Cameras have had self-timers almost from since they started being put in the hands of everyday consumers. They’re the original selfie mode. But they can also be put to use in other ways.
Here’s how to use the Nikon D3400’s built-in self-timer and the options you can set with it. While there’s nothing complicated about the process, there are some settings you can change to control its behavior.
How to Turn on Nikon D3400 Self-Timer
To start the D3400’s self-timer, you press the button on the back that has the countdown clock icon next to it. It’s the button at the left in the photo at the top of this page.
That will bring up the Release Mode screen. By default, the single frame option is enabled.
Select the right-hand option for self-timer.
With the D3400 engaged, you’ll see an icon on the main status window on the back screen. Helpfully, there’s also a message at the bottom of the screen to remind you that it’s engaged.
Taking the Photo/s
With the self-timer engaged, when you press the shutter button, it won’t immediately take a photo (of course). But you’ll know that it’s working by the flashing light on the front of the camera next to the grip. It flashes quickly at first, and then right before it takes the photo, it’ll stay solid for a couple of seconds. So if you and your group are in front of the camera, you don’t have to be guessing when to smile and not blink.
And in a useful feature, the self-timer is engaged once at a time. What I mean by that is that it will disengage automatically once the sequence of self-timer photos has been taken. If you want to use it again, you’ll need to engage it again. This behavior is useful, because, on other cameras, it’s very easy to accidentally leave it engaged and then find that shutter isn’t responding when you press it and end up missing the shot (it’s happened to me more than a few times).
Nikon D3400 Self-Timer Settings
There are some settings you can use to have some control over how the D3400’s self-timer behaves.
You find the Settings for the self-timer under:
MENU > Setup menu (wrench icon) > Self-timer
There are two settings you can change.
This is the time between pressing the shutter and it taking the first shot.
The available options are: 2, 5, 10, and 20 seconds (the default setting is 10 seconds).
Self-Timer Number of Shots
By default, the D3400’s self-timer will take a single shot. But you can change that and select up to 9 shots (the default setting is 1).
There’s about a 4-second delay between each of the shots after the first one. The Self-timer delay setting doesn’t affect this–that’s just between pressing the shutter and the first shot being taken.
Being able to create a sequence can be very handy as a safety precaution. If you’re taking a group shot, for example, it will give you more photos to choose from if someone has their eyes closed or looking the wrong way.
Uses for the Nikon D3400 Self-Timer
The most obvious use for the self-timer is the traditional one: for selfies or group photos where the photographer is in the photo. You know the ones–you line up the group, compose and focus the shot, press the shutter, and then race around to join the group.
A less common use for the self-timer, but still very useful, is when taking long-exposure shots on a tripod. It’s one method for having the camera activate the shutter without risking more movement by touching the camera with your hand to press the shutter (other good methods are using a remote or using the SnapBridge app as a remote). Because whether you’re taking night-time photos of cityscapes or star trails in astrophotography, the less the camera shakes, the better. And using your finger on the shutter inevitably shakes the camera. Having the camera activate the shutter itself still isn’t perfect–there’s what’s called mirror slap, as the DSLR mirror rises and falls back into place–but it’s much better than doing it by hand. Some more advanced cameras have a mirror lock-up feature that eliminates that, but the D3400 doesn’t have that. (The D3400 does have a Lock Mirror Up For Cleaning feature, but that’s different from the kind of mirror lock-up that’s designed for minimizing mirror vibrations in long-exposure photography.)
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.