Beautiful pictures for all. You don't need to be a photographer to know a great photo when you see one. And you don't need to be a photographer to take a great photo-you just need the D3500. It's as easy to use as a point-and-shoot, but it takes beautiful DSLR photos and videos that get noticed....
The Nikon D3500 is a really small DSLR that takes great pictures (when using an external flash). It is really small and lightweight package especially when using the bundled 18-55mm collapsible lens. High ISO and Autofocus performance is very, very good.The D3500 is Nikon's entry level DSLR replacing the D3400. These two cameras have very similar specifications but the real difference is the White balance. The D3xxx series before this model, had an orangery AWB when shooting with existing incandescent lighting (i.e regular light bulbs). This model does a much better job The colors are really so much better. The buttons are also rearranged to make one handed-shooting a little easier.However, the next camera up the line, is the D5600 which currently sells for almost the same price since the D5600 has been around for a while. The D5600 which has almost identical and excellent image quality, is about the same size and weight (maybe an ounce or two heavier). But the D5600 has several important features the D3500 lacks; a fully articulating LCD, touch screen controls (in addition to buttons), many more ISO stops (The D3500 has only 2 ISO stops between ISO 400 and 3200), DOF Preview, Bracketing, better wireless picture transfer, automatic sensor cleaning, programmable FN button etc.Like almost all cameras, the built in flash is not great; an external speedlight with bounce capabilities is really essential for properly exposed photographs. The SB300 is a very small flash and a great match for this camera (and for the D5600).Like all cameras, the most important component is the skill and imagination of the photographer.
I have owned Nikon cameras for years. The best "glass"(lens) out there. Simply, Nikon makes the best cameras overall. I have owned the D7000, D7100, D750 and D3200, a predecessor of this. I liked the similarities in the controls and buttons. I could go from the D7000 and use the D3200 and know where everything was.(there is a difference in button and menu layout between manufacturers). I could go from the D7100 to the D750 and find the same layout.That being said, this is one of the major differences as the D3000 series has evolved. Less buttons on the outside and more in the menu. I found everything but I like the buttons. I would think for beginners this would be easier especially since there is no touch screen. I also find as a photographer who likes to experiment I am glad there is no touch screen. For all of the beginners reading this, don't worry about the lack of touch screen. You will learn photography much more quickly. This is not iPhone photography and eventually you will master using the menu and buttons more quickly than shooting on an iPhone. And I shoot on a iPhone regularly.I am looking at this camera through the eyes of an experienced Nikon user but putting myself in the shoes of a beginner too. I want to start off by saying if Nikon's intention is to get beginners to start using a DSLR, this is the camera. Put it on auto and shoot away. Go to the guide and choose what kind of shot you may want-landscape, night, macro and the guide will teach you to start using settings very simply right in the guide mode. That is why I call this a bridge DSLR. It is fairly simple to use. Even the menu is simple and uncluttered when a camera enthusiast starts exploring. The price point is very competitive especially among point and shoots that may be more $$ but do not give the user a DSLR and larger sensor.I used all modes. I normally shoot in aperture priority. I usually set my back button to focus and it will focus more quickly(more on that later). I stop down a bracket and shoot in 100 or 200 ISO outside. I purchased a polarizing filter to protect the lens and give me more depth/color in my outdoor shots. I also purchased a lens hood which is valuable to keep blown highlights and glare away. Both are great accessories. I also bought some after market batteries as spares but this battery is pretty good so far. Est. 1550 shots can get me 5 days of shooting while on vacation.The effects mode: super vivid-artificial colors-too over the top, pop- little weak on popping those colors, photo illustration-like a painting-fun effect. I am still trying to figure out selective color.I thought the shallow depth of field was weak on shots I took at apertures wide open. Some of that may be the lens ( more on the lens later).I also had some trouble with the auto focus finding its target. I played around some and the auto focus seemed slow. I have not experienced that before with the D3200. It may be a user issue and will update this review. I do wish that the D3000 series had more focus points, but one thing I have always liked with the Nikon D series cameras that it is easy to change the focal points when setting up a shot.I am switching lens to my 18-140 to see if both the above resolve themselves.The D3500 does not have image