Shooting Menu


Nikon® D3400 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Shooting Menu

So then you often need to go left on the tab, come down a little bit, and that gets you into the shooting menu. And the first option here is to completely reset the shooting menu. And so if you've been goofing around with your camera, and you just wanna get it reset back to the factory default settings, you could do that right here. Image quality, and so this is something that we've talked about before we saw this in the information menu. And so we have it here again, and this is where you get to choose between either RAW or JPEG, and as I said before, I think the basic user is gonna be fine setting JPEG fine, which is the best quality JPEG possible out of the camera. The more serious shooter is gonna want to set RAW. Now, Nikon calls it NEF because it's the Nikon Electronic Format. It's their version of what is generally called in the industry a RAW image. Now, in order to view that image, you're gonna need the right software on your computer. The camera comes supplied with software s...

o that you can read it. There are also many many other different types of software. Many of the basic operating systems with Windows and Apple products usually get this information from Nikon shortly after the camera's introduced, and you can see it directly in their computers as well as in programs like Photoshop and Lightroom. They may not have it the first couple weeks the camera comes out, but then they get the code, and they figure it out, and you can look at those images. But you do need to have the right software in your computer to view and work with those images. Now, as we go through this, you'll notice that I do make general recommendations in gray and higher advanced recommendations in red, and you'll see that as well on the PDF that is handed out as well. So if you are shooting JPEGs, recommend shooting at 24 megapixels unless you know specifically you are looking for something smaller. ISO is something that we've talked a-- Oh, maybe we haven't talked too much about. I guess we did talk about it a little bit. We have more advanced controls here in the menu setting. And so we have a sub-menu that we can dive into, and the first one is setting the ISO setting between one and 25,000. As I mentioned before, I think between one and 1,600 looks pretty clean. It gets a little bit on the grainy and noisy side when you get above 6,400. You always wanna keep it as low as possible to get the best quality image. Now, one option is the auto setting, and this is where the camera will set the ISO for you. Now, the way it sets the ISO for you is it doesn't know what you're shooting a picture of, but it does know your shutter speed. And it tries to always give you a reasonably fast shutter speed, which may have nothing to do with the type of photo you are taking. For simplicity reasons, auto ISO is just gonna help take care of the exposure, but for anyone who really wants to get in and control their camera, you're gonna wanna get it out of the auto setting and start manually setting the ISO yourself. It's actually quite easy to do, and it's something that all serious photographers do on a regular basis. Now, if you do wanna turn on the auto control, there is an on and off that you can set it right here. Normally, I would recommend for the more serious photographers to leave this turned off if you wanna get in and have that specific control. If you are gonna be using auto ISO, you can control the maximum sensitivity. So for instance, if you said, "Oh, okay. "I don't want my camera to go up to 25,000 or 12,000. "I want it to have a limit, a ceiling of 6,400." Well, you could set it right here in the maximum sensitivity settings. You can also choose what is the slowest shutter speed that your camera will use 'cause as your camera works under lower and lower lighting conditions, depending on how you have your camera set up, it's gonna use higher ISOs and or lower shutter speeds. And so this is where you get to rate yourself on how good you are at holding the camera in low light situations. It also depends a little bit how fast your subjects are moving, so if you're photographing people walking around and moving, it might be a sixtieth of a second. But if you're photographing a building or a landscape and you feel like you can handhold your camera at a fifteenth of a second, you would set a fifteenth of a second in this case. And so it kinda depends on how slow a shutter speed you want the camera to go down to before it jumps up to the next ISO setting. So some very nice fine tune controls for the auto ISO settings. Next up is white balance. We talked about this before. Normally, I would just leave it at auto, but if you are getting funky colors, if you're in a specific lighting situation, you could change it to the appropriate situation according to the color of the light. Setting the picture control. So we did look at some examples of this, and this is where the camera records with slightly different saturation and color tone and contrast how an image is controlled. Normally, I'm gonna recommend standard. You're gonna get nice, clean, good, basic looking images