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Nikon D5600 vs. D3400 in 2021: Are They Still Worth It?

Nikon D5600 vs. D3400

Both released in 2016, the two Nikon cameras have the same megapixel count, lens, and APS-C sensor.

This begs the following questions: Is the Nikon D3400 worth the price over the D5600? Are they even still worth buying in 2021?

Read all about it in our showdown below!

At a Glance: Nikon D3400 vs. D5600

Nikon D3400

The D3400 is Nikon’s entry-level budget camera offering, but it competes with some of the more advanced Nikon cameras available in the market today.

Before diving into our head-to-head, read all about the specs below:

  • Optics: Digital Single Lens Reflex
  • Sensor: 24.2 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Compatible Lenses: Nikon F Mount
  • Image Processor: EXPEED4
  • ISO: 100-25600
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000-30sec.
  • Video: Full HD, 1080/24/25/30/50/60p
  • Weather-Sealed: No
  • Battery Life: 1200 shots
  • Continuous Shooting: Up to 5fps
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 98mm x75mm
  • Weight: 395g

Nikon D5600

The Nikon D5600 camera body offers something a little extra for the more advanced photographers out there.

It’s a bit more expensive than the entry-level Nikon D3400, but it’s hard to find a mid-ranger with better image quality than the D5600.

Check out the specs below before we jump right into our review:

  • Optics: Digital Single Lens Reflex
  • Sensor: 24.2 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Compatible Lenses: Nikon F Mount
  • Image Processor: EXPEED4
  • ISO: 100-25600
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000-30sec.
  • Video: Full HD, 1080/24/25/30/50/60p
  • Weather-Sealed: No
  • Battery Life: 970 shots
  • Continuous Shooting: Up to 5fps
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 97mm x 70mm
  • Weight: 415g

A Side-by-Side Comparison of the Two Cameras

Build Quality and Ergonomics

Size

The entry-level Nikon D3400 body is compact enough for your adventures, measuring 124mm x 98 mm x 75 mm.

At 395g, you won’t have a problem bringing this around in your day bag for your landscape shots!

Surprisingly, the Nikon D5600 is even smaller, measuring 124mm x 97mm x 70mm. While a few millimeters might not seem like a big deal, it makes a difference when you’re trying to stuff your bag.

Even though the Nikon D5600 is smaller, it’s also 20 grams heavier, weighing a total of 415g – and that’s without your lenses and memory card!

Ergonomics

Now, you would think that the larger size of the Nikon D3400’s body makes it a better choice for people with larger hands. Not the case for us!

The Nikon D5600 was easier to grip because of the better rubber gripping material of the D5600. It also has a larger, deeper grip area than the budget D3400.

Build Quality

Both the Nikon D3400 and D5600 use Nikon’s compact monocoque body design – that’s thermoplastic reinforced with carbon fiber – so either of these two can withstand bumps and falls without damage.

The Nikon D3400 is a budget camera, so don’t expect any surprises with the construction. It feels plasticky, which is probably why it’s the lighter camera of the two.

Meanwhile, the Nikon D5600 feels more sturdy in the hand. The extra weight of the D5600 makes it feel less fragile, too – so you get that extra peace of mind with how sturdy the D5600 feels.

Build Quality and Ergonomics: Who’s the Winner?

Between the Nikon D3400 vs. D5600, the clear winner here is the Nikon D5600.

Though both cameras have similar sizes and use the same materials for the camera body, the heavier weight and better ergonomics of the D5600 make it more balanced and less shaky for your hands.

Image Quality and Basic Imaging Features

Sensor Comparison

Both the Nikon D5600 and D3400 use the DX-format same 25MP APS-C CMOS sensor, which has the same APS-C sensor resolution/size.

Most cameras in the budget and mid-range offer sensors in the APS-C format, and it’s adequate for the budding photographer before graduating to a full-frame sensor.

The depth of field and dynamic range are the same with both APS-C camera sensors as well, so if you use the same lenses on both cameras, you’ll achieve the same effects.

The only difference? Autofocus (AF) points. These focus points help take sharp, accurate images.

The Nikon D5600’sensor has better autofocus performance because of its 39 AF points, to the Nikon D3400’s 11 focus points.

Verdict

The two bodies have almost the same sensors since they both use the APS-C CMOS sensor, which contains the same APS-C sensor size. You’ll get a similar dynamic range from BOTH cameras.

