Nikon D3500 vs D80
The Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D80 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2018 and August 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D3500 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the D80 provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D3500||Nikon D80|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||10 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-25,600||ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||2.5 LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|1550 shots per battery charge||600 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g||132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D80? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D80. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D80 is notably larger (13 percent) than the Nikon D3500. Moreover, the D80 is substantially heavier (83 percent) than the D3500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3500 nor the D80 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
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.
|Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||365 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Fujifilm X-A5||117 mm||68 mm||40 mm||361 g||450||n||Jan 2018||399|
|Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
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.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 57 percent) than the D80, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D80 is 2 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon D3500 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D80. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 6.11μm for the D80). However, it should be noted that the D3500 is much more recent (by 12 years) than the D80, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 resolution advantage of the Nikon D3500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D80 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D3500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D80 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D3500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D80 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3500 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D3500 and the D80 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 D80 has a higher magnification than the one of the D3500 (0.62x vs 0.57x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3500 and Nikon D80 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
The D3500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D80 uses SDHC cards. The D3500 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D80 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Nikon D80 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
The D3500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D80 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D80 was succeeded by the Nikon D90. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3500 or the Nikon D80 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Nikon D3500:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 10MP) with a 55% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x97mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 303g or 45 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1550 versus 600) on a single battery charge.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (57 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 12 years of technical progress since the D80 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D80:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.62x vs 0.57x).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2006).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D3500 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 3 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D80 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3500 or the D80 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Nikon D3500||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Fujifilm X-A5||+||..||4/5||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399|
|Nikon A1000||+ +||..||3.5/5||..||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|Nikon D3400||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|Nikon D5500||+||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon D3300||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|Nikon D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D90||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Nikon D50||78/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|Nikon D70s||..||..||..||o||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|Nikon D70||..||+ +||..||o||..||Jan 2004||999|
|Panasonic TZ95||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||..||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic TZ90||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 5DS vs Nikon D80
- Canon G3 X vs Nikon D80
- Canon R6 vs Nikon D3500
- Fujifilm X-E2 vs Nikon D80
- Fujifilm X-T4 vs Nikon D80
- Fujifilm X70 vs Nikon D3500
- Fujifilm XF10 vs Nikon D3500
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Nikon D80
- Nikon D3500 vs Olympus E-M5 III
- Nikon D3500 vs Panasonic GF5
- Nikon D80 vs Sony A6400
- Nikon D80 vs Sony A7R
Specifications: Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D80
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D3500||Nikon D80|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2018||August 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 429||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D80|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||3872 x 2592 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||6.11 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||2.69 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||524|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D80|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D80|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D80|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D80|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1550 shots per charge||600 shots per charge|
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
132 x 103 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||365 g (12.9 oz)||668 g (23.6 oz)|
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