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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.

camera

Is the Nikon D3500 a good camera? The D3500 has a Camera Elo of 2053. 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.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3500
Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video
ISO 100 - 25 600
Optical viewfinder
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


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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.

Nikon D3500 vs credit card front
D3500 versus credit card top view
D3500 and credit card rear side

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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D3500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 365 g 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Fujifilm X-A5 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 n Jan 2018 399i
 
Nikon A1000 114 mm 72 mm 41 mm 330 g 250 n Jan 2019 429 i
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899i
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
 
Panasonic TZ95 112 mm 69 mm 42 mm 327 g 380 n Feb 2019 449 i
 
Panasonic TZ90 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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.

Nikon D3500:
Check Amazon price

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.

Nikon D3500 sensor measures

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-A5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p........
 
Nikon A1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
 
Panasonic TZ95 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Panasonic TZ90 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636

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.

Feature comparison

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.

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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
 
Nikon D3500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X-A5none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon A10001166 n 3.0 1036 tilting Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Panasonic TZ952330 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic TZ901166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

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.

Connection comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon D3500Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Fujifilm X-A5YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
 
Nikon A1000-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic TZ95-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Panasonic TZ90-stereomono--micro2.0Y--

Expert reviews

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).

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D3500..75/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Fujifilm X-A5+..4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399i
 
Nikon A1000+ +..3.5/5..3/5 Jan 2019 429 i
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
 
Panasonic TZ95+ +..4.5/5.... Feb 2019 449 i
 
Panasonic TZ90+ +..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 449i
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, 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?

Grey imports from Asia, as found on eBay, are often very attractively priced. However, these cameras come without a warranty from Nikon.

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.

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    Specifications Summary
    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 Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 367 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6 000 x 4 000 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 - 25 600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 4
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type EN-EL14a power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1550 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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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