The Nikon D3400 is a great camera for a starting photographer. The modern, 24-megapixel sensor delivers excellent image quality, in part thanks to the absence of an antialiasing filter in front of the sensor. This makes the sharpness even higher than on cameras that have such a filter. With a D3400, you can put images quickly and easily on social media.
Thanks to the addition of SnapBridge, the camera can send small jpeg files to your phone almost automatically. This makes sharing images almost as easy as if you had made them with your phone. SnapBridge uses a very economical form of Bluetooth for the connection between camera and smartphone, so that the camera’s battery still lasts a long time. Furthermore, the D3400 has enough to offer both the novice and the slightly more advanced user: focusing is fast, filming can be done in Full-HD with good image quality, and the D3400 has a built-in flash. Like all other Nikon DSLR cameras, the D3400 has the well-known Nikon F mount that has been in use since 1959. Many different lenses have been built for this mount, by Nikon and by many other brands. The older models with mechanical apertures or models without a built-in autofocus motor are not an ideal combination with the D3400. But that still leaves a lot to choose from. These are our favorites for the Nikon D3400:
THE BEST LENS FOR A NIKON D3400 DEPENDS ON YOUR SUBJECT
From nearly 100 of our reviews of (zoom) lenses for a Nikon D3400, we selected the best lens for a Nikon D3400 based on subject, image quality, price, dimensions and weight.
The Nikon D3400 is an ideal camera for starting photographers. It delivers excellent image quality that you can use well in automatic modes. When you’re a bit more advanced, the camera will grow easily with you. But it does not have so many buttons or options that you will get lost as a starting photographer. Furthermore, it is also nice and light, so that even as an advanced photographer you could choose a D3400, if weight or compact dimensions are very important. And of course it is also one of the less expensive Nikon models. So even if the budget is small, this is the Nikon of your choice. For that reason, when selecting our favorite lenses for the D3400, we have not only looked at the subject (portrait, landscape, macro…) and image quality, but also at the price, dimensions and weight of the lenses.
HOW HAVE THE BEST LENSES BEEN SELECTED FOR THE NIKON D3400?
For this lens recommendation, we only select from the 100 lenses that you can use on a Nikon D3400 that we have tested ourselves and that have achieved high scores in their test. For the D3400, we also include price, weight and dimensions. That means that we recommend good lenses for the D3400 that fit nicely with the camera. Where possible, we prefer an AF-P lens over an AF-S lens. As far as image quality is concerned, AF-P lenses do not differ that much from AF-S lenses, but the more modern AF-P lenses have a more modern AF motor, making them quieter (useful when making video recordings) and faster focusing. In various categories, you can find lenses that perform even better, but these are usually so much more expensive, heavier and bigger that we assume that they are not that interesting for users of a D3400. CameraStuffReview tests lenses in 2 ways. We test the image quality of uncorrected RAW files (interesting for advanced photographers) and of jpg files directly from the camera. The camera corrects for storing jpg files without you noticing it for lens errors such as vignetting, distortion and color errors. That fits best with the method of starting photographers. If you want to know which other lenses we have reviewed and how they scored, check out our list of more than 300 lens reviews.
Kit lens: Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
This AF-P 18-55mm is a new design. And it is an AF-P lens. This means that it has a stepper motor for the autofocus. It works quietly and quickly and not only when you look through the viewfinder, but also in live view. The image quality is good, with a nice high center sharpness and few lens errors, if you at least make use of the corrections in the camera. A great lens for little money. And yet, if you have that choice and the budget allows it, we advise you to choose the version with image stabilization (the best standard zoom for Nikon D3400):
Standard zoom: Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
This lens is the slightly more expensive sibling of the version without VR (see above). It is also a fraction heavier, but the addition of the image stabilization is more than worth the price difference and the extra weight. With VR, you can shoot out of hand with little light, and you run less risk of unsuccessful shots due to motion blur. The image quality is comparable to that of the non-VR version: nicely sharp in the middle, very good at the corners and with few lens errors if you use the corrections in the camera or in the software when you shoot in RAW.
