Nikon D3500: The Best Beginner-Friendly DSLR You Can Buy

The Nikon D3500 was introduced at completion of 2018 as a moderate upgrade to the evergreen Nikon D3400, a beginner DSLR we’ve been championing for many years. It is a basic-looking video cam with a fixed back screen and no 4K video clip, but it has all the manual manages that digital photography newbies will need and its picture quality is truly excellent. All this guarantees the D3500 a place in our list of the best video cams for novices and best trainee video cams.

The D3500 isn’t simply Nikon’s most affordable and easiest DSLR, it is also its lightest, evaluating simply 415g, body just, and that is with the battery and a sd card. It will usually come with a light-weight 18-55mm AF-P set lens which has a retracting system to earn it more mobile when it is not changed on. It is not as small as a mirrorless video cam, but the battery life alone makes a great situation for the classic DSLR design, and the D3500 but is light, fast enough and inexpensive enough to earn a great travel video cam.

This video cam is designed particularly for novices, with streamlined manages and an integrated in Guide Setting to assist new users learn the fundamentals. But it is also suitable with a wide variety of F-mount Nikon lenses, from Nikon and third-party manufacturers, and has a sufficient spec to please enthusiasts as well as novices. So is this of the best inexpensive video cams you can obtain? You wager.


Inside, the D3500 has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C ‘DX’ sensing unit. It may be a beginner-level video cam, but that is as high as most APS-C video cams go, also today. It also has an uncommonly great 5fps continuous shooting speed, where most competitors in this price brace can just manage 3fps. Mirrorless video cams can typically fire a bit much faster, but cost a bit more too.

Nikon doesn’t use in-body stablizing in its DSLR video cams, but many Nikon lenses, consisting of the AF-P 18-55mm lens packed with this video cam, come with Nikon’s VR (Resonance Decrease) system. There are less expensive sets for sale with a non-VR lens, but we think it is well worth paying the extra.

You do not obtain 4K video clip capability with this video cam, but it can fire complete HD 1920 x 1080 video clip at up to 60/50fps. You do not obtain Wi-Fi, either, but integrated Bluetooth does let you move pictures for your wise device and, in this newest model, terminate the shutter from another location using your mobile phone. To be honest, you are not likely to use this video cam for video clip. Its live view autofocus is a bit too slow and the fixed back screen is a disadvantage by itself.

Nikon says it is updated its sensing unit and EXPEED picture processing system over the previous D3400 to give improved speed, information and colours. It is also uprated the battery life, estimating a pretty amazing 1,550 shots on a solitary charge – that is 4 or 5 times more shots compared to you had anticipate to receive from a mirrorless video cam. This is a key point; if you are out all the time shooting, the average mirrorless video cam could load up by lunch break unless you have spare batteries or a power financial institution, but the D3500 could maintain entering into the night.

The D3500 does fire raw files, as you had anticipate, but these are 12-bit just, instead compared to the 14-bit raw files caught by models further up the Nikon range. Will you notice the distinction? Probably not, as also a 12-bit raw gives a a lot wider tone and colour range compared to routine JPEGs, and for the users this video cam is targeted at, the distinctions are most likely to be scholastic.


If you are contrasting the D3500 versus mirrorless options, its body is mosting likely to appear pretty fat and chunky comparative. This does give you a great hold on the video cam, however, and a revamped switch layout on the back makes the D3500 easy to handle without unintentionally pushing switches you didn’t imply to.

The back screen isn’t touch-sensitive, so you are dependent on the physical switches and dials (no great difficulty, it needs to be said). The screen is fixed, without also a turning system for reduced angle shots, but you need to approve some concessions at this price. The display quality is excellent, however, with sharp information and bright, clear colours. The information display is particularly great, showing you visual representations of the shutter speed, lens aperture and ISO setting, and this goes a lengthy way towards demystifying direct exposure setups and how they communicate.

The main setting call on the top of the video cam is plainly labelled and has a favorable, strong feel. Right together with is the camera’s solitary control call, which also has a great feel. It is unmarked, and its function changes inning accordance with the setting you are in.

