Nikon D3400 review - Quality

Quality

Nikon D3400 vs Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 quality

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To compare real-life performance, I shot this scene with the Nikon D3400 and Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 within a few moments of each other, using their standard kit zooms, best quality JPEG settings and at their base sensitivity settings.
For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was disabled. The cameras were zoomed in to provide the same field of view, the ISO sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting and Aperture Priority mode was selected for the exposure.

I’d previously determined that both cameras produced their best results with their kit zooms at f5.6. So with the aperture set to f5.6 at its base 100 ISO setting the Nikon D3400 selected a shutter speed of 1/400. Also at f5.6 and 100 ISO the Canon 1300D / T6 selected 1/400, so the exposures here are the same.

Firstly I’ll point out that the 24 Megapixel sensor of the D3400 produces a smaller crop area with larger detail than the 18 Megapixel 1300D / T6. The other thing to be aware of is that the absence of an optical low pass filter in the D3400 gives it the potential to produce slightly sharper images with a slightly increased risk of moire interference patterns – a rainbow effect in areas of fine repeating detail

Taking a look at the first crop, from close to the left edge of the frame the D3400 crop isn’t exactly sparkling, there’s some distortion, blurring of edge detailed and colour fringing all of which are combining to reduce image detail. The crop from the same area on the 1300D / T6 also suffers from chromatic aberration, the result being red fringing rather than the blue on the Nikon D3400. But here I think the Canon 1300D / T6 actually produces the better result with slightly sharper detail.

The next two crops are taken from either side of a line running down the middle of the frame. You can peer at them for as long as you like, I have, but I can’t see much real defference in the amount of fine image detail. The larger detail in the Nikon D3400 crops isn’t showing anything you can’t see in the 1300D / T6 ones. You can tell the time on the church clock in the third crop, but you can’t see more detail in the brick or stonework or in the tiles roofs.

In the final crop from closer to the right edge of the frame the Nikon D3400 does a little better than the Canon 1300D / T6; the lighthouse is more distinct and the Nikon kit lens has much less of a problem with colour fringing. The limiting factor here in both cases is the quality of the kit lens and an easy way to improve things would be to fit a better quality zoom or even a fixed focal length prime. Most people who buy entry level DSLR’s tend to stick with the kit lens, at least for a time, if not permanently, so its performance is an important factor. That said, on the basis of what we can see here, there isn’t a significant difference in the image quality of these two models with their respective kit lenses fitted.

To find out how they compare at higher sensitivities head for my Nikon D3400 noise results, skip to my Nikon D3400 sample images, or head straight to my verdict.

Nikon D3400 JPEG With AF-P 18-55mm VR vs Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 with 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II kit lens both at at 18mm

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f5.6, 100 ISO

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f5.6, 100 ISO

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f5.6, 100 ISO

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f5.6, 100 ISO

Nikon D3400 vs Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 noise

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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Nikon D3400 and the Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 within a few moments of each other at each of their ISO settings. The cameras were fitted with their kit zooms, set to their best quality JPEG modes and mounted on a tripod with stabilisation disabled.

I disabled Active D-Lighting on the D3400 and Auto Lighting Optimizer on the 1300D / T6 as these can affect the noise characteristics of images shot in low light.

The cameras were zoomed in to provide the same field of view and the ISO sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting. I’d previously determined that both models produced best results at f5.6 so that was selected in Aperture Priority mode. At f5.6 and 100 ISO both models selected a shutter speed of 1/3. The crops below are selected from the area marked in red opposite.

As with the outdoor quality test, I’ve spent a good bit of time looking up and down these two columns of crops trying to wheedle out some margin of quality difference between the two sensors, but it’s very difficult. Like the Canon 1300D / T6, the Nikon D3400 produces excellent quality images at the lower end of the sensitivity range – it’s difficult to see any evidence of noise in the 100 and 200 ISO crops below. Even at 400 ISO both sets of crops look remarkably noise free. The Canon 1300D / T6 crops are a little warmer and ever so slightly softer, but that’s it.

At 800 ISO some noise texture is visible, but it’s really not until you get to 1600 ISO that you can see it without having to look for it. You could argue that the 3200 ISO crop from the Canon 1300D / T6 is marginally clumpier than the D3400 and the difference is a little more obvious by the time you get to the 1300D / T6’s maximum 12800 ISO setting. But practically speaking the only real advantage the D3400 has over the 1300D / T6 is that it’s able to produce similar noise results from a sensor that packs in an additional 6 megapixels of image data. And of course, the D3400 also offers a top sensitivity setting of 25600 ISO.

Now head over to my Nikon D3400 sample images or skip to my verdict.

Nikon D3400 vs Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 JPEG Noise

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100 ISO

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200 ISO

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400 ISO

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800 ISO

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1600 ISO

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3200 ISO

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6400 ISO

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12800 ISO

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25600 ISO

 
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