Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR

Last updated date: June 6, 2019

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We looked at the top 1 DSLR Cameras and dug through the reviews from 3 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Digital Camera World, DP Review and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best DSLR Camera you should buy.

Overall Take

At only 0.86 pounds, the Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR is one of the lightest in its class, making it a great choice for those who want to tote it around on long shoots. The battery life has increased 30 percent over previous versions of the camera, which also comes in handy for long days. This is more of an entry-level option though, with a price point that's perfect for someone who wants to learn photography. In our analysis of 131 expert reviews, the Nikon Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR placed 1st when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 2, 2019:
Checkout The Best DSLR Camera for a detailed review of all the top dslr cameras.

Expert Summarized Score
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
573 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Great image quality in a lightweight and easy-to-use camera with great battery life.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Value for money All-round image quality.
- Digital Camera World
Despite using the same sensor, processor and display as its predecessor, the D3500's battery life has increased by 30% (CIPA) compared to the model that it replaces.
- DP Review
What experts didn't like
While the D3500 can shoot high-quality 1080/60p video, this camera is not designed with the videographer in mind.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Fixed rear screen No 4K video.
- Digital Camera World
Being an entry-level camera, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that there's only one control dial.
- DP Review

From The Manufacturer

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. It feels outstanding in your hands, sturdy and balanced with controls where you want them. It's compact, durable and versatile, ideal for travel. And it works seamlessly with compatible smartphones, making it easier than ever to share your great photos. Even if you've never picked up a DSLR camera, you can take beautiful pictures with D3500.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 3
2. Canon EOS 5D DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 17
3. Nikon D750 DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 14
4. Nikon D850 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 8
5. Nikon D7200 DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 16
6. Sony A7II DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 4
7. Canon EOS REBEL T7i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Kit
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 8
8. Canon EOS 7D DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 4
9. Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 9
10. Nikon D3400 Digital SLR Camera
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 11
11. Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 6
12. Pentax DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 8
13. Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera With WiFi
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 4
14. Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 9
15. Canon EOS Rebel DSLR Camera
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 7

An Overview On DSLR Cameras

  • Every camera promises to produce great images, but how do you know that’s what you’re getting? There are quite a few factors playing into whether your pictures look great, starting with range. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera offers high image quality whether you’re shooting wide-angle or using a telephoto lens to get up close and personal.
  • Trying to find the perfect lighting can dramatically shorten your shooting window each day. If you have a camera that can snap sharp images in a variety of lighting situations, you’ll give yourself a great headstart. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera can shoot sharp images even in low lighting situations with no flash. Although the Nikon D750 DSLR Camera offers some of the best image quality you’ll find in a camera, it really shines in low-lighting situations.  The Nikon D750 DSLR Camera can lock onto a subject and create a great picture in just 0.7 seconds, even in extremely dim light.
  • Noise is also an issue in images. The Nikon D750 DSLR Camera displays very little noise disruption in images, especially between ISO 100 to 1600.
  • Today’s DSLR cameras can also handle video, but not all cameras are created equal in this area. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera records 4K video, allowing you to even capture 8.8-megapixel screen grabs from each video frame. As an added bonus, you’ll get high-quality audio recording in video mode, as well. However, it can’t output 4K over HDMI, which means by the time you export it, you’ll find it drops down to 1080p.
  • The sensor on your camera will also play a big role in image quality. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera has a 30.4-megapixel sensor that can output impressive image quality, even at a higher ISO range. The Nikon D750 DSLR Camera has a 24-MP sensor, but built-in Optical Image Stabilization gives images a boost. With the Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR Camera, you get a 24.7-MP sensor, and the Canon EOS Rebel DSLR Camera features an upgrade from previous models to an 18-MP sensor.
  • When shooting events, the pressure can be intense to get that perfect shot. Continuous shooting can lend a big hand. You’ll get the best results from the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera, which offers shooting speeds of 7 frames per second. Even when you aren’t aiming for a burst of continual images, this model is faster at getting ready for the next shot than comparable cameras. The Nikon D750 DSLR Camera also has impressive shutter speed, offering 6.5 frames per second at full resolution.
  • If you’re toting your camera around a while, you probably won’t want a camera that weighs you down. The Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR Camera weighs only 0.86 pounds, making it among the most portable in its class. The Canon EOS Rebel DSLR Camera is just over 1 pound, while the Nikon D750 DSLR Camera and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera weigh 1.65 pounds and 1.76 pounds, respectively.
  • Although many photographers know autofocus has its weaknesses, technology has pushed the feature well beyond what it used to be. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera uses Canon’s specialized dual-pixel technology, which puts phase-detection points on the camera’s imaging sensor.
  • Even professional photographers don’t want to deal with complicated features that take hours to learn. The easier a camera is to use, the faster a photographer can get to work. The Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR Camera and Canon EOS Rebel DSLR Camera are designed as entry-level cameras, so they’re ideal for the photographer who is still learning. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera can be complex, but a touch-sensitive screen helps take some of the sting out of learning.
  • You won’t exactly have access to a wall outlet every time you want to snap photos. That makes battery life an essential feature to consider. The Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR Camera has great battery life, having increased by 30 percent over its previous model. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera also has an impressive battery life.
  • Camera prices tend to increase with the experience level of the photographers they’re built to serve. The entry-level Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR Camera sells for less than $500, with the Canon EOS Rebel DSLR Camera priced between $500 an $1,000. You’ll need to set aside more than $1,000 if you want the more advanced Nikon D750 DSLR Camera, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera sells for more than $2,500.
  • One feature that’s increasingly important in newer cameras is Wi-Fi connectivity. Not only does this make it easy to move your photos from your camera to other devices for editing and sharing, but it also allows you to post your photos on social media. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. The Nikon D750 DSLR Camera has integrated Wi-Fi, which also lets you use your smartphone as a remote control for your camera.
  • If you shoot outdoors, you’ve likely experienced the frustration of being limited by the weather. The right weatherproof camera lets you capture images even when it’s raining or snowing outside. The Nikon D750 DSLR Camera is both gasketed and sealed to keep dust and moisture out. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera is also weatherproof.
  • Before setting aside part of your budget for a camera, make sure you know how much you’ll have to spend on accessories. The Nikon D3500 With AF-P DX NIKKOR Camera comes with an 18-55mm lens, as well as an optional upgrade to include a bag. You can also upgrade to a 55-mm lens, but it will bump the cost up by a couple hundred dollars. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera has no built-in flash, and you’ll need to purchase a high-quality lens. There are a variety of bundle options, though, that will cost more but possibly save you money on buying the items separately. The Nikon D750 DSLR Camera comes with multiple accessories, including a rubber eyecup for the viewfinder, caps, a strap, a powerful battery and a built-in charger. The Canon EOS Rebel DSLR Camera comes with an optically-stabilized lens.

