Nikon® D3400 Fast Start

Lesson 2/17 - Photo Basics


Nikon® D3400 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Photo Basics

Next little section is photo basics and this is not particularly with this camera that I'm giving instructions but just in general for a camera of this nature as I know a lot of people who are getting this camera are new into photography and there is a lot to learn depending on how far you wanna get into it. And so let me just kind of give you the tip of the iceberg you might say of information. So this is a Single Lens Reflex camera which means that it has a single lens and that lens has a wide angle or a telephoto pointed angle of view. They have many different lenses. They have zoom lenses that can change between them. And this is the lens that you get to look through. Now in each of the lenses is an Aperture which controls the amount of light being let in and so it's basically an opening and there are several different increments that we could open or close the aperture to and it's the first of three different ways of controlling light coming in to the camera. The numbers that you ...

see are known as your f stops or your Aperture numbers and we'll be working with those shortly here in this class. So by changing those, we're obviously changing the amount of light coming through that opening but we're also changing the depth of field. A lens that has an aperture of 1. can shoot with a very shallow depth of field. And then as we stop that aperture down to 2 and 2. and smaller and smaller openings which is actually bigger numbers, it's fractions, we're not gonna get into it right now, we're getting more and more depth of field until we stop our lens down to an aperture of f/22 in this case where we have great depth of field and most everything in the viewfinder is going to be in focus. So that's what's going on in the lens. Now as light comes into the camera, we get to the mirror which is the reflex portion of Single Lens Reflex. It's reflecting the light upward so that we can see what's going on. It bounces the light up to a focusing screen and from there, we can see what's on the focusing screen through a prism system at the top of the camera and through the viewfinder so that's what were looking at when we look through the viewfinder. Now when it comes time to take a photo, we need to get that mirror up and outta the way so that light can get back to the image sensor. Before it gets there, it needs to get past the Shutter unit which is the second device for controlling the amount of light being recorded by the camera. And there's actually two curtains. There's a first curtain blocking the sensor and then there's a second one waiting in the wings. So when it comes time to shoot, the first shutter will open and that's our exposure, and then the second one will close and our exposure time is over. The mirror returns and then the shutter unit returns back to its starting position. And there are many different shutter speeds that you can choose from. The fastest is 1/4000 of a second. The slowest is 30 seconds. And then we have various increments in between and we can choose these to control the amount of light coming in. We can also use it to control how fast action is stopped. And so we'll use faster shutter speeds to stop faster action. Now there's a lot of different cameras out on the market and one of the most important differences in all these cameras is the size of the sensor in the camera. And so let's talk for a quick moment about different size sensors in the different cameras. And so this camera uses a, what I would consider a medium sized sensor by today's standards and the largest of the common sensors is based directly off of 35mm film. And so the high end professional Nikons will use this full frame sensor which is 24 by 36 millimeters in size. And so, it's known as full frame, it has a crop factor of 1.0 which basically means it's the same as 35mm. The D3400 uses an APS-C sensor. This is something that Nikon calls a DX format. Nikon's the only company that calls it that name but that's their kind of internal name for that size sensor and there are other cameras out there that have similar size sensors but this one has a 1.5 crop factor. When you're connecting the strap up, the way that you wanna make sure that you do it is having the loose ends on the bottom. So the tail goes underneath so the pressure is being pushed down on that strap, it's less likely to work its way loose. For holding the camera, there's couple different ways that I see people holding cameras and in general, you're gonna stick the camera in your right hand, there's a nice good grip on it. And then what do you do with your left hand? Is it grabbing the kind of the top of the lens or the bottom of the lens? Is your thumb on the upper side or on the lower side? And thumb on the top is the correct way of holding your camera. It gets your elbow a little bit closer into your body and you're able to hold the camera a little bit more steady 'cause your arms are in a more stable position and so that's a good technique to get used to going into the future. So that's a little on you know, the basics of photography. If you are interested in this and wanna know a lot more, we do have a couple of classes. My classes are the Photography Starter Kit and the Fundamentals of Photography. Take a look into those if you wanna learn more about shutter speeds, apertures, composition, lighting and the rest of the world of photography beyond just the operation of your camera. So take a look, they're all here at CreativeLive.

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!