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Nikon D3500 vs D5600 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D3500

nikon d3500

Nikon D5600

nikon d5600
Nikon D3500
Nikon D5600
Announcement Date
August 30, 2018
November 10, 2016
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

Nikon D3500 vs D5600 Overview

Any Nikon D3500 vs D5600 comparison should start by saying this… both are affordable DX-format entry-level DSLRs. They also look and feel very similar. However, there are a few key differences.

Nikon D5600

Nikon D5600

An excellent entry-level Nikon DSLR with fantastic photography specs, built-in time-lapse, and low-light performance!

The Nikon D3500 is a lightweight entry-level DSLR camera. It offers good image quality and battery life at an affordable price.

Like all Nikon’s D3XXX cameras, it has a Guide mode that helps you transition from your mobile phone camera or compact camera.

It’s a menu-driven set of pointers that explains how to use the camera’s main functions. It helps you learn as you go along.

The Nikon D5600 doesn’t have a Guide mode. However, it combines the same sensor with even greater functionality. This shows in its number of focus points, video performance, Wi-Fi connection, and the larger, vari-angle LCD touch screen.

It’s a little more expensive than the Nikon D3500. But the extra features might be worth the money.

Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D5600 Comparison image

Body and Handling

The two cameras have identical dimensions. And they are very similar in terms of looks and ergonomics.

The Nikon D3500 is very light at 12.9 oz (365 g). But the Nikon D5600 is not much heavier at 14.7 oz (415 g).

Needless to say, both are portable options. This makes them ideal everyday, beginner street photography options.

Top view of Nikon D3500 camera

Nikon D5600 vs D3500 Optics

The Nikon D3500 and D5600 are almost identical. They have the same image sensor, autofocus (AF) systems, and range of Nikon F-mount lenses.

The optical performance of both these cameras should be similar. They have exactly the same 23.8 MP sensor and Expeed 4 image processing engine.

However, the Nikon D5600 is capable of Touch AF. And it has 28 more AF points than the Nikon D3500 (39 vs 11). That makes capturing fast-moving subjects a bit easier.

The Nikon D5600’s touch screen and autofocus system are its greatest advantages. It also offers auto exposure bracketing.

DXOMARK hasn’t rated the D3500. But here are the DxO scores for the D5600 compared with Nikon’s top mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z9 (in brackets):

  • DxO Overall Score: 84 (98)
  • DxO Color Depth: 24.1 (26.3)
  • DxO Dynamic Range: 14.0 stops (14.8 stops)
  • DxO Low Light ISO: 1306 (2451)

These figures show that the Nikon D3500 and Nikon D5600 offer good color depth and a wide dynamic range. But their low-light performance and image quality are well below the excellent image quality of the Nikon Z9.

It’s important to remember that these are only entry-level cameras. So there are quite a few things they don’t do very well—if at all:

  • No in-body image stabilization. So you’ll have to buy lenses with Vibration Reduction (VR) to avoid motion blur due to camera shake.
  • Only 5 fps continuous shooting. So they aren’t the ideal cameras for wildlife or sports photography!

Finally, both cameras have an optical viewfinder. But their pentamirror viewfinders are not as bright as pentaprisms. So this makes low-light photography harder.

24 MP
24.2 MP
Image Resolution
6000 x 4000 px
6000 x 4000 px
Sensor Type
Sensor Size
15.6 x 23.5 mm
15.6 x 23.5 mm
Sensor Format
Frame Rate
5 fps
5 fps
Lens Mount
Nikon F
Nikon F DX
Image Processor
Expeed 4
Expeed 4
Aspect Ratio
Minimum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Minimum Shutter Speed
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
1/ 4000 s
1/ 4000 s
Autofocus Points
In-body Stabilization
Viewfinder Type
Optical (pentamirror)
Optical (pentamirror)

Nikon D3500 vs D5600 Video Performance

Both the Nikon D3500 and Nikon D5600 can record 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p Full HD video (1920 x 1080). And the colors and dynamic range are excellent.

However, the Nikon D3500 only has a mono microphone. But the Nikon D5600 has a built-in stereo microphone and a 3.5 mm external microphone port.

You can also adjust the audio recording sensitivity on the Nikon D5600. And it’s capable of shooting timelapse videos.

On the other hand, there are a few things that neither camera can do when shooting video:

  • Neither can shoot in 4K.
  • Neither has a headphone jack.
  • Neither lets you adjust the depth of field by changing the aperture.
  • Neither offers a high enough frame rate for slow-motion playback.
  • Neither camera has phase detection focus points to help maintain focus on moving subjects.

