Nikon’s gateway drug to a DSLR addiction just got better with the new D3500

Nikon’s entry-level D3000-series starts off the company’s DSLR offerings at an affordable $500 entry point — and that easy jump from smartphone to DSLR just got a little boost. Nikon has unveiled the D3500, a beginner’s DSLR with improvements in ergonomics that makes it the company’s most portable DSLR yet.

While the spec sheet looks nearly identical to the D3400’s 24.2-megapixel sensor, 5 fps burst speed, and 1080p 60 fps video, Nikon says the 2018 update also brings an updated CMOS sensor and EXPEED processor. The update, the company says, offers sharper details and more vivid color compared to the D3400. The newbie-friendly DSLR also maintains the 11-point autofocus and 25,600 maximum ISO of earlier models in the series.

nikon d3500 announced back
Nikon

The specs may look similar, but the body of the D3500 does not — Nikon says the camera was redesigned for better ergonomics, starting with a deeper grip. The body also uses a slimmer design that’s reminiscent of the company’s next step up, the D5600. The controls were also rearranged for the beginning user in mind, with the most-used controls on the right of the LCD. The playback button is also larger and the camera integrates a Guide Mode for new users.

While the body is a lighter 12.9 ounces, the battery life jumps up to 1,550 shots per charge. Video can record at 1080p 60 fps for 20 minutes, or at a lower quality for almost an extra 10 minutes of recording. 

A low-energy Bluetooth allows the camera to automatically back up 2 megapixel versions of the photos, but the D3500 doesn’t use built-in Wi-Fi, which is required for full resolution transfers to a smartphone. The D3500 can use the Bluetooth to remotely trigger the camera using the Nikon SnapBridge app, however.

“The Nikon D3500 is ideal for consumers who are looking to easily capture the kinds of images that their smartphone simply cannot match, and share them seamlessly with family and friends,” Jay Vannatter, Nikon Inc. executive vice president, said in a press release. “The D3500 reaffirms our commitment to releasing convenient DX-format DSLR options for those just discovering photography.”

The smaller body, better battery, more beginner-friendly controls, and slight sensor-processor upgrade are nice to see — but Nikon is also maintaining the beginner-friendly price. The Nikon D3500 is slated for a September arrival, listing for about $500 with an AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens. A two lens kit adds an AF-P DX Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED lens for about $850.

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