DSLRs need a thicker body to accommodate the mirror system, and by the moment you’ve additionaled the 18-55mm AF-P set lens, the D3500 is as lengthy as it’s wide. The retracting system on the lens does make a distinction, however. The just annoyance is the continuous pointer that you need to prolong the lens first before you can begin shooting.

Or else, the D3500’s handling is great. The power switch is about the shutter launch switch where it is easy to flick with your index finger when you want to switch the video cam on and off, and both the main setting call and control call are within easy get to of your right thumb.

The viewfinder might just be a less expensive ‘pentamirror’ design instead compared to the pentaprism found in more expensive DSLRs, but its bright and clear, you can see right right into the edges of the frame without moving your eye and there is no colour fringing at the sides. The information display is limited to basic direct exposure and condition information along all-time low, but this huges, clear and easy to see.

The D3500’s viewfinder does not offer all the information and colour/direct exposure information of a digital viewfinder on a mirrorless video cam, but its all-natural, lag-free ‘naked-eye’ appearance is quite refreshing after an electronic display. It is incorrect to say optical viewfinders are substandard to the digital kind, they’re simply various. This is among the main disagreements in the DSLR vs mirrorless video cam debate.


The D3500 really feels very receptive. The autofocus beep is a little bit loud, but the AF-P lens’s autofocus is so quick and peaceful that you need some sound comments to allow you know it is concentrated.

In viewfinder shooting, the 11 AF factors are clustered towards the center of the frame, but if your topic is close to the side it is easy enough to focus and after that reframe before shooting. You can let the video cam choose the focus point immediately or select it yourself; in either case it is very fast, and very favorable.

In live view setting you can select a focus point anywhere on the screen. In the lack of touch control you need to use the four-way switches on the rear of the video cam to move the AF point, which is a little bit slow. The live view autofocus itself, however slow by mirrorless requirements, is suddenly receptive.

Nikon doesn’t use on-sensor phase-detection autofocus in its DSLRs, depending on slower contrast-based autofocus rather. Or at the very least it should be slow. But someplace along the line Nikon has found a way to earn the D3500’s live view AF feel almost as receptive as a mirrorless camera’s, and we think it is to the AF-P autofocus technology in its set lens.

Our laboratory tests show that the D3500’s picture quality is very a lot on a the same level with its competitors. There are small distinctions occasionally in resolution, sound and vibrant range, but these show up more in laboratory tests compared to they perform in real-world shooting. In practice, the D3500 provides sharp, vibrant and very well subjected pictures, and the 18-55mm AF-P lens performs truly well for an affordable set lens, with consistent intensity throughout the focal range and right to the sides of the frame. There’s some colour fringing and distortion in its raw files, but if you enable the in-camera lens adjustments you will not see this in its JPEG pictures – and most photo-editors currently use built-in lens adjustment accounts to raw files.

It may be a novice degree video cam, but if you put its pictures together with those from the best ASP-C video cams out there you might find it pretty challenging to inform which video cam was used.


If you’ve comprised your mind to obtain a DSLR, the Nikon D3500 does face some solid competitors in the Canon range. The most affordable of all is the Canon EOS Rebel T100 / EOS 4000D(opens in new tab), but it is hard to find currently. It was made to a cost and it revealed – we didn’t such as it a lot at all. The EOS Rebel T7/2000D is better to the Nikon D3500 in specs, and an ideal alternative if you are a Canon follower. However, the battery life is even worse, its burst setting is slower, and there is no retracting lens option – in truth obtaining a great set lens with IS (picture stablizing) presses the price greater still.

The Nikon D3500 does have its restrictions, certainly, because of its price and its intended target market, but we think it is easily the best DSLR for novices today – and because mirrorless video cams with viewfinders have the tendency to cost more, we’d say it is the best video cam for novices all rounded. In truth, unless Nikon eventually draws the connect on its most affordable DSLR, we reckon we will be saying exactly the same point 5 years from currently.

Nikon has done a great job with the D3500, not simply when it was introduced but in constantly ever since. It is taken moderate but effective technology, built it right into a likeable and affordable video cam and maintained the price down reduced enough to earn it affordable for novices. At any once, you might have the ability to find a less expensive compatible lens video cam compared to this, but we think you will have a difficult job finding one that is as great.