Nikon D3500 Review

Nikon D3500 Review – DSLR Camera

Beautiful pictures for all

Nikon D3500 Review

You do not have to be a photographer to get a great picture if you see one. And you do not have to be a photographer to take a fantastic picture – you only need the D3500. It is just as easy to use as a snapshot, but it requires beautiful DSLR photos and videos that stand out. It feels great in your hands, sturdy and balanced with controls where you want them. It is compact, durable and versatile, ideal for traveling. And it works seamlessly with compatible Smartphone, making it easier than ever to share your great photos. Even if you have never recorded a DSLR camera, you can take beautiful pictures with the D3500.

            Take more memorable images. The photos you take with the D3500 capture more than the moment: they capture the feeling of the moment, a feeling that can immediately be shared with your friends and family and then relive a lifetime.

What is the Nikon D3500?

            The Nikon D3500 is an entry level DSLR for beginners. It is a modest upgrade of the popular D3400, with the same resolution of 24.2 megapixels, but with a renewed body and improved battery life. It is enough to keep the D3500 fresh in a very competitive space, where upgrades for Smartphone, beginners and students are looking for their first affordable ‘right’ camera.

            Given the trend towards 4K video in the past year, the D3500 can shoot on a smooth 60 / 50p, as well as 30 / 25p and 24p, while there are also recording options with lower resolution. There is also no microphone port, so you have to rely on the built-in monaural microphones of the D3500.

            The APS-C sensor (typical for an entry-level DSLR and much larger than the sensors used in most compact cameras) in the D3500 also makes an optical low-pass filter unnecessary to improve image quality.

            The rear display is an optical viewfinder. This is perhaps the most obvious feature that distinguishes DSLRs from mirrorless cameras, with many comparably priced mirrorless cameras for recording only relying on the rear screen, while other electronic viewfinders (EVF) with reasonably modest resolutions (for this price).

            EFFs certainly have their advantages, especially because you can see the lighting ‘live’, which means you will not get unpleasant surprises when you activate the shutter, although many photographers prefer the cleaner view of an optical viewfinder. The optical viewfinder on the D3500 offers coverage of 95%, which is typical of an entry-level DSLR, so you may need to be a little careful when framing some photos to prevent unwanted elements from creeping into the edges of the frame.

            Just like on the D3400, there is no Wi-Fi connectivity, but you get Bluetooth, so it is possible to transfer images via Nikon’s SnapBridge function. Here an always-on Bluetooth Low Energy a connection is established between the camera and your smart device, and you can configure SnapBridge to automatically transfer images while you are shooting or later, so that you can select certain images to transfer.

Nikon D3500 – Design and functions

Most important features

  • DSLR with optical viewfinder
  • 24.2 mm APS-C sensor
  • 18-55 mm retractable kit lens
  • Guide mode for beginners
  • Fixed rear window
  • Battery life of 1,550 shots
  • Snapshot mode with fixed focus
  • New sensor, but effective resolution remains the same
  • No touchscreen or 4K video
  • Bluetooth connectivity


  • Sensor: 24.2 MP APS-C CMOS
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Screen: 3.0-inch fixed screen, 921,000 dots
  • Burst recordings: 5 fps
  • Autofocus: 11-point AF
  • Video: Full HD 1080p
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Battery life: 1,550 shots
  • Weight: 415g (with battery and card)

            As a DSLR, the Nikon D3500 has a more body than a mirrorless camera because it has to be thick enough to be able to use a mirror for its optical viewfinder. However, the D3500 is commendably small for a DSLR. It is also a fraction lighter than the old D3400, but with a thicker grip that makes it a bit more manageable with larger lenses.

            It is designed to be beginner-friendly, but that does not mean it is simplistic. In addition to the fully automatic and ‘Guide’ modes, the D3500 has the full range of AE programs, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes you would expect from a serious camera.

            It does not offer 4K video, but it can continuously record 5 frames per second, which is very good for a camera in this price range. DSLRs are known to be much lighter on their batteries than mirrorless cameras, but the 1,550-shot battery life of the D3500 is hardly great. That is about five times more than a similarly priced, though considerably smaller, mirrorless camera.

Nikon D3500 – Screen and viewfinder

            The coverage of this viewfinder is 95% instead of 100%, so you can see objects appear at the edges of the photo that you did not see while shooting, but that is a small point and otherwise the viewfinder is bright, clear and bright. . Many people talk about how the electronic viewfinders in mirrorless cameras show exactly what the sensor of the camera will capture, but that is not entirely true and DSLR viewers are still hard to beat for pure blindness.

            The rear screen has a resolution of 921,000 dots, which is good for this price. However, it is fixed in place, and even misses a tilting mechanism, and it is also not touch-sensitive. This will not be a problem for most users, because you can easily change the settings with the camera’s physical buttons and knobs – and it has a very good interactive ‘i’ screen for quickly changing general settings. Nikon D3500 – Performance

            The autofocus specifications of the Nikon D3500 are fairly straightforward. For viewfinder photography, there is an 11-point autofocus system with a central cross sensor that is more accurate. When recording in Live View mode using the rear screen, you will only get contrast autofocus, not the hybrid phase detection systems used on some DSLRs with cameras and mirrorless cameras.

