Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D5600: Which is Better?
Nikon has remained at the top of the photographic industry since its appearance in 1917. If you are reading this article, it is because you are interested in buying an SLR camera, and Nikon is your primary choice.
Now, do you want to know the fundamental differences between the Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D5600? Keep reading this Nikon D3500 vs D5600 showdown!
In the following section, we will showcase the highlights of each of the devices. Let’s dive right in!
The Nikon D5600 is the youngest offshoot of Nikon’s mid-range DSLR (D5xxx) that combines multimedia photography with versatile wireless technology.
In terms of core and driving power, the Nikon D5600 retains from its predecessor (the Nikon D5500) the already well-known 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor without an optical low-pass filter, focus with 39 AF points, as well as the EXPEED 4 processor, which will say that the burst still 5 fps, ISO range 100-25600, and Full HD video with 60 fps.
However, videographers will have reason to be pleased – the D5600 has taken over the time-lapse function from the Nikon D7200, which will give enough space for video lovers to express their creativity. Aspects that have been further improved are the touch screen function of the screen and communication with smart devices using the SnapBridge application.
The Nikon D5600 has retained the mobile capacitive 3.2″ TFT LCD screen from its predecessor (resolution is also 1,037,000 dots), but has added several new options: a virtual Fn key, very popular with the D5500, can now activate and deactivate the Auto ISO option.
“Also, now, when viewing photos, there is a so-called “frame advance bar option” on the screen, which greatly facilitates scrolling through photos, which is borrowed from the great Nikon D5 and Nikon D500. In addition to the screen, framing can be done via an optical viewfinder (pentamirror) with a magnification of 0.82x.
When it comes to wireless communication with other devices, the main word here is the SnapBridge application, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to maintain a constant connection between the camera and phone/tablet. Wi-Fi with NFC support.
The main difference compared to the previous generation is the smaller dimensions and design similar to the Nikon D5600 (it has two control wheels on the top) but without the movable touch screen.
Virtually everything else remained the same: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, EXPEED 4 processor, 11-point AF system, Full HD video at 60 fps, Guide Mode, and Bluetooth without Wi-Fi function.
Not to mention that nothing has changed, the Nikon D3500 brings 30% more battery autonomy compared to its predecessor (1550 photos according to the CIPA standard) despite the fact that it uses the same battery (EN-EL14a) and that the processor has remained the same. Moreover, the recommended retail price is even $150 lower than the D3400 at the time of launch.
There is every chance that Nikon, as well as Canon in the case of the Canon 2000D and Canon 4000D, has established a formula for beginners in the world of DSLR cameras and adheres to it. Either way, the great thing is that the camera from the entry-level series, intended for beginners, can provide about 1500 photos at once.
Nikon D3500 vs D5600 – Head to Head
Nikon D3500 is better in:
- slightly higher effective viewfinder magnification,
- much longer battery life,
- somewhat less weight,
- released later.
Nikon D5600 is better in:
- better sound recording,
- larger screen size,
- better screen mobility,
- with touch screen,
- with a Wi-Fi connection.
Nikon D5600 and Nikon D3500 are the same in:
- equal image resolution,
- equal sensor size,
- video recording: Full HD,
- without image stabilizer,
- equal minimum ISO,
- equal maximum ISO,
- equal shutter speed,
- equal burst speed,
- viewfinder type: pentamirror,
- with live view,
- equal field of the viewfinder,
- with built-in flash,
- similar screen resolution,
- water resistance: no,
- without GPS,
- similar volume.
Let’s see the characteristics that define this comparison: Nikon D3500 vs D5600
Throughout this review, we will see characteristics to highlight each model and why one is better, or not. We will talk about its design, the image resolution, its autonomy… Keep reading and decide on your preferred model.
Design and Ergonomics
There are no major contrasts when it comes to measurements, as the Nikon D3500 features 124 x 97 x 69.5mm (836cc volume) and the Nikon D5600 124 x 97 x 70mm (842cc volume).
However, the Nikon D3500 is considerably lighter as it weighs 415g compared to 465g for the Nikon D5600. This is influenced by the fact that the former has a structure made of a steel alloy and polycarbonate, while the latter is made of a steel-plastic alloy. Neither is waterproof.
Both have a configuration and ergonomics quite similar that characterizes the previous models of the brand as well.
Image Sensor and Resolution
The image sensor is nearly identical since they both include APS-C CMOS (1.5x crop) measuring 23.5 x 15.6mm. In the same way, they incorporate an RGB filter, but the one on the Nikon D3500 does not have automatic cleaning and the one on the Nikon D5600 does.
When it comes to image quality, we are in a tie with 24 MP (6000 x 4000 effective pixels), as they offer the same definition and sharpness.
Also, the sensitivity range covers ISO 100-25600 for both cameras and can be customized, so that you can adjust the light in the darkest situations.
Let’s look at the focus and shutter speed
Both prototypes include a phase detection approach to increase the shooting rate. However, the Nikon D5600 is superior in focusing with a 39-zone 9-cross-point sensor, in contrast to the 11-zone and 1-cross point on the Nikon D3500.
The two converge on a focal plane shutter with a speed of 1/4000 s and a burst speed of 5 fps.
