Nikon D3400 Performance


Timing and Performance

Pretty good overall performance for its class.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~0.5 second

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.3 second

Time until first shot is captured.

The Nikon D3400's startup time was good for a consumer DSLR, and switching from Play to Record and taking a shot was very fast.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF (Center AF point)

0.202 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All AF timing measured with Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens unless otherwise noted.)

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF Flash enabled

0.218 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, Auto Flash enabled.

Manual focus

0.104 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Pre-focused

0.080 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Pre-focused
Live View

0.280 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Nikon D3400's full autofocus shutter lag when shooting the same target multiple times was a touch faster than average for a consumer DSLR. The D3400 required about 0.202 second for full AF using the center focus point. Enabling the flash raised full AF shutter lag only slightly to 0.218 second, reflecting the added delay caused by the pre-flash metering.

Manual focus shutter lag was faster than AF lag as expected, at 0.104 second. When prefocused, shutter lag dropped to 0.080 second which is about average for a consumer DSLR.

The Nikon's prefocused shutter lag in Live View mode was a bit sluggish at 0.280 second, taking longer than full AF lag with the optical viewfinder. (We no longer routinely test full AF shutter lag in Live View mode for DSLRs, as it is usually very lens dependent.)

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

As mentioned above, we no longer routinely test Full AF shutter lag in Live View mode because it is very lens dependent making comparisons between cameras tested with different lenses invalid, however we wanted to see how much faster Nikon's new AF-P 18-55mm VR kit lens is compared to the previous generation AF-S 18-55mm VR II kit lens.

Below are our Live View Full AF lag test results using Normal-area AF in Single-servo AF mode with the two kit lenses on the D3400:

Live View mode Full AF lag
AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR vs AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II lens

Full Autofocus
Normal-area AF
AF-P 18-55 VR

0.636 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Normal-area AF
AF-S 18-55 VR II

1.307 seconds

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

As you can see, the new AF-P kit lens is about twice as fast at focusing in Live View mode as the previous AF-S kit lens under the same conditions. Autofocus is also a lot quieter and smoother with the AF-P lens' stepper motor, however focus still hunts before settling down because the D3400 uses contrast detection which is an iterative process. This can be particularly annoying in continuous AF mode when shooting video as focus can hunt even with relatively stationary subjects. Still, the new AF-P kit lens offers a significant improvement in Live View AF performance.

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)

Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

No
(Yes with Flash)

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.20 second (5.10 frames per second);
100 frames total;
1 second to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 100 shot set limit.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.20 second (5.09 frames per second);
12 frames total;
3 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 12 frame buffer, then slows to an average of 3.3 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous mode
RAW + L/F
JPEG

0.20 second (5.10 frames per second);
6 frames total;
4 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 6 frame buffer, then slows to an average of 2.0 fps when buffer is full.

Flash recycling

2.0 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as Advanced D-Lighting or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times were very fast and difficult to measure accurately as they depend on the tester's dexterity and ability to maintain an optimum rhythm. (We no longer test just RAW file cycle time in single-shot mode, as it's usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG.)

Continuous mode speed was good for its class at about 5.1 frames per second no matter the file type, slightly exceeding Nikon's 5 fps spec. The D3400 does not offer a slower Continuous L mode.

Buffer depth in continuous mode was excellent when shooting just JPEGs at 100 Large/Fine JPEG frames, though with RAW files buffer depths were limited to only 12 RAW frames or 6 RAW+L/F JPEG frames. However, that's an unexpected and welcome improvement over the D3300's 7 and 5 frames respectively which was tested with the same SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC card (rated for 90MB/s writes and 95MB/s reads).

Buffer clearing was very quick with our fast UHS-I card, ranging from only 1 second after 100 JPEGs to 4 seconds after a max-length burst of RAW+JPEG files.

The D3400's built-in flash took an average of 2.0 seconds to recharge after full-power shots, which is quite fast.

Bottom line, the Nikon D3400's performance is generally quite good for its class. Startup time is good, as is AF speed and shutter lag. Single-shot cycle times are excellent, and burst performance is good for an entry-level DSLR, with a very generous JPEG buffer depth. Buffer depths with RAW files are limited compared to JPEGs, but improved over the D3300 which is a pleasant surprise.

Battery

Battery Life
Outstanding battery life for a compact DSLR.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Optical Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
1,200

The Nikon D3400 uses a custom rechargeable EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a dedicated charger. Battery life when using the optical viewfinder is outstanding for a consumer DSLR, though Nikon does not specify battery life for Live View mode, which will certainly be a lot lower. Some of the improvement over the D3300's 700 shot battery life is due to the D3400's weaker flash (which is fired for 50% of shots during CIPA battery life testing), however battery life is still exceptional. As is usually the case, though, we still recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings, or when using Live View a lot.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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