The Finalists: Canon EOS 1500D, Canon EOS 3000D, Nikon D3500
IT’s a funny old world, isn’t it? Suddenly consumerlevel D-SLRs have taken on a new importance as the affordable entry-points to an interchangeable lens camera (ILC) system. In fact, this is now probably the most interesting of the D-SLR categories given the diminishing of activity in the other two. All three finalists here represent a lot of camera for your money even if they may no longer be cutting edge in technological terms.
Of course, production costs have long since been amortised which helps with the keener pricing versus a comparable mirrorless model, but the D3500 is still a very capable camera, especially for somebody who has decided to get a bit more serious about their photography. It’s also as compact as an ‘APS-C’ D-SLR can go, and you’re not going to be worried about the choice of lenses… Nikon’s ‘DX’ format is very well served both by itself and all the independents. Nikon is actively promoting the D3500’s sensor versus the titchy chips in a camera phone and even that it’s a D-SLR “…that’s as easy to use as a point-and-shoot camera”. Nikon’s excellent ergonomics and handling also mean it’s an easy camera to master even if you’re completely new to something a bit more serious than a smartphone. And WiFi with Bluetooth LE (a.k.a. Nikon’s ‘SnapBridge’) makes the online sharing of image files as easy as it can be.
The other attractions are 24.2 megapixels of effective resolution with a sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 100 to 25,600, and continuous shooting at up to 5.0 fps. These are still competitive specs at under $800 whether we’re talking reflexes or mirrorless. Then there’s a full set of Nikon’s ‘Picture Control’ profiles (including Flat for video shooting), ‘Active D-Lighting’ processing to extend the dynamic range, a programmable self-timer, a built-in flash and a pretty long list of in-camera editing functions. The 11-point autofocusing is falling behind what’s now common on consumer-level mirrorless cameras, but it gets the job done and Nikon’s ‘3D Tracking’ is still a reliable worker even in an entry-level D-SLR. There are few frills here, it’s true, and that may dampen the appeal for anybody who like more bragging rights, but if you’re looking for something that’s more results-focused and still very affordable, the Nikon D3500 still has what it takes.