Which Color Space to Use on the Nikon D3400? sRGB or Adobe RGB?

The Nikon D3400 DSLR has two color space options in its settings. Here’s an explanation of which to use when.

Nikon D3400
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The Nikon D3400 DSLR has two color space options in its settings that you can choose from: sRGB and Adobe RGB.

These are the most common two color spaces that most digital cameras have these days, from better point and shoots, mirrorless cameras, and DSLRs. And there’s nothing distinctive about the way the D3400 handles them, so the explanation here applies to any other camera where you get the option to set the color space.

Color spaces are a key part of digital photography color management, which is itself an endlessly complicated topic which can, quite literally, fill a book. But the very, very short version is that color spaces refer to the range of colors that can be interpreted when taking the digital file and displaying it. That process might happen with a monitor, a printer, a print, a projector, a phone’s screen, or basically anywhere that a digital image can be displayed. The color space itself is a definition of the subset of visible colors (or gamut) that are available and tells the device how to read and display the color data.

There can potentially be an almost infinite number of different color spaces, and you can even make your own if you profile your monitor or printer, but there are some that have become widely adopted. And amongst those, sRGB and Adobe RGB are the most common.

sRGB vs Adobe RGB Color Spaces

These are the two options you get on the Nikon D3400. These options are available on the camera’s back screen menu under the camera icon.

Of them, sRGB is by far the most common and the safest to use. Nearly all display devices know what to do with the sRGB color space, whether that’s a web browser, a smartphone screen, or a social media service. sRGB is the best color space to use when posting photos on the web or emailing them to someone else. So if you want to post images on the web straight out of the camera, without post-processing them in something like Lightroom, setting the camera to sRGB is a versatile and safe option.

That’s not the same things as the best option, though. The downside of sRGB is that it’s a lowest common denominator option. It has a more limited range of colors in it than Adobe RGB, so you might end up clipping some colors or seeing slight color shifts.

Adobe RGB (also often written as Adobe RGB (1998)) has a much broader range of colors–it covers a much wider swath of the visible spectrum. So it gives you a bigger box of crayons to play with, as it were. The problem is that not every place you want to display your photos knows what to do with the Adobe RGB color space. It’s problematic to use Adobe RGB images on the web, for instance, which you can see in the examples further down this page. Some browsers have color management built in, but some don’t. If you’re sending files to a fellow photographer, a magazine editor, or a print lab, they’ll almost certainly be set up with a color managed workflow. But if you try to share those images with social media or post on your website you’ll likely end up with mixed results.

Which to Use on a Nikon D3400?

The colorspace setting is most relevant when shooting in JPG (ie. you’ve set the camera to save a JPG version using one of the Large or Fine settings, for example). It’s much less relevant when shooting RAW. In that case, the profile is used to generate the embedded JPG preview that’s saved within the RAW file container, and it does serve as a starting point in image editing apps, but it’s not applied to the underlying RAW data itself so is not a permanent setting.

The Nikon D3400 is set by default to use the sRGB color space. That’s a safe compromise regardless of which color setting you’re using.

If you want simplicity and convenience and aren’t too concerned about maximum image quality, go with sRGB.

If you plan to edit the files in Lightroom or something similar or are looking to preserve the best possible quality, you’ll be better off using Adobe RGB and then using that editing software to convert back to sRGB when you want to share the images.

Because post-processing the images is a standard part of my workflow, one of the first things I change when picking up a new camera is the color space setting to Adobe RGB. In fact, I’d prefer an even wider gamut color space like ProPhotoRGB if it was available.

How to Change the Color Space Option on the Nikon D3400

The color space option is accessible through the main menu. Under the Shooting Menu tab (it’s the camera icon at left, scroll down to the Color Space item, then move right to access the two options. Press OK (center button) when your choice is selected.

Nikon D3400 color space
Nikon D3400 colorspace menu option


The color space setting is most important for JPG images. Whatever color space setting you choose in the camera will be applied to the JPGs that come out of the camera.

The color space setting matters less if you have your camera set to shoot in RAW format in the image quality settings. It doesn’t have any effect on the RAW file image data itself, but when the camera saves a RAW file it also saves an embedded JPG version that’s used as the image preview. The color space setting does affect that embedded preview image.

Why Do My Photos Look Flat on Other Displays?

If you find that your photos look great on your computer but look flat and washed out on other computers or displays, the color space setting of the image file is a common culprit. It’s often the result of trying to display a file embedded with an Adobe RGB color space with a browser or app that doesn’t have color management. Some browsers, like Safari and Firefox, for instance, do have color management features and the photo will display as it should. But others, like Chrome, don’t yet have full support for color management and the photos will probably look washed out.

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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 /Package includes: 2...
  • ✔ Standard Compatible with Nikon EN-EL14 / EN-EL14a:Ideal Replacement for Nikon D3100 battery, Nikon...

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, 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), I've put together some recommendations on wide-angle lenses for the Nikon D3400.

And here are some other 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 FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR...
  • 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 EP-5A EH-5 AC Power Adapter EN-EL14A Dummy Battery Charger for Nikon...
  • [COMPATIBLE WITH MODEL:] The EN-EL14 / EN-EL14A Dummy Battery EP-5A DC coupler (Connector) work for Nikon...
  • [STEPS FOR USAGE:] Remove the EN EL14 original battery, Replace with EP-5A virtual battery, and cover the...


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.

David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »

4 thoughts on “Which Color Space to Use on the Nikon D3400? sRGB or Adobe RGB?”

    • It’s probably the better choice, yes. In general, it’s a good idea to use the widest available color space if you plan to do editing. In this case, that would be AdobeRGB. You can then export an sRGB version when you go to share it or post it.

    • You should shoot in raw format. Color profiles are not a factor when you shoot raw.

      The color space is applied when you bring the raw images into a photo editor and translate them from raw. At that point you would assign a profile, adobe rgb, pro rgb, etc.

  1. Great article, simple and straight to the point. I’ve been researching and reading tons about color spaces to have a post like yours on my blog, it’s extremely helpful for photographers not accustomed to the digital world.


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