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The Nikon D3400 is a fine performer and more than enough camera for most people just getting started with DSLR photography. Its body is small and light and its specs, while very similar to its predecessor's, are perfectly decent for a model of its class.
Image and video quality are more than satisfactory too, and with the further benefit of in-camera raw processing, you can also polish up your creations quickly and easily for immediate use if you wish.
As a Nikon DSLR, its compatibility with decades worth of top-quality Nikkor glass is another major advantage. Furthermore, the benefit of its optical low-pass-filter-free sensor means that you can get the best out of these optics.
The advantage of the 1200-shot battery shouldn't be overlooked too (especially when compared to mirrorless rivals), and means that it's much more likely to be taken to a festival, on holiday or elsewhere where you may not always have easy access to a power supply.
Perhaps most importantly for a entry-level DSLR, the built-in Guide mode and straightforward controls make the D3400 incredibly easy to use.
Initially quite a pricey option when it was first launched, prices have fallen steadily to make the D3400 a much more appealing proposition. If you're after an easy to use DSLR with a huge back-up of lenses and accessories at your disposal, this is a great starting point.
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D
The EOS Rebel T7 (known as the EOS 2000D outside the US) from Canon is perhaps the closest rival to the D3400. It may be the newer camera, but it doesn't offer anything to recommend it over its Nikon rival. A solid entry-level DSLR, but the D3400 is still our pick.
Read our in-depth Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D
The D3500 replaces the D3400 and brings a number of refinements and improvements. Our pick of the best entry-level DSLRs right now. That said, if you can find the D3400 cheaper, it's still a great buy.
Read our in-depth Nikon D3500 review
The D5300 may have been updated by the D5500 and D5600, but its impressive spec sheet, ongoing availability and similar price point makes it well worth considering. Currently, for only a few extra pennies more compared to the D3400, you get a host of superior tech inside a better-built body, including a 39-point AF system, Wi-Fi, GPS and a larger, higher-resolution articulating LCD screen.
Read our in-depth Nikon D5300 review
Canon EOS Rebel T100 / EOS 4000D
The EOS Rebel T100, also known as the EOS 4000D, is much like the EOS 2000D, although it's even more stripped down. While it's super cheap, the price you pay for that is an older 18MP sensor, a plastic lens mount and a poor performing LCD screen. Save your pennies and go for the D3400 instead – or at the very least, the EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D.
Read our in-depth Canon EOS T100 / EOS 4000D review