Having a camera with great specs, features, and at a good price is all that a photographer/videographer or a crazy photogenic person would love and wish to have! Here’s a quick solution to that, The Nikon D3500 is the latest version launched by Nikon under the beginners or entry-level DSLR camera. IT was launched back in 2018 with very great specs and features. Along with this, it is surely and effectively an upgrade to the evergreen Nikon D3400, a long-term favorite starter DSLR of many users. There aren’t various changes being made in the D3500 but it is surely a refresh and has enough features which could have a place in the list of ‘best camera for beginners’ or ‘top student cameras’.
The Nikon’s D3500 isn’t just one of a cheap or simple DSLR, it is also a light-weighted camera with just 415 grams, body only included which is with the battery and memory card. There’s also a light-weighted lens along with the camera of 18-55mm AF-P lens which retracts the mechanism to make the images with more portability when not turned on. The camera is light, fast, and cheap enough to buy and prove that there’s still a life to have in the DSLR’s design. This camera is designed for beginners with simple control buttons and it also has a built-in guide mode which helps the users to learn some basic tricks. A camera that is compatible with a wide range of F-mount lenses from Nikon and has good specs for beginners as well as enthusiasts. Bet, it’s a great and cheap camera to buy!
So, now let’s know about the Nikon D3500 in-depth like specs, key features, performance, and more…
- Effective Pixels (Megapixels) – 24.2 million
- Sensor Size – 23.5 mm x 15.6 mm
- Image Sensor Format – DX
- Storage Media- SD, SDHC, SDXC
- ISO Sensitivity- 100 – 25,600
- Movie – Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 60 fps (Actual frame rates for 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p are 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, and 23.976 fps respectively; options support both high and normal image quality)
- Monitor Size – 3.0 in. diagonal
- Monitor Type – Wide Viewing Angle TFT-LCD
- Battery / Batteries – EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
- Type – Single-lens reflex digital camera
- Lens Mount – Nikon F bayonet mount
- Effective Pixels (Megapixels) – 24.2 million
- Image Sensor Type – CMOS
- Total Pixels – 24.78 million
- File Format Still Images – Compressed 12-bit NEF (RAW), JPEG: JPEG-Baseline Compliant with Fine (approx 1:4), Normal (approx 1:8) or Basic (approx 1:16) Compression and NEF (RAW) + JPEG: a photograph is saved in both NEF and JPEG Formats
- Card Slot – 1 Secure Digital (SD)
- Shutter Type – Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane
- Shutter Speed – 1/4000 to 30 sec.
- Flash Sync Speed – Up to 1/200 sec.
- Frame Rate – can be up to 5 fps (manual focus, shutter speed 1/250 sec or quicker, and other settings at default)
- Continuous Shooting Speed (Full Resolution) – 5 frames/second
- Self-Timer – 2, 5, 10, 20 sec.; 1 to 9 exposures (Timer duration electronically controlled)
- Detection Range – -1 to 19 EV
- Lens – Autofocus: Single-servo AF (AF-S); Continuous-servo AF (AF-C); predictive focus tracking is being activated automatically according to the status of the object
- Manual focus (MF): Electronic rangefinder can be used
- Focus Point – selected from 11 points
- Interface – HDMI output: Type C mini-pin HDMI connector and Hi-Speed USB; connection to the built-in USB port is recommended
- Wi-Fi Functionality – Eye-Fi Compatible
- Smart Device App Connectivity – SnapBridge
- Bluetooth – Yes (Bluetooth Specification Version 4.1)
- Supported Languages – English, French, Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish
- Battery / Batteries – EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
- Battery Life (shots per charge) – 1,550 shots (CIPA)
Nikon cameras don’t use the in-body stabilization in the DSLR’s but many of the Nikon’s lenses do include the AF-P 18-55mm lens which bundles up with the camera and comes along with the Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system (VR). These kits are cheap on sale along with the non-VR lens but I guess, it’s worth paying. The user also won’t get a 4K video capability in this camera but it can easily shoot the videos in a Full HD 1920*1080p which is up to 60-50fps. The user doesn’t get Wi-Fi but it has an in-built Bluetooth which helps to transfer the photos to the device you wish and in the latest model, the user has a fire to shutter remotely by using the smartphone. Nikon claims that they have upgraded the sensor and expeed image processing system which provides the user with improved speed, more details and great colours. It has also uprated the battery life of the camera along with amazing shots on a single charge and that too up to 1550 shots, which is just 4-5 times more than expected from a mirrorless camera. The D3500 does shoot the raw files but these are the 12-bit only. The 12-bit raw provides a wider tone and colour than the regular ones.
