rebel SL2. Still, at a price of $600 including the lens, that DSLR is noticeably more expensive than the $400 D3400 and lens combo. Could it be worth the extra price?
Compared to the Nikon D3400, the Canon Rebel SL2 has a much better screen, including tilt-flip (vari-angle) capabilities and touch sensitivity that the D3400’s screen doesn’t have. Having used both cameras side by side, I also found the SL2 to have a much more comfortable grip and better ergonomics.
What about image quality? Here is a comparison of high ISO photos from both the Nikon D3400 and the Canon Rebel SL2. Note that these are extreme 100% crops taken from RAW photos. Below is ISO 800 to ISO 6400 (Nikon on the left; click to see specific ISO values and compare more closely):
So, the Nikon D3400 is ahead in ISO performance, but not by a drastic amount. The difference is almost one stop; ISO 3200 on the Nikon camera looks similar to ISO 1600 on the Canon, for example. That is not a huge disparity, but it is enough that it might make a difference to your work. You’re the only one who can decide that for certain.
Ignoring price, I prefer the Canon SL2 by a slight margin, especially taking into account the Canon kit lens (which I like because of its direct switch for image stabilization, along with its good ergonomics). But taking price into account, the Nikon D3400 is a real winner here, especially if high ISO performance is important to your photography.
D3400 vs Canon Rebel T6
Although the Canon Rebel T6 is not the most current option in Canon’s lineup (superseded by the T7 and T7i), it does compete with the Nikon D3400 in a very important area: price. The two DSLRs cost exactly the same amount, $400 with a kit lens, as of June 2018. Which one is better?
On one hand, the 24 megapixel sensor in the Nikon D3400 outshines the Canon T6’s 18 megapixels, including in high ISO noise performance. The D3400 also has a better frame rate (5 fps versus 3 fps) and autofocus system (11 points versus 9 points). In fact, aside from built-in WiFi and a more comfortable grip, the Canon Rebel T6 really does not hold many advantages over the Nikon D3400. I do like its kit lens more, but the camera itself is a noticeable downgrade. I would get the Nikon unless your heart is set on a Canon DSLR.
D3400 vs Sony A5100
The closest mirrorless competitor to the Nikon D3400 is the Sony A5100, which retails for $450 with a kit lens (compared to the D3400’s $400 with a kit lens). So, the Nikon holds a price advantage, but not by much. Which one is better for most photographers?
On one hand, the Sony has a tilting touchscreen and a whopping 175 autofocus points. It’s also a smaller and lighter camera, weighing 283 grams versus the Nikon’s 395 (10.0 oz vs 13.9 oz) The D3400, in turn, has a viewfinder and far better battery life (1200 shots versus 400). Especially taking price into account, this comparison is about as close as it gets. As someone who already has many Nikon lenses, I would lean toward the D3400 for my personal photography, but a first-time camera buyer could pick either and be happy. The good news is that both of these are excellent cameras, and you won’t be let down either way!
If the Sony sounds better but you can’t live without a viewfinder, take a look at the $550 (with a kit lens) Sony A6000 as well, which also has some additional advanced features like 11 frames per second for photography.
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