there. But if you decided that you didn't like the way it looked or you were trying to meet a certain need. Let's say you were shooting photos for somebody, and they said, "The contrast is a little bit too much." Or "We need more saturation in these photos." You can jump in and do it. And I wanna show you real quickly on how to do that. So let me go ahead and turn my camera on, and hit the menu button. And jump over into our picture control, so I'm gonna come down here to where it says set picture control. See it a little bit better there. Now I wanna dive in here, so I'm gonna go to the right. And I can select any one of these. But I'm just gonna select standard, and I'm gonna go to the right again because you can see down here, it says adjust. So I'm gonna come down to the right, and now I can go up and down through sharpening, clarity, contrast. Now, I'm not gonna go through and describe what each one of these does, but I can go through. If I wanna change the contrast, I can go up in contrast by different increments. So I can go up or down one or two, and if you'll notice down here, there's a little dial that says quarters. I can go up a quarter, a half, and so I can make very small incremental adjustments. If I was shooting a landscape photograph, maybe I want a little bit more contrast. And maybe I wanna go up to sharpness. I wanna set the sharpening a little bit more. Now, I've adjusted that particular standard setting to something that's a little bit more customized that fits my particular needs. Now if you're shooting RAW images, this doesn't matter. It's not gonna have any impact on your final images at all. This is only gonna affect those shooting JPEG image. But it's neat that you can get in there and fine tune your image to make it look exactly the way that you want it to. The color space. We talked, oh actually, no we didn't talk about this one before. So if you shoot in RAW, you get Adobe RGB color space, which is a fairly large color gamut, a range of colors that you can choose from. When you shoot in JPEG, it comes set to sRGB, which is a smaller area, smaller range of colors. And if you wanna set it larger, you can set it to Adobe RGB. If you are only working with pictures on a computer, you're probably gonna be fine with sRGB 'cause that's the way most of those monitors are set. But if you're hoping to print your images out, if you wanna collect as much color information as possible, for the most versatility later on in the life of that photograph, you can set your camera to Adobe RGB. You're gonna notice a very, very small difference between these two when you are shooting your photos. The file sizes are gonna be the same, and as I say, when you shoot RAW, you get Adobe RGB. And it's a little bit preferred for the slightly more serious photographer who might be printing their photographs. Alright, next up is active D-lighting, and we did talk about this before, and this is where the camera goes in and looks at the image and will often brighten up the shadows and hold back the highlights to get you a more even exposure. And it's very good. I think in a lot of times when you're shooting people 'cause there can be a lot of shadows where we wanna see detail, but it's not something that we always wanna have depending on the types of photographs that we're shooting. And so you may wanna do your own test to see if you like it with or without, and so for a basic user who doesn't wanna fuss with images afterwards, I would say turn it on. If you're the type of person who's a perfectionist, and you're gonna be working with your pictures on your computer and making those adjustments. Whatever the camera is doing in this act of D-lighting, you can do on your own. If you want to turn this off and do it all yourself, you can do it with much greater precision than the camera can. And so for those who want more manual control, leave this turned off. Alright, continuing to scroll down through the shooting menu, next up is noise reduction, and this deals with a couple of different things. It's long exposure noise reduction and high ISO noise reduction. Long exposure noise reduction, if you were to do a 15 second exposure, the camera would then after that 15 second exposure is it would turn on its noise reduction system, and it would process that image for another 15 seconds, in which you would not be able to shoot photos. In high ISO at certain higher ISOs, it would go in and it's gonna tweak the image to try to reduce the amount of noise by changing the way it looks. And so I wanted to do a test to see how much does this actually help out. Using a 15 second exposure, I shot with noise reduction on and off and saw virtually no difference at all. If you do long exposures, this does not appear to help out in any significant way that I can be able to see. Where it can help out is that when you shoot in higher ISOs, it's gonna make your image look less noisy. However, it is starting to blur some of the detailed area. Got one thing that's good about it, and another thing that's not so good. So if you shoot at higher ISOs, and you don't wanna fuss with fixing your images up, I can see leaving this turned on. But if you're the type of person that