Build & Handling
If the Nikon’s D3500 is being compared with any mirrorless camera, it’s the body of the camera which is going to seem a bit fat as compared. This does give the user a good grip to hold the camera. It is a redesigned button layout in the camera on the rear side which makes it easy to carry and roam around without pressing the button accidentally. The rear screen is not touched sensitive so it’s reliant on the physical buttons and dials. The screen is fixed and can not tilt mechanism for low angle shots. The display quality is good along with sharp detail and bright and clear colours. The info displayed is great and shows some graphical representations of the shutter speed, lens and ISO setting and this goes for a long way for exposure settings.
On top of the camera, there’s the main dial which is clearly labelled and provides some positive and great feel. On the right side of the camera, there’s a single control dial which also provides solid feels. The dial is not marked on the camera and the function of that right side button changes along with the camera mode. DSLRs need a thicker body which is accommodated to the mirror mechanism and by that time the 18-55mm AF-P kit lens, the D3500 is as long as it is wide. The retracting mechanism in the lens does make a difference. The power button is around the shutter button where it’s easy to flick with the index finger from where the camera is switched off and on. There’s a pentamirror which is of a cheaper design and it’s quite bright and clear to see right into the corners of the frame. Overall, D3500 is a good one to have!
The all amazing D3500 does feel amazing. The autofocus beep is a bit loud in sound but the AF-P lens autofocus is swift and quiet which needs some audio feedback to let the user know it’s focused. In the viewfinder shooting, there are some points which are clustered like 11AF, the point is clustered towards the frame’s middle section. And if the subject or object is near the edge of the camera, then it’s easy to focus and reframe it before clicking the picture. Also, the user can choose out the camera’s focus point automatically or by the user itself, this helps to have faster and positive reviews. In the live view or shooting mode, the user can choose out the focus points anywhere on the screen. In the absence of touch control, there’s a 4-way button on the backside of the camera which moves the AF point but it’s a bit slow. The live view autofocus is amazingly fast. Nikon’s D3500 doesn’t use the on-sensor phase-detection autofocus in the DSLR. Nikon has found out that the way to make the camera, D3500 is a live view AF feels great and it’s responsive as a mirrorless camera. The user needs to download the Snapbridge app which is from Nikon for free which could help the user to transfer images wirelessly. It is pretty quick, easy and straightforward to set up the connection between the devices like the iPhone and the camera, D3500 to transfer the images easily. The battery life is one of the best D3500’s real cards of trumps. While with the D3400, it has this impressive battery life along with 1200 shots but guess what, Nikon now has managed to extend the shots to 1500, isn’t this great? Well, these are much better than the Canon DSLRs in comparison with the significant features, battery and pricing.
Pros & Cons
The all-new Nikon D3500 is an amazing and solid body camera with great improvements over the period. This redesigned camera so stands out with the body and grip features which makes it more of a roam around and enjoyable camera to use and transfer pictures directly and easily. Over so many options available in the market, the major benefits which the camera provides today are the low pricing which comes along with the excellent camera sensor. The camera is priced at $450 which also includes the kit lens as it’s hard to find a camera with such a perfect fit and match of the price which the user gets. The camera doesn’t have any controls which are on an advanced level or contains weatherproof protection or more. Also, the camera doesn’t include the topmost autofocus system. Overall, this camera, D3500 is capable of clicking amazing pictures and it’s an affordable camera to have. The body of the camera is comfortable to hold on and can be the first ideal camera for a new user or as a backup option while travelling. So, let’s know what are the pros and cons which makes the camera great and stand out!
