Best Memory Cards for the Nikon D3400
I go into more detail on this below, but if you want to cut to the chase, here are some good options for SD cards for a Nikon 3400. These work well in the D3400, they’re cost effective, and you should have no trouble finding them at major electronics and camera retailers:
The Nikon D3400 DSLR doesn’t come with a memory card as standard. Some retailers put together bundles that include some accessories such as memory cards, but unless you bought one of those bundles, chances are you’ll have to pick up a memory card separately. There’s a huge number of different memory cards available for cameras. My objective here is to make it easy to pick good ones for the D3400. These recommendations are based on my own memory card tests as well as shooting with my D3400.
Which Memory Cards Work in the Nikon D3400?
If you’re using a Nikon D3400, you might be wondering which memory cards work best in it. If you tried to find the answer in the instruction manual, you would have come across this on page 84:
The camera supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards, including SDHC and SDXC cards compliant with UHS-I. Cards rated UHS Speed Class 3 or better are recommended for movie recording; using slower cards may result in the recording being interrupted. When choosing cards for use in card readers, be sure they are compatible with the device. Contact the manufacturer for information on features, operation, and limitations on use.
Clear as mud, right? Nikon has a habit of doing this when providing memory card guidance for their cameras. It’s not especially helpful when you’re just trying to buy a memory card that works in the camera.
So here are some practical recommendations that meet that guidance, based on my own SD card tests and shooting with the D3400.
I’m focusing here on cards that meet the camera’s requirements, are reliable, are readily available, and are cost-effective.
With the D3400, you don’t necessarily need to use one of the fastest SD cards available with bleeding-edge technology. There’s no problem using those if you want, but you’ll end up paying premium prices and are not going to see any benefit in the camera. What you want is a card that is fast enough for the camera without paying exorbitant prices for an overkill SD card that your camera can’t take full advantage of. Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent memory cards that are reliable and cost-effective.
This list doesn’t include every memory card that works in the Nikon D3400, but if you’re looking for some good options so you can get out and take photos rather than spending more time trying to research online, here are some recommendations.
Recommended Memory Cards for the Nikon D3400
These aren't necessarily the fastest SD cards on the market, but they're fast enough for this camera. It's also not designed to be a comprehensive list of every SD card that will work.
My emphasis here is on cards that meet these criteria: fast enough for all the features of this camera; from a reputable and reliable brand; readily available at retailers; and good value for money. If you want to use a faster, fancier card you can, but you won't see any extra benefit in doing so while you're operating the camera (but you might see some faster speeds when downloading the photos to a computer, depending on your computer and memory card reader combination).
SanDisk Ultra U1 UHS-I
- Fast for better pictures and Full HD video(2) | (2)Full HD (1920x1080) video support may vary based upon...
- Great choice for compact to mid-range point-and-shoot cameras
The SanDisk Ultra line is their cost-effective mid-range option. The latest versions of the Ultra cards are much faster than older versions, and it's a good basic option for cameras that don't demand too much of their SD card. The next level up--the Extreme cards--are also a good option, but the Ultra cards are often priced slightly lower. They're usually very easy to find in stores, too.
SanDisk recycles its model names, and you can still find older, slower versions. This latest version of the Ultra card is rated for U1 for video recording and uses a UHS-I interface.
It comes in sizes ranging from 32GB through 256GB.
Buy at Amazon
Lexar 633x U1 UHS-I
- High-speed, Class 10 performance leverages UHS-I (U1 or U3 depends on capacity) technology for a read...
- Capture high quality images of stunning 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video
The Lexar 633x range has been one of the mainstays of Lexar's SD cards for a while now. There are now faster cards available, but this one is again fast enough for this camera while also representing good value for money.
One distinctive thing about this range is that they're available from 32GB up through `TB.
Buy at Amazon.
PNY High Performance U1 UHS-I
- Class 10, U3, V30 speed rating, with read speeds up to 100MB/s
- Class 10, U3, V30 rating delivers speed and performance for burst mode HD photography and 4K Ultra HD...
PNY as a brand isn't as well known as some others, but they've been around a long time and make very good memory cards that are usually very competitively priced and good value.
This particular model is available in sizes ranging from 16GB to 128GB.
Buy at Amazon
Kingston Canvas Select Plus V30 UHS-I
- Faster speeds — Class 10 UHS-I speeds up to 100MB/s.
- Capture in full HD & 4K UHD video (1080P) — the advanced UHS-I interface makes the card ideal for...
Kingston is another brand that isn't as well known as some of the others, but they've been making reliable memory cards for a very long time. As a brand, they don't tend to focus on the cutting edge speeds but rather on reliable and good-value memory cards.
This particular card (model SDS2 Canvas Select Plus) isn't the fastest in Kingston's range, but it's fast enough to work well in this camera. It's available in sizes from 16GB through 128GB.
Buy at Amazon.
Delkin Devices Advantage V30 UHS-I
- Supports 4K & Full HD 1080p Video Recording at High Frame Rates
- RAW Continuous-Shooting Approved
Delkin Devices have been around for a long time but have been relatively quiet in recent years. But they're freshed their entire lineup of cards recently to simplify the range and bring the cards up to current specs.
The Advantage card is rated to V30 and has a UHS-I interface. It currently comes in sizes up to 512GB.
Transcend V30 UHS-I
- Compliant with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and UHS Video Speed Class 30 (V30) standards
- Up to 256GB storage capacity
Transcend isn't as well known as SanDisk or Lexar, but they've been making solid, reliable memory cards for a long while now and their SD cards are often competitively priced.
