Nikon D3300 vs D3400: Specs compared

Photographers with a couple of Nikon lenses in their kit bags have never been short of choice when it comes to affordable DSLRs. 

The D3000 line dates back to 2009, and Nikon has brought out regular replacements since then. The 14.2MP D3100 appeared on the market in 2010, and this was followed by the D3200 in 2012. Further upgrades saw the D3300 launched in 2014, before the D3400 arrived last year. 

Each camera in the D3000 line has proved popular, with photographers finding the models easy to use and offering competitive image quality. But how do Nikon's two most junior DSLRs stand up against each other? And should D3300 users be upgrading to 2016’s D3400 model?

Nikon D3300 vs D3400: Sensor and processor

The sensor inside the Nikon D3300 (above) and the D3400 appear to be very slightly different to each other, but both are 24.2MP units
  • Nikon D3300: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, ISO 100-12,800 (exp. 25,600), EXPEED 4 processor
  • Nikon D3400: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, ISO 100-25,600, EXPEED 4 processor

Although there is a two-year gap between the launch of the cameras, it’s interesting that they share the same sensor resolution. Both cameras are designed with a 24.2MP APS-C-size (DX format) sensor, and these have a 1.5x crop factor on all mounted lenses. 

Where the DSLRs do differ, however, is with their ISO levels. Although the maximum ISO of 25,600 is the same for each unit, the newer D3400 has this level as a native ISO ceiling, while D3300 users must access the expanded ISO range to select a setting equivalent to ISO 25,600.

The same EXPEED 4 processing engine is found inside both models

Both cameras also shoot 12bit Raw files as well as JPEGs with a maximum image size of 6000x4000. This is high enough to print images to A3 in size, or A4 when you have cropped into the image. 

When compared to the cameras' rivals at the time of their release, Canon’s EOS 700D (released in 2013) only offered an 18MP sensor, though 2017’s Canon EOS 800D upped this to 24MP.

The two cameras also share the same processor, which is Nikon’s EXPEED 4 unit. This is the same engine that's gone on to star in many subsequent models, such as the D5600 and the D7200.

Nikon D3300 vs D3400: Video

If you want to use an external microphone, you'll have to opt for the D3300 (above) as the newer D3400 does not have a mic port built into its body.
  • Nikon D3300: Full HD recording up to 60p 
  • Nikon D3400: Full HD recording up to 60p

Even though the two models are entry-level DSLRs, both cameras are fairly capable in the video department, with Full HD (1080p) video recording possible on both bodies. 

Footage can be captured at a number of different frame rates, including the standard 24fps rate, the more web-friendly 30fps, and 50/60fps options too. Keen videographers will know that by using the 60fps option, footage can be altered for a dramatic slow-motion effect. 

What’s interesting about the video modes on both cameras is that, despite the difference in age between the two, specifications are almost identical. Interestingly, the one point of difference is actually a massive plus point for the older D3300; this model includes a port for an external microphone, while the newer D3400 lacks this option and can only record audio from the built-in mic. 

Recording audio from a built-in mic isn’t desirable as these are more prone to picking up the hum caused by the lens’ autofocus motor, as well as other operational sounds. However, with the D3300, you’ll be able to get far better audio by simply plugging in an external mic, of which there are many options at budgets to suit all.

Nikon D3300 vs D3400: Burst shooting (fps)

Both cameras can shoot at a very respectable 5fps
  • Nikon D3300: 5fps
  • Nikon D3400: 5fps

Again, despite the age difference between the two cameras, both DSLRs shoot at a maximum burst rate of 5fps. 

While not blisteringly fast, or able to match the rates of more advanced Nikon cameras like the much newer Nikon D7500 (8fps), 5fps is decent for an entry-level DSLR, especially with a fairly beefy 24MP resolution. The burst rate is also on a par with Canon’s EOS 700D, so both cameras are in no way underpowered in their class.

When shooting JPEGs, both cameras have a burst depth of up to 100 frames, but the situation changes slightly when using Raw or Raw+JPEG formats. The D3400 will last for 12 Raw files and 6 simultaneous Raw+JPEG frames, which is a small improvement on the D3300's 7-frame Raw depth and 5-frame Raw+JPEG depth.

Nikon D3300 vs D3400: AF system

Both models employ the same Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus module, with 11 AF points apiece
  • Nikon D3300: 11 AF points, including one cross-type point
  • Nikon D3400: 11 AF points, including one cross-type point

Much like the burst-shooting specs, the D3300 and D3400 offer the exact same autofocus specs. 

The autofocus system inside both bodies makes use of Nikon’s Multi-CAM 1000 module with TTL phase detection, and all the typical Single-point, Continuous focus and Manual focus options are present on both cameras. 

Both offer 11 AF points to choose from, with the middle AF point being cross-type. This middle point is more sensitive and able to focus more accurately in low-light conditions than the ten that surround it.

A contrast-detection autofocus system also works when the camera is set to its Live View function, which displays the scene on the LCD monitor rather than the viewfinder.

Read more: The best cameras under £500 right now