Nikon D3500 Comparison Review
The Nikon D3500 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in August 2018 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 24 megapixel.
Is the Nikon D3500 a good camera? The D3500 has a Camera Elo of 2039. This rating puts the D3500 among the top 30 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the D3500 ranks among the top 40 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 4-star performance rating.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second|
|1550 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Nikon D3500 vis-à-vis a credit card. 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon D3500 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Nikon D3500||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||12.9 oz||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon SX730« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm X-A7« »||4.7 in||2.7 in||1.6 in||11.3 oz||440||n||Sep 2019||499||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-A5« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.6 in||12.7 oz||450||n||Jan 2018||399||Fujifilm X-A5|
|Fujifilm XF10« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||9.8 oz||330||n||Jul 2018||499||Fujifilm XF10|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||4.8 in||2.9 in||1.7 in||11.9 oz||350||n||Sep 2017||899||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D3300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499||Nikon D3300|
|Panasonic ZS70« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449||Panasonic ZS70|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon D3500 was launched in the US market at a price of $429. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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.
The Nikon D3500 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon D3500 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D3500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78||Canon M100|
|Canon SX730||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm X-A7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-A5||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/15p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A5|
|Fujifilm XF10||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/15p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm XF10|
|Fujifilm X-E3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Nikon D3400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D3300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Panasonic ZS70||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||19.1||10.6||106||36||Panasonic ZS70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D3500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the D3500 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3500 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.57x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3500 and comparable cameras.
|Nikon D3500||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Canon SX730||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm X-A7||none||n||3.5||2760||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-A5||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A5|
|Fujifilm XF10||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm XF10|
|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|
|Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic ZS70|
One convenient feature of the D3500 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
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 Nikon D3500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D3500||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Canon SX730||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm X-A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-A5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-A5|
|Fujifilm XF10||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm XF10|
|Fujifilm X-E3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Nikon D3400||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D3300||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic ZS70|
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 D3500 handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Nikon D3500 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the D3500.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the D3500?
The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Nikon equipped the D3500 with the EXPEED 4 image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the D3500?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon D3500?
Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the D3500. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the D3500 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Nikon D3500?
Nikon embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your D3500 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.
Does the Nikon D3500 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The D3500's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.
Does the Nikon D3500 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).
Which battery does the D3500 use?
The camera gets its power from the EN-EL14a (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Where can I find the best deals for the D3500?
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D X Mark III vs Nikon D3500
- Fujifilm X100S vs Nikon D3500
- Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D40
- Nikon D3500 vs Nikon P1000
- Nikon D3500 vs Olympus E-M1 III
- Nikon D3500 vs Olympus E-M5 III
- Nikon D3500 vs Panasonic G10
- Nikon D3500 vs Panasonic GF7
- Nikon D3500 vs Panasonic TZ200
- Nikon D3500 vs Ricoh WG-6
- Nikon D3500 vs Sony NEX-6
- Nikon D3500 vs Sony RX100
|Camera Model||Nikon D3500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 429|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in|
|Battery Type||EN-EL14a power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1550 shots per charge|
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||365 g (12.9 oz)|
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