stabilization in the body. So what does the mean? It means that if you have a lens like the kit lens 18-55, nothing because the lens has it, but if you have an older lens without image stabilization, there may be blur with camera shake. I think this is a minor issue for beginners unless they had some older Nikon lenses.The lens-18-55-very limited lens. Its actual focal point is 27-82mm -crop sensor factor of 1.5. Buy the body without a lens and buy the 18-140- a super walk around landscape lens especially for travel photography or buy the 18-300 lens ( if your budget allows) an excellent all around lens for everything. I have the 18-140 now. Personally for me I always buy Nikon lenses. That is the reason that Nikon is superior. Yes, Tamron and Sigma may be great lenses and less costly, but the lenses makes the shot. Buy the best not just the great lenses! I have recently been buying international Nikon lenses which are less costly and have had no problems. You do not get a US warranty, but never had an issue.Weight- this camera is really light but not too light. The grip is ergonomic and helps the camera steady in my hand. One of the reasons I now use a point and shoot in addition to my DSLR is the weight especially when carrying a camera for 12 hours or more. They can be heavy and in the heat, tiring. The issue with a point and shoot even a camera like the Nikon B700 is, that while it has a good grip to steady, the weight distribution is still too light to sometimes steady the camera especially when zooming to get that sharp shot. I have to brace against something, or use a tripod which is sometimes not accessible or allowed because of space. I did not have that issue with the D3500. It is the sweet spot for weight and distribution. Kudos to Nikon. Even with a heavy lens like the 18-140.So my wishes for this series are simple-more focus points and weather sealing. Just a small amount of weather sealing helps with dust as well as a few rain sprinkles. I am sure Nikon beginners would pay $100 more for these great features.Note: One of the main differences between a DSLR and point and shoot besides the smaller sensor on a point and shoot, is the limitations on ISO film speed and aperture settings. Most point and shoots do not have the range. So when purchasing a "bridge" always go to the beginning DSLRs to get more bang for your buck.
If you want a relatively simple DSLR camera and your main focus is to be able to automatically upload your photos to your smartphone, then this is a great camera. Nikon's quality is exceptional. But if you're looking to get a DSLR that will grow with you as your skills improve, this camera has some drawbacks.I began my long history with Nikon 30 years ago with their wonderful F3 film camera. Four years ago I bought a D5300, and I've been happy with that camera for its picture quality and irritated for its video quality. The video problems were caused by the kit AF-S autofocus lens that was slow and loud. The sound the lens made was recorded onto the video, so I had to use an external mic. The lens included with this camera is quicker and silent (I should have bought this lens long ago). Both cameras have the same sensor.The sticker price for this camera is rather high at $499. The sale price makes it more desirable to wet your feet. But my recommendation is to spend a little more--especially if video is important to you--and get a D5300 body with the AF-P lens that comes with this camera for the following reasons:1. This camera has a fixed screen. The D5300 screen is fully articulating, meaning you can open and tilt it so you can shoot from any angle. You can even face it forward so you can see yourself while shooting. You can also rotated it against the body in the closed position to protect the screen.2. This camera does not have a microphone port. If you want to videotape your children playing and capture their conversation, you're stuck using the onboard mic. With the D5300, you can plug in a shotgun, lavalier, or professional mic with a boom arm (my setup).3. This isn't a deal breaker, but Nikon offers several color profiles that you can upload to your camera. For example, I used to shoot with Velvia film on my F3 because I loved the color saturation. I can download the Velvia color profile and upload it to my camera under Shooting Menu>Manage Picture Control. The D3500 gives you seven onboard picture controls that you can manually adjust, but doesn't allow you upload additional color profiles.Some functions the D5300 has that are preferable to the D3500 are:* 39 vs. 11 focus points* Timelapse recording* 12m vs. 7m flash range* AE bracketing* GPS (though many complain it doesn't work well)Some functions the D3500 has that are preferable to the D5300 are:* 25,600 ISO vs. 12,800 ISO* 1,550 shots vs. 600 shots battery life* 365 g. vs. 480 grams weight* BluetoothBoth cameras have the same sensors and WiFi connectivity. The D3500 is lighter with longer battery life, but the missing functionality will limit your creativity and growth as a photographer. If you just want the ease of point and shoot with some flexibility and the quality of a Nikon DSLR, then this camera is a good buy when on sale.