Nikon D3400 Image Quality
Nikon D3400 Image Quality Comparison
Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing Nikon D3400 image quality to its predecessor, the D3300, as well as against several competing entry-level interchangeable lens models at similar price points: the Canon T6, Panasonic G7, Pentax K-S2 and Sony A6000. While we wouldn't call the Sony A6000 "entry-level," at the time of writing, it was available for about the same price as the Nikon D3400, so we decided to include it in this comparison.
NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Nikon D3400, Nikon D3300, Canon T6, Panasonic G7, Pentax K-S2 and Sony A6000 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Nikon D3400 to any camera we've ever tested!
Nikon D3400 vs Nikon D3300 at Base ISO
Nikon D3400 vs Canon T6 at Base ISO
Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic G7 at Base ISO
Nikon D3400 vs Pentax K-S2 at Base ISO
Nikon D3400 vs Sony A6000 at Base ISO
Nikon D3400 vs Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3400 vs Canon T6 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic G7 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3400 vs Pentax K-S2 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3400 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3400 vs Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3400 vs Canon T6 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3400 at ISO 3200
Canon T6 at ISO 3200
The Nikon D3400 easily out-performs the Canon T6 here at ISO 3200, with a crisper image, more detail and lower noise. Colors are also more vibrant and pleasing from the Nikon, if not quite as accurate.
Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic G7 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3400 vs Pentax K-S2 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3400 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3400 vs. Nikon D3300, Canon T6, Panasonic G7, Pentax K-S2, Sony A6000
Nikon D3400 Print Quality Analysis
An excellent 30 x 40 inch print at base ISO; a nice 13 x 19 inch print at ISO 1600, and a good 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800.
ISO 200 images are terrific at 24 x 36 inches, with very nice detail and wonderful color reproduction. The 30 x 40 inch prints here are certainly more than adequate for wall-display purposes as well.
ISO 400 prints also pass our good grade at 24 x 36 inches with nice detail and very little in the way of noise present. For your most critical applications, a reduction to 20 x 30 inches will further tighten up the fine detail and provide more crisp overall imagery.
ISO 800 produces 20 x 30 inch prints that almost pass our good grade, and are certainly fine for less critical applications. The 16 x 20 inch prints here tighten up nicely with good colors throughout, sharp detail and not much in the way of noise, other than a minor amount present in flatter areas of our target. There is a typical mild softening in the red channel and some detail lost in our tricky red-leaf swatch, but otherwise a nice overall print for this ISO.
ISO 1600 images really shine at 13 x 19 inches, with nice colors and good overall detail. A lot of subtle detail is now lost in our red-leaf fabric swatch, though, but this is common for most APS-C cameras by this ISO and higher. Noise is well-controlled here, with only a minor grain-effect in a few flatter areas, but overall a very nice print.
ISO 3200 yields a solid 11 x 14 inch print. There is a trace of noise apparent in the flatter areas of our Still Life target, but it's mild enough to allow this otherwise quality print to warrant our good seal. Colors are also still quite vibrant for this sensitivity.
ISO 6400 tends to be the turning point for quality across most APS-C cameras, but the D3400 produces one of the nicer 8 x 10's at this ISO that we've yet seen in this class and price range. If you like to print 8 x 10's but still need the higher shutter speeds in low light that ISO 6400 can provide, you're in solid hands with this camera.
ISO 12,800 delivers a nice 5 x 7 for such a lofty ISO and price range. Full color reproduction is present, good fine detail, and not much noise to speak of at this print size.
ISO 25,600 delivers a very nice 4 x 6 for this ISO! Colors are just a bit subdued compared to lower ISOs, but still a nice print.
The Nikon D3400 certainly delivers in the print quality department, and when you consider its sub-$500 street price, it jockeys to be the best all-around print camera as ISO rises for that price point. Starting with a large 30 x 40 inch print at base ISO, providing a solid 13 x 19 at ISO 1600, and still delivering a usable print all the way up to ISO 25,600, we'd say this is a very worthy camera for image quality at this price. Topping the already good D3300 for print sizes at a few ISOs, the D3400 furthers what we loved about its predecessor. Indeed, you are in good hands for printing with the Nikon D3400.
About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"
The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.
See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.
*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)
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