Nikon announced the new Coolpix 3500 on 19th October 2002, almost exactly nine months since the original Coolpix 2500 was announced. The 3500 is very clearly based on the 2500, it has the same body design, lens, control system and operatining software the only difference being the three megapixel sensor which brings this camera up into competition with Canon's Digital IXUS v³ (S230 ELPH), Sony DSC-P7, Minolta DiMAGE Xi, etc. Since Photokina 2002 it does appear as though three megapixels is fast becoming the new baseline for digital camera resolution.

The design of the camera harks back to the original split bodied Coolpix 900 and 950. Since those cameras we have had the three megapixel 990 and 995 as well as the new four megapixel 4500, all with the split bodied design. The major difference between the 3500 and those cameras is the fact that the LCD portion of the body wraps completly around the lens portion, thus when the lens is turned to its off position it is protected by the body.

Because of the 3500's internal zoom / internal focusing lens there's no extending lens mechanism to get damaged (unlike many other compact digital cameras). About the worst thing that could happen to this camera if it were knocked would be that the rotating portion is flipped back into its protective vertical position.

Review notes

Because of the Coolpix 3500's similarity to the Coolpix 2500 much of the first half of this review is based on the Coolpix 2500 review.