Nikon® D3400 Fast Start

Lesson 8/17 - Basic Controls: Live View


Nikon® D3400 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Basic Controls: Live View

Next up is our AEL, AFL, and this is for locking our exposure or focus on the camera. This is something that can be reconfigured if you don't like it, and you can use it for another feature such as focusing on the camera. But let me give you just a quick demo on this. And so, I have the camera set in aperture priority as you can see. And I have an aperture of 5.6 set, and what we're gonna pay attention to, is over here on the left, the shutter speed. And as I kind of rotate the camera around, you can see that my shutter speed is changing, according to how bright that subject is that I'm pointed at. Now if I figured that I wanted to hold onto this one tenth of a second, well actually it goes down to one eight, so if I'm locking it in, it's gonna say AEL. It's locked the exposure in. So I can move the camera around, and take a picture here, and it's gonna be at one tenth of a second. So if I play that back, and I look at the information on it, it does indeed say that it's one tenth of a ...

second. And so this would be useful if you were taking a sunset photo. You point the camera at the sun. It's gonna throw off the exposure meter, so maybe you move it off to the side. You press in on that exposure lock button, and then you reposition the sunset. And so there's a number of times in an aperture priority, shutter priority mode or program mode, where you might wanna lock that in. Now some people never use that button at all. I'm one of those folks. There's other ways of solving those problems, such as your exposure compensation on the top of the camera. Or changing it into a manual exposure. So, with a lot of the features on the camera, there's two or three different ways of solving the same problem. Next up is our live view button on the back of the camera, and this really changes the way that the camera works, so let's dive into the live view section. So, by pressing that button on the camera, you're gonna get the image on the back of the camera so that you can see it. And then you'll be able to move the focusing cursor, by moving left and right on the multi controller on the camera. If you want, you can zoom in and zoom out on the camera, using the plus and minus as well. And so let me just do a quick little demo here for you with my camera. I'm gonna throw the camera in a program mode, just to leave things as simple as possible. We hit the live view button, and so now you can see what our camera is pointed at. Let me adjust it there. And, I can move my focusing point around. And this is where the camera's gonna focus. And so I'll press halfway down. And it focuses there. If I wanna check focus, I can come over here and zoom in, and I can move my frame around to see if I am indeed in focus in that area. And then of course I can zoom back. And this is very handy if you wanna be very, very precise. I find it works best when it's on a tripod, because when you're handholding the camera, it's just hard to stay zoomed in, and it's hard to stay steady, especially when you're zoomed in there. So it's better if it's on a tripod, and totally steady. Alright, so when you are in the live view button, you still have access to the i button. And so you can go in here, and change various features. And one area that I wanna talk about that is a little different than in other areas of the camera, is the auto focus area mode, because focusing when it's in this live view, is a little bit different than we were talking about moments ago, when we were talking about the focusing system. So, in an SLR, light comes in, and we have this mirror in there. So the mirror has kind of an interesting attribute to it. It is a partially silvered mirror, which allows light through the middle of the mirror. And the reason it does this, is so that light can get back to a secondary mirror, which bounces light down to the focusing system for the camera. And this is how the camera knows how to focus, when you're looking through the camera. Now when you put the camera in a live view mode, the mirror goes up away. The shutter opens up so that light comes in on the sensor, and that's what you're looking at on the back of the camera then. And that auto focus sensor isn't doing anything anymore. And so the camera has to use the contrast of the image on the sensor in which to focus, and it tends to be a bit slower than in the standard focusing system. And so, when you get in here to the AF area mode, we're gonna see some new options. We're gonna see a face priority, a wide area, a normal area, and a subject tracking mode, which work, as I say, a little bit differently than the standard modes. So I wanna do a little demo here. And so I have my camera in the live view. Let me get this thing adjusted here. And so, focus on my subject. Now I need to go over and get a little prop here. I wanna get one of these cameras to focus on. And we'll grab this little camera right here, and we're gonna set it right in front, somewhere over in here. And so if I zoom back just a little bit, we can see that I have a subject in the foreground, and a subject in the background. And so if I wanna focus on the foreground, I'm gonna bring my focusing bracket down here, and I'll press halfway down. And then I'll move the focusing bracket up to the top, and it will focus. And it's pretty quick in this case, but if you point it at something that doesn't have a lot of contrast, like our background over here, there's just kind of a white seamless wall, ah, I'm surprised it actually picked up on it, did pretty good there. And so it's a little bit slower to focus. Now we can go in and we can go into the eye. And we can come down here, and we can change this to a smaller bracket area. We can have something that looks for faces, and I don't have a subject to do subject tracking on, but we could do that there. The subject tracking here will actually look for color and contrast information, and try to track it around. It's a little on the erratic side, and it's not as fast, and so it's not great for sports photography. But it's sometimes faster than we can move this small little focus point around ourselves. But be aware that it sometimes gets caught up a little bit, and it's one of the weaker areas of performance, in comparison with certain other cameras on the market. But it's not overall too bad. But I just wanted to give you a quick little demo on how that works. So this is all in the live view mode, and we're not gonna go through all the other things that you can get to in the i button, many of them we've already talked about. If you hit the info button on the top of the camera, you will see different sets of information that come up. And so if you wanna see more or less information, just hit the info button on the top of the camera. One of the things you'll notice, is that there are some crop areas in there, and that is to let you know what's gonna be cropped out when you start shooting movies. And we're gonna talk about that next. And so the movie mode area is a little bit different than the standard shooting photos area. And so if you do wanna shoot movies, you gotta put your camera in the live view mode. There is the record button on the top of the camera. Now when we dive into the shooting menu, second half of this class, we'll get into the specifics about the different modes that you can set for shooting different types of video. But that's gonna be there under movie settings in the shooting menu. Now there's a number of different things that we're gonna be able to get in and control, and we're not gonna do all of them right now, about the frame size and rate, movie quality, and controlling the audio recording capabilities as well. So, be aware that the still photo frame is a three by two aspect ratio. The movie crop frame is a ... It's a wider horizontal format. And it is a 1.3 crop, so you are cropping in on your image. And so when you go from live view to movie view, it's going to crop your image somewhat noticeably. It's a little bit harder to shoot with wide angle for that reason. And so once again, you can hit the info button, and it's gonna cycle through different options, give you more, less information about the sound. Also has a grid pattern, which some people like for keeping the horizon line straight, or just for compositional reasons. When you wanna playback a movie, you can hit the playback button, and we have our garbage can button, of course. Pressing the OK button is gonna be our play button, and then going up and down will be stop and pause, and we can also fast forward and rewind through our videos as well. We can jump 10 seconds forward or back, so if you wanna speed through a video, you can just turn the dial. You can turn the volume up and down with the plus and minus. And then with the i button, you can get in and control some other features. And so, let's go ahead and do a quick little demo here. And so I've got the camera in the live view mode. And so I'm gonna change the info, and you're gonna see this crop frame. So this frame is where it's gonna go when we jump in and start shooting movies. And so if I start pressing the movie record button, you can see that that now fills the frame. And that focusing frame down on the bottom, which I can readjust in focusing. And so we are recording a video right now, because you can see the record light on. I'm gonna stop the recording right now, and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go back and I'm gonna playback what I just recorded right here. Now I wanna see it on a larger screen, so I'm gonna change my info by going up until it's full screen. And it says OK Play, so I'm gonna press the OK to play. And we can actually hear it through the microphone. That focusing frame down on the bottom, which I can- Of me talking. Now one of the things I can do, is I can pause this, alright? Now, if I want to go in and cut a frame, you can see the i button has a little scissors and frame. So I'm gonna go into i. And I could choose the start and ending point, so if I wanted to edit my video I could. I'm not gonna do that right now. I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna say, I just wanna save this selected frame. And I'm gonna hit the OK button right here. And I can go forward and back, and find a slightly different frame. Like if this wasn't it, and I wanted to move forward a little bit, I could. But if I hit the top of the dial, there's a little scissors up here. So I'm gonna hit the scissors, and do I wanna proceed? Yes. And it's cut this particular frame out. So now when I come back and I play, you'll see that this is a video. It's got a video icon up there. And this is a still image. And so I've frozen this one image out of the frame. Now the downside to this, is that this still image is only 1920 by 1080 in resolution. So it's not a really high resolution image. But, you can go into any video, and pull a frame, and it's probably big enough for a basic image that you're gonna share on the computer. So, it's a pretty neat way of pulling a frame from a video. And I wanted to make sure I could show you that. Alright. Back on the keynote. That's gonna be pretty much covering our movie and our playback options. And so, good camera for shooting video. Little slow on the focusing, but everything else on it is quite good. Alright, on the bottom we have our drive mode. This controls what happens when we press down on the shutter release. And, normally we're gonna have it in the single frame mode, but if we want to shoot sports, we would move it over to the continuous mode. We do also have a quiet mode, which is a little bit quieter. And if you haven't played around with that, let me give you a quick little demo. And here is the normal sound of the shutter. (loud clicking) And let me go ahead and flip this over to the quiet mode. And it's slowing down the movement of the meter, so it's a little less quiet. And if you were gonna be shooting in a theater, or around wildlife, that might be a little bit handy to have that on. And then the motor drive mode, what it will do is it'll shoot continuously, (loud repeated clicking) for as long as it can. Now we do also have a mode in there if you wanna get the ML L3, which is a wireless remote so that you have more time to get in the image yourself. And so that can be really handy for self timer shots, or tricky shots where the camera's mounted in an unusual position. There's a little memory card access lamp, which basically is the indicator that your camera is writing information, or reading it from the memory card, and it's kind of busy working.

