Nikon® D3400 Fast Start

Lesson 3/17 - Basic Controls: Top Of Camera


Nikon® D3400 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Basic Controls: Top Of Camera

Alright folks, it is time to get into the good part of this class, and that's where we start talking about how to actually use it. This is the camera control section and what we're gonna be doing here is we're gonna be going over all the buttons, all the dials on the camera, and we're gonna be talking about what they would do, when and how you would use them. So first off, let's talk about the basic controls that we're gonna be using on this camera. First off, the on/off, you're gonna wanna obviously have it turned on. The shutter release, that is going to wake the camera up from when it's going to sleep and where you shoot pictures, of course. The main dial is on the back of the camera, I often call it the thumb dial, but it's the main command dial and we're gonna be changing shutter speeds, apertures, and a variety of other settings right there on that dial. There is a multi-selector and I'll warn you, I frequently forget the name of this and I will sometimes just call it the mouse o...

n the back of the camera or the up-down buttons. And it's gonna be how we navigate through the menu system, it's gonna be how we change focusing points, we'll use it for a number of different features. There is an OK button in the middle, which we will use to confirm settings. We might highlight something and then we need to confirm it by pressing the OK button. So these are things that we'll be using throughout the rest of the class. Now, Nikon buttons are a little unique and so you've gotta be aware of how they work, and a number of the buttons on the camera are press-and-hold style, so you have to press them while turning that thumb dial in the back of the camera. So it is a two-finger affair and it's done that way, so that it's kind of a safety precaution so that you don't accidentally just press a button and change something on the camera. And so you'll see these in various cases as we wanna change a function on the camera. Now, they're not all like that, but some of them are. But we'll go through them as we go through the rest of this class. We're gonna start on the top of the camera. Obviously, the shutter release is where you take photos. When you press halfway down, it wakes the camera up when it's gone to sleep, and the camera loves to go to sleep on you, it loves to take little naps because it's trying to conserve battery power and so in order to get the most life out of the battery, the camera shuts down automatically after just a few seconds of use. Now, this is something that you can adjust if you need to, but for the most part, it's good cause it's gonna conserve battery power. When you do press halfway down, it starts activating the metering system so it's reading the light, and it starts focusing, as well. And so when you just wanna focus, just get that feel of where that button is halfway down, and then of course, pressing all the way down is when we take our photos. But the main thing is just get used to that half-press on the shutter release, need to have a very good feel in your finger for where that is. Now, throughout this class, I'm gonna give you a few shortcuts, and I know some people are anxious to get things set on their camera and they wanna go in and adjust them, and so when you see one of these little shortcut boxes come up, that means that if you want, you can stop the video and you can go jump into your menu system and make that sort of adjustment right now. Now, the first thing that you can do is if you don't like this button controlling the auto-focus, you would rather have another button, and something that's very popular with advanced photographers is something called back button focusing, and I'll talk about this more when we get into the menu system, but if you wanna do it, you can deactivate the auto-focus system on the shutter release by going into the setup menu, looking for the feature called buttons, and disabling that particular function on this camera. As I say, I'll talk more about that when we get to the menu section. If you ever see a shortcut, don't feel like you have to go worry about it right then and there. I will cover it once we get into the menu section. Alright, dominating the top of the camera is the mode dial and this controls how the shutter speeds and apertures as well as other features are set on the camera, and it's arguably one of the most important controls on the camera. We're gonna start off talking about this with the easiest setting in the green auto mode, so you can go ahead and turn it over there right now on your camera. Now, the camera basically has this dial split into two halves, the automatic modes and the manual modes, where you have more manual input. Now, it's not as clear and as distinct as I have it here on screen because there are some manual operations or some control you have in the automatic modes, but for the most part, it's controlling shutter speeds, apertures, focusing, and a number of other things for you, whereas in the manual modes, you're gonna be able to dive into the menu system and make any change that you want, whereas you may be restricted in the other auto modes. And so it kind of depends on how you want to use the camera.

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!