These cameras integrate a pentamirror viewfinder with a 95% field. Still, the Nikon D3500 has a magnification of 0.85x (effective 0.57x), compared to 0.82x (effective 0.55x).
Both models converge to include a built-in flash and an external i-TTL, with the aim of improving the quality of photos and videos at night or in low light.
The two cameras integrate the Nikon F mount (without motor) that supports a good number of lenses that the brand itself designs.
And the video and audio recording, what differentiates them?
These two cameras have not joined the 4K video technology, as they continue to shoot in Full HD (1080 x 60fps). They differ in that the Nikon D5600 contains the time-lapse mode and the Nikon D3500 does not.
In terms of sound recording, the Nikon D5600 wins the game by comprising two microphones (one stereo) and an input for one external mic. Meanwhile, the D3500 only includes one with mono audio that offers lower quality.
Both cameras are equipped with the Expeed 4 processor and therefore perform quite similarly.
The Nikon D5600 incorporates a better screen with a size of 3.2”, designed with TFT LCD resolution (1037000 px) and with a more up-to-date technology to be tactile and oriented to provides more mobility and versatility. On the other hand, the Nikon D3500 integrates a 3” screen also developed with TFT LCD but with less quality (921000 px) and without being touch or tilting.
Autonomy of Use
The Nikon D3500 is victorious in the autonomy of use since it offers 1550 shots (CIPA test) and the Nikon D5600 takes 820 shots (CIPA test). However, the first contains less power capacity with 1230 mAh compared to 15000 mAh of the second.
Both have a removable and rechargeable battery that allows greater comfort when charging.
Finally, the Connectivity
Despite its age, the Nikon D5600 matches the Nikon D3500 in the Bluetooth connection and the HDM and USB 2.0 ports; at the same time that it surpasses it by including a WiFi and NFC network that gives you the opportunity to transfer files in a more efficient way. Neither integrates GPS.
Both can be controlled remotely using a Smartphone.
Positive Points of each Camera
- Excellent performance and image quality, especially in photography.
- The image quality offered by these Nikon is very, very good, especially if we can invest in a quality lens to get the most out of it.
- Dynamic range, color depth, etc. all parameters related to the quality offered by the sensor are exceptional, on par with higher-end cameras.
- 5fps burst is fine for an SLR in this range.
- Good ergonomics: The grip and button layout have been redesigned compared to previous models.
- This one is a very small and light SLR camera, quite adequate for both indoor and outdoor use, especially for a longer period at once.
- It is a very good option as a camera for beginners and to learn photography, and then it is a camera that can serve for a long time.
- Battery life: 1550 shots.
- The new 18-55mm VR II kit lens is much smaller than other models when in ‘transport’ mode.
- Includes Nikon’s Snapbridge system that allows transferring photos and controlling the camera via Bluetooth.
- Excellent image quality.
- Small and light SLR camera.
- Very good behavior at medium and high ISOs.
- Good focus system in photography: 39 focus points, 9 of them cross (cross points).
- Excellent battery life.
- Fully articulated touch screen.
- Good connectivity via Bluetooth (Nikon SnapBridge system).
- Good value for money.
Negative Points of Each Camera
- With respect to previous models, it loses the customizable button (Fn).
- The video focus and tracking system are far below other systems such as Canon or Sony.
- The screen is fixed, it is not folding or moving.
- The screen is not a touchscreen.
- Does not include external microphone input (which the previous model D3300 did have).
- It does not provide great news or improvements over previous models such as the D3400 or the D3300.
- Does not record in 4K.
- It has no WiFi connection, only Bluetooth through the SnapBridge app.
- It has no input to connect an external remote trigger. The mobile can only be used as a remote shutter release and the functionality of SnapBridge is a bit limited on this camera.
- The video focusing system is slow and unreliable (contrast-detection only).
- The kit lens that usually comes with the D5600 is well below the optical quality that the D5600 needs to show its full potential.
- Being an excellent camera, this model hardly represents any appreciable improvement over previous models (D5500, D5300). This is not a negative point of the camera, it is a criticism of Nikon’s commercial policy in these ranges.
Nikon D3500 vs D5600 – The Price
The Nikon D3500 has a more affordable price, while the Nikon D5600 requires a little bit more cash. In any case, there are always offers on these models, both in the body and in the kit with lens and accessories.
Free Quiz: Find Your Ideal Gear Setup in 1 Minute or Less 📷
A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
Despite being a 2016 camera, the Nikon D5600 ties with the Nikon D3500 in many of its functionalities and even incorporates more up-to-date technologies in some elements. Therefore, we consider the Nikon D5600 to be better value for money.
The Nikon D3500 is a 2018 model year in which its internal characteristics do not change much. Its strengths lie in battery life, a lighter structure, and a cheaper cost.
Meanwhile, the Nikon D5600 shares basic issues such as image resolution, sensitivity range, video quality, image sensor, viewfinder technology, shutter speed, flash, and processor version. However, it is superior in audio recording, rear screen system, and WiFi and NFC connections.
In summary, if the economic difference that separates them is not a characteristic to take into account for you, we recommend buying the Nikon D5600 because it is a more complete camera that can meet your expectations and adapt to your needs.