            Contrast autofocus has a reputation for being accurate, but slow, especially with digital SLRs. However, the AF-P kit lens of the D3500 turns this upside down. Nikon’s new stepper motor autofocus design is not only fast and quiet, it seems to work brilliantly in live view, it delivers a snappy response that you simply would not expect from a cheap DSLR.

            Nikon’s starter DSLR is also pretty impressive in the continuous recording mode. The maximum frame rate is 5 fps, and you should go up a reasonable price to find a camera to beat this. It can capture up to 100 JPEG images in one burst or 16 raw files. It is not a sports camera, but that is still a pretty good set of figures for a budget model like this.

            The D3500 reminds us that a steady evolution can be just as valuable as upgrades with headlines. The spicy AF-P lens, effective autofocus and reworked exterior have given Nikon’s long-running series of entry-level cameras a new lease of life.

Nikon D3500 – Image quality and video

            Nikon’s 24-megapixel APS-C sensor has always delivered good results in its other cameras, and it’s the same here. It is complemented by a good performance of the 18-55 mm AF-P kit lens, which is sharper and more consistent over its focal range than you would expect.

            The Matrix measurement system works well and is not sensitive to overexposure in contrast-rich lighting such as some cameras. The automatic white balance produced realistic-looking colors in a range of indoor and outdoor conditions and Nikon’s active D-Lighting system helps to reduce dark shadows when recording JPEGs.

            You can also create RAW files with this camera, but they are 12-bit files instead of the 14-bit raw files that you get on the better Nikons. In practice, it is unlikely that you notice any difference and even 12-bit unedited files offer much more latitude than JPEGs in the camera.

            Perhaps it is not surprising that you do not get 4K video with a camera for this price, but the D3500 can record Full HD video with up to 60 / 50fps. The autofocus in live view is not so fast, but the AF-P lens focuses smoothly and quietly, and as long as you do not expect it to keep up with the fast, erratic movements, it works pretty well.

Newcomers welcome

If you can take a picture with your smartphone, you can take a great picture with the D3500. Auto mode delivers amazing results in almost every situation. If you want to learn during shooting, turn on the Guide mode and follow simple instructions on the screen.

Think less, shoot more.

The D3500 is fast, responsive and easy to use. You do not linger on the operation of the camera while a great moment passes. Just aim, shoot and share amazing photo after photo.

Shoot comfortably

The D3500 simply feels great in your hands. It is lightweight and balanced, even with an included telephoto lens. Each button and number is carefully placed for comfort and ease of use, and the menu system is simple and intuitive.

The Daytripper

Small enough to be discreet, durable enough to withstand harsh conditions; the camera is also available with two excellent travel lenses, you never want to leave without the D3500.

Smartphone and camera in harmony.

Download the free SnapBridge app from Nikon and your D3500 photos instantly appear on a compatible smartphone or tablet * for publication on your favorite sites, share with friends and family or just as backups. You can even use the smartphone or tablet to remotely activate the D3500 to take pictures.

Colors that pop up in every light

In every DSLR there is a specialized computer that accurately adjusts the settings for each shot. Nikon’s renowned EXPEED image processing system is based on a rich history of imaging knowledge, and it helps the D3500 to create stunningly vivid photos and videos in almost all conditions.

Videos at the touch of a button

Recording beautiful video with the D3500 is as easy as photographing photos. Simply turn the Live View lever over and press the record button. You make great 1080 / 60p Full HD video instantly and effortlessly. Use the zoom function of your lens to create wide-angle videos or tight close-ups.

Image after stunning photo

Some of the best moments only last a fraction of a second. Hold down the shutter button on the D3500 and capture up to 5 frames per second with a full resolution with a razor-sharp focus so that you can take the picture that matters.

Fast, accurate focus

Unlike typical smartphones, fast-moving subjects are no problem for the D3500. 11 autofocus points are scattered around the image, and full-time AF locks on the subject and keeps it sharp, while making stunning shot after shot.

Excellent NIKKOR lenses; the eyes of the D3500

Twice as much fun

The set with two lenses of the D3500 contains two matching lenses with which you can handle all corners. The AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55 mm f / 3.5-5.6G VR lens is ideal for portraits, landscapes, videos and other broad perspective shots. The AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300 mm f / 4.5-6.3G ED is a versatile telephoto zoom lens that is great for sports, concerts, nature and more.

Endless possibilities

Every Nikon DSLR lens offers a nice new perspective. Discover new worlds with an extreme close-up macro lens. Give your backgrounds a dreamy blurry effect with a fast prime lens. Capture the entire scene with an ultra-wide angle zoom lens. The possibilities are endless.

Why choose the Nikon D3500?

            Anyone who wants to buy his first serious camera is faced with difficult choices. Mirror less cameras are probably closer to the design and feel for the smartphones and compact cameras that were used much earlier, but they do not have the firm grip or the enormous value for money of a budget SLR such as the Nikon D3500.

            In fact, many people will welcome the extra size and ‘grippability’ of a DSLR, especially if they use larger lenses such as telephoto zooms. And although many consider the mirror mechanism in an SLR as an inconvenient system that has passed the expiration date, it gives a wonderfully fresh, lag-free viewfinder image.

            It is a fact; with the D3500 you get a lot of camera for a fairly low price. It is not only user-friendly for beginners, it has enough functions and performance to stay with you for a long time while you learn about photography.


            The D3500 is a solid, well-specified entry-level DSLR that offers good road holding, great performance and real value for money.