Nikon D3500 review

Nikon D3500: Key Specs

Type: Digital Single Lens Reflex

Sensor: DX Crop Sensor 24.2 mp

Lens mount: DX-format Nikon F Mount with AF contacts

ISO vary: 100 – 25600

Viewfinder: Eye-level pentamirror single-lens reflex

Video functionality: 1080p at 60, 50, 30, 25 and 24p

Weight: 0.8 lbs physique solely

Size: 4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 (in)

Memory card kind: SD (1 slot)

The Nikon D3500, changing the model’s D3400, is the producer’s newest entry-level DSLR. It is aimed on the newbie photographer who needs to gravitate in direction of extra superior tools with out dropping the pick-up-and-go angle of many compact cameras or smartphone methods. In this review, we’ll take a deeper look into the D3500, reviewing a variety of its methods and assessing whether or not certainly this DX SLR outshines what’s changing into stiff competitors from different methods. 

Nikon D3500 review: Design

  • Small and light-weight 
  • Excellent hand grip 
  • Buttons and menu gadgets somewhat fiddly because of measurement 

Image shows a closeup view of the controls and dials on the Nikon D3500.

(Image credit score: Jacob Little)

In at present’s period of snazzy smartphones and whizzy mirrorless cameras, taking an entry-level DSLR out of the field is usually a considerably underwhelming expertise. The field itself is small, with the same old extras you’d look forward to finding inside a DSLR bundle, resembling a wall charger, lens caps, and the usual 18-55mm equipment lens, however in any other case, there’s little of notice to report. 

First impressions are largely associated to the load (or lack thereof) and the very first thing we thought is that this should be one of many lightest DSLR cameras we have set our palms on in current occasions. The weight of the 18-55mm equipment lens is nearly the identical because the physique itself; put collectively, it is nonetheless an simply manageable unit. Its ergonomics are considerably helped by the deep handgrip and the again buttons, which have been reorganized since earlier incarnations of the D3xxx collection, and now all sit on the right-hand aspect of the physique for simple entry. 

Our solely criticism is that the Nikon D3500 is so mild that after a few journeys out we had been fearful it’d get broken – the lightness of the bundle itself is bordering on flimsy. Much like Nikon’s D5xxx collection of cameras, the physique is so small it is also fairly onerous to vary settings when trying by way of the viewfinder. There are many advantages to its measurement, nonetheless, and the load of the unit is corresponding to many journey or mirrorless cameras on the market, making it simple to move and match into smaller padded digicam shoulder luggage.

Image shows the screen on the Nikon D3500.

(Image credit score: Jacob Little)

Nikon D3500 review: Functionality

  • Lack of touchscreen could put some patrons off 
  • It’s irritating to must entry sub-menus to succeed in some settings
  • Excellent and main battery life and efficiency 

Switch the Nikon D3500 on by way of the acquainted right-hand aspect toggle change and also you’re greeted with a typical Nikon setup and interface. Due to its measurement, we did discover the redesigned button format somewhat fiddly, however in any other case, the menu system and on a regular basis operation of the digicam are easy. 

The greatest fast and apparent disadvantage with the Nikon D3500 is the dearth of a tilting LCD touchscreen, which on the D5xxx collection of cameras makes awkward angles and fast setting changes a breeze. We typically discovered ourselves swiping on the display to no avail. There is, nonetheless, dwell view mode on the D3500, which paired with the 18-55mm equipment lens produces correct coloration replica and a pointy illustration of what is in entrance of you. Without the lean mode or the flexibility to press on the display, nonetheless, this does have barely restricted potential for day-to-day taking pictures. 

Like in Nikon’s mid-range D5xxx collection we discovered it irritating that by default, ‘ISO-A’ mode is chosen, which robotically strikes the ISO establishing and down by itself. It would not have a quick-change button on the face of the digicam, and as a substitute requires handbook choice within the sub-menu methods. 

To the left of the digicam, there’s an HDMI slot and a USB connection slot for linking as much as a pc, however sadly no 3.5mm jack for an exterior microphone connection, which makes HD video taking pictures somewhat restricted. Twinned with the truth that there is no 4K mode means we would be tempted to look elsewhere if we had been a newbie trying to get into filmmaking additional down the road. 

The right-hand aspect of the digicam options a typical measurement SD card slot and a battery compartment. The battery itself is claimed to have elevated in capability by round 30% and has a CIPA score of over 1,500 photographs. That’s a powerful score, and though we did discover the battery life to be good, utilization might be in actuality a bit lower than this.

Image shows a top view of the Nikon 3500.

(Image credit score: Jacob Little)

Nikon D3500 review: Performance

  • Autofocus feels old style and is threatened to be outmoded
  • Well-balanced straight-out-the-camera photographs, with good element and depth
  • Guide Mode is sweet, however most will outgrow it rapidly 

Taking photographs, twinned with a typical 18-55mm equipment lens, is a fairy easy affair and we predict the digicam does job of residing as much as its entry-level and newbie standing, with out having something of nice notice to put in writing dwelling about. Being a few years previous now, the autofocus system is beginning to really feel somewhat dated, and there are solely 11 autofocus factors, which have been outmoded lately by many telephones and newbie mirrorless methods. We would have wish to have seen a couple of extra outlying autofocus factors – lots of them as seen by way of the viewfinder are clustered across the center of the body. We additionally discovered that it focus hunted a bit in decrease mild circumstances, which we would anticipate to see in budget-friendly crop sensor DSLR cameras, however once more we predict there is a query mark right here as as to whether telephones and mirrorless cameras do low-light higher lately.

