How to Change Aperture on a Nikon D3400

The method for changing the aperture, or size of the opening to let the light in, varies according to the lens you’re using. Here’s how to do it with the lenses most commonly used on the Nikon D3400.

Nikon D3400 Aperture
Nikon D3400 Aperture
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If you’re wondering how to change the aperture on the Nikon D3400, there are several answers. That’s because it depends on the lens you’re using and the shooting mode you’re using. None of the methods is complicated, but there are some differences. So here’s a rundown of how to do it.

Aperture refers to the size of the opening that allows light in. So it’s actually something that refers to the lens rather than the camera—and on a DSLR like the D3400, that’s an important distinction. On older cameras, you would usually control the aperture by rotating a ring on the lens itself. But many modern lenses, including many that are most commonly used on the D3400, don’t have an aperture ring; instead, you control the aperture with one of the camera’s dials.

Compatible Lenses

But that’s not always true. There are still lenses that you can use on the D3400 that have their own aperture ring. If that’s the case, then you use that to adjust the aperture. It’s possible to use older F-mount Nikon lenses, or fully manual (i.e., not autofocus) ones for that matter that won’t allow the camera to control the aperture electronically. The way to change the aperture on those lenses will depend on the specific lens. By far the most common method is to use an aperture ring on the camera that rotates around the lens. You’d typically adjust that with your left hand as you support the camera and frame the shot. With most of those lenses, you won’t be able to see the aperture in the viewfinder or live view display; the lens can’t transmit the information to the camera, and the camera can’t instruct the lens to change the aperture.

What I’m referring to in this how-to guide are the lenses that are most commonly used with the Nikon D3400, lenses like the 18-55mm and 18-300mm. Or other lenses, such as Nikon’s G Lenses. Those lenses don’t include an aperture ring, so any aperture changes have to be done through the controls on the camera body.

Shooting Modes

First, though, it’s worth clarifying that you can’t change the aperture in all shooting modes. If you’re shooting in M (Manual) or A (Aperture Priority) you obviously can, because being able to change the aperture is a key element to making those modes work. If you’re shooting in S (Shutter Priority), you can’t, and adjusting the dial will change the shutter speed instead of the aperture. It also won’t work in P (Program) mode.

So the first thing to check is that you’re in a shooting mode that allows you to change the aperture. Then there’s a different method depending on whether you’re shooting in Aperture-Priority (A) mode or Manual (M) mode. In both of the methods I outline here, I’m assuming you’re using a lens that is compatible with the camera’s dials changing the aperture.

How to Change the Aperture on the Nikon D3400 in Aperture-Priority Mode

If you’re shooting in Aperture-Priority (A) mode, the dial to change the aperture on the Nikon D3400 is at the top of the back of the camera, on the right side as you’re shooting. Rotating the dial clockwise (i.e., right to left) will lower the aperture. Rotating it counter-clockwise will increase the aperture. If you’re shooting with Auto ISO turned on, both the ISO and shutter speed will automatically adjust to compensate.

Nikon D3400 Aperture

How to Change the Aperture on the Nikon D3400 in Manual Mode

The method to change the aperture in Manual mode is slightly different. If you try only turning the dial, as you would in A mode, you’ll find that it adjusts the shutter speed. But you use that same dial while holding down the +/- button on top at the same time. It’s the button next to the shutter button. If you look closely next to it, you’ll see a little icon that looks like the aperture blades of a lens.

Nikon D3400

FAQs

My lens says it is ƒ/3.5-5.6, but I can’t get it to do ƒ/3.5.

Some lenses, like Nikon’s 18-55mm and 70-300mm, have a range in the aperture area for its name. What that means is that the maximum aperture available depends on how much it is zoomed. On the 18-55, for example, at 18mm you can get the widest aperture of ƒ/3.5, but that’s not going to be available when you start zooming in. Fully zoomed in, the maximum aperture available will be ƒ/5.6.

Nikon D3400 Accessories

Here are some of the key accessories and official part numbers for the Nikon D3400.

Battery & Charger for Nikon D3400

If you're looking for a replacement or spare battery for your D3400, the Nikon D3400's battery is model EN-EL14a. It's a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that's also used by many other Nikon DSLRs (7.2V, 1230mAh). You can also find very good aftermarket versions, like this one from Watson or these from PowerExtra that provide more cost-effective alternatives.

