The Nikon D3400 is a popular entry-level DSLR camera known for its excellent image quality and user-friendly features. While the camera performs well in various lighting conditions, there are situations where an external flash can significantly improve the overall lighting and help capture better images. In this article, we will explore the best flash options available for the Nikon D3400 and discuss the key factors to consider when choosing a flash.
Importance of using an external flash
The built-in flash of the Nikon D3400 has its limitations, such as limited power and a relatively short range. An external flash offers several advantages over the built-in flash, including:
- Increased flash power: External flashes are generally more powerful than built-in flashes, allowing you to illuminate subjects in larger spaces or during low-light situations effectively.
- Improved flash range: With a more extended range, you can light up subjects that are farther away without compromising the image quality.
- Versatility in lighting: External flashes offer additional features like adjustable zoom and tilt capabilities, enabling you to control the direction and spread of light, resulting in more creative and professional-looking photographs.
- Reducing red-eye: External flashes, when positioned correctly and with the help of advanced technologies, can minimize the occurrence of red-eye in portraits.
- Off-camera flash: External flashes can be used off-camera, either mounted on a light stand or triggered wirelessly, providing even more control over lighting setups and creative possibilities.
Factors to consider when choosing a flash for Nikon D3400
Before purchasing a flash for your Nikon D3400, it’s essential to consider the following factors to ensure compatibility and optimal performance:
Compatibility with the camera
Ensure that the flash you choose is compatible with the Nikon D3400. Some flashes are specifically designed for Nikon cameras and offer seamless integration, while others may require additional adapters or have limited functionality.
Flash power and range
Consider the flash’s guide number, which indicates its maximum power output. A higher guide number translates to more significant flash power and an increased range. Depending on your photography needs, select a flash with an appropriate guide number that suits your shooting environment.
TTL (Through-The-Lens) functionality allows the flash to communicate with the camera and automatically adjust the flash output based on the camera’s metering. This feature ensures accurate and consistent flash exposure, particularly in challenging lighting conditions.
Flash recycling time
The flash recycling time refers to the time required for the flash to recharge after firing. Faster recycling times allow you to capture multiple shots in quick succession without waiting for the flash to recharge.
Size and portability
Consider the size and weight of the flash, especially if you value portability. A compact and lightweight flash is more convenient to carry around and suitable for on-the-go photography.
Top features to look for in a flash for Nikon D3400
When choosing a flash for your Nikon D3400, keep an eye out for the following features that can enhance your flash photography experience:
The guide number indicates the flash’s power output. A higher guide number provides a stronger burst of light and extends the flash’s reach.
Zoom and tilt capabilities
Flash units with zoom and tilt capabilities allow you to adjust the light’s spread and direction. This feature is particularly useful when photographing subjects at different distances or when using bounce flash techniques.
Wireless triggering options
Some flashes support wireless triggering, enabling you to use them off-camera. This feature allows for more creative lighting setups and flexibility in positioning the flash for desired effects.
High-speed sync (HSS) enables you to use the flash at faster shutter speeds than the camera’s sync speed. This feature is beneficial when photographing subjects in bright conditions or when you want to achieve a shallow depth of field.
Built-in diffuser and bounce card
Look for a flash with a built-in diffuser and bounce card. A diffuser softens the light, reducing harsh shadows, while a bounce card reflects light off a surface, creating a more natural and pleasing illumination.
Recommended flashes for Nikon D3400
Based on the factors discussed, here are three highly recommended flashes for the Nikon D3400:
1. Nikon SB-5000 AF
The Nikon SB-5000 AF flash is a highly advanced and innovative lighting solution, featuring a powerful radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting system. With compatibility with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System, this flash delivers excellent results and offers a speedy and user-friendly operation.
|Wireless Control||Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting system for precise lighting control|
|Cooling System||Innovative built-in cooling system for reliable and continuous operation|
|Lightweight and Portable||Compact and lightweight design, perfect for photographers on the move|
|Easy Access to Functions||Info button provides quick access to frequently used options|
|Versatile Usage||Can be used off-camera as a remote flash or on-camera as a Master Flash|
Why and Which Type of People Should Buy It?
The Nikon SB-5000 AF flash is an ideal choice for photographers seeking advanced lighting control and versatility. Its radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting system ensures precise and reliable performance. With its lightweight design and easy access to functions, it is well-suited for photographers who are constantly on the move and require quick adjustments.
- Advanced Wireless Lighting: The radio-controlled system allows for precise lighting control, offering excellent results.
