Nikon's entry-level DSLR, the venerable D3400, has for a long time been a cost-effective way for amateurs to get into photography. However, that camera is more than two years old; Nikon today announced its successor, the D3500, which boasts a number of improvements, but still keeps the price (with a kit lens) at a manageable $500. Here's what you'll find in the D3500, available in September.
For starters, the D3500 has a design more akin to the D5600, with a deeper grip. Moreover, almost all of the controls—including zoom, playback, and menu buttons—have been moved to the right side of the camera's LCD, making them easier to access using only your right-hand thumb. Speaking of the rear display, it's 3 inches in size diagonally, with a 921,000-dot resolution. However, like the D3400, it's fixed to the body, and lacks a touchscreen. The body itself is pretty much the same size as the D3400—4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches—but at 12.9 ounces, is about two ounces lighter.
MORE: Best DSLRs - Cameras for Beginners and Intermediates
The D3500 has a 24.2MP DX-format CMOS sensor that's the same resolution as its predecessor, but both the sensor and the Nikon Expeed image processor have been updated. Shooting speed is a modest 5 fps, and the ISO range of 100-25,600, while no different than the D3400, is more than acceptable for an entry-level camera. Also like the D3400, the D3500 can shoot video at a max resolution of 1920 x 1080/60 fps. Again, reasonable for the price.
Of course, the Guide Mode, one of the most important features found on the D3400 for newbies, is still present on the D3500, as is SnapBridge, which lets you transfer files via Bluetooth from the camera to your smartphone, and then on to the social media outlet of your choice. New though, is the ability to remotely trigger the D3500 from the smartphone app itself.
Lastly, battery life gets a nice boost, to 1,550 shots from 1,200 on the D3400.
The D3500 will be available in two configurations: A single-lens kit, which includes the camera and an AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens, will cost $500. A double lens kit, which also includes an AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED lens, will cost $849. Both will be available in September.
Considering how much we like the D3400—it's our favorite camera under $500—we're interested to see how the D3500 performs. Stay tuned for our review.
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Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.