Powerextra 2 x EN-EL14 EN-EL14a Battery & Dual LCD Charger Compatible with...
  • ✔ Battery Specs:Capacity: 1500mAh / Battery Type: Lithium-ion / Voltage: 7.4V / Come with CE...
  • ✔ Standard Compatible with Nikon EN-EL14 EN-EL14a:Ideal Replacement Battery for Nikon Coolpix P7000,...

The battery charger is model MH-24. It's an AC quick charger that plugs directly into the wall socket. Unlike many other cameras, you can't charge the Nikon D3400's battery in the camera. Some of the aftermarket batteries come with a dock charger, which can be a cheaper way to solve the problem.

Memory Card

A memory card is right up there with a battery as an essential accessory for your D3400. But, unlike the battery, it doesn't come with the D3400.

There's no official SD card for the D3400, but there are some that make more sense than others. Some older-model cards are too slow. And some newer, faster (and more expensive) SD cards will work in the D3400 but go beyond what the D3400 can make use of, so you'd be paying for SD card performance that the camera can't take advantage of.

I've put together more detailed SD card recommendations for the Nikon D3400. But here's the Cliff notes version. Any of these make for a good choice and are reasonably priced:

USB Cable for Nikon D3400

If you're looking to connect a Nikon D3400 to a computer to download your photos and videos, you'll need a USB cable. If you've misplaced the one that came with the camera, replacements are easy to find and not expensive. If you'd prefer to get the Nikon original, the model number you're after is [UC-E20](https://www.nikonimgsupport.com/eu/BV_article?articleNo=000005024&configured=1&lang=en_GB), and you can find them at camera specialists like B&H Photo.

But there's no particular reason you have to stick with the Nikon-branded one. There are also many aftermarket micro-USB cables that will work just fine. But there is a bit of a catch: not all micro-USB cables will work with the data transfer that the D3400 needs.

By all means try any others you have lying around to see if the camera mounts to your computer--it won't hurt it. If it doesn't mount, you can pick up replacement data transfer cables like this aftermarket version or this one.

And a reminder that this is only for data transfer. You can't charge the battery while it's in the D3400. For charging, you'll need the MH-24 charger or equivalent (see above).

MaxLLTo 3FT Replacement USB 2.0 Transfer Cable Cord for Nikon D3400 D3500...
  • Length: 3FT, light and easy to carry.
  • Brand new, high quality usb 2.0 Data cable/lead.( Non-OEM )

Camera Strap for the Nikon D3400

There's no particular reason you have to use the original Nikon strap with the D3400--any camera strap will work. But if you want to replace the original (the black one with the gold/yellow Nikon branding), its model number is AN-DC3.

There's also a huge variety of other good alternatives. My personal favorites are the ones by Peak Design, which come in especially handy if you're going back and forth between multiple cameras because they come with a quick-release system. And they're very strong.

Remote Shutter Release for Nikon D3400

There's a number of different options for remotely triggering your D3400 (unlike the D3500, where this functionality was removed).

The first step is Nikon's ML-L3 wireless remote. It's very simple--just a single button, without any intervalometer or other features--and with an infrared signal, its range is limited to about 16 feet or less. But it's inexpensive and designed by Nikon for use with their cameras.

And there's a variety of other wireless receiver/transmitter kits that can be set up to work, some of which get up there in terms of complexity and price.

Lenses for Nikon D3400

One of the great things about DSLRs--and especially ones that use a long-standing mounting system like Nikon's F-mount--is that there's a huge variety of lenses that you can use. So there's no "right" lens to use.

But for the D3400, in general, you want to look for lenses that have Nikon's F-mount system and that are designed for DX camera bodies (that's the cropped sensor size of the D3400). And you'll probably want one that has autofocus. None of these things are requirements, though--there are any number of ways to use adapters or manual older manual-focus lenses--but sticking to those basics will make things easier if you're looking to expand your lens collection.

