Best lenses for the Nikon D3400 DSLR camera

Nikon D3400 DSLR camera
The best lenses for the Nikon D3400 DSLR camera (now $500 off the 2 lens kit) according to the latest DxOMark tests are:

Nikon D3400 best zoom lenses

Best wide-angle zoom lens - Tokina AT-X 14-20mm f/2 PRO DX ($599):


Best standard zoom lens - Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC Art ($799):


Best DX telephoto zoom lens - Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 DC (no longer available):


Best FX telephoto zoom lens - Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC ($1,499):


Best super-zoom lens - Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR ($496.95):


Nikon D3400 best prime lenses

Best wide-angle prime lens - Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art ($899):


Best 35mm prime lens - Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art ($899):


Best 50mm prime lens - Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art ($949):


Best 85mm prime lens - Carl Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 ($4,490):


Best 105mm prime lens - Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ($2,196.95):


Best super-telephoto prime lens - Nikon 200mm f/2G ($5,596.95):


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  • Spy Black

    Not sure why DxO publishes this. It’s rather comical.

    • I would say it makes sense for zoom and/or DX lenses.

      • Pat Mann

        Not for me for the 3400. I wouldn’t pick a wide zoom as narrow as 14mm (21 equivalent) for DX – I’d go 12 at least, and would consider the two DX Nikkors. I couldn’t find the 12-24 tested on any high-res sensor, but I couldn’t get their widget to work after a few changes. I wouldn’t pick an f/2.8 70-200 tele for an entry-level compact DX camera, I’d pick the 70-200 f/4. I wouldn’t pick any of the standard zooms they looked at, I’d pick the 16-80. If they don’t test or show the real candidates, how can one make a sensible decision from the list?

    • AKH

      Fully agree. That list makes no sense at all.

    • Allen_Wentz

      Agreed. DxOMark is _not_ meaningful as regards “best lenses” for any given camera. DxO provides sometimes-interesting laboratory analytical info; period. Any usage as generalized lens ranking is absurd.

    • Aldo

      They forgot the 800mm f5.6

      • T.I.M

        and the free x1.2 converter !

    • I’m trying to picture the photographer that (a) buys a D3400, (b) reads DxO’s website for advice, and (c) buys a Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 to use with it. This sounds like literally zero people. I can’t even imagine, say, a ridiculously wealthy person buying a camera kit for their kid to go to art school — that kid gets a Leica 🙂

      • Thom Hogan

        This is more Nikon’s fault than anything.

        But given my surveys of my site readers, I can tell you that there is a contingent that accepts the low-end DX body for what it is, much like Galen Rowell used to accept the N65 for what it was: a light, cut-feature, low-cost body that takes perfectly fine photos.

        Indeed, this is one of the reasons why I keep writing that Nikon screwed up with DX lenses (buzz, buzz). Those same people that bought an m4/3 or Fujifilm X camera with two or three good, small primes would have stayed in the Nikon DX family had Nikon been paying attention.

        FWIW, I enjoyed the D3400 I was using when I reviewed it. Indeed, the simplified controls are somewhat revealing: you spend more time paying attention to composition then menu/control diving.

        • Patrick Tardif

          The situation can not be better summarized. Mainly in m4/3 now for freedom of movement, I operate within the limits of these sensors and for the local wildlife I bought a 7D with an appropriate lens, since Canon users dump these still respectable equipment at a ridiculous price. At the time a D500 replacement for my D2X and an ILM compatible light body with a good sensor at decent price would have filled me. Recently, the substantial rise in the prices of photographic equipment requires careful consideration before proceeding with any change.

          • Lee Smith

            “freedom of movement?”

            When did men become such 97 pound weaklings? Are you paralyzed? 90 years old?

            I walk around with a D750 all day with no problems but then again I also run and workout and have a good sex life.

            • CERO

              “and have a good sex life”. Oh gods, the perfect case of internet of “look at me, I’m macho!”.

            • Clubber Lang

              It really depends. If you are just walking around town all day with your plethora of women hanging off of your arms and taking snapshots at the gym of your muscle head friends then bulk and weight may not be a concern. But, take a hike up one of the high peaks in the ADKs or any strenuous circuit hike with a few days worth of food and gear and I’m sorry to say but the weight adds up. I’m only joking with you here but I don’t think you can assume everyone is just strolling down the city park with their gear.

