Nikon D500 vs D3500
The Nikon D500 and the Nikon D3500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and August 2018. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D500 has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the D3500 provides 24 MP. 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.
|Nikon D500||Nikon D3500|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-51200 (50-1640000)||ISO 100-25600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2" LCD, 2359k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|1240 shots per battery charge||1550 shots per battery charge|
|147 x 115 x 81 mm, 860 g||124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g|
Body comparison: Nikon D500 vs D3500
The physical size and weight of the Nikon D500 and the Nikon D3500 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D500 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
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 smaller (29 percent) than the Nikon D500. Moreover, the D3500 is substantially lighter (58 percent) than the D500. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D500 is splash and dust resistant, while the D3500 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Nikon D500»||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||30.3 oz||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|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|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||4.8 in||2.9 in||1.7 in||11.9 oz||350||n||Sep 2017||899||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Nikon D7500« »||5.4 in||4.1 in||2.9 in||25.4 oz||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D5600« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|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 D7200« »||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||-||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D3300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D7100« »||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||-||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D300S« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||-||Nikon D300S|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 79 percent) than the D500, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Nikon D500 vs D3500
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 D3500 is 1 percent smaller. 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.
In terms of chip-set technology, the D500 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 5) than the D3500 (EXPEED 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D3500 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 20.7 MP of the D500. 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 4.22μm for the D500). However, it should be noted that the D3500 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the D500, 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The Nikon D500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-1640000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Nikon D500»||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.0||14.0||1324||83||Nikon D500|
|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|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Nikon D7500« »||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.3||14.0||1483||86||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D5600« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|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 D7200« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.5||14.6||1333||87||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D3300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D7100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.2||13.7||1256||83||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D300S« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.5||12.2||787||70||Nikon D300S|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the D500 provides a higher video resolution than the D3500. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the D3500 is limited to 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Nikon D500 vs D3500
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D500 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D500 and Nikon D3500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon D500»||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||n||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D3500«||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||4000||8.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Nikon D7500« »||optical||Y||3.2||922||tilting||Y||8000||8.0||Y||n||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D5600« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D7200« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||4000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D3300« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D7100« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||4000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.5||Y||n||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D300S« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||7.0||Y||n||Nikon D300S|
One feature that is present on the D500, but is missing on the D3500 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The D500 writes its imaging data to SDHC or XQD cards, while the D3500 uses SDXC cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D3500 only has one slot.
Connectivity comparison: Nikon D500 vs 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 Nikon D500 and Nikon D3500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D500»||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D3500«||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Nikon D7500« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D5600« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D7200« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D3300« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D7100« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D300S« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300S|
It is notable that the D500 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 D500 and the D3500 are recent models that feature in their makers' current product line-up. The D500 replaced the earlier Nikon D300S, while the D3500 followed on from the Nikon D3400.
Review summary: Nikon D500 vs D3500
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D500 and the Nikon D3500? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Nikon D500:
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 5 vs EXPEED 4).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 8%.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x97mm vs 147x115mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 495g or 58 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1550 versus 1240) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (79 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D500 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D500 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D500 or the D3500 handle or 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.
Expert reviews: Nikon D500 vs D3500
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 detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Nikon D500»||HiRec||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D3500«||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100« »||Rec||-||4/5||-||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||Rec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Nikon D7500« »||HiRec||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D5600« »||-||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||Rec||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D5500« »||Rec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899||-||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D7200« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199||-||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||HiRec||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D3300« »||Rec||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D7100« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199||-||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||HiRec||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||HiRec||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D300S« »||HiRec||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799||-||Nikon D300S|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 500D vs Nikon D500
- Canon D30 vs Canon M10
- Fujifilm X-T3 vs Sony RX10 III
- Nikon D800 vs Leica S2
- Olympus E-M10 II vs Canon SX730
- Olympus E-M5 vs Canon 750D
- Panasonic GX8 vs Canon 700D
- Panasonic GX8 vs Sony RX1R II
- Sony A7 II vs Nikon Z6
- Sony RX100 VI vs Sony HX95
- Sony RX100 vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Sony RX100 vs Panasonic FZ2000
Specifications: Nikon D500 vs Nikon D3500
|Camera Model||Nikon D500||Nikon D3500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 1999||USD 429|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.22 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.60 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-51200 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-1640000 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||EXPEED 4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||2359k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC or XQD cards||SDXC cards|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Type||EN-EL15 power pack||EN-EL14a power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1240 shots per charge||1550 shots per charge|
147 x 115 x 81 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||860 g (30.3 oz)||365 g (12.9 oz)|
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