There are two ways of looking at the Nikon D3400 white balance. The most obvious one is when you are looking at the back of the camera as you press the i button and D3400 white balance is third along the top line and that gives you the option to select the white balance that you want. However it does not let you change the white balance within those settings. If you want to do that you need to go into the MENU OPTION and then go into SHOOTING MENU, then you go down to white balance and you will see that you have all the options that you would see when you look in the i button, but, should you press your multi-selector to the right, it will give you the option of either deciding to have a different option within that main sub-option (so for fluorescence, for example, you have seven further options in fluorescent which are all slightly different) or if you do not have different options then you have an option which allows you to change that option within the camera. You can do that by using the multi-selector and you can make either more green or more magenta or blue or more red. Personally, I think this is probably far too detailed unless you are going for a very specific look, but the general way of changing, which is to go back and just look at the general options in white balance when you are in the shooting menu, should be sufficient for you to decide your best option. But if you want to go in and change cloudy for example and make it a little more red or a little more blue then you can do so but you can not make those changes to that option from the i button.
So let’s have a look at what the D3400 white balance options are when we come out of menu and we will have a look through them with the ibutton. The first one is AUTO. This tries to select the most obvious white balance itself. It has quite a good auto detection for white balance and in most cases you will be fine on AUTO with the Nikon D3400. It is pretty good for most circumstances. The next D3400 white balance option is INCANDESCENT or tungsten. That has quite a yellow tone to it because it is more like candle light or home and residential lighting which tends to be tungsten lighting and so it will try to take some of that warmth out – some of that orange and yellow and add some of the blue to make whatever is white in that picture more white and less yellow.
The next one is FLORESCENT. Florescent lighting is a little bluer and it is the sort of lighting that you get in offices – strip lighting often – which gives a very blue tone to things. As a consequence of that the camera will try to add a little yellow to the picture. Then we get on to DIRECT SUNLIGHT. Now direct sunlight is actually a lot bluer than you might imagine and so the D3400 white balance setting does try to add a little more yellow to that just to give it a more natural look. The one after that is FLASH. When you fire the flash, whether it is the built-in flash or an external flash, it is a very cold white shade. So as a consequence of that the Nikon D3400 tries to add some more yellow to give a more natural tone to the color, and especially, obviously for skin tones which is quite important. Then the next two which are CLOUDY and SHADE. As we move further up the scale the environment becomes more and more blue so the D3400 white balance settings will be trying harder to add a little yellow and a little orange just to warm that picture up and make it look less cold. If you are shooting in shade or in cloud then there is a natural inclination for the image to look slightly blue, slightly cold, so you want a little orange to warm that picture up.
A good experiment is to take the same picture, going through all the Nikon D3400 white balance settings. Then you will be able to see exactly how the white balance changes the ‘feel’ of a picture. D3400 white balance can be used very creatively once you have mastered it, as it is a very simple way of affecting the tone of the image. For example, adding yellow adds warmth to a picture and give the impression of sunlight which in turn can make the image feel like a summer shot. Conversely, adding blue can make the image seem quite cold. It is really useful to experiment with these D3400 white balance settings.