WIDE-ANGLE ZOOM: Nikon AF-P DX 10-20mm F4.5-5.6 G VR
A wide-angle lens has a short focal length. For a camera with an APS-C sensor, such as the Nikon D3400, that means less than 18mm. With a wide-angle lens, you can make overview shots where space is limited (inside or in the city center) or wide overview shots as above. The Nikon AF-P DX 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VR is a light, small and affordable wide angle zoom lens. The housing is largely made of plastic, as is the mount. This is therefore not a lens for professional use. But the image quality is good, the autofocus is fast and quiet (handy for video, because the microphone is in the camera). This lens also has image stabilization, so even in low light you will not suffer from motion blur and will still get sharp shots. And that 10mm stand offers a lot of wide angle: it fits twice as much on your shot as with the 18-55mm standard zoom. The Nikon AF-P DX 10-20 mm is therefore a very logical choice for the D3400.
TelePHOTO zoom: Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR II
A telephoto zoom is usually the second lens that a photographer buys, as soon as he or she notices that with an 18-55m standard zoom the subject cannot always get close enough to you. That is why cameras are sometimes offered with the standard zoom and the Nikon 55-200 mm telephoto zoom. This lens is compact and light and the first choice if you want (much) more range. With the 55-200mm, you get a subject 4 times as close to you as with a standard zoom, and when zoomed, you get the same field of view as with a 300mm on a camera with an FX sensor, and that for only 300 grams. The sharpness is fine over the entire range, the image stabilization (the longer the focal point, the greater the chance of motion blur, the more important the image stabilization becomes) works well and is hardly sensitive to backlighting.
Superzoom: Nikon AF-S DX 18-105 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm is a good and affordable alternative to the 18-55mm standard zooms. It is slightly larger, but it also offers much more telephoto, which means you do not have to take a separate telephoto zoom with you. That is why this zoom lens is often chosen as a holiday lens. Not everyone likes to change lenses during the holiday. The mount is made of plastic, but that is not an issue for an objective like this, which you will almost always leave on the camera. The sharpness in the center is good, only it has a little more trouble with flare in backlight shots than the 18-55mm’s. There are also zooms with a larger zoom range (18-200, 18-300, etc.) for sale. With that, you bring a subject even closer to you. But with a longer focal length, it is more difficult to make a sharp image: first, you get motion blur when the photographer moves only a little bit. Insufficient support or breathing in or out during at the moment of shutter release is sufficient to make the photo less sharp at a long focal length. Secondly, the bigger the zoom range, the more compromises the manufacturer must make for the lens design, which is at the expense of image quality. For starting photographers, we therefore recommend the 18-105mm. If you have been photographing a little longer and would like to take pictures with a telephoto lens, you can also go for 18-200mm, 18-300mm or 18-400mm.
Standard: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
Lenses with a fixed focal length offer higher build and image quality than zoom lenses. And they are also brighter (the smaller the aperture – f/1.8 – the less light you need for a sharp image), allowing you to shoot better with a fixed focal length in low light than with a zoom lens. Also, with f/1.8, you can better isolate your subject from the background. That is described as “bokeh” by photographers. The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G is nice and light and bright, and you get a higher image quality than with a standard zoom. At full aperture, backgrounds are also blurry, and you can shoot with it when it’s a bit darker. You just cannot zoom with it, and it has no image stabilization.
Macro: Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40 mm f/2.8G
If you’d like to shoot something small, then you need a specialized macro lens, with which you can take a picture even at very short distances. With macro lenses, the subject on the sensor becomes just as big as in reality. In technical terms: the magnification is 1:1. If you then view the image that you have created with a macro-lens of an insect full screen on your screen, then the insect becomes monstrously large. This 40mm f/2.8G Micro Nikkor is a very compact macro that fits perfectly with the D3400. As with all macro lenses, the sharpness is very high and the distortion is especially low. Only you get very close to your subject with a 40mm lens with a magnification of 1:1. However, a macro with a longer focal length is immediately much more expensive and larger.
PortrAIt: Nikon AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G
For portraits, you preferably use a bright (f/1.8 or lower) short telephoto lens. The Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 G is actually a standard lens for cameras with a full-frame (FX) sensor. The Nikon D3400 has a smaller DX sensor, so that you have a crop factor of 1.5: the field of view of a 50mm lens on a camera with a DX sensor is equal to the field of view of an 85mm lens on a camera with an FX sensor. On the D3400, you have here a beautiful, bright and light telephoto that you can use beautifully for portrait photography. The lens is already sharp at full aperture. At f/1.8, you get a very nice bokeh, and everything in the background is beautifully blurred.