            • Aldo

              The d750 isn’t that heavy and it’s nikons smallest FF so…

            • Patrick Tardif

              FYI, I’m top shape and go where few people are able to go, where each gram have some

            • Max

              I must say, I agree that a dedicated camera shouldn’t be smaller than, say a D3xxx. But haven’t you noticed how everything has been getting smaller over the last 100 years?
              It’s obviously important to many people.
              I see lots of hulks leaving the gym lovingly caressing their slim yoga tablets and macbook airs.

            • David Peterson

              A Nikon D750 is not much weight, but throw in three more FX lenses at it then becomes something which is lightweight for a dedicated photography outing…. but getting to be kinda heavy ish if you’re going out for another purposes (perhaps just a BBQ at the beach, or roaming main street shopping with your partner, or going for a tramp through the forest, or whatever) and photography is but a minor causal side purpose for the trip.

              Then the benefits of Micro Four Thirds (or a well designed APS-C system) can really shine.

        • Your reference to Galen Rowell’s use of an N65 really underscores what I think is missing by so many photographers. I totally get it that many folks on blogs like this one are gear heads more than photographers. There is nothing wrong with that. But, some assert that without the absolutely sharpest, aberration-free lens or highest pixel count sensor you can’t make good photographs. I like to chime in more than occasionally that some perspective should be maintained. You could make a really good photograph with a $25 Vivitar. You can make absolutely terrible photographs with a Phase One. Many of the iconic images from the canon of photographic history are, upon close inspection, not very sharp. Don’t have very good micro contrast. Suffer from a bit of camera shake. It’s fun and interesting to follow the developments of the camera makers and look at what’s out there that might make photography easier and more enjoyable. And, I certainly want to remain competitive in my little world of commercial photography in the small city in which I live. Meanwhile, I’ve seriously considered this D3400 as a backup to my every day camera and, just maybe, a tool for serious photography when I want to carry something lighter and less pretentious.

        • tomherren

          I was lucky to buy an almost new D3300 body for CHF 150.00 which is now the second body to my D750 (during the next Nikon recall ☺) for one-tenth of the price.

        • David Peterson

          I agree, the Nikon 35mm f1.8G lens is a cracking good value lens for anyone to start out with! (just compare its price for that DX lens vs the 35mm f1.8G FX lens! 😮 )

          So it is a darn pity that Nikon can’t also make say a Nikon 16mm f2.8 DX (i.e. a 24mm FX) and a Nikon 90mm f/2 DX (i.e. a 135mm FX) for a cheap ish price.

          Then a person could start out with say a Nikon D3400 (or D5500) with a set of: 16 + 35 + 90, that would cover a lot of needs! All in not much space / weight / $$$

        • Eric Calabros

          in Nikon Europe promo video, the photographer uses 24mm f/1.4 on D3400. Fuji’s 23mm f/1.4 lens, while not very affordable, still is $1000 cheaper, and while not very small, weights exactly half of that!
          The problem is right in front of their eyes.

        • Nikita

          Hogan is 100% right IMO. The DX lens line-up is incomplete.

      • Aldo

        Actually if you buy a d3400 and the sigma 18-35mm ALONE… That is plausible and fine recommendation imo… it is the further expansion of the kit that will include many lenses from this list that gives little sense to buying a d3400 in the first place.

        • If you’re an enthusiast on a budget, I’d go for an older camera with similar or even better specs (e.g. a new D7000 for nearly $200 less, or a used D600 for slightly more) to start with. The one camera I would definitely not buy is the D3400 where you’re paying a premium for a camera that just came out with nothing special to recommend it. A more capable body also opens up the possibility of using older primes. Personally, I think 18-35 is a silly focal range for a zoom, and it would feel badly balanced on a body whose greatest virtue is small size and light weight.

          You could probably pick up a used D600 and a couple of primes for the same price.

          • Aldo

            I agree with most of what you say… Thing is the d3400 /sigma 18-35mm wouldn’t be a catastrophic mistake (if mistake at all)… meaning it isn’t a ridiculous argument. The d3400 with a bunch of 1.4 glass and expensive zooms however, (as the list here recommends) is laughable.

            As for the sigma lens goes, I’ve owned it and I can tell you it is a very useful focal length (27-52mm field of view). It’s basically a 28mm prime and a 50mm prime. So you see the sigma isn’t just a zoom but a prime lens hybrid.

            • And a 35mm prime if you like :-).