wants to get in, manually have control, and fine tune things exactly the way that you want them, then this is something that I would probably just leave completely turned off. Leaving it turned off for the more advanced user, leaving it on for somebody who doesn't want to fuss with playing with the images later on. Vignette control. So let's take a quick look at what this is. Vignetting is darkening of the corners. Where the image is on the sides of the screen are a little bit darker, and this happens with lenses that let in more light like a 50 millimeter 1.4 lens, and the camera knows how much vignetting their lenses have, and it can correct for it. And with a sky like this shot here, I would wanna have it turned on. But if I do a lot of people photographs, I often add vignetting to my photographs to draw the eyes away from the corner into more subjects in the middle. There's a lot of photographers who like to have that natural look of the image in the final shot. Now, this is once again, this is along with noise reduction, this has no impact on shooting RAW images. This is only an impact on people shooting JPEG images. A basic user I could see leaving this on normal and a more advanced user wanting to turn it off and let their lenses be as they are. Auto distortion control. So some lenses, especially some wide angle lenses have a little bit of distortion to them. Let me go forward and back between these two photos, and you can take a look and that is distortion. It is a barrel distortion, and we generally don't like that in a photograph. This is something that you're gonna probably wanna just leave turned on to fix any minor, minor problems that some lenses may have. The focusing mode. Alright, we're gonna dive into a little bit of a sub-menu here 'cause there's a few different things. So under normal situations, you are using your viewfinder to compose your shots. And in this case, we're gonna have the AF-A, AF-S, and AF-C focusing. Normally, I prefer AF-S because it focuses once on a subject and then I can recompose if necessary. If I'm shooting sports, it's going to be in the AF-C mode. And in the most simplistic mode, the AF-A mode will kind of just automatically go back and forth if you're not sure how to set this on the camera. I'm hoping that most people will set this on AF-S and then switch it to AF-C when they shoot sports in action, but for the very, very, most simplistic you could leave it in the AF-A mode. The other focusing option is when you have the camera in the live view or the movie mode, so you're using the screen on the back of the camera. And in that case, you'll have the option of single, which works very much as we've just talked about in the other viewfinder section. But rather than continuous, it has something called full time. And this is where it is focusing all the time. And if you were using this as a camcorder, and you're just kinda pointing your camera around wanting to focus on things, it'll automatically focus as you point it to new subjects. But more serious photographers don't like that because they're recording and the camera is changing focus on them, and that doesn't always look so good. So if you're definitely interested about more serious video shooting, you're gonna probably want to get into manual focusing or at the very least using AF-S, so that it focuses only when you tell it to focus. The AF-area mode gets us into another sub-menu describing where we are going to focus, so in the viewfinder, this is once again if it seems like duplicate information, we did indeed talk about this in an earlier section because it's on that information button on the back of the camera. I prefer the single-point so I can be very precise about where the camera is going to focus. I like using the dynamic for shooting action photography. If it's really, really wild action and it's moving around very erratically then I'm probably gonna be in the auto-area AF. Now, you can try the 3D-tracking and see if that works for your type of action. It's one of these things that's been a little hit and miss. It tends to do very good with certain subjects but not as good with other subjects. And there's a number of variables in there. So that's another one that might be worthy of some testing out on your part. Next up is the auto focus area mode, which is a little bit different in the live view and movie mode, so working with the screen on the back of the camera. We have a face-priority system, which is very good at picking up faces and focusing on them. But if you are not trying to focus on the most dominant face or one in the background, something like that. It may be a little bit more challenging to work with. I prefer working with either the wide area or normal area because you can use the control on the back of the camera to direct where that box is, and so I think that's a really good system. It also does have a subject-tracking auto focus system, which as I've mentioned before in other settings, can be a little erratic in what it chooses to choose as its subject and how well it follows that subject. In some cases, it may do very, very well like with a person walking towards the camera, it may do very well. But a bird in