Other than the AF system, which many newcomers admittedly will not fear an excessive amount of about, the entire means of taking images with the D3500 is pleasurable, and the standard of images themselves is superb. In good mild circumstances, at low ISO settings, the digicam reproduces coloration faithfully and even the usual equipment lens we examined had a sharpness that is onerous to seek out on different cameras at this value. There’s no face detection by way of the optical viewfinder, so you will have to make use of Live View for that, however this works effectively regardless of lowering battery life fairly significantly. The straight out of the digicam, unedited JPG recordsdata are properly balanced by way of temperature and publicity, however we discovered that in darker environments the devoted metering sensor could not fairly precisely predict the correct settings, so we needed to do a little bit of publicity compensation right here. That being stated, we had been impressed, and for image high quality alone the D3500 outperforms its place in Nikon’s vary.

Additional equipment

Kit lens: 18-55mm VR (Stabilised)

Best large lens: Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD

Best zoom lens: Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

Spare battery kind: EN-EL14a rechargeable Li-ion battery

Memory card: SD Card

Guide Mode is probably the most notable new addition to the D3500, which primarily works as a step-by-step mode to allow you to get probably the most out of every {photograph}. It works by providing menu gadgets which are extra akin to a compact digicam setup, and graduates from these easier-to-use methods should not have an excessive amount of hassle studying the ropes of the D3500. 

‘Shoot’, ‘View, Delete’, ‘Retouch’ and ‘Set Up’ menu gadgets are instantly obtainable upon choice of Guide Mode, and as soon as by way of to the straightforward operation mode of the shoot display customers shall be requested whether or not they’re taking photos of individuals, distant topics, landscapes, sports activities or a night-scene, as an illustration. In the extra superior information mode, you may choose an aesthetic (eg, blurred backgrounds) and the digicam will clarify what settings it is placing itself in to attain the specified outcomes. A pleasant little function that promotes newbie photographers to be taught extra concerning the craft.

The Retouch possibility additionally works fairly effectively, permitting you to trim, colorize or edit explicit photographs with in-built filters. It works effectively on each RAW and JPG recordsdata, however the choices are fundamental and the outcomes are fairly restricted. Over time, we would counsel that almost all customers of an entry-level DSLR just like the D3500 will shoot in RAW format and export to exterior photograph enhancing software program to have extra direct consumer management over their photographs. 

SnapBridge is Nikon’s connectivity app, permitting entry to your digicam and your photographs remotely utilizing a smartphone, pill, or laptop computer. The Nikon D3500 is provided with low-energy Bluetooth power solely, and never the WiFi of many different cameras in its vary just like the next-level up D5xxx collection. We thought this was a little bit of a disappointment, because it’s extraordinarily gradual to switch photos to a cellphone or pill utilizing Bluetooth connection solely, and it makes transferring RAW photographs particularly time-consuming. It additionally makes connectivity somewhat temperamental. A pleasant function – however this selection is healthier built-in in different cameras in Nikon’s repertoire. 

Image shows a picture of a street taken with the Nikon D3500.

(Image credit score: Jacob Little)

Should you purchase the Nikon D3500

The D3500 is an efficient digicam, although lots of its options have been surpassed now by improved know-how. But, cameras like this aren’t going anyplace, and the true crux of why is that they are comparatively low cost to make and for shoppers to purchase.

For lower than $500, you may get a premium image-making piece of apparatus that regardless of the standard of smartphones, has the flexibility to take your images to the following degree.  Full handbook management is solely potential – DSLR cameras have retained their reputation as a result of the mechanics of their operation and the bodily nature through which they take images cannot be replicated by another compact machine. The 24-megapixel sensor has the flexibility to take images that enhance in scale and measurement simply, and most customers will discover that though fundamental, the D3500’s efficiency in low-light circumstances simply surpasses most smartphones. 

The low value, particularly when paired with a comparatively spectacular equipment lens, begins to make the D3500 make much more sense, and we’re impressed with how a lot high quality Nikon has been capable of pack on this unit.

Image shows the Nikon D3500 resting on a wooden surface,

(Image credit score: Jacob Little)

The Nikon D3500 is finally an excellent digicam, completely arrange for newcomers to begin to be taught their craft and perceive the fundamentals of the science behind image-making. If you have had a little bit of expertise, nonetheless, we predict the information mode is likely to be irritating and redundant, and it is value remembering that we predict that this can be a digicam that you just would possibly develop out of fairly rapidly.

We had been dissatisfied by no 4K video, no headphone unit, and no WiFi for connectivity, and we would have appreciated to have seen a extra honed autofocus system, however to be sincere, to fret an excessive amount of about these points is to overlook the purpose with the D3500. To get somebody excited, intrigued, and interested in images, it does an awesome job, and that is all it’s set as much as do. We just like the pricing, its wonderful battery life, and the flexibility to eschew the information mode in favor of a extra handbook strategy do you have to want. Not having a tilt or touchscreen could hamper some customers, however we typically discovered its operation easy with out complicating issues like some mirrorless cameras can.

Although smaller, extra superior, and technically extra gifted mirrorless and compact cameras are on the market, there’s one thing reassuring concerning the high quality of the D3500 and proves there’s nonetheless a marketplace for preserving issues easy. It’s a digicam that you will rapidly outgrow, however as an actual fundamental place to begin into the world of superior images, it would not get significantly better regardless of its working limitations

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