This particular card is faster than this camera needs, but it is still a good option. It's available in sizes from 64GB up through 256GB.
Buy at Amazon.
Other BrandsThere are also a lot of smaller, mostly unknown brands. In general, I'd recommend sticking to a brand you know and trust or one of the brands I've mentioned on this page because they have well-established reputations for putting out high-quality cards. Some of the other lesser-known brands might work, but they also might not be all they claim to be. The ones above should give a good selection of ones you can find fairly easily at retailers near you.
Faster CardsIf you're looking to use a faster card, take a look at the ones that I've subjected to my independent SD card speed tests.
What Size Memory Card is Best for the Nikon D3400?
The D3400 is compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards. That means you can use a card with any amount of storage space that’s currently on the market. The most common sizes for now are 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. So if you want to put a 512GB SDXC card in it, by all means!
One of the great features of the Nikon D3400, of course, is the resolution of its 24MP images. But that also means that the files are quite large.
The number of photos you can fit on a memory card varies depending on what settings you’re using. If you’re shooting in RAW format, those files are generally between 20 and 24 megabytes each. If you’re shooting in JPG, the files are smaller.
If you’re looking for the sweet spot of practicality and value, 256GB or 128GB is probably the best bet at the moment.
Here are some estimates for the number of still images you can fit on memory cards of varying sizes. You’ll notice that in the filesize column, I give ranges. That’s because the images generated on a Nikon D3400 are compressed, and the effectiveness of the image compression varies from photo to photo depending on factors like the colors, tones, and detail of each individual scene. A photo with few colors and tones and little detail can be compressed much more than a photo with many tones and colors and lots of detail. It’s just the way that most image compression algorithms work.
For the columns on the right, which show estimates of the number of images at each setting that will fit on 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB cards, I’ve used the upper end of the range because for something like this, it’s better to underestimate than overestimate. So the numbers in this column, in particular, are very much approximations and should be read as rough guides but not absolutes.
|Quality||Size||Filesize / MB||32GB||64GB||128GB||256GB|
And, of course, do be sure to download and backup your photos regularly. Memory cards can and do fail, and putting all your eggs in one basket on a large-capacity memory card can increase the risk of losing everything.
What Do All Those Codes on SD Memory Cards Mean?
Memory cards have a bunch of codes and acronyms that are used to describe their capabilities. Here are the main ones relevant to memory cards for the Nikon D3400.
SD, SDHC, SDXC. While these technically distinguish, at least in part, the filesystem type that they’re formatted in, in practice, it’s useful for determining what size card you need. SD refers to cards 4GB and smaller. SDHC refers to cards from 8 to 32GB. And SDXC refers to cards 64GB and larger. In short, you can use any of them in this camera, so you can safely ignore this rating and choose based on the size of card you want.1 If you want to put in a 32GB, go ahead. If you want to put in a 256GB card, knock yourself out.
Recommendation: Both SDHC and SDXC cards are compatible. There’s no functional difference in speed–just storage space.
UHS-I. This refers to something known as Ultra High-Speed Bus, which is the technology behind how the camera interfaces with the card. So far, there’s UHS-I (sometimes written, incorrectly, as UHS-1) and UHS-II.
Recommendation: There’s no harm in using a card that’s rated with UHS-II, but it won’t give you any extra benefit in this camera. All else being equal, UHS-I works just fine in the D3400.
U3. This is the speed class rating. U3 is designed to support 4K video recording at a sustained video capture rate of 30MB/s. The other video ratings you’ll see on cards are C10 (Class 10) and U1.
Recommendation: Cards with a U1 or U3 rating are the safest bet, especially if you plan to record video, because they’re designed to handle a constant stream of data being written to the card. If you’re solely doing still photos, U1 will work fine too.
Things Worth Knowing
Does the Nikon D3400 Come with a Memory Card?
A memory card is essential to make use of the camera, but like most camera manufacturers, Nikon does not include a memory card as standard with the Nikon D3400.
Some retailers, however, will include one as part of a special bundle deal. But unless you’ve bought one of those special bundles, chances are that you’ll need to pick up a memory card separately.
Can You Use a Nikon D3400 Without a Memory Card?
No. While there is an internal memory buffer in the camera, it is for temporarily storing images before they’re written to the memory card. There’s no way to use that buffer to save images. In other words, you need to have a memory card inserted to shoot with the camera.
There is, however, one exception. And that is if you’re using the D3400 for live streaming to a computer. When you’re doing that, you use the camera’s HDMI port to output a video signal that bypasses the memory card.
It’s a good idea 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.
And while memory cards are remarkably resilient, just like any electronic product, they can and do fail. So regular backups are very much recommended–here are some ideas.
What If I Accidentally Delete the Photos on a Memory Card?
It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t recover them. There are apps available to help you try to recover deleted photos from a memory card. I’ve put together some recommendations here.
- There is actually another one, SDUC. Those cards won’t work in the Nikon D3400–they only work in devices that are specifically designed to work with SDUC. But it’s very unlikely that you could end up buying one of those cards accidentally because they’re simply not widely available at retailers yet. ↩
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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.
- Battery Type:Li-ion, Voltage: 7.4V Capacity: 1500mAh
- Package includes 2 batteries and 1 dual USB charger with LCD display to power your Nikon EN-EL14 battery
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.
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- [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...
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.