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Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3500

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (called Canon 250D in some regions) and the Nikon D3500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2019 and August 2018. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon SL3   Nikon D3500
Canon SL3 Nikon D3500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
4K/25p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25600 (100-51200) ISO 100-25600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 921k dots
Swivel touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
1070 shots per battery charge1550 shots per battery charge
122 x 93 x 70 mm, 449 g 124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g

Body comparison: Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3500

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SL3 and the Nikon D3500. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SL3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D3500 is only available in black.

Compare Canon SL3 and Nikon D3500
Compare SL3 versus D3500 top
Compare SL3 or D3500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3500 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Canon SL3. However, the D3500 is markedly lighter (19 percent) than the SL3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL3 nor the D3500 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (SL3) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3500).

Concerning battery life, the SL3 gets 1070 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the D3500 can take 1550 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon SL3» 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 15.8 oz 1070 n Apr 2019 599 i i Canon SL3
 
Nikon D3500« 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 12.9 oz 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i i Nikon D3500
 
Canon M50« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Canon T7« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 16.8 oz 500 n Feb 2018 449 i i Canon T7
 
Canon 77D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549- i Canon SL2
 
Canon T7i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 18.8 oz 600 n Feb 2017 749 i i Canon T7i
 
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s
 
Canon SL1« » 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
 
Canon T2i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699- i Canon T2i
 
Fujifilm X-E3« » 4.8 in 2.9 in 1.7 in 11.9 oz 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
 
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the SL3, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3500

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3500 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (SL3) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon SL3 and Nikon D3500 sensor measures

Even though the D3500 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the D3500 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the SL3), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the SL3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the D3500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The SL3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

SL3 versus D3500 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon SL3» APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/25p----Canon SL3
 
Nikon D3500« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Nikon D3500
 
Canon M50« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----Canon M50
 
Canon T7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p----Canon T7
 
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon SL2
 
Canon T7i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon T7i
 
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
 
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
 
Canon T2i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon T2i
 
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
 
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the SL3 provides a higher video resolution than the D3500. It can shoot video footage at 4K/25p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3500

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SL3 and the D3500 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D3500 has a higher magnification than the one of the SL3 (0.57x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SL3, the Nikon D3500, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon SL3»optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon SL3
 
Nikon D3500«optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3500
 
Canon M50« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n Canon M50
 
Canon T7« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T7
 
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M6
 
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon SL2
 
Canon T7i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Canon T7i
 
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
 
Canon SL1« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
 
Canon T2i« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n Canon T2i
 
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
 
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The SL3 has a touchscreen, while the D3500 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The SL3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D3500 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Canon SL3 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SL3 and the D3500 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3500

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and Nikon D3500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon SL3»YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-YCanon SL3
 
Nikon D3500«Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3500
 
Canon M50« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYYCanon M50
 
Canon T7« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T7
 
Canon 77D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 77D
 
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
 
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon SL2« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon SL2
 
Canon T7i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon T7i
 
Canon T6s« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6s
 
Canon SL1« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon SL1
 
Canon T2i« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon T2i
 
Fujifilm X-E3« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-E3
 
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300

It is notable that the SL3 has a microphone port, which is missing on the D3500. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Both the SL3 and the D3500 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The D3500 replaced the earlier Nikon D3400, while the SL3 followed on from the Canon SL2. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.


Review summary: Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3500

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SL3 and the Nikon D3500? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/25p vs 1080/60p).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the D3500).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3500:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.54x).
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 84g or 19 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1550 versus 1070) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (28 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2018).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL3 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

SL3 10:06 D3500

Do the specifications of the Canon SL3 and the Nikon D3500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SL3 or the D3500 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3500

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon SL3»----- Apr 2019 599 i i Canon SL3
 
Nikon D3500«--4/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i i Nikon D3500
 
Canon M50« »+79/100--3.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Canon T7« »o-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon T7
 
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
 
Canon M100« »+-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon SL2« »++78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549- i Canon SL2
 
Canon T7i« »-80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749 i i Canon T7i
 
Canon T6s« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s
 
Canon SL1« »+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
 
Canon T2i« »++77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699- i Canon T2i
 
Fujifilm X-E3« »+84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
 
Nikon D3400« »+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SL3:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D3500:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3500

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SL3 Nikon D3500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2019 August 2018
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Canon SL3 Nikon D3500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/25p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-51200 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 8 EXPEED 4
    Screen Specs Canon SL3 Nikon D3500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SL3 Nikon D3500
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SL3 Nikon D3500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SL3 Nikon D3500
    Battery Type LP-E17 power pack EN-EL14a power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1070 shots per charge1550 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 122 x 93 x 70 mm
    (4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
    124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 449 g (15.8 oz) 365 g (12.9 oz)

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