DSLRs might seem just a little dated compared to newer mirrorless cameras, but entry-level models like the Nikon D3500 remain good options for newbies.
Why so? DSLRs still possess strengths like great managing and battery lives that some photographers will choose, and they remain an extremely affordable way to obtain a camera with a viewfinder.
All those appealing traits can be found in the Nikon D3500, a comparatively new model that builds on the achievement of its predecessors in Nikon’s popular type of affordable DSLRs. It blends excellent ergonomics. solid functionality and picture quality that goes considerably beyond what you can get from a smartphone or most small cameras.
Of course, the Nikon D3500 also includes the helpful option of having the ability to change lenses to fit your subject or preferred design of photography, and there are countless options beyond the typical 18-55mm ‘package’ lens you will likely buy with it.
The D3500 retains the same effective 24.2MP pixel count as the D3400 which it supersedes, but Nikon stresses that it is a fresh sensor, and closer inspection of the specs shows that the total depends on the D3500’s sensor stands at 24.78MP, in comparison to 24.72MP on the Nikon D3400.
The APS-C sized sensor (typical for an entry-level DSLR, and far bigger than the sensors found in most compact cameras) in the D3500 also eliminates an optical low-pass filter to greatly help improve image quality.
The D3500’s ISO sensitivity range of 100-25,600 can be pretty wide, but doesn’t improve on the D3400’s range.
Considering that most mirrorless digital cameras (and even smartphones) offer 4K video, it’s a bit disappointing to only see Full HD catch on the D3500. It isn’t all bad information though, as the D3500 can shoot at a smooth 60/50p, in addition to 30/25p and 24p, while there are lower-resolution recording options as well. There’s also no microphone port, therefore you’ll need to depend on the D3500’s built-in monaural microphones – if you are seeking to shoot video frequently, you will most probably want to appear elsewhere.
Which 18-55mm kit lens should you buy with the D3500?
While you can purchase the Nikon D3500 as a standalone camera without lens, most people looking as of this beginner camera will decide to get the 18-55mm zoom lens that’s bundled with the camera for a few even more dollars or pounds.
Check Out: Best Lenses for Nikon D3500
Also known as a ‘kit’ lens as these lenses can be purchased within the kit with the camera, the focal selection of 18-55mm offers a good standard zoom range to really get your started. This covers from wide-position landscapes to moderate telephoto that’s more fitted to portraits.
It’s value paying close focus on the lens though if you are thinking of buying a D3500 as there’s two variations available. There’s the AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G and the AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR. The VR designation is what you wish to focus on as this denotes Nikon’s image stabilization program (known as Vibration Reduction).
The difference in expense between your two lenses is negligible, so our advice is to splash out a few dollars or pounds more for the VR version of the zoom lens, as this will allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds but still achieve sharp shots.
Once you’re prepared to upgrade your lens, or wish something to check your 18-55mm lens, take a look at our best Nikon lenses buying information.
Nikon D3500 review: build and handling
As the specification of the Nikon D3500 has changed little from the D3400, the look has had a little of an overhaul, with the brand new camera more carefully linked to the D5600 aesthetically.
The most known change is that the grip is now more substantial when you select the D3500 up. It really makes the camera fit easily in the hand, as the larger grip also helps it be better balanced when capturing with much longer and/or heavier lenses.
The bigger handgrip hasn’t produced the D3500 any heavier compared to the D3400, with Nikon actually managing to shave 30g off the weight, with the D3500 tipping the scales at 415g using its battery installed. Nikon has also decreased the depth of the D3500 by 6mm, with the camera calculating 124 x 97 x 69.5mm.
The very best of the D3500 in addition has been refined over the D3400, and again is currently more consistent with D5600. There’s a reasonably streamlined array of controls, with the setting dial now having a change to activate Live View (helping you to shoot using the rear display instead of the viewfinder) around its training collar.
Nikon D3500 review: autofocus
The autofocus system remains unchanged from the main one in the D3400 (and the D3300 for example).
This sees the same 11-point MultiCAM 1000 AF system that covers a respectable amount of the viewfinder in a gemstone formation, with the machine having a couple more AF points than Canon’s closest rival, EOS Rebel T7 (referred to as the EOS 2000D beyond your US).
Combined with AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit zoom lens, and provided your subject matter isn’t on the periphery of the frame, the AF system can do a good job of locking onto static subjects. Focusing is usually quiet and, in great light, wonderful and brisk, though it inevitably decreases a tad in poor light, and it’s really in these situations that we’d turn to utilize the central AF stage more, taking benefit of its improved cross-type sensitivity.
Nikon D3500 review: performance
With a burst shooting speed of just 5fps, the Nikon D3500 is not actually a camera for individuals who want to shoot a whole lot of action. It’s much better than the EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D’s sluggish 3fps, however, many comparable mirrorless cameras just like the Fujifilm X-T20 can shoot quicker in the event that’s an integral priority. Sports and other fast-moving action apart, though, it must be satisfactory for most shooting circumstances, including speeding pets.
The D3500’s metering performed well inside our tests, delivering constant exposures for some scenes, and even avoiding overexposing predominantly dark subjects. Because of the dedicated exposure compensation button at the top plate, which functions in tandem with the trunk command dial, if you do have to dial in payment, it’s quick and simple to do so.
As we found with the D3400, the D3500’s Car White Stability is similarly proficient, just slipping up once or twice during our review. It in fact coped perfectly under artificial light, with a little warmth used away in a few of our shots, while mixed lighting was taken care of well.