- Built-in Cooling System: The innovative cooling system ensures reliable operation, even during intense shooting sessions.
- Limitation on Wireless Network Setup: The flash does not support the setup of a radio wireless network, limiting its wireless capabilities.
The Nikon SB-5000 AF flash stands at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, providing photographers with advanced lighting control and impressive performance. Its wireless capabilities, built-in cooling system, and user-friendly design make it a valuable tool for professionals and enthusiasts alike, particularly for those who require precise lighting control in various shooting scenarios.
2. Nikon SB-700 AF
The Nikon SB-700 AF flash is a highly reputable product that competes strongly in the market, offering top features and expanded functionality. While it may not have the wireless connection capabilities of the SB-5000, it still delivers satisfactory performance for most photographers without a hefty investment.
|Compatibility||Nikon cameras in FX and DX formats|
|Flash Head||Adjustable for creative illumination|
|Light Dispersion||Three patterns: Standard, Center-weighted, Even|
|i-TTL Optimization||Balanced exposure, performance, and portability|
|Usage Modes||Hot shoe, wireless master, commander, remote|
Why and Which Type of People Should Buy It?
The Nikon SB-700 AF flash is an excellent choice for real estate photographers seeking a reliable and portable lighting solution. Its adjustable flash head enables creative lighting techniques, and it seamlessly integrates with Nikon’s lighting system, making it a valuable tool for achieving stunning effects.
- Versatile Illumination: The adjustable flash head allows for creative lighting techniques, making it suitable for a wide range of photography genres.
- Seamless Integration: It effortlessly integrates with Nikon’s lighting system, ensuring flawless compatibility with compatible equipment.
- Limited Wireless Capabilities: Lacks the wireless connection capabilities of the SB-5000, which restricts compatibility with all Creative Lighting System accessories.
- Output and Recycling Time: Some users have reported lower desired output and longer recycling times.
Despite its limitations in wireless capabilities and output/recycling time, the Nikon SB-700 AF flash remains a reliable choice for photographers. Its versatility, seamless integration, and satisfactory performance make it a valuable addition to any photographer’s kit, especially for real estate photography.
3. Yongnuo YN560 IV
Real estate photographers will greatly benefit from the Yongnuo YN560 IV Wireless Flash Master as it offers exceptional performance as a manual flash in controlled environments. This off-camera flash provides full radio control, allowing photographers to manage multiple lights simultaneously. With a zoom range of 24-105 millimeters and a quick recycle time of three seconds, it is especially appealing for real estate photographers seeking to use it off-camera. The flash’s sturdy construction and flexible range of motion add to its overall appeal.
|Recycle Time||3 seconds|
|Radio Control||Full control for multiple lights|
|Construction||Sturdy build with 90° vertical, 270° horizontal adjustment|
|Manual Control||Designed for manual camera control|
Why & Which Type of People Buy It?
The Yongnuo YN560 IV Wireless Flash Master is ideal for photographers who prefer manual control over their camera settings. It suits real estate photographers who frequently work in controlled environments and need off-camera flash capabilities. This flash offers reliability and versatility, making it a valuable tool for professionals in the field.
- Full radio control allows simultaneous management of multiple lights.
- Sturdy construction and wide range of motion provide flexibility during use.
- Quick recycle time enables faster shooting and minimizes downtime.
- Lack of TTL option disappoints photographers who prefer shooting in automatic mode.
- High-speed sync feature is absent, limiting the ability to capture fast-moving subjects with faster shutter speeds.
The Yongnuo YN560 IV Wireless Flash Master is a reliable and durable manual flash that excels in controlled environments. Its full radio control, quick recycles time, and sturdy construction makes it an attractive choice for real estate photographers who prefer off-camera flash. While it lacks TTL functionality and high-speed sync, its overall performance and versatility make it a valuable addition to any photographer’s toolkit.
4. Nikon SB-600
The Nikon SB-600 is a compact flash that offers the advantage of a High-Speed Sync, allowing photographers to use Fill-Flash in a wide range of lighting conditions. With effective operating settings and creative features like blurring for out-of-focus elements, it delivers excellent results and expands artistic possibilities. This flash is particularly well-suited for pairing with the Nikon D3400.
The Auto FP High-Speed Sync feature of the SB-600 enables the use of Fill-Flash even in bright daylight with wide aperture settings. This produces outstanding results and offers creative opportunities, such as effectively blurring out-of-focus background elements. Additionally, the flash can be combined with the SJ-1 color filter set for even more imaginative shooting possibilities.