Class Description

The Nikon D3400 camera is the perfect DSLR if you're looking to move up from taking pictures on your smartphone. This class will give you an in-depth instruction on how to make this transition easily so that you can capture high quality images. John will guide you through the features, menus, and buttons on your camera, giving you the confidence you need to take pictures like a pro. You’ll learn how to:

  • Use the D3400's AF precise focus system, even during high-speed shooting and low-light situations
  • Link your D3400 to your smartphone using Nikon's new Snapbridge system
  • Create time-lapse videos, ultra-smooth slow motion sequences and more
If you've just purchased this camera, or are thinking about buying it, this in-depth class will help everyone from amateurs to professionals love the new NIkon D3400 camera.


Tuan Hoang

John Greengo is a great instructor. He is indeed an expert. 1) Great voice ( clear tone) 2) Extremely friendly look ( must be a humble person) 3) Is indeed an expert ( know what he's talking about) 4) Have a passion teaching the secrets ( some instructors tend to hold back the information but not John) 5) And many more...


Great course to help an amateur get familiar with this camera. As a first time DSLR owner, and new to photography in general, there are settings and abilities of this camera that I find to be intimidating at times because they are over my head as a newbie. John explained settings and buttons in a way that cleared up some confusion left from reading the camera manual. I highly recommend this class to every owner of a D3400! John is a great instructor and I look forward to watching more videos of his.

Gloria Vázquez

Great class. I'm new to photography and I just got the Nikon D3400. Just to look at the manual made me anxious so I decided to buy this class and I don't regret it. I've learned a lot about the camera and about basic photography. John is an excellent instructor. I'm planning to take his class Fundamentals of Photography next. Thank you!