DYWM Fun Fact

DSLR cameras date all the way back to 1986, when Kodak and Canon worked together to insert a digital imaging sensor into a single-lens reflex camera. DSLR uses a mirror to transmit light coming in through the lens to the digital imaging sensor. It can alternately send that light to the viewfinder. In recent years, DSLR has faced increasing competition from a type of camera that doesn’t have a mirror inside at all. Called “mirrorless cameras,” the elimination of the mirror means you’re looking directly through the viewfinder, seeing exactly what the sensor sees. It also means one less internal part, allowing manufacturers to build cameras that are smaller and more lightweight.

The DSLR Camera Buying Guide

At one time, you couldn’t get the same high-quality picture with a digital camera as you could with traditional, film-based cameras. But DSLR cameras changed all that, providing high-quality, professional results without the need to go through the process of developing prints. This allows professional photographers to service the many customers who now prefer digital files to paper-based photos. It also lets amateurs refine their photography skills without the cost of film developing.

But if you’re in the market for a DSLR camera, be prepared to spend some money. Top-notch DSLR cameras can cost in the thousands, making it tough for hobbyists to make room in their budget. However, you can find a DSLR camera for a few hundred dollars, so it’s important to go into your shopping trip knowing exactly what features you’ll need.

First up is image quality, which is likely a top consideration, no matter how advanced your photography skills are. A bad camera can make it tough to provide images that have that “wow” factor, even if you have all the skills. There are multiple things that factor into whether a camera shoots well, though, including the lenses you use and the build of the camera itself. Little things, like whether your camera can shoot higher-quality images when lighting isn’t ideal, can make a big difference.

Whether you’re a professional photographer or someone still learning your trade, there are times when you’ll want to rely on autofocus. It can especially come in handy with action shots, where you don’t have an abundance of time.

Another important factor with action shots is whether or not your camera supports continuous shooting. The faster your camera can grab images at sports games, live performances or even red carpet events, the less likely you’ll miss that all-important shot. This is measured in frames per second, and the top cameras are all in a similar range. However, if you’re comparing two cameras and all other features are equal, frames per second can tip the scales.

If you plan to shoot outdoors even occasionally, you may want to consider your camera’s level of weather resistance. Some cameras are built specifically to withstand the rain and debris that you’ll at least occasionally encounter on outdoor shoots. A camera with that feature can come in handy over the years.