A Guide to The Best Nikon D3500 Lenses for All Styles of Photography and Videography

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the best lenses for the Nikon D3500. This camera has made its mark as an exceptional entry-level DSLR, especially for new photographers. But, the right lens can make a massive difference to the kind of photos you can take. So, whether you are into portraits, landscapes, wildlife, or macro photography, we’ve got you covered.

Lens Type of Photography Pros Cons
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR General photography, Landscape Versatile, VR Low light performance
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Portraits, Street photography Excellent in low light, Sharp images No VR
Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Wildlife, Sports Long reach, VR Lower quality at 300mm
Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Macro Sharp images, Good for close-ups No VR, Not for portraits
Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Landscape, Architecture Wide angle, Good build quality Distortion at wider angles

Before we dive into specific lenses for the Nikon D3500, let’s cover some lens basics. A lens is one of the most vital parts of a camera, responsible for focusing light onto the camera sensor to create a photo. It is an assembly of glass elements, which guide light to create the image, and a diaphragm, which controls the amount of light entering the camera.

There are various types of lenses each with a specific purpose. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length (e.g., 35mm, 50mm), offering superior image quality and aperture capabilities. Zoom lenses cover a range of focal lengths (e.g., 18-55mm), providing more versatility. Wide-angle lenses (e.g., 10-20mm) are great for landscapes or architecture, while telephoto lenses (e.g., 70-300mm) are perfect for capturing distant subjects like wildlife or sports events. Lastly, macro lenses (like the 40mm we will discuss) allow for extreme close-ups with high detail.

Key Takeaways

  • Lenses focus light onto the camera sensor to form an image.
  • Prime lenses have a fixed focal length and offer superior image quality.
  • Zoom lenses offer more versatility with a range of focal lengths.
  • Wide-angle lenses are ideal for landscapes and architecture, while telephoto lenses are best for distant subjects.
  • Macro lenses are used for extreme close-ups with high detail.

One of the crucial things to consider when buying a lens for your Nikon D3500 is compatibility. Nikon cameras use the F-mount for lenses, but not all Nikon lenses are compatible with all Nikon cameras.

Nikon D3500 is a DX-format camera, which means it has a smaller sensor than FX-format (full-frame) Nikon cameras. It can use both DX and FX lenses, but FX lenses will be heavier and more expensive, without providing any extra benefit to a DX-format camera. DX lenses, on the other hand, are designed to match the smaller sensor of the D3500 and other DX-format cameras, so they will provide the best results.

It’s also worth mentioning that newer AF-P lenses will work with the D3500, as well as older AF-S lenses. Older AF lenses without a built-in motor will not autofocus on the D3500.

Z-series lenses, for Nikon mirrorless cameras, will not work on the Nikon D3500.

Key Takeaways

  • Not all Nikon lenses are compatible with all Nikon cameras. The Nikon D3500 uses the F-mount.
  • DX-format cameras like the D3500 can use both DX and FX lenses, but DX lenses will provide the best results.
  • Newer AF-P and older AF-S lenses will work with the D3500, while older AF lenses without a built-in motor will not autofocus on this camera.

Now, moving on to memory card compatibility. The Nikon D3500 is compatible with SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. These are available in various speeds (Class 10, U1, U3, V30, etc.) and capacities. Here is a page with a more detailed write up about Nikon D3500 Memory Card Compatibility

For regular photography, a Class 10 or U1 card is usually sufficient. However, if you’re planning to record video, especially in Full HD, a faster card (U3, V30) might be necessary to ensure smooth video recording and playback.

When selecting the capacity of your card, consider your shooting habits. If you frequently shoot high-resolution photos or videos, opt for a higher capacity card. If you’re a casual shooter, a smaller capacity card may suffice.

It’s always a good idea to have at least one backup memory card. Even if you have a large capacity card, having a spare can save the day if your main card fills up or fails while you’re out shooting.

