Nikon D3500 Review

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Updated July 18, 2022
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92 Expert Rating

For those seeking entry-level cameras, Nikon gives you every reason to check out their best DSLR camera (for a budget), the D3500. Nikon made all the right moves by incorporating a superb battery life, an easy-to-use interface, and performance to match its pricing. It’s absolutely perfect for any aspiring photographer worth their salt.

Why We Like It – Nikon D3500 Review

Fledgling photographers can rejoice, for the Nikon D3500 provides great performance for its value, making it one of the best entry-level DSLR cameras—especially on a budget.

Pros
  • Performance matches pricing
  • Superb battery life
  • Ideal for beginners
Cons
  • Lacking Wi-Fi
  • Not 4K

Performance

Compared to the previous model, the D3400, the Nikon D3500 hasn’t changed its pixel count all that much, increasing it from 24.2 megapixels to 24.78. It still makes use of an APS-C CMOS sensor, though a different image processor is being used, the Expeed 4. When you shoot videos, they’ll be shot in Full HD 1080p. It isn’t 4K, like the Nikon Coolpix A900, but FHD 1080p is still standard and more budget-friendly. And, it’s much better than the Canon PowerShot A4000 or the GoPro Hero4 Silver, which both shoot in 720p.

ISO range is great, ranging between 100 to 25,600—which is about half the range of some other cameras. When applicable, shooting RAW files will give you better results, considering it gives you more control over the result as opposed to letting the camera do the processing for you.

Related: If you like this camera for beginners, check out our Nikon D3300 review.

Design

The Nikon D3500 shares a lot of its design with the previous model, the D3400. For example, its optical viewfinder hasn’t changed in size at all; it’s still a 3-inch LCD screen. Another similarity is the lack of a Wi-Fi connection, but Bluetooth is available and the Snapbridge app makes sending images straight to your phone a breeze.

Once you get your hands on the D3500, Nikon made sure to add a mode dial. That’s standard such as Live View mode, but one mode, in particular, is a boon to new photographers: Guide Mode. It allows you to take control of the Nikon D3500’s settings and get familiar with what it can do. We did say this was the best camera for beginners, and that button is the biggest reason as to why.

Related: Also see our Nikon D5200 DSLR review if you would like to check out an alternative.

Value

The best way to gauge the value of the Nikon D3500 is to compare it with the Pentax K-S2 DSLR, a much cheaper DSLR with similar performance. While it may be cheaper, the K-S2 lens kit bundle isn’t. And as a photographer, you’ll want a lens kit, however, it does come with an AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm non-VR kit lens. The D3500 is the better deal.

Down the road, when you’ve gained enough experience (and income), consider upgrading to the Nikon D810 or take the Canon EOS Rebel T6i for a spin. Canon is another big name in the industry.

Nikon D3500 Review Wrap Up

As far as mirrorless cameras go, Nikon knocked it out of the park with the D3500. It’s a great improvement over its predecessor, the Nikon D3400, without going so overboard that it becomes too expensive for young photographers to reach for. There’s enough performance to justify its price—from its image quality to superb battery life. While Wi-Fi still isn’t implemented, Bluetooth is still great for the sake of convenience.

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