              I think my main point is that D3400 plus serious lenses is unlikely, and D3400 plus serious lens based on advice from Dx0 is unlikelier still.

              I think the 18-35 is a mistake because it’s a heavy (non-stabilized) DX lens. Obviously this lens and its telephoto sibling are well reviewed but they just seem to me to be differently compromised than smaller, cheaper, and more versatile alternatives. You get f2.8 equivalent subject isolation in exchange for throwing away all the advantages of DX (size, cost, etc.)

      • When I was in high school (early 1970’s) a friend of mine’s “ridiculously wealthy” dad bought him a Leica M3 with a couple lenses. Within a short time he went to a camera store and traded them for a 4 X 5 view camera and one lens. He took maybe four photographs with it and took it back to the same camera store where he then traded it for an Olympus OM-1 and a couple lenses. Needless to say it was an interesting life lesson for ME. I’m not sure what he got out of it other than a poor deal.

      • David Peterson

        I use my “holy trinity” of: Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 + Sigma 18-35mm f2.8 + Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 with my Nikon D5200 all the time.

        And the older D5200 sells for about the same as what the newer D3400 goes for.

        So yes, I could imagine people doing that. And it makes sense too to prioritize lenses over a camera body!

        That person could do great work with that for the next say 5yrs, and then pick up a D500 in 5yrs from now for very cheap.

        But could a person use a D500 with a kit lens for 5yrs then pick up those three “holy trinity” lenses for as cheaply? Nope.

      • Lorenzo Visser

        I bought a Nikon D3400, because I wanted to get into photography. Cheap and reliable does it’s job. Now after 8 months shooting a lot and getting more into it, I already want to upgrade. (That’s why people buy D3400)

    • The funny thing is that the simplified — therefore much more readable for amateurs — P-Mpix score (which reminds me of the ancient several hundred watts PMPO value of LR14-20 battery driven boomboxes) 🙂 based on the sweet point of the lens, where in practice any lens performs well enough.

  • Photobug

    Good data for picking lens for this camera. No surprise that the 18-140mm Nikkor is the best at this focal length. I have recommended this DSLR and the 18-140mm for all Nikon ASP DSLR cameras. Can’t believe too many buyers would spend the $$$ for all these lenses knowing the price point of some of these lenses.

    • So you don’t see a lot of folks sporting a D3400 and the 105mm f1.4?

      • Photobug

        Exactly. A D7100/7200 or D500 but not D3400. Still laughing about some of these lenses.

  • Jim Huang

    Stupid question:
    Shouldn’t they be the same for all nikon dx cameras?

    • Some lenses seem to do better on one camera than another. As one example, my 58mm f/1.4 is stunning on my Df, but doesn’t look good on a friend’s D800E.

      • T.I.M

        AF fine tune ?

      • Jim Huang

        But all Nikon’s DX cameras have 24MP sensor….

        • Well, the D500 has a 20MP.

          • Jim Huang

            Ok, apart from that. XP

  • This is actually amusing. Imagine putting a $900 Sigma 35mm ART lens on this $400 camera.

    • What’s wrong with that? Exceptional low light capability in a light package for the price. IMO it’s an almost perfect pairing for stills if someone know how to use them well. Much better setup than a cheap zoom on a full frame body.

      • Who said there’s anything wrong with it? I just find it amusing.

        • Captain Insane-O

          Like putting a $20,000 lens on a D5… I ran around with a $1500 70-200 f2.8 on a d3200 and d5500 before I got my d750.

          A very good friend of mine still buys expensive glass for his d90, since it still gets the job done.

          • Yes, because one day he will update his camera and he doesn’t have to buy new lenses, nothing wrong with that.

    • Nimloth

      If all you need is a low-cost sensor to attach to your lens, the D3400 is an excellent choice.

      • Agree. I’ve often wondered why I don’t get a D3400 or 5500 and put a 35 f/1.8DX on it. Would make a great street camera.

        • tomherren

          I did with a D3300. One needs just to get used to the limitations of camera settings when coming from a D750

          • There are limitations, for sure. But for street shooting I sometimes put an old 55mm f/3.5 micro Nikkor on my Df, set it to ISO 800 or 1000, f/11 or f/16 and focus at 8 to 10 feet and let the shutter figure out the rest. Tons of latitude so I don’t worry about exposure that much. It’s sort of “set and forget it”. That lens gives it a classic hard look.

