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Nikon D3500 review

Still the best DSLR for beginners

Best in Class

Nikon D3500 review: verdict

The Nikon D3500 is by no means a perfect camera, but that's to be expected at this price. It is, though, still a great choice for beginner photographers who prefer the traditional strengths of DSLRs to mirrorless cameras.

Let's get the negatives out of the way first: it's a shame there's no 4K video capture or touchscreen functionality, while it also feels like some cost-cutting has been undertaken, with some external controls that were present on the D3400 dropped.

These issues aside, for the novice looking to take their first steps in photography, the D3500 ticks an awful lot of boxes. The 24.2MP sensor produces great results, although you'll want to invest in some additional lenses to really see its potential. Fortunately, Nikon's DX system has a vast range of lenses to suit pretty much every shooting style and budget. 

Another of those traditional DSLR strengths, battery life, is also a particularly big bonus here. The excellent 1,550 shots from a charge means you can keep shooting for extended periods without worrying about carrying spares or finding a plug socket. The D3500's intuitive controls and handy Guide mode make it really easy for inexperienced shooters to understand manual settings and start building their knowledge.

More AF points would have been nice and autofocus is certainly one area where the D3500 lags behind modern mirrorless cameras. But the 11-point AF system works for general shooting, and it'll do the job for some moving subjects too.

If you're looking to get more creative with your photography, and looking for your first DSLR, the Nikon D3500 remains our top choice.

Nikon D3500 review: competition

Phil Hall is an experienced writer and editor having worked on some of the largest photography magazines in the UK, and now edit the photography channel of TechRadar, the UK's biggest tech website and one of the largest in the world. He has also worked on numerous commercial projects, including working with manufacturers like Nikon and Fujifilm on bespoke printed and online camera guides, as well as writing technique blogs and copy for the John Lewis Technology guide.