We see excellent quality through ISO 1600, just as we did with JPGs, but instead of noise reduction blurring away details at higher settings, Raw photographers will deal with a bit of added grain. Naturally, there are better cameras out there offering improved frame rates – but you’ll pay comparably more for the privilege. In addition to the imaging sensor that has 24.2million effective pixels, there’s also a sensor that’s dedicated to the phase detection autofocus (AF) system. Detail holds up quite well through ISO 1600, with no visible loss of quality. More advanced photographers will want to think about shooting in Raw, and while the D3500 is an entry-level model, some pros and more serious enthusiasts may look at it as an affordable backup to their higher-end Nikons. Nikon D3500 review: Features At the heart of the Nikon D3500 is an APS-C sized imaging sensor – physically larger than that found in your smartphone or point-and-shoot compacts, which … Pros and video enthusiasts now demand 4K, and have always demanded a microphone input. When the active AF point is over a subject it gets in focus very quickly. The speed is aided by a quick autofocus system, which is able to lock onto a subject in just 0.1-secod when there is ample light. The Live View toggle switch is set at the base of the dial. This is at the expense of the finer details and some objects look a bit too smooth at 100% on-screen. Nikon has made the body thin so that the deep grip doesn’t increase the overall size. You can also spend a bit more on a different SLR. The D3500 uses the same EN-EL14a as other recent models in the series. But I wouldn't recommend using it for anything beyond that. Despite being in production for what seems like an eternity, the Sony a6000 (introduced in 2014) remains on sale, typically for around $100 to $150 more than the D3500, and gets you a more robust autofocus system, a tilting LCD, and 11fps burst shooting. The exposure compensation button sits just behind and to the right of the shutter button, so it’s easy to locate when you’re looking in the viewfinder. The Play button is at the top, larger than the others for easy access. Most photographers using a mirrorless camera would be very envious of such an impressively long battery life. You also won’t see the impact of the Creative Effects, but the word Creative is visible to warn you that the mode is selected. The remainder of the rear buttons are all placed in between the LCD and rear thumb rest. It's tough to argue with the logic of the D3500 at its asking price, especially when you consider a lens is included. © Future Publishing Limited Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. This is the 11-point AF system that operates when images are composed in the viewfinder. Burst shooting is available at a decidedly decent 5fps with continuous focus. The level of detail is what I’d expect from a 24Mp APS-C format sensor and noise is controlled well. Having replaced the D3400 in August 2018, the Nikon D3500 is the most recent model in the line8. The ability to see the impact of settings changes is a distinct advantage of electronic viewfinders, especially for novices. The matrix metering system seems to have an almost psychic understanding of the subject and the image you want to create. Of course, you can crop out any unseen and unwanted objects, but it’s nice to avoid it if you can. The D3400 had one of the best sensors in its class, so I'm not shocked to see that the improvements are subtle. PCMag.com is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant. However, pressing the ‘i’ button reveals a grid of up to 12 features that can be selected and adjusted. There are exceptions, like the Nikon D500, but in this price range you'll need to look at a mirrorless camera if you want focus points that spread across the entire image sensor. The Nikon D3500 is the latest entry-level DSLR camera aimed at smart-phone upgraders and beginner photographers. And yet, when I wanted to shoot a silhouette of some horses against a sunset, it got that just right too. Nikon's consumer camera line has long offered best-in-class image quality. To highlight just one on this successor to the D3400, there are hundreds of directly compatible lenses and accessories available stretching back years – not just from Nikon, but via third party manufacturers too. There is a deeper grip on the Nikon D3500 when compared with its D3400 predecessor, yet it’s marginally more compact overall. It helps you take control of the camera to get the results that you want and it uses simple, non-technical language. Look at the camera from the rear to see the optical viewfinder and the diopter used to adjust its focus to match your eyes. You'll be better off investing in a new lens or an external flash. To the right is the Mode Dial. That means it has a mirror and an optical viewfinder. This fish just for reference, you can’t use it to adjust the settings. Below it are Menu, i, and a directional pad with a center OK button. It doesn't support full, uncompressed 14-bit Raw capture—the D7500 is the lowest-end model with that feature—but the D3500's 12-bit Raw output still allows for a wide range of exposure and color adjustment, without detriment to a photo. Superb guide mode that teaches you about photography, Compatible with an extensive range of lenses and accessories. If you’re shooting in Live View mode, however, the impact of any camera settings is shown on the screen. You can get small action cameras that work in 4K for less money, but if you want 4K and an APS-C image sensor, expect to pay closer to $1,000. That means you need to take care not to include objects around the edge of the frame. Though this camera’s autofocus will occasionally lose subjects moving around the frame if they weren’t dead centre to begin with, the D3500 gives a relatively solid performance that is more than adequate given its status as a starter DSLR. This can be done automatically or on demand. Although the D3500 doesn’t feel quite as tough as cameras further up Nikon’s DSLR line, it feels reasonably good for an entry-level model. It's priced at $899 with an 18-55mm zoom, but has been around long enough that you'll also find it for less. If you shoot in Raw or Raw+JPG format you'll only be able to keep up the pace for 13 or 6 shots, respectively, before the shooting buffer fills up. If you switch to live view mode and compose images on the viewfinder, you’ll see the exposure change if you make an adjustment, but it’s not possible in the viewfinder. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Nikon didn't make a lot of changes to the D3500. Its sensor starts at ISO 100, the setting it will default to using in bright light, which is where we see it at its best. Focus using the rear LCD takes longer. The Nikon D5600 will keep you in the same lens and accessory system, and adds better autofocus and a vari-angle touch LCD for around $800 with the same zoom (but does go on sale from time to time). That helps keep the price down, but if you want that extra functionality, check out the Nikon D5600 or the mirrorless Nikon Z50. It doesn’t provide touch screen operation either, which most people trading up from a smartphone may well expect to find at this point. Join fellow photographers and receive Its performance drops off in low light or when an AF-S lens is mounted. One thing that’s clear after shooting with the Nikon D3500 for a few days, is that it turns out good results in a wide range of situations. It has plenty of automatic features for family historians who care more about preserving memories than learning the ins and outs of f-stops, and also has the Guide Mode for those who want to take some creative control, but aren't quite sure how to get the look they want from a photo. However, many photographers still like the optical finder offered by DSLRs. They also give you control over noise reduction. The display of third-party trademarks and trade names on this site does not necessarily indicate any affiliation or the endorsement of PCMag. I find the Standard setting a good default option, but Landscape mode is handy to beefing-up the colours of some landscapes. Raw files shot at ISO 25,600 have a fine, uniform texture of luminance noise. I find the command dial perfectly placed for making setting adjustments. The contrast-detection AF system that operates when images are composed on the screen (ie in Live View mode) is also very capable. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Improvements to the D3500 include an incredible 1,550-shot battery life, a redesigned body and control layout, and a lower price. Traditionally these have been bulkier than their mirrorless siblings – for the simple reason their integral mirror set up requires a certain amount of physical space between internal sensor and lens mount. He studied at RPI and worked on the retail side of the industry at B&H before landing at PCMag. Nikon hopes that the low price of its D3500 ($499.95 with 18-55mm AF-P lens) is enough to steer buyers away from mirrorless tech for a more tried, true, and affordable product.

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