        • Max

          I use a D5300 with the 35 for street a lot. It’s almost perfect – the only thing I find myself wanting for occasionally is a silent shutter.

        • Captain Insane-O

          The 35 dx works great on ff too at certain apertures and focus, and works everywhere at 1.2x crop mode.

          But I used my 35 1.8 and d5500 everywhere. It’s so light.

    • commonsenseisdead76

      I have put the new 70-200 f2.8 lens on one repeatedly and it does just fine with it.

  • Lan Jay

    Is it that important to waste a post for the D3400?

    • Bob Thane

      Contrary to popular belief, the D3400 is not a terrible camera, and everyone who uses it is not a peasant.

      A lot of people are interested in entry level gear, either as a first DSLR or a budget back up camera. And unless NR is on a very bad hosting plan, there’s no appreciable limit to how many posts can be made, so this is no waste.

      • Max

        Also, believe it or not, there are people who pay bills with D3xxx cameras.

    • tomherren

      I recently bought an almost new D3300 body for CHF 150.– (approx. USD 145.–) to have something smaller and lighter than my D750 for everyday use. With a 35mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.8 lens (each one around USD 200.–) you can get really great pictures if you know how to use these lenghtes properly. The sensor of the smallest Nikon DSLR is good enough, but it is not the camera that makes a picture!

    • Max

      How do you waste a post? There are infinite posts available.
      A lot of people find it interesting to read.

    • CERO

      Not everyone is going straight to a D500 or a D750 or bigger.
      Im pretty sure there is a lot of readers who cant buy higher or dont need anything higher for general photography.

  • Merv S

    Since there are several FX zoom lenses here, why not have the Nikon 14-24, and 24-70 lenses included in these comparisons?

    And as for DX wide angle, this Tokina AT-X 14-20mm could be the “best”, but if I want wide angle, I’d go for the Sigma 8-16

    The prime lens comparisons at 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 105mm look good though.

  • Aldo

    The list should start with….
    First sell the d3400 and buy a d7100

    • Lan Jay

      Totally agree

    • commonsenseisdead76

      I own a D7100 and have an issued D3400. Both work fine with any lens I use.

  • Krishna808

    For a start, sharpness isn’t everything but the main problem I have is that a 14-20mm lens is pretty much useless! What sort of range is that?

    That Nikon expect you to buy FF lenses for a tiny DX camera is another story. They must be hoping we’ll upgrade later but until then we have the expense and extra weight to carry around.

    It’s a tough sell for me…

    • Thom Hogan

      Because of the lack of primes, the wide angle zooms substitute for primes. That lens is a substitute for a 20mm, 24mm, and 28mm prime, basically.

      • Krishna808

        Any zoom could be seen as a prime replacement, this one would be more useful if it replaced a few more!

  • MonkeySpanner

    Regardless of whether you think these lists are silly or not – one thing that is clear is that the third party manufacturers are for real when it comes to optics. Had to look way down a few lists to find a Nikon lens.

    • Krishna808

      I’ve got Tamron lenses that are sharper than my Nikon’s with similar focal lengths, but the pictures don’t look as good. Charts can’t tell you much that’s really useful.

  • T.I.M

    As you all already know I own many of the best Nikon lenses but if I had to keep only one, I would keep the 24-120mm f/4 VR
    I’m not a zoom lens guy but that one really amaze me every time I use it.
    Sure, it have some distortion but it is SHARP all over the range at any aperture, and the VR works great I get great shots as slow as 1/15s !
    You can find it brand new on Ebay for only $500-$700 (pulled from a body+lens kit).

    • Aldo

      It starts to lose sharpness after 60mm and it is soft at 120mm.. but not worse than the nikkor 24-70 G at 70mm 2.8.

      I have this lens and even though I don’t love it gives me excellent shots at 24mm if you can live with the distortion. Much, much better than the 24-85mm. That said the lens renders the images somewhat flat and I only use it sparingly.

      • T.I.M

        Mine is sharp all the way from 24mm to 120mm, fall off (if there is) is auto corrected by the D800.
        The only negative about that lens is the strong distortion.
        I also like the close focusing.
        The older AF-D versions are not good (not at all)

        • Aldo

          You must have different standards for sharpness TIM… I can confidently say (since I’ve had many copies of the lens) that what I say is accurate.
          Even the new 24-70 VR from nikon loses sharpness at 70mm f2.8.

