…from your en­try-level kit

Can an en­try-level cam­era and kit lens re­ally com­pete with a pro-spec Nikon D-SLR? You may be sur­prised…

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There are many rea­sons why pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers fork out thou­sands for high-end D-SLRs like the D5, with bench­mark speed, tank-like build and di­rect, in­tu­itive con­trols top­ping the list. But, when it comes to the process of ac­tu­ally tak­ing pic­tures, a begin­ner-friendly D-SLR such as the D3400 isn’t far be­hind. In man­ual mode, both pro Nikon and bud­get bod­ies of­fer con­trol of the aper­ture, shut­ter speed and ISO. Both en­able you to tap into Nikon’s range of pro-grade lenses, and both en­able you to shoot RAW files to re­alise the best im­age qual­ity pos­si­ble.

En­try-level cam­eras have some dis­tinct ad­van­tages over pro mod­els too. They’re much smaller and lighter, which means that you’re more likely to want to carry them around all day. And although a flag­ship FX cam­era will fea­ture a full-frame sen­sor – giv­ing cleaner re­sults at high ISOs – the smaller sen­sor in­side an en­try-level DX cam­era will typ­i­cally have a higher res­o­lu­tion, and that means big­ger pic­tures. In­deed, the 24.2MP D3400 is a step up from even the 20.9MP D500, which tops Nikon’s DX range.

Of course, you can’t ex­pect a bud­get D-SLR to match the aut­o­fo­cus speed and burst rate of a pro cam­era that’s de­signed to meet the needs of sports and wildlife pho­tog­ra­phers. But there are some tricks that will help you to cap­ture the ‘de­ci­sive mo­ment’ re­gard­less of the Nikon you’re us­ing. With this in mind, we’ve put to­gether this guide to help you get past the per­ceived (and some ac­tual) lim­i­ta­tions of work­ing with a starter cam­era and kit lens. From in­creas­ing fo­cus­ing speed to fill­ing the frame, from blur­ring back­grounds to min­imis­ing noise, there’s plenty you can do to en­sure pro-qual­ity shots...

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