Nikon D3500 Vs. D3300: How These Entry-Level DSLRs Compare

Nikon’s D3000 series cameras have been go-to choices for beginner photographers for many years. The Nikon D3500 and D3300 represent two of Nikon’s newest and most refined entry-level DSLR options.

But how exactly do these accessible DSLRs compare? This comprehensive 2100 word guide examines the Nikon D3500 and D3300 head-to-head across all major features and specs. By the end, you’ll know which model is the better fit for your needs as you get started in DSLR photography.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureNikon D3500Nikon D3300
Sensor Resolution24.2MP24.2MP
Sensor SizeAPS-CAPS-C
ISO Range100-25600100-12800
Continuous Shooting5 fps5 fps
Video Resolution1080p 60fps1080p 60fps
Autofocus System11-point AF11-point AF
Battery Life1550 shots700 shots
Wireless ConnectivityBluetoothNone

Nikon D3500 Overview

First, let’s recap the key specs of the Nikon D3500:

Nikon D3500
  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 4 image processor
  • Native ISO range 100-25600
  • 11-point autofocus system
  • Continuous shooting up to 5 fps
  • Full 1080p HD video at 60fps
  • Fixed 3” 921k-dot LCD screen
  • Bluetooth for image transfer


  • Compact, lightweight body
  • Excellent battery life
  • Simple interface for beginners
  • Reliable image quality and autofocus


  • Lacks 4K video capture
  • Mediocre live view autofocus
  • No touchscreen capabilities
  • Only one SD card slot

Nikon D3300 Overview

And here are the main specs of the preceding Nikon D3300 model:

  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 4 processor
  • Native ISO range 100-12800
  • 11-point autofocus system
  • Continuous shooting up to 5 fps
  • 1080p video at 60fps max
  • Fixed 3” 921k-dot LCD screen
  • No built-in WiFi or Bluetooth


  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Excellent value for money
  • Also very beginner-friendly interface
  • Proven, high quality 24MP sensor


  • No Bluetooth for easy photo transfer
  • Live view focusing quite slow
  • 1080p video but no 4K option
  • Limited to older generation processing

Also Read: Comparison Between Nikon Z50 And D7500.

Key Differences Between Nikon D3500 And D3300

Now that, we have discussed about their basics. Let’s compare across key catagories:

1. Image Quality Comparison

One of the first specs to examine with any cameras is the sensor resolution and image quality.

  • Both the D3500 and D3300 utilize 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensors. This delivers sharp, detailed images with plenty of resolution for large prints.
  • Nikon has used variations of this 24MP sensor for years thanks to its proven quality and performance. Dynamic range is good and high ISO noise control is excellent.
  • The sensors have identical resolutions and provide virtually the same image quality. You’d be hard pressed to see a difference in real world photos from the D3500 and D3300.

2. Focusing Performance

Autofocus capabilities are also important, especially for action shots.

Nikon D3300
Nikon D3300
  • Again, the D3500 and D3300 have the exact same 11-point AF system with one cross-type point in the center.
  • AF reliability is very good in viewfinder shooting. The basic system quickly locks onto subjects and shows consistent accuracy.
  • In live view mode, focusing slows down noticeably. For moving subjects, the DSLR viewfinder AF is far superior.
  • For most beginner photographers, the basic but consistent AF modules get the job done well straight out of the box.

3. Video Recording

Besides still photos, DSLR video capabilities matter too. Here’s how Nikon’s entry-level cameras compare:

  • The D3500 can shoot full HD 1080p video up to 60fps. But it lacks more advanced 4K video recording modes.
  • Video on the D3300 is also limited to 1080p 60fps maximum. The D3300 does not offer any 4K either.
  • Video quality itself is decent but unspectacular from both models. Casual users will find the 1080p footage sufficient for home videos and sharing online. More advanced videographers will want 4K.

Also Read: Comparison Between Canon EOS R8 And EOS R10.

4. Design and Handling

DSLR ergonomics make a big difference for learnability and comfort.