If you're after some recommendations on lenses to get for the D3400 to step beyond the kit lens that comes with the camera (usually a basic 18-55mm zoom lens), here are some ideas that are sensibly priced and greatly expand your options:

Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3G ED VR zoom lens. If you had to choose just one lens to take with your traveling, this is a great choice. It has a very wide zoom range. At 18mm (equivalent to 27mm on a full-frame body), it's great for interiors or landscapes. At 300mm (equivalent to 450mm on a full-frame body), there's plenty of reach for wildlife, sports, or dramatic sunsets. It has vibration reduction, is surprisingly compact and light, and is competitively priced. Sigma also makes a good version that's a bit cheaper but great quality.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens...
  • Maximum magnification of 032x
  • Angle of view from 76 degree to 5 degree 20'. Focal length range: 18 300 millimeter, minimum focus...

Nikon AF-S 50mm ƒ/1.8G lens. It's hard to go past a 50mm prime lens for versatility, fun, and learning photography. They're fast, which means they're good in low-light as well as give you that nice blurry background while keeping the subject sharp. They're inexpensive. They're often very sharp. And they're small and highly portable. This is the ƒ/1.8 version. Nikon also makes a B&H Photofaster ƒ/1.4 version, but it's about double the price. because the D3400 has a cropped DX sensor, the 50mm lens will become a slight telephoto perspective, equivalent to a 75mm lens on a full-frame camera (i.e., 35mm equivalent). Which makes it all the more useful as a portrait lens, whether you're taking formal portraits or candids of the family. And if you want a more traditional "true" 50mm perspective, you can put the 35mm ƒ/1.8G on the D3400 instead.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
  • Fast, upgraded f/1.8, compact FX format prime lens. The picture angle with 35 millimeter (135) format is...
  • Focal length 50 millimeter, minimum focus distance 1.48 feet (0.45 meter)

Nikon D3400 Body Cap

If you're transporting or storing your D3400 camera body without a lens attached, you'll want to put on a body cap over the opening where the lens goes. That prevents dust and moisture from getting inside and causing havoc (and pesky dust bunnies on your photos).

The camera comes with one, but they're easy to misplace. The model number for the replacement part is BF-1B. It's the same cap used for all Nikon F-mount camera bodies. And this is a great opportunity to save a few dollars with an aftermarket version. They're often sold paired with a rear lens cap, since you often need both of those things when removing a lens.

Nikon D3400 Rubber Eyecup

If the rubber eyecup has been knocked off when you take out of your camera bag, the replacement part model number is DK-25. There are also slightly cheaper aftermarket versions, such as the ones by Vello or JJC.

2 Pack JJC Eyecup Eyepiece Eye Cup Viewfinder for Nikon D3400 D3500 D3200...
  • Made from soft and durable silicone + high quality ABS
  • Provide cushioning around the camera's eyepiece, and are especially useful to eyeglass wearers

Battery Dummy for Nikon D3400

A battery dummy is used for longer-term power supply to the camera. They're especially useful for things like time lapse photography, astrophotography, or using your D3400 as a webcam.

It's an accessory that fits into your camera's battery compartment. By itself, it doesn't provide any power, but it's attached to a cable that you can then attach to different power sources such as AC power or a larger battery pack.

Nikon's official model is EP-5A. You can also pick up aftermarket versions. Some include only the dummy battery part; others come bundled with AC adapters.

TKDY EH-5 AC Adapter EP-5A DC Coupler Power Supply EN-EL14A Dummy Battery...
  • [COMPATIBLE WITH MODEL:] EP-5A DC coupler (Connector) replace EN-EL14/EN-EL14a Battery, work for Nikon...
  • [STEPS FOR USAGE:] Remove the original battery, Replace with virtual battery, and cover the battery...

FAQs

Where Can I Find the Nikon D3400 Manual?

You can find the Nikon D3400 manuals here. There are a few different versions. The Reference Manual is the most detailed and most complete. The User Manual is basically a quick start guide. There are also versions designed for different parts of the world.

The Reference Manual is available as both a downloadable PDF and as on online HTML version.

Where Can I Find the Nikon D3400 Latest Firmware?

Nikon releases firmware updates on their website.

There are a few different types of firmware used by the D3400. The main camera firmware is the "C" version. (The others are for the lens and lens distortion control.)

I have a detailed guide on how to check and update Nikon D3400 firmware versions here.

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