How to Put an SD Card Into a Nikon D3400

Here’s a guide on how to put an SD card in a Nikon D3400, how to format the card to make it ready for use, and how to remove an SD card from a D3400.

Nikon D3400 Insert SD Card
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Filed Under: DSLRs, Memory Cards

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Once you have bought an SD card that’s compatible with the Nikon D3400, there are two things you’ll need to do with it before you can head out and start shooting.

  1. Put the SD card into the camera
  2. Format the SD card

Neither is hard to do. Here’s a quick guide. You’ll then be ready to start shooting.

How to Put an SD Card Into a Nikon D3400

Turn the camera off. 1

Open the SD card compartment. If you’re pointing the camera as if to take a photo, it’s on the right side at the bottom.

Where the SD card goes on a Nikon D3400 DSLR

Gently slide the cover in the direction of the arrow that’s marked on the door.

Nikon D3400 Insert SD Card Slot Cover Closed
Push gently to slide the door in the direction of the arrow. It will go out a little and then a spring will pop it open.

The door is spring-loaded and will pop open. Don’t force it–it’s not very strong.

Nikon D3400 Insert SD Card Here
The memory card slot with the door open. This is what it looks like with the slot empty (i.e., no SD card yet installed).

Slide the memory card into the slot. The side of the SD card with the label should face the front of the camera. The side with the metal contact points should be facing forward in the direction of the lens.

Nikon D3400 Insert SD Card Inserted in Camera
The SD card slides into the slot. The metal pins on the back of the card should be facing the front of the camera–so the label is facing the back of the camera. This shot shows the SD card just sitting in there, but it’s not yet fully installed.

Gently push the card down into the camera until it clicks into place. It should stay in place flush with the slot. Don’t force it. If it doesn’t go down easily, the first thing to check is that the card is the right way around.

Nikon D3400 Insert SD Card Slot on Side of Camera
To fully install the SD card, push down gently. There’s a spring-loaded catch that will hold it in place. If the card won’t go all the way down so that it’s flush with the camera, the first thing to check is that the SD card is the correct way around (i.e., pins facing the front of the camera).

Close the SD compartment door by folding it down and gently sliding it back into place.

Things Worth Knowing About Putting SD Card in Nikon D3400

The SD compartment door hinge is quite flimsy and can easily snap off if you’re too rough with it. The safest course is to keep the door closed when you’re not actively using it. That will help prevent it from being snapped off if you bump the camera or put the camera in/out of a camera bag.

How to Format an SD Card in a Nikon D3400

To format an SD card in the Nikon D3400, use the menu system on the back of the camera. You can find it under:

Setup Menu (wrench/spanner icon) > Format memory card
Screenshot of on-camera menu for How to Put an SD Card Into a Nikon D3400

Move the active selection to Yes and click OK to confirm that it’s about to wipe the memory card. (If you accidentally format the card, there’s actually a good chance you might still be able to recover data from the card. I have more information on how to do that here.)

Screenshot for How to Put an SD Card Into a Nikon D3400

It will briefly show you the status message of “Formatting memory card” and then revert back to the Setup Menu (there’s no “success” message).

How to Put an SD Card Into a Nikon D3400 Screenshot

Things Worth Knowing About Formatting SD Card in Nikon D3400

It’s best practice to format the card in the camera rather than using your computer and to format it regularly. But if that’s not possible or not what you want to do, you can also format cards using a computer. But there are some things to know when formatting SD cards to minimize the risks of your camera having problems with them. So I’ve put together guides on how to format SD cards on Mac and how to use the free SD Card Formatter app for Windows or Mac.

Strictly speaking, you can probably get away with just inserting the SD card into the D3400 and shooting away. But it’s always good practice to format it first. Not only does this wipe any data on the card to free up space; it also prepares the card with the filesystem and folder structure that the D3400 needs. It will also alert you if there’s a problem with the card.

How to Remove an SD Card from a Nikon D3400

NB: It’s important that you don’t remove the card while the camera is writing to the card (i.e., saving photos or videos). Doing so can corrupt the data on the card. So make sure the small light indicating activity on the card isn’t on. And it’s the safest practice to power the camera off when removing the SD card.

Gently push down on the card. A spring-loaded release should pop the card up a little so that you can easily grab it and remove it.

Nikon D3400 Insert SD Card Slot Close-up
To eject the SD card, push down gently until you feel the spring-loaded latch release. You can then just pull the card out gently.

Again, don’t force it–it should come out easily after that initial spring release.

  1. Technically, you can insert the card with the camera powered on, but it’s best practice and safer to have the camera powered off.[]

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, 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 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 EP-5A EH-5 AC Power Adapter EN-EL14A Dummy Battery Charger for Nikon...
  • [COMPATIBLE WITH MODEL:] EP-5A DC coupler (Connector) EN-EL14 A Dummy Battery, work for Nikon Coolpix...
  • [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
by 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 »

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