Best Camera for a Beginner – Nikon D3500

Hey guys before we get started I just wanted to thank you for stopping by and always engaging with me in the different ways we keep learning about photography. Today I’m going to be talking about the Best Camera for a Beginner, I’ve looked at a bunch of websites talking about the best camera for a beginner and I can positively say that the Nikon D3500 always seemed to be in the top 3 with others that never seamed to be repeated. Let’s get started and see if this is truly the best camera for a beginner.

This camera is designed specifically for beginners, with simplified controls and a built in Guide Mode to help new users learn the basics. But it’s also compatible with a wide range of Nikon lenses, from Nikon and third-party makers, and has a good enough specification to please enthusiasts as well as beginners. So is this one of the best cheap cameras you can get? You bet.

The Pros and Cons

Some Pros about the newer version Nikon has to offer:

  • Value for money
  • All-round image quality
  • Beginner friendliness
  • Responsive auto focus
  • 5fps continuous shooting

Some Cons about the newer version Nikon has to offer:

  • Fixed rear screen
  • No 4K video
  • Bulkier than mirrorless rivals

About the Nikon D3500 

The Nikon D3500 comes in holding 4 1/2 stars, not bad. The price range is also not too shabby at the price range of $118.95 to about $449.99 new. The Nikon D3500 is an effective update from the Nikon D3400, which was a long term favorite for a starter DSLR. There hasn’t been many changes from the Nikon D3400 to the Nikon D3500, so changing from the older version wouldn’t be much of a change.

The D3500 isn’t just Nikon’s cheapest and simplest DSLR, it’s also its lightest, weighing just 415g, body only, and that’s with the battery and a memory card. It will usually come with a lightweight 18-55mm AF-P kit lens which has a retracting mechanism to make it more portable when it’s not switched on. It’s not quite as small as a mirrorless camera, but it’s light, fast enough and cheap enough to prove that there’s life in the DSLR design.

Nikon D3500 Specifications

Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS 4, 23.5 x 15.6mm

Image processor: EXPEED 4

AF points: 11-point AF, 1 cross-type

ISO range: 100 to 25,600

Max image size: 6,000 x 4,000px

Metering zones: 420 pixel RGB sensor

Video: 1920 x 1080 at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p

Viewfinder: Optical pentamirror, 95% coverage

Memory card: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS I

LCD: 3.0-inch fixed, 921K dots

Max burst: 5fps

Connectivity: Bluetooth

Size: 124 x 97 x 69.5mm (body only)

Weight: 415g (body only, with battery and memory card)


The D3500 has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor. It might be a beginner-level camera, but that’s just as high as APS-C cameras. It also has an unusually good 5fps continuous shooting speed, where most rivals in this price bracket can only manage 3fps. Nikon does not use in-body stabilization in its DSLR cameras, but many Nikon lenses, including the AF-P 18-55mm lens bundled with this camera, come with Nikon’s VR (Vibration Reduction) system. You don’t get 4K video capability with this camera, but it can shoot full HD 1920 x 1080 video at up to 60/50fps.

You don’t get Wi-Fi, either, but built-in Bluetooth does let you transfer images to your smart device and, in this latest model, fire the shutter remotely using your smartphone. Nikon has upgraded its sensor and expeed image processing system to give improved speed, detail and colors. It’s also uprated the battery life, quoting a pretty amazing 1,550 shots on a single charge – that’s four or five times more shots than you’d expect to get from a mirrorless camera. The D3500 does shoot raw files, but these are 12-bit only, rather than the 14-bit raw files captured by models further up the Nikon range. Will you notice the difference? Probably not, as even a 12-bit raw gives a much wider tone and color range than regular JPEGs.


I would say as an aspiring photographer that is camera is one I would use. It definitely has the battery power and the size and how light it’s definitely a plus to me. I love the Bluetooth feature I always have my phone in hand and constantly moving, being able to edit my photos anyplace and time just by transferring them over via Bluetooth is a great feature. I’m pretty happy with the results of this camera, It’s not bulky, it has a great image processor overall this camera is a great fit for a beginner camera.

My hope is that I have showed you many new things about the Nikon D3500 as I did, hope to see you next time as we continue our journey in the photography world.


5 Replies to “Best Camera for a Beginner – Nikon D3500”

  1. Hi Crystal, I enjoyed your review of the Nikon D3500. I just have a few questions. Since you’ve said it’s light to carry do you recommend this camera for travel? I’m planning on travelling around South East Asia so would need something fairly hardy. Also when you say the price range starts at $118.95 – is that the second-hand price? Also do you recommend buying the D3500 second-hand? Many thanks, Alisa

    1. Hey Alissa, so the Nikon D3500 is still pretty bulky but in reference to the other cameras that Nikon offers it’s by far the lightest they offer. Price wise I was referring to first hand, I’ve seen it on eBay for $175 used. It really just depends on the quality of the camera after being used, you definitely can find a good quality used camera. You just have to do the research to find it. All the luck on your adventures on your trip, can’t wait to see some photos. 🙂 


  2. This is great information. The camera has great features that, if used well, can produce really good images. For  beginners, a reliable auto focus is advantageous. This is one aspect beginners have difficulty with.

    The use of a Bluetooth transfer connection is good but this is not so fast and may be time consuming if you are on the go and you want to post the images.

    A full HD video is always a big plus.

    This camera offers the basics and can give a taste of a semi professional when some upgrades on the lenses are done.

  3. Hello, Crystal.

    This sounds like a great camera and has almost twice the pixels that my Nikon Coolpix P90 has so the images would be amazing and the 24+ Megapixels would also make for larger prints as well better zoom capabilities.

    I really like to take pictures and, recently, I have been thinking of the possibility of an upgrade.  Being somewhat familiar with the P90 might give me a bit of a head start with the D3500.

    couldn’t find the links though a search online showed a very nice looking camera.  Would have to invest a little more cash for a good zoom lens though.

    Yeah, this is definitely worth checking out some more.  

    Thanks for the review,


  4. Hi Crystal, looking thru your site I would go thru your pages and proof read them.  There are few spots where the spelling or the words were used incorrectly.  A lot of information about different cameras and there features.  That was cool that you were taking pictures and learning about cameras at an early age.  Overall the site is nice and a lot of nice images.  As I said just go back and proof read some areas.

    good luck on your site.

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