Understanding the Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera Retouch Menu

Understanding the Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera Retouch Menu

To access the Nikon D3400 Retouch menu, press the menu button in the back of the camera and use the multi-selector to move down the main menu. So the first one is NEF or RAW processing. NEF is the suffix that will go on to a raw image and RAW is how they are usually known. RAW images are images that are not compressed in any way and so they save all the data. As a result of that they are very much larger when they saved down to the disk and you need a specific piece of software to open them up and work on them. When they are then saved, they are saved as JPEGs. A lot of professional photographers will shoot RAW and there is a significant difference between opening up a RAW image that has been uncompressed and has all the data, and a JPEG image. You can see the difference when you look at the two next to each other, but the JPEG – particularly JPEG fine – is a really good way of saving pictures as and because the RAW images are then saved as a JPEG you do not necessarily save a great deal at the end result. Most photographers I know will, if they are working on fine or detailed pictures, save as a RAW. But invariably when they send their pictures to their clients they send them as JPEGs. Here you can work on a RAW image – not terribly effectively – there are not too many options and they are fairly blunt instruments. You can, for example, change the file size; you can change the white balance and the exposure, and picture style but if you bothered to save a raw image, you would probably want to open it up on a large screen and work on it with some more subtle settings.

The one below that in the Nikon D3400 RETOUCH MENU is TRIM and that pretty much does what it says. It allows you to change the crop of the image. When you shoot on 35mm (and this is effectively a 35mm camera) then you shoot 3 x 2, 3 across 2 down. you can crop this and trim this to 4 x 3, 5 x 4 and square one by one. Again you could do that on a computer as well. The one below that is RESIZE. Now this allows you to change the size of the picture downwards – you can not resize and increase the size of the image, but it could be useful if you wanted to save pictures to download onto social media before you are in Snapbridge. You get the option to do this automatically so you would not have to go through this process if you are going to download via Snapbridge.

D-lighting, which is below that in the d3400 retouch menu, offers you the opportunity to apply lighting after you have taken the picture. D-lighting reduces the amount of contrast – the highlights – and narrows that bandwidth of color and tone, so you could use that in this at this point. And QUICK RETOUCH is a very basic option which just either adds a little brightness or reduces the brightness slightly. It just gives your picture a little bit more punch if that is what you feel you need. Below that is RED-EYE CORRECTION which can be quite effective. This is a digital way to reduce red-eye and if you have taken a picture which happens to have more than you would like then, you can apply this. Again it will be easier and probably more subtle to do this on editing software and a computer, but if you need to do it in the camera then this is an option for you. STRAIGHTEN, obviously straightens the image making the horizontals horizontal that might be useful for landscapes. There is nothing worse than having a horizon which is not actually level. It is a landscape photography faux pas. DISTORTION CONTROL in the Nikon D3400 RETOUCH MENU will try to reduce the amount of distortion, perhaps that may have occurred in a very wide angled lens or a wide angle shot. PERSPECTIVE CONTROL, likewise, will try to control the perspective.

Then we get on to the options here for fisheye. Now fisheye does the exact opposite to distortion control and if you have an ordinary-looking picture, you can give the impression that it has been shot on a fisheye lens by using this option. It is not perfect but it does barrel-distort the middle of the picture, so it does give the impression of a fisheye lens. Below that is FILTER EFFECTS. You can put filters on the front of the lens and that will obviously affect the light as it comes through the lens. This allows you to add filters digitally. Here we have four possible filter effects. The top one is SKYLIGHT and that takes out some of the blue. The picture warm filter will add a little orange to the picture and make it feel warmer. Cross screen is quite a nice filter because it will add a starburst to light in the picture and just make them stand out a little bit more and then finally you have got soft which softens the image and gives it a little bit of a warm hue as well. That can be used with portraits and can also be used with landscapes to great effect.

The next one in the D3400 RETOUCH MENU is MONOCHROME. That turns a color picture to monochrome, but not just black and white – it will offer you sepia and cyanotype which is effectively blue and white as well. Underneath there is image overlay which can only be used with raw pictures and allows you to overlay one with the other. The next three – COLOR OUTLINE, PHOTO ILLUSTRATION and COLOR SKETCH, effectively are variants of the same process. They basically make the photograph look like a form of illustration. So color outline will take out all the color and make it look like an outline drawing. Photo illustration will give it an impression of it being rather stylized comic effect of the image, and color sketch will desaturate it so that you have got hints of color and basically make it an outline drawing with some hints of color.

MINIATURE EFFECT in the D3400 retouch menu can be quite useful and I like it, particularly if you do it beforehand. This blurs the outside of the frame to make the subject in the middle stand out that much more and it is really quite punchy. If you take a picture of a road or cars on a road from say 45 degrees – from the 2nd or 3rd floor – down onto the street, then you can actually make the cars look like they are model cars. They stand out so vibrantly and so brightly from the image and the blur of the background that it looks like they are a model. It does work really well and I quite like using that the one. Below that in the Nikon D3400 RETOUCH MENU is SELECTIVE COLOR. Now selective color you could also call the Schindler’s List effect. If you remember that scene the black-and-white film with the girl with the red coat, then this is effectively what that does. It makes the whole frame black and white except for one two or three colors and you can select those colors and decide which ones they are and by doing that you can actually create a very powerful image. It works very well. Below that is PAINTING, which effectively makes your photograph look like a painting.

Finally we have at the bottom EDIT MOVIE. Now these are quite blunt edits. They are not very subtle at all. Essentially what you can do here is choose the start and end point. You can cut and edit the movie in terms of length, but no other ways. You can not change the colors or the way that it is shot. You can also save a selected frame from it but that is fairly basic, and again if you shoot movies with this, then you would expect to be able to do most of your editing in editing software on a large computer.

So those are the options you have got in the Nikon D3400 RETOUCH MENU. As you can see they are not very subtle and they are a bit blunt, but should you need to make any changes to a picture then you can do so here and, the one saving factor is that should you make any editing changes on an original picture, then the original will be saved and any changes will be created into a new picture so you do not lose anything by trying to do the edits on the back of the camera.

Steve Liem

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