  • Weighing just 415 grams, the Nikon D3500 has an ultra light, compact body that’s easy to carry around. The deep grip gives good stability.
  • The D3300 weighs only 430 grams yet incorporates the same secure, comfortable grip. It’s barely any heavier or larger than the newer D3500.
  • Both cameras offer straightforward controls ideal for DSLR beginners. Buttons are clearly labeled, with a standard mode dial to quickly choose exposure modes.
  • For portable and easy handling, the nearly identical sizes and weights make either camera a great choice. The D3500 shaves off a few ounces, but it’s negligible.

5. Battery Life

DSLR battery life far exceeds phones or mirrorless cameras. Here’s how long the Nikon models last per charge:

  • The D3500 is staggeringly power efficient, rated for 1550 shots per charge when using the optical viewfinder. This lets you shoot all day without worrying about recharging.
  • Under the same conditions, the D3300 is CIPA rated for 700 shots per charge. That’s still excellent, but the D3500’s improved battery efficiency is a real advantage.
  • For travel, vacations, or day-long shooting sessions, the D3500 will keep going twice as long as the D3300 before needing to swap batteries.

6. Other Differences

A couple other areas where the D3500 upgrades over the older D3300:

  • Built-in Bluetooth for automatic wireless transfer of images to your smartphone, without needing WiFi. Much more convenient than manual transfer.
  • While both cameras have fixed LCD screens without touch support, the D3500’s panel has slightly better resolution at 921k dots over 921k on the D3300. A minor difference.
  • Maximum native ISO is 102,500 on the D3500, slightly higher than the D3300’s 102,800 top native sensitivity. Allows shooting in dimmer lighting.
  • The D3300 is compatible with older non-VR lenses with no issues. But the D3500 may struggle due to having no focus motor.

Also Watch This Review Video:

Which is Better for You?

In weighing all the head-to-head comparisons, which camera comes out on top?

For most entry-level photographers, the D3500 makes the most sense:

  • Bluetooth and amazing 1500 shot battery life provide a better user experience for casual shooting.
  • Slightly refined ergonomics and controls, though they’re already excellent on the D3300.
  • Provides the same outstanding 24MP image quality and performance that’s stood the test of time.

But the D3300 remains a great affordable option:

  • Nearly identical image quality, focusing, size, and handling to the D3500.
  • Screen resolution and maximum ISO differences are negligible.
  • Big savings buying the D3300 used or refurbished. Great value.

Either camera is an excellent pick for DSLR beginners. The D3500 provides incremental improvements that add up to a better overall package. But at the right price, the D3300 remains perfectly capable and user-friendly in its own right.

Also Read: Comparison Between Canon R3 Vs. R6

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are answers to some common questions about the Nikon D3500 versus D3300:

What is the difference between the D3300 and D3500?

The D3500 adds Bluetooth connectivity, boosts battery life to 1550 shots, and ups the max native ISO slightly to 25600. Other than that, the cameras offer identical resolution, performance, and handling.

Is the D3300 better than the D3400?

The D3400 has minor video and battery life improvements over the D3300. But the D3300 shares the same excellent 24MP sensor and costs less, making it the better value and overall choice between the two for most.

Is the Nikon D3300 a professional camera?

While very beginner-friendly, the D3300 has specifications suitable for some professional work like its 24MP sensor, good AF system, and 1080p video. But it lacks higher-end features needed for most professional photographers.

Does the Nikon D3300 have 4K video?

No, unfortunately the D3300 is limited to 1080p 60fps video. To get 4K in a Nikon DSLR at this level, you’d need to step up to models like the D5600 or D7500.

Also Read: Comparison Between the Nikon D5500 and D5600


The Nikon D3500 and D3300 remain two of the best DSLR options for aspiring photographers ready to take a step up in image quality from smartphones. You can’t go wrong with either one. The D3500 provides welcomed improvements for connectivity and battery life. But the D3300 delivers the same excellent sensor and handling if you find it at a lower price point. Whichever model you choose, enjoy the learning process as you benefit from the performance and flexibility of interchangeable lens photography that Nikon’s entry-level DSLRs offer.

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