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Nikon’s Most Boring Camera Announcement Yet: The D3500 SLR

Nikon has a rich history of boring camera announcements in the D3000 line, but they’ve outdone themselves this time. This evening, Nikon announced the D3500, a 24.2 megapixel APS-C DSLR that is compact and quite capable; indeed, probably perfect for the average person who wants to get better image quality in their snapshots, exactly as its predecessor the D3400 was.

And I mean exactly.  The two cameras are built around the same sensor, and neither has an optical low-pass filter. They share the same ISO range (100-25600), the same number of autofocus points (11), the same frame rate and video features, and the same shutter speeds. They both write files to a single SD card, and have Bluetooth and WiFi.

So what’s new?  The body is slightly smaller (.2 inch thinner) and lighter, and the battery life is somewhat improved (CIPA rated for 1550 shots rather than 1200, per charge of the same battery).

AND, although Nikon doesn’t mention it in their press release, it appears that the D3500 has optical Advanced Wireless Lighting (ie, it can control other remote flashes with its pop-up flash). This is a features that hardly any D3000 series users will ever use, but for the budget minded pro, it may work as a back up body. Unless you need high-speed sync, of course, in which case you’ll need to buy a camera in the D7000 series.

Price & Availability

If you are a member of that rare breed that doesn’t have much money to spend but absolutely must have the latest model, the D3500 will be available in a kit with an 18-55mm lens in September for about $499, or in a kit with the 18-55 and a AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED for $849. Those of you who are of sound mind will simply buy the D3400, which costs even less.

However, if you’re interested in pre-ordering the D3500 (or just buying the D3400), please feel free to do it through our links, which help support the site. You can order from B&H or Adorama, or of course, Amazon.

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Carl

Hi Matt,

I’ve been reading your articles all afternoon (slow day at the office) and they’re fantastic! Though I’m sure you get tired of these types of questions, I wanted to burden you with my dilemma on the off-chance you’d answer. :-)

As a gift – I’m deciding on a digital camera (lightly used) for outdoor clothing shoots (my wife runs a small knitwear design company which relies heavily on good-quality photos). We’re using an older digital camera I bought years before the business took off, and it now seems time for something more professional. Wireless connectivity via the Nikon app is useful for streamlining social media uploads, though I think she can live without touch screen. The background of the photos is also important for setting the “vibe”, so a good landscape camera would be excellent.

I live in New Zealand and have a much smaller second hand camera market to pull from, but the following three are presently available in my price-range:

Nikon D3400
Nikon D5600
Nikon D7100 (with aftermarket Wi-Fi, so I think it can connect?)

Or something totally different?? I have no brand loyalty.

Which would you think is the best choice for the uses I’ve described? Your opinion would be fantastic, I need someone who’s not dazzled by features (and who’s obviously knowledgeable) to get me out of the research-quagmire. Maybe you should have a $1/opinion section? I would certainly pay for that.

Thanks mate.

Carl

Carl

Thanks Matthew, that response (true to form) was excellent and much appreciated.

I’m glad you said that about online posts, that helps. Instagram and Ravelry (a knitting site) will make up roughly 85% of the camera’s usage (even the iPhone does a fair job), however, another part of knitwear design is magazine/book publishing and larger images for pattern releases, and that’s sort of what I’m looking at. Essentially: buying a camera for the 3% of the time I’ll actually need it (like a 4×4).

As for the lens question, I’ve been avoiding that rabbit hole a bit (hoping to cut my teeth on kit-lenses), but I’m definitely getting the message that a better lens is the way to go and will face that dragon once I land on a camera.

I have a D5600 on the docket, but for argument’s sake: there is also a D7100 (with wifi kit) for about the same price. Would I be wanting the D7100 when it comes time for outdoor magazine cover-shots? Or is the D5600 still the way to go? I guess I don’t really understand if the extra focus points will have any added benefit for my purposes…

Thanks again mate, you’re a legend.

~Carl

Carl

Thanks Matthew,

I’ve read what you said several times and that was a fairly legendary wakeup response. The D5600 I had on the hook slipped my grasp, so I’m back to waiting for something to pop up within reach of our little islands.

In following your Flikr search advice I did notice some staggeringly beautiful shots taken on an Olympus E-M10 II. I haven’t yet come across many sample images taken on the D5600 or Canon M6 that have had that “wow factor”, but after seeing some Canon EOS R photos (really setting the bar for me, but wayyy too expensive sadly) and then coming across the Olympus, I’m starting to think I can be a bit more open-minded about my choices.

Have you seen anything under $1k that can match the Canon EOS R for photo quality? I’m not sure what technical quality gives it that sharpness but DANG. I also haven’t forgotten what you said about lenses, though even with good lenses the camera seems to set the tone…

All the best,
Carl

P.S. This shows her website and some of what we’d be using the camera for btw:
http://www.blackcatknittingcompany.com/

Carl

Thanks Matthew,

I’ll keep searching for a D5600 matched with a good lens and more importantly a good photographer, and we’ll see if that kicks me back off the Olympus.

At the end of the day, I image the gimmicks (Bluetooth, wifi, flip screen, remote control etc) rather than image quality will be the biggest upgrade over our existing Sony.

Enjoy your trip mate!

~Carl

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