Even DXOMark’s analysis will show you that the two cameras are head to head: their DXOMark Sensor Scores are ONLY 2 points apart!

  • Nikon D5600 Overall Score: 84
  • Nikon D3400 Overall Score: 82

But the Nikon D5600 wins this round Nikon D3400 out just because of more autofocus points embedded in the APS-C format sensor.

Image Processing

The Nikon D3400, Nikon D5600, and most Nikon DSLRs use the EXPEED4 image-processing engine from Nikon.

While this might seem outdated in 2020, the EXPEED4 engine is plenty capable of transforming shots from your APS-C sensor to JPEG. EXPEED4 also allows full HD video capture at 50 or 60 fps.

But how does Nikon’s EXPEED compare to other processors, like Canon’s DIGIC? Unlike Canon, Nikon doesn’t use an anti-aliasing filter in its image processing.

The result? Your camera doesn’t smoothen your photos after you snap a photo. You get sharper, more accurate photos in comparison with Canon’s engine.

Verdict

Both the Nikon D3400 and D5600 feature the highly capable EXPEED4 engine, which is still up to date if all you want to do is to take crisp, clear photos with any lens.

So it’s a tie for both cameras. So you can get either camera and shoot quality photos with any of them paired with the right lens- and they’re definitely better than the processors in Canon’s older models.

Speed

When measuring your camera’s speed, both shutter speed and autofocus matter. Shutter speed lets your lens take the picture quicker, while autofocus lets a photographer take shots faster.

Both the Nikon D5600 and D3400 offer the same shutter speed, which is a quick 1/4000s at its fastest. When paired with the right lens, you’re on your way to sharp shots.

It’s about the same shutter speed as other budget and mid-range offerings from Canon from the same year. So with the right lens, you’ll shoot even faster.

On the other hand, when setting up your photos, the number of autofocus points is another important factor.

While both cameras use a phase-detect AF system, the Nikon D5600 has a whopping 9 cross-type focus points, while the budget-friendly Nikon D3400 only has one cross-type focus point.

So when you press your camera button halfway through while framing your shot, the Nikon D5600 responds quicker – so you can do a full press and snap your image in a flash.

Low Light Conditions

The key to great photography is mastering light. Besides your camera’s lens, there are two other factors in getting better photos: a large sensor and your camera’s ISO settings.

The Nikon D5600 offers an amazing high ISO range of 100-25600, which is usual for a mid-range camera body.

On the other hand, the budget Nikon D3400 also offers the same ISO range of 100-25600. When you compare it to other budget cameras like those from Canon released in 2016, it’s a steal.

Canon only introduced its higher-ISO APS-C sensors to its budget cameras in 2017.

REMEMBER: the Nikon D3400 is a few months older, and can match the low-light sensitivity of its mid-range offerings.

What’s the Weakness of Both Cameras?

However, both cameras have a common weakness: neither the Nikon D3400 nor the Nikon D5600 offer in-camera image stabilization. This is where the two cameras start to show some age.

Image stabilization prevents the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds, so it’s a bummer that Nikon didn’t include body stabilization in these two digital cameras.

But Nikon F-mount lenses all have lens image stabilization, so it’s not that much of a downer. Your lens stability has more of an effect in your final image, anyway.

Image Quality: Who’s the Winner?

The Nikon D5600 wins because its increased autofocus points can help set up shots. This is invaluable for most photographers.

From APS-C sensor size to color depth and lack of an anti-alias filter, the two cameras can take amazing shots in low light in a flash, even without your camera’s built-in flash.

But because the Nikon D3400 matches the performance of the more expensive D5600, we’ll have to hand it to the D3400 for being the better value option of the two.

With the same sensor size and a body that accepts the same lenses, they’re about the same level when taking amazing photos, so even absolute beginners will be safe with either.

Video Recording Features

Video Quality

Don’t let the lack of 4K resolution dissuade you: you don’t need 4K to record good videos. Full HD is still in style in 2021, and the highest resolution for most videos online is actually just 1080p.

With these two camera bodies using APS-C sensors, you can shoot crisp videos anytime with more control.

Unlike a phone camera, you can choose your lens to fine-tune your focal length and lighting to frame your shots.

That’s way more versatility than your phone camera can give you!

