Our latest test scene simulates both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget switches between the two. The daylight scene is manually white balanced to give neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests. Raw files are manually corrected. We offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Print', and 'Comp', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons by using matched viewing sizes. The 'Comp' option chooses the largest-available resolution common to the cameras being compared.

The Nikon D3400 is built around what's likely to be the same 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor found in the D3300. Its use of the latest 'Expeed 4' image processor helps it give some very punchy, yet pleasing JPEG files.

The colors in the D3400's JPEGs are more saturated than those produced by Canon's T6. In terms of color hue there are a few notable differences; the yellows in particular appear less orange than those seen in the T6 while the reds seem a little more orangey by comparison.

The detail in the JPEGs is a bit more subtle in the D3400 thanks to the more reserved JPEG sharpening. Compared with the 24MP T6i, we can see Canon's sharpening is a bit more aggressive than the Nikon's, helping it pull more of the detail out from the studio scene, this is however at a cost to the finer detail in which the Nikon seems to do a better job of rendering. In terms of noise reduction the D3400 performs better in maintaining detail while reducing noise when compared to the T6, something that becomes more obvious at and beyond ISO 3200 on both the T6 and T6i. Turning down the noise reduction in the D3400 helps to further increase the JPEG detail without too much noise cost.

The Raw performance shows less noise in the D3400 when compared to the T6 even when scaled to take difference in pixel numbers into account. Both cameras exhibit aliasing, with the D3400's lack of low pass filter being apparent because of the sharp lens we use for this test. The Nikon's higher pixel count means this aliasing doesn't appear until detail in the scene gets very fine. With respect to Dynamic Range you can safely push the files to +3EV or even +4EV with little to no issue. The D3400 is fairly ISO-invariant from ISO 400 upwards, but shadow values in underexposed ISO 100 and 200 files can suffer, likely due to the limiting 12-bit ADC.

Overall the D3400 gives well judged, punchy JPEGs based on relatively low-noise Raw files. This performance sees the D3400 perform very well in both respects when compared to any of its peers.