One limitation of the Nikon SB-600 is the absence of a built-in catch-light card. To add fill light or enhance catchlights when bouncing the flash, photographers will need to use an aftermarket bounce card or another type of flash diffuser. Moreover, there is no dedicated “backlight” button to brighten the display in low-light situations. However, users can utilize a user-defined function to activate the backlight as an alternative solution.
|Compatibility||Nikon D3400 and more|
|Color Filter Set||SJ-1 (optional)|
|Catch-light Card||Not built-in|
Why and Which Type of People Buy It?
The Nikon SB-600 is a preferred choice for photographers who require a compact flash with High-Speed Sync capability. It is especially suitable for individuals using the Nikon D3400 or other compatible cameras. Photographers who value creative possibilities and desire excellent fill-flash performance in various lighting conditions will find the SB-600 appealing.
- High-Speed Sync for versatile fill-flash usage
- Effective operating settings and creative features
- Compact and portable design
- No built-in catch-light card
- Lack of dedicated “backlight” button for low-light situations
The Nikon SB-600 is a reliable flash that offers High-Speed Sync and a range of creative features. While it may require additional accessories for specific lighting effects, its compact design and excellent performance make it a valuable tool for photographers looking to enhance their lighting capabilities.
5. GODOX TT685N
The Godox TT685N is an impressive flash that offers a range of features at an affordable price. With a solid build quality and weighing approximately 1.1 pounds (batteries included), it may feel slightly heavier compared to the Nikon SB 700.
The flash features a convenient dot-matrix LCD panel on its rear, displaying all the necessary settings and information. Alongside the power button, there’s a dial in the middle for effortless manual adjustments.
While adjusting the flash’s direction towards the subject is easy, rotating it a full 360 degrees can be more challenging. The flash functions smoothly in any mode and automatically turns off after 90 seconds of inactivity. Reactivating it is as simple as pressing the midway button on the camera shutter or any of the flash’s buttons.
|Weight||Approximately 1.1 lbs|
|Display||Dot-matrix LCD panel|
|Rotational Range||Limited to 360 degrees|
|Auto Turn-off||After 90 seconds of inactivity|
Why and Which Type of People Buy It?
The Godox TT685N is a popular choice for photographers seeking a powerful and affordable flash. Its versatile features make it suitable for both amateur and professional photographers. Whether you’re a portrait, wedding, or event photographer, this flash can enhance your lighting capabilities and deliver excellent results.
- Affordable price
- Solid build quality
- Versatile functionality
- Limited rotational range
- Slightly heavier than some alternatives
Final Verdict: The Godox TT685N is an excellent flash for photographers who desire affordability without compromising on quality. Its powerful performance, user-friendly interface, and versatility make it a worthy addition to any photography toolkit.
Tips for using a flash with Nikon D3400
To make the most out of your flash photography experience with the Nikon D3400, consider the following tips:
- Understand flash exposure compensation: Experiment with adjusting the flash output to achieve the desired lighting effects. Use positive or negative flash exposure compensation to fine-tune the exposure.
- Experiment with bounce flash: Try bouncing the flash off ceilings or walls to create softer and more diffused lighting. This technique can help eliminate harsh shadows and produce more flattering portraits.
- Use diffusers and gels: Attach diffusers or gels to the flash to modify the quality and color of the light. Diffusers soften the light, while gels can add creative effects or correct color temperature.
Choosing the best flash for your Nikon D3400 can significantly enhance your flash photography capabilities. Consider factors such as compatibility, flash power, TTL functionality, and additional features like zoom, tilt, and wireless triggering. Based on these criteria, evaluate and compare the recommended flashes mentioned in this article to find the one that suits your needs and budget. With the right flash, you can elevate your photography and capture stunning images in various lighting conditions.
Can I use third-party flashes with Nikon D3400?
Yes, third-party flashes can be used with the Nikon D3400, but ensure compatibility and functionality before making a purchase.
How do I know if a flash is compatible with my camera?
Check the flash’s specifications and look for compatibility information specific to the Nikon D3400.
Is TTL functionality important for flash photography?
TTL functionality simplifies flash exposure calculations, resulting in accurate and consistent flash exposures. It is highly recommended for flash photography.
Can I use a Nikon flash designed for other camera models?
Some Nikon flashes designed for other camera models may work with the Nikon D3400, but it’s best to check compatibility to ensure proper functionality.
Are there any budget-friendly flash options for Nikon D3400?
Yes, there are budget-friendly flash options available for the Nikon D3400. Consider flash models that offer a balance between affordability and essential features.