flight that's more random in its movements might have a very challenging time following something like that. Alright. The built-in AF-assist will help you focus under low light conditions on subjects that are very near the camera. Four or five feet away from the camera, but can be a little bit irritating, distracting, and annoying for subjects that you are shooting. And because it doesn't help out that much and it annoys a number of people, I would say turn this off unless you know that you can specifically make use of it. The metering system we've talked about before. The matrix metering system, excellent, very good system. What it's doing is it's reading many different parts of the image. It's averaging and comparing data from all different parts of the image area so that you get a nice even exposure. If I wasn't gonna use this, I would probably be using the spot meter, but I would have to be very careful about where I'm pointing the center of the camera at to read that light. But I would highly recommend matrix most of the time. So flash control for the built-in flash. There is the option between TTL, which stands for through-the-lens, which means the camera is taking care of all the metering system, or you can go full manual. And that's kinda getting into a whole different level of photography is when you start to manually control the flash. But if you're in a static setup situation and you really wanna have specific, consistent power output from the flash, you could set it to manual, and you could set it to, I believe, like half power, quarter power. And it's always gonna be firing at that exact same power. In TTL, it's constantly reevaluating and readjusting, and it might be different from shot to shot. Alright, continue to scroll down, and optical VR is a feature that can now be turned on and off in the camera. Most lenses that you get with Nikon will have a switch on the side of the lens, but some of their newest lenses will have them built in and you will do it electronically here in the camera. I recommend leaving this turned on for handheld photography. It tends to help in composing the image, making sure that the camera is not moving during somewhat slower shutter speeds. It allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds without blurring the image. Now, if you are shooting action or any sort of subjects that are moving fast, you will need fast shutter speeds to stop their action, which will in turn stop your action of holding the camera, so it's not really necessary when you're shooting fast action but can be very handy when shooting landscapes and general type shots with the camera. It does use a little bit of battery power but not enough to make a significant difference in the battery life. Movie settings, alright, so for all of you who wanna shoot movies, this is a really important area to get into 'cause there's a whole sub-menu that's gonna control the specifics on how it shoots movies. First up is the frame size and rate. There are two options. There is the full HD, which is 1920 by 1080. And then there is the HD, which is 1280 by 720. Most people are gonna wanna record in the highest quality video possible, which is gonna be 19 by 20. We have a number of frame rates, 24, 25, 30, 50, 60. So 24 is a Hollywood style movie look to it, so if you want that look, you can set it at 24. 25 and 50 are normal for the PAL systems in a lot of European countries and other countries around the world. 25 is kind of their standard TV rate. In the United States, 30 frames per second is what is considered normal video. You can shoot it at double that at if you have plans to slow it down. If you're just watching basic video, the difference between 30 and 60 is imperceptible to the average viewer. If you're looking for just good, solid, basic video from the camera, I would recommend 1920 by 1080 at 30 frames per second. The movie quality has different compression formats, and of course I'm gonna recommend the higher quality if you wanted to save on file size, it was a less important video, you can save file size by setting it to normal. The microphone has either an auto sensitivity or a manual sensitivity or you can just turn the microphone off completely. Most people are gonna leave it on auto sensitivity for basic recording. If you are dealing with shooting video in a windy environment, the wind hitting the microphone in the camera can have a horrible sound in the final video. There's a little bit of a muffling that the camera can do with this wind noise reduction and reduce some of that problem, so normally you would leave that turned off unless you specifically needed it in that situation. Now, if you wanted to get in and control the movie functions, the shutter speeds, and the apertures manually, you would need to turn this on, which your more serious cinema buff is gonna wanna get in and do. If you're making your own movie and you really wanna get the settings exactly where you want them, this is where you go in and turn it on. If you're just wanting to take a basic video, don't worry about it. Leave it turned off. The camera will figure out those basic controls for you.

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!