If you shoot lots of videos, you’re probably better off buying a different camera!

Max Video Resolution
Full HD
Full HD
Max Video Dimensions
1920×1080 px
1920 x 1080 px
Max Video Frame Rate
60 p
60 p
Time-Lapse Built In
Video File Format

Nikon D3500 vs D5600 Features and Benefits

The big difference in features between the two is the LCD screen. The Nikon D3500 has a fixed 3″ (7.62 cm) LCD screen with a resolution of 921K dots. The Nikon D5600 has a fully articulating 3.2″ (8.1 cm) touch screen with 1,087K dots.

Using the rear screen at any angle makes the Nikon D5600 much better than the Nikon D3500 for vlogging and shooting at odd angles. The screen’s extra size and resolution are also handy.

The range of the Nikon 5600 built-in flash is much longer (12 m vs 7 m). The NFC connection allows easy pairing with devices like Android phones.

The Nikon D5600 Wi-Fi connection provides a better smartphone remote feature. This means you can preview an image, set the focus point, and press the shutter release button. And you can do it with the D3500 too.

Guide Mode

Illustration of using D3500 Guide mode
Nikon D3500 Guide mode

The outstanding feature of the Nikon D3500 is the Guide mode. It makes it the perfect entry-level DSLR.

You must select “Guide” on the main dial to use the Guide mode. You’ll then see Shoot, View/Delete, Retouch, and Set-up menu options.

You can choose between Easy operation and Advanced operation, depending on your level of knowledge:

  • Easy operation chooses the settings for a certain kind of shot (such as Sleeping Faces). That includes exposure, white balance, focusing, and color modes.
  • Advanced operation offers you a menu of special effects. They include “Soften backgrounds,” “Freeze motion,” and “Capture reds in sunsets.” Once you’ve chosen an option, the following screen explains how to do it. You can make the changes directly in the Guide mode menu system.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that neither camera is weather-sealed. So you need to be a bit careful in poor weather!

Built-in Flash
External Flash
Weather Sealing
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
921,600 dots
1,037,000 dots
Flip Screen
Live View

Nikon D3500 vs D5600 Storage and Battery

Both cameras have one slot for a UHS-I memory card. And they both use the EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery.

However, the Nikon D3500’s battery is much better than the Nikon D5600 battery life. The Nikon D3500 can shoot 1,550 shots per charge vs 970 with the Nikon D5600 when Bluetooth capabilities are disabled.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I compatible)
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
1,550 shots
970 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
Portrait (Color Depth)
24.1 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
14 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)

Nikon D3500 vs D5600 – Our Verdict

If you want to upgrade from a smartphone to a digital camera and are looking for something cheap and user-friendly, the Nikon D3500 is a great choice. We recently named it our top Nikon camera for beginners.

Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500

Fantastic photography specs with a variety of auto, semi-auto, and manual modes. The ultimate beginner’s camera!

The Guide mode helps you learn about the various settings involved in DSLR photography. It explains what needs to be done at each stage and why. The battery life is also excellent.

The Nikon D5600 is more expensive. But it has a fully articulating touch screen and is slightly better for portrait photography, action photos, and video clips.

Nikon D5600

Nikon D5600

An excellent entry-level Nikon DSLR with fantastic photography specs, built-in time-lapse, and low-light performance!

Neither camera has a high enough continuous shooting speed for action shots. They also don’t have built-in image stabilization, and the video capabilities are not as good as those of most mirrorless models.

However, as you can see by our Nikon D3500 vs D5600 comparison, they both provide a great introduction to the world of DSLR cameras. The choice is yours!

What Camera is Better Than the Nikon D5600?

If you’re not already committed to the Nikon ecosystem, you might consider another entry-level camera—the Canon EOS Rebel T7i.

Like the D3500, the T7i has a menu helper called the Feature Assistant. And like the D5600, it has touch screen technology. Although, the vari-angle screen is slightly smaller.

All three cameras are of a similar size and weight. And the sensors are all 24 MP.

On the downside, the Canon camera’s crop factor is 1.6x rather than 1.5x. However, the T7i boasts the following:

  • 45 cross-type focus points
  • Dual Pixel AF (great for video)
  • 6 fps continuous shooting in 14-bit RAW
  • An expanded ISO limit of 51,200

All of these specs comfortably beat the Nikon models.

Finally, the Canon doesn’t have an optical low-pass filter. But that cuts both ways. You’ll lose a little sharpness. But you’ll also be less likely to see moiré patterns.

The Canon EOS Rebel T7i is a bit pricier. But it’s an alternative to consider.

Still not sure which camera is right for you? These related camera comparisons may inspire you:

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