Nikon D3500 DSLR Preview

Nikon is doing everything it can lately to regain its position in the camera world with the announcement of their new flagship mirrorless cameras the Z7 and the Z6. But those are specialty items, cameras that are targeted for professionals and enthusiasts. Like many companies, however, it's the lower end models that keep the company alive. The new Nikon D3500, the latest entry in Nikon's popular 3000 series could be the gateway camera that gets new users into the Nikon Ecosystem.

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The Nikon D3500 has an updated 24.2 MP DX CMOS Sensor (1.5x crop) with Nikon EXPEED image processing, promising great color accuracy. When you add its capability to shoot action at up to 5FPS, 1080/60P video, and wireless connectivity with Bluetooth, you're getting a camera that can take pictures much better than a smartphone for hundreds of dollars less.

This is not a camera with all the bells and whistles. This is an entry-level workhorse that can up your family's images for a fair price. Nikon put all the details and money on the items that matter. The battery life is astounding. Nikon claims that you can take up to 1,550 images on a single battery charge. That's phenomenal. The people who buy this camera are not people who are going to be carrying around extra batteries. They want a product that can last all day and take the images that matter.

The D3500 has a very functional ISO range of 100-25,600 which should be more than enough for the average buyer of this camera as anything higher would produce unwanted grain. It also has an 11 point autofocus, which may seem completely inadequate against larger cameras that have over 600, but 11 is enough for most everyday uses and should handle the 5FPS burns mode just fine.

Unlike newer entry level Sony and Fuji cameras there isn't a lot of trickle down in technology from cameras like the D850 to the D3500. It doesn't have the faster AF or higher ISO. It doesn't even have a touchscreen... or an adjustable one for that matter. It doesn't have Wi-Fi, but it does have Bluetooth, which works with Nikon's SnapBridge app allowing you to instantly share images up to 2MB to your phone. You can also use the app as a camera remote to take family pictures.

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The D3500 has also been re-designed to have a deeper grip and be more ergonomic with button layout being more intuitive putting all the frequently used buttons on the right side of the camera. Nikon also included the In-Camera guide, which walks you through the features of the camera and its tools on the back screen. You won't need to watch a YouTube video on how to do something or use a different exposure mode like Sports, or Aperture Priority mode. The same goes when trying out one of the cameras special effects modes like night vision; super vivid; pop; photo illustration; toy camera effect; miniature effect; selective color; silhouette; high key; low key.

The D3500 is going to be available in two packages. One with come with the D3500 camera body and the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR.

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The other kit comes with both the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and the AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED.

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Don't confuse this camera with anything other than what it is. A lightweight entry-level camera that can take all of your family's photos on a single battery. This is the entry level camera Nikon needs to lure people to its brand.


  • 24.2 MP DX CMOS sensor
  • 3" Monitor (900k dots)
  • ISO range 100-25,600
  • 11 point autofocus
  • 1080/60P video recording
  • 5 FPS burst mode
  • 10 Special Effects modes
  • Bluetooth
  • Battery life: Up to 1,550 images


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The Nikon D3500 will be available to purchase in September in two kit options. One is a two-lens kit, which includes the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED, for an MSRP $849.95. The second kit comes only with the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, but will only cost an MSRP of $499.95.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.