          • T.I.M

            I had 2 of the 24-70mm f/2.8VR, I did not like them (the 28-70mm AF-s is better)
            Well I guess I got a good sample, my 24-120mm is really sharp, even wide open, tested on 3 D800.

    • CERO

      what about the sigma 24-105?

  • Farhad H.

    And who in their right mind would put the best Nikon lenses on a D3400?!

    • fanboy fagz

      Why not? Will it blow up when used together? I could put amazing images from an 85 mounted on a d3400

      • Farhad H.

        Just to make sure, by 85 you mean the $4599 Carl Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4?
        I don’t know about you, but I would get better pictures with a Nikkor 85 on a D810, and it’s a cheaper combo.

        • fanboy fagz

          even my 85 1.8d. it doesnt matter really. why couldnt one get kick ass photos with the otus and d3400?

          • Max

            the 58 on a D5500 would make a great street portrait combo actually.

    • Carleton Foxx

      Me. Definitely.

  • I am not saying this article shouldn’t exist but. Most D3400 users wouldn’t even care. Most of the time, they are the poor souls victim of a sales guy from your friendly electronics shop packaging the camera with a 18-55 and a 55-200 kit lens, and don’t forget the tripod, bag and cleaning stuff!


    It takes some time to learn what a photographer needs. I’m speaking from experience.
    When I was starting out, My dad bought me a Nikon 17-55 2.8 before but hell I wasn’t happy with it- I sold it and bought a Nikon 18-200 f3.5-5.6 – boy how I regret that. So after years of doing photography, finally (I think?) I’m getting the equipment I need.

    • Aldo

      “Most of the time, they are the poor souls victim of a sales guy from your friendly electronics shop packaging the camera with a 18-55 and a 55-200 kit lens, and don’t forget the tripod, bag and cleaning stuff!”

      Very true… but they only seem ‘victims’ from a photographer’s perspective. I bet you that in most cases not even the sales person knows any better… most of the time he/she is just a sales person not a photographer.

      I’m curious (based on your own experience with 18-200 and the 17-55) whether you think the equipment learning curve can be avoided or one has to do the ‘hard time’?

      • Captain Insane-O

        Honestly the kit lens d3400 combination is better than what most need or want. They are not victims, and basic kits can take great photos.

        I can’t even convince family members to shoot raw on their vacations so I could edit their favorite shots because it takes up so much space compared to jpegs.

        • Aldo

          To such crowd I started recommending advanced point and shoot cameras such as the sony rx100 III, IV and V and the upcoming nikon DL line. I know a lot of people who buy DSLR kits and never bother to switch/buy lenses or shoot raw like you say.

          • Max

            This is exactly why these lines D3xxx, canon rebel, etc are going to disappear next – just like point and shoots that were still booming a few years ago.

            DSLR is still very relevant to pro’s, enthusiasts and the high end, due to responsiveness, lenses, control, etc. but DSLR as a compact camera is more and more becoming a forced idea.

            My boss (late 30’s, about to become a soccermom, still drinks lots of gin with pineapple pieces at “sexy” bars) just bought a new DSLR. It was “a fancy, expensive camera”.
            This was a D5500 with two lens kit.

            There is no way she will buy a lens that cost as much as or more than the camera itself.

            She also doesn’t know what a constant aperture zoom is.

            I actually believe that she and many others should rather buy the DL or the Sony RX100

        • It’s not bad. Because lenses are essential for the camera to work.
          Still I can count them as a victim of inaccurate information regarding the lenses that they are offering.
          I’ve done pretending to buy one just to hear what they have to say, sometimes I wanted to burst to laughter due to all BS.

          But let’s face it, a lot of these type of consumers are looking for the “professional” look. (Where most of the time, they just meant shallow depth of field.)
          Most of them gets frustrated why the pictures looks “normal” even though they invested on buying an “expensive” (entry-level) DSLR.

          If my friends who ask which camera and lens kit to get. It’s always a hard question to answer. Because they have different expectations. So after telling them most of the stuff they needed to know, here comes the salesman (just doing his job) offering a versatile set of lens kit that is great in value… which is not.

  • ronnienyc

    While many lenses discussed are madly expensive for this body, I do not understand everyone acting like this is the worst camera ever produced because:

    1. Better D.R. than any Canon camera ever
    2. No AA filter.
    3. decent focusing ability

    So it seems that at worst it would make an inexpensive backup and/or super light weight travel camera.
    And perhaps good for those days when you don’t want to risk getting sand in your $4,000 DSLR.

