NIKON D3500

The Fi­nal­ists: Canon EOS 1500D, Canon EOS 3000D, Nikon D3500

Camera - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

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.

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