- According to the cameras’ class, the image quality is pretty great
- High ISO performance level for APS-C, excellent level
- Because of the AF speed, the single shots are clicked faster
- Easy to use and compact design
- Incredible and Valuable at just $450 along with a kit lens
- Well designed and comfortable grip
- Autofocus system
- Lutter lags are low
- Burst speed is great for beginners
- Great battery life
- User-friendly controls and tools
- For beginners, there’s a guide mode
- Bluetooth which is built-in for the app, Snapbridge support
- Deep JPEG buffer
- 11 point AF system, kind of feels out-dated
- The C-AF performance level isn’t great and underwhelming
- Viewfinders’ coverage accurate is not good and could be said as below average
- No touch screen facility
- Wireless features are quite limited
- Customizable buttons are few and Fn removal button makes the camera slow
- Autofocus for moving objects is mediocre
- ISO button
- AK video isn’t available
- No mic or headphone jack
- AE bracketing support isn’t there
- Live view experience lags a lot
The photos being clicked by the camera, D3500 are in great quality. The camera by Nikon has around 24-megapixel DX Sensor which is said to be the best APS-C sensor around the world. The camera has got some serious features which are quite impressive in details and has a great and high ISO performance. If compared with the Nikon’s D500, the camera is ahead of the race in terms of image quality at a low ISOs’ while a slightly behind the higher ISOs. The fact that the camera is light-weighted then why is this camera, D3500 a good choice for a lot of people or photographers out there. A photographer who need to shoot landscape and travelling scenes and sights, they need a camera with top quality images which should not weigh down. This camera is pretty well optimized according to the photography even aside from its excellent pricing. The camera, D3500 is comfortable to use and clicks pictures up to ISO of 1600 and even ISO 3200 to 6400. Yes, to get an image quality and sharpness in the image out of the D3500 camera, the user needs to know how well does the camera works. So, to purchase this camera isn’t a wrong decision to make but before that check out what’s the point to purchase this camera and what’s important factors under that?
- The DSLR is small in size and light in weight, it’s a well built and tried and proven camera along with processors combination which excellently delivers the results. The grip of the camera is great with slightly wider sides and comfortable holds.
- The focusing system of the camera is well established and based on the Nikon’s Multi-cam 1000 AF module which is with the 11-area phase detection and comes along with the 3D tracking system.
- Many of the cameras’ have in-camera assistance which is built-in guide mode for the beginners especially and this provides the novice photographers to adjust the functions like the shutter speed, white balancing and compensation exposures. To solve this out, there are two options which are ‘easy operation modes’, it let users select the mode like Moving objects/subjects, this lets users have the camera set the key functions to match the subject and the second is, ‘advanced operation’ which provides the users with more precise options such as freeze motion like people or vehicles.
- In the camera, the pop-up GN7 (m/ISO 100) flashes the support to the i-TTL flash control which uses the pixel-420 RGB sensor and provides the filled-in flash with matrix
- A separate memory card is been attached in the camera on the right side of the camera panel and also inset LED which glows when the memory card is being used. Touches for the entry-level cameras are pretty nice. The camera accepts the UHS-I compliant SD and the SDHC and SDXC cards.
- Automatic in-camera correctors are being provided in the JPEG files for various reasons with any lens which is being fitted.
- Continuous shooting in the camera is being restricted to the frames which are with the locked AF with a shutter speed of 1/250 second or maybe faster.
- Battery capacity is an impressive as it has got 1550 shots on the charge basis.
Nikon’s D3500 is not a perfect camera which a user wants to have but it is surely a great camera to expect surely at this price. It is a great camera choice to go for a beginner photographer who would want to go for a camera with strengths of the DSLR to the mirrorless ones. It’s a good camera if things like image quality, pricing and weight are being considered and are a more important factor than having an advanced one with button layouts and menu systems. Most of the Nikon D3500 is surely a camera which is more than just enough to capture the photos which are being needed by the users. It’s pretty hard to beat up this camera’s pricing and quality of pictures. The pricing of $450 is amazing as it comes along with a lens of 18-55mm. Also, the 24.2MP sensor provides amazing results. The battery life of the camera is also a bonus to the user here as it can shoot up to 1550 shots from a charge which means no need to carry spares or worry about the camera thing. You can buy this camera from various sites like Amazon.
Value for money
No 4K video
Slow live view
Autofocus is responsive
Control system should be better
Compact and easy to use
No exposure bracketing