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Nikon DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G Kit Zoom Lens
Nikon DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G

The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR is a versatile lens that comes with the Nikon D3500 in a kit. This lens is a great place to start as it covers a useful focal range, making it ideal for various situations, from landscape to portrait photography. The Vibration Reduction (VR) feature aids in stabilizing your shots, reducing camera shake.

However, this lens struggles a bit in low-light situations due to its variable maximum aperture that ranges from f/3.5 at 18mm to f/5.6 at 55mm. Nevertheless, for new photographers looking to experiment, this lens is a good starting point.

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Pros

  • Versatile range suitable for a variety of situations
  • Vibration Reduction for steady shots

Cons

  • Not ideal for low light situations
Nikon DX 35mm f/1.8G Prime Lens
Nikon DX 35mm f/1.8G

The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G is a prime lens that excels in delivering sharp and clear images. It offers excellent low-light performance with its f/1.8 maximum aperture. This makes it ideal for portraits, street photography, and even indoor photography where lighting conditions might be challenging.

The downside of this lens is its lack of Vibration Reduction. It may require a steady hand or a tripod for sharper images. Despite this, it’s a fantastic lens that gives high-quality results and is particularly good for portraits and street photography.

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Pros

  • Excellent in low light situations
  • Produces sharp and clear images

Cons

  • Does not have Vibration Reduction
Nikon DX 70-300mm f/4.5-56.G ED
Nikon DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G

The Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR is a telephoto lens offering a long reach that is perfect for wildlife or sports photography. The Vibration Reduction comes in handy for capturing steady images, even when fully zoomed in.

The downside of this lens is that image quality can be somewhat compromised when zoomed in fully to 300mm. Despite this, the ability to capture distant subjects with this lens is a great benefit for those interested in wildlife or sports photography.

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Pros

  • Long reach for distant subjects
  • Vibration Reduction for steady shots
  • Widely available and inexpensive when purchased used

Cons

  • Image quality decreases at 300mm
  • Slow aperture that is not good in low light
Nikon DX 40mm f/2.8G Macro Lens
Nikon DX 40mm f/2.8G

The Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G is a macro lens that is perfect for capturing close-up shots with high detail. It produces sharp and clear images and works great for food, flowers, or other small subjects.

However, it does not have Vibration Reduction, which means you might need a tripod for optimum stability. Also, due to its short focal length, it’s not ideal for portrait photography as it might distort facial features. Nonetheless, for photographers interested in capturing tiny, intricate details, this lens is a superb choice.

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Pros

  • Produces sharp and clear images
  • Excellent for close-up and macro shots

Cons

  • Does not have Vibration Reduction
  • Not ideal for portrait photography
Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Wide Angle Zoom Lens
Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM is a wide-angle lens, ideal for landscape or architectural photography. With its wide-angle view, you can capture vast landscapes or interiors in one frame. It also has a solid build quality that adds to its appeal.

However, there can be some distortion at wider angles, which is common among wide-angle lenses. This can be corrected in post-processing or reduced by not shooting at the widest angle. Despite this, for photographers interested in landscape or architectural photography, this lens can be a game-changer.

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Pros

  • Wide angle of view
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • Some distortion at wider angles

Choosing the right lens depends on the type of photography you’re interested in. With the Nikon D3500’s interchangeable lens system, you have the flexibility to change lenses as per your needs. We hope this guide helps you find the perfect lens for your photography journey.

In conclusion, finding the right lens for your Nikon D3500 ultimately boils down to understanding your specific needs and preferences as a photographer. Each lens we’ve discussed here offers unique strengths, whether it be versatility, low-light performance, range, precision in close-up shots, or expansive wide-angle views. By carefully considering the pros and cons of each lens, as well as the types of photography they’re best suited for, you can make an informed choice that will significantly enhance your photographic journey.

Remember, photography is an art, and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lenses and explore diverse styles. As a budding photographer, each lens you use and each picture you take brings you one step closer to refining your skills and developing your unique photographic style. We hope this guide proves useful in aiding your selection process and we wish you all the best in your photography journey with your Nikon D3500. Happy shooting!

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