If you’ve just bought yourself a Nikon D3400, or even if you’ve had one for a while and are looking to make use of more of its features, here’s a quick rundown of what I think are the best books on using this camera.
Because, let’s face it, instructions manuals rarely give you the information you want in a way that makes practical sense. That’s where these books come in.
David Busch’s Nikon D3400 Guide to Digital SLR Photography, by David D. Busch
It’s not everyone who can pull off putting their own name in the title of a book, but David Busch has turned himself into a brand with a long list of books, most of which are camera-specific guides for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. By now, he’s refined it into a formula, and given the popularity of his camera guides, it’s one that is evidently working well.Like his other guides, the D3400 guide is a hefty book and it’s comprehensive. I’ve been hard-pressed to find an obscure camera feature that isn’t covered. And, importantly, it doesn’t just regurgitate what’s in the official manual. And as much overlap as there is between what the D3400 does and what other cameras do, this book is heavily customized specifically for the D3400. There are numerous screenshots of the D3400’s menus as well as the overlays that you’ll see through the D3400’s viewfinder.
The author has a conversational style that works well–to the point and not trying to be cute. There are numerous screenshots of the menu settings and through-the-viewfiner screens as well as full-color practical example photos of the results of using certain settings. I have a few of David Busch’s camera guides and have always found them to be reliable and comprehensive.
To the extent I have a criticism of these series, it’s that it they’re very good reference guides. That’s great if you’re looking to find out what setting X does, but if you’re new to DSLR photography, as many D3400 users are, it’s potentially overwhelming.
It’s available in paperback and e-book. There are a couple of things to consider when choosing between the paperback and e-book. One is that with the e-book version that the color photographs aren’t going to display on all e-book readers. Another is that the full-text search capabilities of e-books can be a faster way to find specific information you’re after.
Nikon D3400 for Dummies, by Julia Adair King
This series, of course, probably doesn’t need much introduction. It includes anything from auto repair to computer code to dog grooming.Their camera guides are also surprisingly good. The one for the D3400 is about the same size as David Busch’s guide and is also comprehensive. It, too, includes numerous screenshots of the menu items and the overlays that you see through the viewfinder.
The author’s style is direct and clear. Personally, I think the way the content is laid out and explained is slightly better for newcomers to DSLR photography. That’s not to say it’s dumbed down–it’s not. It’s that the way the information is presented is more focused on problem-solving and practical tips rather than being a reference guide.
It’s available as paperback or e-book. If the e-book version appeals, do consider what you plan to read it on because not every e-book reader can display the color photographs.
Which to Buy?
If you’re looking for a gift idea for a new Nikon D3400 owner or you’re just starting out with DSLRs, I’d probably recommend the Nikon D3400 for Dummies first. If they’re a long-time photographer or more technically inclined, the added detail and slightly more technical approach of David Busch’s Nikon D3400 Guide to Digital SLR Photography might appeal more.