    • Aldo

      It’s not about what you can do with a camera… it’s about what camera it’s best suited for someone who is serious about photography…. and someone considering buying half the glass recommended here should OBVIOUSLY consider a more capable body. You can’t even fine tune on this body (for crying out loud). A sensor is only as good as the pictures you can get with it… and there are many shortcomings in a body like d3400 that no serious photographer needs to experience when you can buy a d7100 for almost the same price.

      I can also take good pictures with a toaster… that doesn’t mean I’m going to go buy a toaster to be a photographer or recommend a toaster to a serious photographer for that matter.

      That said I’ve done minor work (entirely shot) with the d3300 because I’ve had my main body being serviced. The d3xxx has its place in the market for sure but that’s not what’s being mocked here. A long lens list revolving around the very entry level body (with no indication as to why you should consider this body over the MANY better alternatives) is both puzzling and comical (as Spyblack said). This is why people are pocking fun at it.

      • ronnienyc

        “That said I’ve done minor work (entirely shot) with the d3300 because I’ve had my main body being serviced.”

        And did you use a decent lens on it, or just junk?

        • Aldo

          I used the same lenses I use on the d750. If you have as many lenses, expensive lenses as it is being recommended here… you shouldn’t have a d3400 as a main body. And if you have a d3XXX as a second or back up body… then like me… you don’t need articles like this one. It’s almost like a paradox.

          • ronnienyc

            Ok so you used decent (expensive) lenses on a d3XXX backup, but other people shouldn’t…

            Also it seems that people are ignoring the fact there are a bunch of lenses here that are $200, $300, $400…)

            Anyway, I don’t really care so nothing personal, but it’s puzzling that people can’t just skip articles that provide info not useful to them.

            • Aldo

              “Ok so you used decent (expensive) lenses on a d3XXX backup, but other people shouldn’t ”

              NO. ‘People’ who are considering buying many good lenses should consider buying a better body for their ‘main’ camera…. especially when that ‘better’ camera can be purchased for about the same amount of money as the lesser camera.

            • ronnienyc

              OK, thanks Dad!!
              (just kidding, sort of.)

  • BVS

    How does the DX 35 1.8 get a higher score than the FX 35 1.8 and 1.4 when the FX versions are higher in nearly every category except CA? Does CA really count that much towards the score? Or, is price factored into the score somehow?

    • Carleton Foxx

      Maybe it depends on how much you hate fringe?

  • Captain Insane-O

    I find it comical reading through people’s elitist comments about who would buy that camera and go to dxo.

    Try going to a college photo course. Literally hundreds of kids that buy intro cameras and then look for more creativity with better lenses. Or the obvious, the googler that literally googles what are the best lenses to buy.

    I speak from experience, both going through it myself as well as witnessing countless others do so.

    Not everyone researches cameras that much before purchasing, and a lot begin to admire photography after they get decent equipment such as the d3400.

    Heck, even my professor preached lenses over camera and to get an intro camera with a better lens until you develop the skills to move to a better body.

    • Clubber Lang

      I agree. The photo snobs are a bit over the top.
      I imagine the majority of people on the planet think it’s just as absurd when somebody goes out and spends the amount of cash most people in this forum have spent on camera gear over the years. Probably could buy a small island. This is a Nikon site so I’m not sure what the big deal is.

    • Aldo

      “Not everyone researches cameras that much before purchasing”

      And recommendations like this only add to that problem… Imagine someone who takes only 2 minutes researching cameras and buys a d3400 based on this information? That would be a little ‘tragic’ imo.

      • Captain Insane-O

        The d3400 has a good sensor. Poor features, but a good sensor paired with great glass equals. Great pictures.

        It’s perfectly logical to purchase a featureless camera and get great lenses.

        Tell me, in a studio setting, how much better will a d500 do over a d3400 with the same glass and equipment? The d3400 probably would do better considering its better resolution.

        You don’t need MUP, killer af, dual card slots, or 12fps to take advantage of nice lenses.

        If the person graduates to a more skilled form of photography, then they should upgrade their body to get the features they need.

        My d3200, d5500, and d750 all benefit from the nice lenses I have.

        No actual need to pay for features you won’t otherwise use.

