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Nikon's D3400 Bridges Gap Getween Phones and Cameras

Nikon is looking to help bridge the gap between smartphones and cameras with its new D3400, an entry-level DSLR featuring two new kit lens options and Nikon's SnapBridge connectivity for simple sharing on social media.

The D3400 will be available in red or black sometime in early September as part of $650 kit featuring Nikon’s new AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. There will also be a two-lens kit for $999 that includes a 70-300mm VR lens.

SnapBridge allows you to download pictures and videos from the D3400 over Bluetooth to your phone using an app, so you can share them on social media without needing to use a cable. Unlike more expensive Nikon cameras, the D3400’s Snapbridge is Bluetooth only, instead of Bluetooth + Wi-Fi.

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The new AF-P lens should offer faster and smoother focus while shooting video. The D3400 also includes Nikon’s Guide Mode, which helps beginners take shots and adjust settings.

Shooting specs for the D3400 remain mostly unchanged from the previous model, the D3300. You get a 24.2-megapixel sensor, 11-point autofocus, ISO range from 100 to 25,600, continuous shooting at up to 5 frames per second and full HD video recording at 60 fps.

The one disappointing feature is the D3400's lack of a touchscreen, which would have made it much easier to for people accustomed to smartphones to make the transition to DSLRs. If you want a touchscreen, you need to step up to Nikon's $750 (body only) D5500.

In addition to the D3400’s new 18-55mm kit lens, Nikon is also releasing an AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED VR lens for people who need a little extra zoom. If you already own one of Nikon’s DX cameras, you can get the 15-55mm lens separately for $250, and the 70-300mm lens for $400. There will also be slightly less expensive versions of each lens without built-in vibration reduction for $50 less, respectively.

If you already own a D3300, there may not be a huge reason for you to upgrade to the D3400. However, if you're still using the 18-55mm kit lens that came with your camera, you may want to consider enhancing your kit with a one of the new 70-300mm AF-P lenses.

But if you're looking to graduate to a real camera, the D3400 is a pretty sensible update that makes the transition from phone to DSLR a less painful prospect than before.

Sam is a senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.