Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500

We've added this camera to this buying guide to show its specifications and features in context of the competition. When our full review is complete the camera will be considered for an award.

24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor | 5 fps continuous shooting | 1080/60p video

What we like:

  • Proven 24MP sensor
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Easy-to-use

What we don't:

  • 11-point AF system is generations old
  • Fixed, non-touchscreen LCD
  • Single control dial
The Nikon D3500 is an entry-level DSLR that uses the same 24MP sensor, Expeed 4 processor and 11-point autofocus system as its immediate predecessors. Bluetooth-only connectivity is offered for firing the shutter from your smartphone or sending lower-resolution images from camera to mobile device.
The chief difference between the D3500 and the D3400 is size – Nikon took an already small camera and shrunk it even further. Beginning photographers can get started with Nikon’s excellent Guide Mode, while more experienced photographers will find a full suite of manual controls. They will, however, be limited to a single control dial for setting changes. The D3500’s optical viewfinder is on the smaller side, and the fixed 921k-dot rear LCD lacks touchscreen functionality.
The previous-generation D3400 was a small, lightweight and likable camera, and the D3500 promises more of the same
The D3500 provides an 11-point AF system, offering very little frame coverage and only one central cross-type point. Like all DSLRs in this class, the camera won't automatically focus on faces in viewfinder shooting, and autofocus in live view is significantly slower than it is through the viewfinder. Battery life is a strong point, though, at a rated 1550 shots per charge. In normal use, you can expect even better endurance.
The D3400 produced good JPEG images with punchy, pleasant colors and we expect the same performance from the D3500. The collapsible 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 is a serviceable starter lens, too. No matter what glass is in front of the sensor, experienced photographers will be able to get maximum detail retention and post-processing flexibility by shooting in Raw mode.
Like its predecessor, the D3500 records Full HD video at up to 60p. We expect similar performance to what we found in the D3400 – decent quality footage and improved performance with AF-P lenses compared to past generations. The camera is by no means designed for shooting movies, but turns in good quality clips despite video not being a central feature.
The previous-generation D3400 was a small, lightweight and likable camera, and the D3500 promises more of the same. It’s even smaller than its predecessor, and comes to market at a similarly reduced price – a D3500 kit with 18-55mm costs a full $150 less than the 3400’s introductory MSRP. If small camera is what you’re after and you’re looking to keep costs down, the D3500 is worth a look.

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