        • Aldo

          I have used a d3300 in a studio setting and the results were no different than my d750… but we are talking a far range of lens categories here. Who are we even talking about? Someone who buys the d3400 solely for studio photos? The main problem I have with such recommendation for someone who will use this as a main body is the lack of AF fine tuning which could possibly render the expensive good glass ineffective.

          I think in modern photography the AF fine tuning and the ‘second’ dial aren’t really “features you won’t otherwise use” when you are buying half the recommended arsenal in this post.

        • I agree, I can see many scenarios where somebody has the D3400 and is looking for higher end lenses, which is why I published this post.

    • Couchy

      This, this, a thousand times this. A decent photography course will teach you how to *see* which is surely a prerequisite no matter the camera.

  • peter w

    This is the second non-scense article in a week…
    With a lot of comments by fools like me :).
    Keep up the good work.

    And a happy new year.

  • Carleton Foxx

    I’m confused by the comments. How is a small, lightweight camera combined with small, wide-aperture primes and zooms a bad thing?
    I had a D7000 and I hated it so I will never buy a D7100 or 7200. I also had a D5500 and it was OK, but the image quality was only 90 percent of the way there.
    So if I’m looking for something in a DX sensor, this seems like a great alternative. Or am I just a loser?

    • Aldo

      Some of these lenses arent ‘small’ or very ‘light’ . I wouldnt say you are a loser but rather unsure on what you really want. If all you care is about size then you really belong in the mirrorless segment… The main issue with the entry level cameras is that they dont have AF fine tune. It makes no sense buying an arsenal of fast primes or good quality zoom lenses if you arent sure you’ll get properly focused photos out of them.

      • MonkeySpanner

        Yes, this is one advantage of mirrorless – nothing to AF fine tune.

        • Carleton Foxx

          I’m not confused, I was trying to be ironic. What I want is Nikon quality images without hauling around a D800 or even a D500. I want something the weight and size of an S2 with an APS-C-sized sensor. As Thom talks about below and at length on his site, Galen Rowell made art with very basic Nikon cameras and lenses.
          That’s what I aspire to—make magic with only a basic tripod, a couple of amazing lenses and a very lightweight body.

          • Aldo

            You see what I mean… above you talk about your d810 and how you didn’t like the d5500 because it didn’t “matched well”… oh but the d7000 is too heavy???

            This is exactly my point. You are just looking for toys at this point, yet you hypocritically vouch for a low entry level camera (which maybe you haven’t even played with) to be the workhorse for someone else who is willing to invest in several good lenses. Someone who won’t have several bodies for a while and perhaps is new to DSLRs, or switching from another brand. It could also be someone starting up willing to become passionate about photography as a hobby or perhaps make a career out of it. The d3400 simply doesn’t belong there as a stand alone camera to be paired with several fast lenses (some arguably top of the line)… it’s just nonsense.

            I would only recommend the d3xxx series to someone who will stick to kit lenses and the 35mm 1.8g along with maybe another one or two cheap primes. If this person is willing to invest in E glass or other top of the line lenses then there is no point even mentioning the d3400 unless you’d want to recommend a back up or a second body to play around and experiment with (much like what you seem to be doing)

            • tomherren

              That was exactly my reasoning when I recently bought a D3300 with the latest 18-55 kit lens (AF-P) for CHF 300.00 and sold the lens again for CHF 150.00. Now I have a spare body that cost me only one-thenth of my main body (D750) in case there is another callback from Nikon for a “defect” that probably does not affect photography at all but lowers the resale value if you don’t have it repaired. With the 35mm DX, 50mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.8 the D3300 is quite a capable combination once you are used to the limitations in camera settings compared to the D750.

            • Carleton Foxx

              It’s a life stage. When you get to a certain age you are overcome with the urge to uncomplicated and unburden—you’ll find out.
              To me the d810 has become cumbersome and annoying when shooting crowded events. I want to be able to move through the world like a ballet dancer, not a pack mule.

            • Aldo

              I understand what you mean believe or not… I was a ‘mule’ myself not too long ago carrying two bodies (d800 and d700) with the 24-70mm and the 70-200… along with a superwide in the bag along with a hand full of flashes and pocketwizzards.

