Nikon D3500 Review: A Comprehensive Guide to This Budget DSLR Camera

Looking for an entry-level DSLR camera that's perfect for beginners? Look no further! The Nikon D3500 is a budget-friendly option that boasts top-notch image quality, easy-to-use features, and impressive battery life. In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive deep into the key specs and features of the Nikon D3500, explore its strengths and weaknesses, and help you decide if it's the right camera for your needs.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Nikon D3500 article cover photo

Key Features

Aug 29 2018


24 megapixels


Sensor TypeAPS-C

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Overview of the D3500

If you're looking to dive into the world of DSLR photography, the Nikon D3500 is a great place to start. This budget-friendly camera is packed with features that make it easy for anyone to take stunning photos and videos, even if you're a complete beginner. From its 24.2-megapixel sensor to its compact and lightweight design, the Nikon D3500 has a lot to offer. But is it the right camera for you? In this review, we'll take a close look at the Nikon D3500 and explore its key features, pros, and cons. We'll also share some tips and tricks for getting the most out of this camera, whether you're shooting portraits, landscapes, or action shots. So, let's dive in and see what the Nikon D3500 has to offer!

Nikon D3500 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Nikon D3500 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High image quality
Fast autofocus
User-friendly interface
Long battery life
Compact and lightweight
Affordable price point
Versatile compatibility with lenses
HD video recording capabilities
Good low-light performance
Strong grip for comfortable handling


Limited features compared to higher-end models
No touchscreen display
No in-body image stabilization
Only 11 focus points
No built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
Slow burst mode at only 5 frames per second
No weather sealing on the body

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Nikon D3500

Weather sealed
Dimensions124 x 97 x 70mm

Weather Sealing

The Nikon D3500 is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (pentamirror)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution921k dots
Body typeCompact SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 921k dots. This makes the Nikon D3500 not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


D3500 includes a optical (pentamirror) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 95% and a magnification of 0.56x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Nikon D3500 has a 24MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 24 pixels. Nikon D3500 has a native ISO range of 100 - 25600 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Aug 29 2018


100 - 25600

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution6000 x 4000 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Nikon D3500 camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the D3500 is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: APS-C



Connectivity, storage, battery

Battery Life1550 shots
Battery ModelEN-EL14a
Wireless Connectivity


The Nikon D3500 supports SD/SDHC/SDXC with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Nikon D3500 uses the EN-EL14a model of battery pack. This is rated for 1550 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Nikon D3500 has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. It also offers a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Nikon D3500 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Nikon D3500 includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 11 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Nikon D3500?

The Nikon D3500 features a CMOS sensor

Is the Nikon D3500 weather sealed?

No the D3500 does not have weather sealing.

When was the Nikon D3500 announced?

The Nikon D3500 was announced on Aug 29 2018

Does the Nikon D3500 have in-body image stabilization?

No the D3500 does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Nikon D3500?

The D3500 has a native ISO range of 100-25600, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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