Verdict

If you’re interested in getting a camera for both photography and videos, there is NO comparison needed because the Nikon D3400 and D5600 will deliver.

They both shoot videos at 60fps at Full HD resolution. With a 60fps shooting speed, you can take fluid slow-motion videos with either of these cameras.

When paired with a tripod and the right lenses, you’ll be UNSTOPPABLE in the field.

So what’s the verdict? You could go with either camera body, and you’ll still shoot amazing videos or short films.

Extra Features for Video Recording

The D5600 body stands out for videographers since it offers the following features:

  • A fully articulating LCD touch screen. This means you can angle your shots and still view your frames no matter where you position your camera.
  • Better audio recording. The D5600 accepts an external microphone attachment for your microphone input, while you’ll have to deal with the internal microphone of your D3400.
Verdict

The Nikon D5600 body has more features best suited for recording videos, making it easier for videographers to control their shots.

The fully articulating LCD makes a difference here. This doesn’t matter much for photography since your head will follow your camera angle using the optical viewfinder most of the time.

But when you’re taking videos and setting your camera and lens up on a tripod, the view comparison of an articulating LCD screen means better versatility and more control.

Video Recording: Who’s the Winner?

If you’re a budding videographer, the Nikon D5600 will give you more features that will improve control over your capture.

The Nikon D3400 body is good enough for one-off videos, but if the video is your goal, it’s BETTER to start with the Nikon D5600 – especially if you plan on using a heavier lens.

User Experience

Screen Display

The screen display makes a difference in photography if you’re the type to move around.

If you’re taking action shots on a tripod, using your camera’s live view on a tripod lens will be more stable than taking it through your viewfinder.

The articulating LCD screen of the Nikon D5600 is a better choice since you can angle your camera even with a heavier lens and rely on your camera’s screen to frame your shots.

While the fixed screen of the Nikon D3400 is alright for basic tasks, the D5600 is more versatile for a variety of situations.

Battery Life

Both cameras use the EN-EL14 rechargeable battery with the same capacity. But the design and engineering changes on the Nikon D5600 means optimized battery consumption:

  • The D5600’s LCD screen uses less battery than the Nikon D3400.
  • The estimated shot life of the D3400 vs. Nikon D5600 is just 970 shots vs. 1,200.

So if you’re fond of using a live view instead of your viewfinder, you’re better off reaching for the Nikon D5600.

Connectivity

Both cameras feature Bluetooth, so you can connect an external remote control and take shots using a tripod.

However, the D5600 has better connectivity. The D5600 is Wi-Fi, Near-Field Communication (NFC), and Bluetooth enabled.

User Experience: Who’s the Winner?

The Nikon D5600 wins with those extra features that can make any photography easier for you.

From video features to an articulating LCD screen and more intuitive settings interface, the Nikon is easier to use in comparison.

Plus, the improved battery life of the D5600 lets you take photos all day without stopping.

Nikon D3400 vs. Nikon D5600: Which Camera Is Better?

This might sound a bit controversial, but hopefully you hear us out.

Both cameras have so much in common and the D5600 only has a few non-essential bells-and-whistles.

Because of these reasons, the more affordable D3400 wins the comparison if you only had to get one camera.

When you compare the two, the only advantages of the Nikon D5600 are:

  • A slightly better body and build
  • Better wireless connectivity
  • More intuitive user menu buttons
  • Articulating LCD touch screen
  • Better battery life
  • More focus points

But other than that, the two cameras perform equally:

  • Both use the same 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, so expect the SAME image quality, dynamic range, and color depth with either camera.
  • They both record video at the same maximum resolution and formats, which are equally compatible with any video editing software.
  • They use a Nikon F lens mount, so they both accept Nikon F lenses. These two cameras have access to more than 300 lenses from Nikon alone!

And while the Nikon D5600 body offers some pretty cool features that can help with your user experience, the two are head to head with the things that really matter to a photographer.

So it’s a no-brainer to choose the more affordable entry-level digital camera body and invest the rest in quality lenses.

Conclusion

A camera decision is very personal to photographers, and you won’t go wrong choosing either of these cameras.

When paired with the right lens and other specs, you’ll be on your way to taking excellent photos in a flash!

We hope our point-to-point comparison can help you choose which camera body is the best for YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY NEEDS!

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