              My work now revolves a 35mm 1.8g and an 85mm 1.8g with a d750 body. I recently had a d810 and sold it due to the same reason you mentioned (plus I currently don’t need that resolving power). I don’t know if you have tried a d750, but it is the most comfortable camera I’ve held to this day… It also feels better in the hand than any of the d7xxx. (I’ve owned all of them, my guess the d7300 will have upgraded ergonomics)

              I think that you long for a ‘premium’ camera the size of the d3400… unfortunately there is nothing premium about the d3400. It seems like a stripped down version of the d3300 plus snapbridge.

              In the end to each their own. I’ve tried using entry level bodies in the same manner I use the d750 (bride walking down the aisle, critical focused pictures at fast apertures) and they just don’t work. They are not responsive enough and don’t have the ability to work well in a fast paced shooting environments. I woudn’t recommend entry level bodies to any serious photographer (as a stand alone body)

          • Max

            I own neither, but I am sure you would have to do some hardcore testing and pixel peeping to find one of these sensors being better than the other.

          • maninbath

            I seem to have got lucky, having had a D7000 since the model was introduced, yet have not experienced AF problems using it with any of half a dozen lenses. I struggle to find a reason to upgrade – despite episodes of GAS.

          • Allen_Wentz

            IMO the D5xxx series may best suit your described needs.

            Although I mostly use a D500 and a D3, years ago I bought a D5100 kit that literally lives concealed in my SUV. The D5100 is conveniently available for unplanned pix without the risk involved in carrying around really expensive gear 24/7. Plus I cannot overstate the utility of the flippy screen that the D3xxx series lacks (especially as regards how a flippy screen and live view facilitate tripod use).

            • Carleton Foxx

              Thanks, those are great reasons. I like the idea of carrying a small but capable camera in my car, too.

    • MonkeySpanner

      ? The d5500 should give you better results than the d7000 – wrt image quality. I have both of these bodies as well. D5500 has a better sensor – in every way.

      • Carleton Foxx

        The D5500 was fine, but the images and video didn’t match very well with my D810. They alway looked a little limp and flat side by side.

        • CERO

          You cant really compare a APS-C 600 USD(or less) camera with a 3,000 USD+ full frame mammoth.

  • ronnienyc

    Lots of “enthusiasts” here advocating for a Nanny State – saying that we should tell people what equipment to use, rather than providing a useful list of which lenses work best (along with prices from $250 up), and letting people decide for themselves.
    (Because, you know, it’s dangerous out there!!)

    • Carleton Foxx

      Not everything in our society has to be us vs them….maybe they have thought of something we’ve overlooked.

  • Nikita

    well, once again I must express: no ultra wide prime for DX.
    I wish for 10mm 2.8 (yes, Samyang, but too many features missing).

    Everyone interested in ultimate IQ insists on primes, but DX-ers don’t seem to care about the missing DX uwa prime. Strange.

    • Max

      a lot of dx users want a 35mm, 24m (fx equivelants) and an ultra-wide dx prime, but neither nikon, canon or pentax make them.

      • Nikita

        hence my post

      • Allen_Wentz

        Nikon’s DX AF-S 35mm f/1.8G is a very good DX lens at a very good price.

        • Max

          Sorry I meant fx equivalent fov

    • Allen_Wentz

      The 1.5x framing factor by definition has always made DX not the place to go for “ultimate IQ” in UWA. The 10.5mm (fisheye but easily correctable to rectilinear in post) and the 12-24mm are both good, useful lenses that I originally bought for UWA use with the D2x and now use with the D500 or even with the D3.

      Although I consider the lenses above to be fully adequate for most commercial photography, IMO “ultimate IQ” in UWA simply does require FX and (often expensive) UWA FX lenses.

      • Nikita

        Sure FX, but I’m talking best quality DX (which as you imply isn’t so easy to detect from FX in many cases) and not a fisheye and not a zoom.

        Again, I’m surprised people continue to argue against the UWA DX prime. A full DX lens line-up might keep some of the mirrorless defectors around longer.

  • speedy

    Firstly: the title is misleading, these results apply to any Nikon DX camera.
    Secondly, the 3400 sensor is pretty good, just limited controls and a small body. So putting a good lens on a small camera is not that silly.

    Check this:
    or this:

  • free yourmind

    these apsc dslrs are going to be outdated in 2 years. i dunno i can just feel it. testing out the new mirrorless which uses apsc but reduced dimensions it will be a strong contender..sonys hardware is on the top. but their UI is totally crap.

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