The Nikon D3500 is almost identical to the D3300, which is why the cards we recommend are the same for both DSLR cameras.
The D3500 has 1 x SD memory card slot, and accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. These are all the same size and fit the D3500, but the difference is in their maximum memory size . You want an SDHC or an SDXC card as these give you the most storage and are super affordable anyways.
You also need a fast card if you plan on recording Full HD videos or often shoot in the 5fps continuous shooting mode. Those files are big (24 megapixels) and you need a memory card that can quickly write them, otherwise you’ll end up waiting or even won’t be able to record videos.
What Size & Speed?
|Class 4||4MB/s||Too slow for most modern cameras. Skip it.|
|Class 6||6MB/s||A little bit better but unless you take 3 pictures a year, skip it.|
|Class 10||10MB/s||Good enough for most cameras with 20+ megapixels and Full HD video.|
|U1 (UHS)||10MB/s||Good enough for most cameras with 20+ megapixels and Full HD video|
|U3 (UHS)||30MB/s||Perfect for fast burst cameras, Full HD at 60fps and 4K video|
The Nikon D3500 fully supports UHS-I cards, which is great news as these are the fastest (max. speed is around 104MB/s) so you’ll never have to worry about speed anymore. Class 10 will also be okay though, but the UHS-I also provide you with faster reading speeds = less time waiting for your files to transfer on a computer/hard disk.
Since the D3500 has a 24 megapixel sensor, you need a relatively big memory card, especially if you often travel or shoot long events. We recommend going with 32GB or 64GB, and perhaps buying a few if you think you need more than 1.
These are the best 3 SDHC/SDXC memory cards you can get:
- SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I U3
- Lexar Professional 95MB/s UHS-I U3
- Transcend R95/W60MB/s UHS-I U3
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I U3
The SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro 32GB U3 is our favorite card, seeing as it’s inexpensive and provides writing and reading speeds near 90MB/s. It’s absolutely more than enough for the D3500 and even more expensive cameras.
The speed makes it perfect for whatever you’re doing; fast bursts with large megapixel cameras, 4K video, let alone Full HD. It comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB sizes.
Lexar Professional 95MB/s UHS-I U3
The Lexar Professional 32GB U3 95MB/s is cheaper than the model above, and reaches the same reading speed yet falls a bit short in the writing department. While the minimum for U3 cards is always 30MB/s, this Lexar series reaches around 60MB/s, whereas the Sandisk hits ~80MB/s.
Since the D3500 isn’t super fast in burst shooting and tops out at Full HD 60fps, the difference won’t be that noticeable, but if you always want to be on the safe side, the Sandisk above is better.
Lexar also gives you the code to download their Imaging Rescue software. It comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB sizes.
Transcend R95/W60MB/s UHS-I U3
The most affordable on our list, yet still UHS-I, is the Transcend 64GB UHS-I U3. In terms of reading speed it goes up to 95MB/s, while for writing the maximum is 60MB/s just like Lexar above.
Transcend, just like Lexar above, gives you the option of downloading their free image recovery program and they both work pretty good in most cases. It comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB sizes.
Comparison of the 3 Memory Cards
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s U3||32GB||Writing files: ~90MBs. Reading files: ~95MB/s|
|Lexar Professional 95MB/s U3||64GB||Writing files: ~60MB/s. Reading files: ~90MB/s|
|Transcend R95/W60MB/s U3||64GB||Writing files: ~60MB/s. Reading files: ~90MB/s|
What Brands are the Best?
Your photographs and videos are stored on a memory card, so you should definitely not try to save any money here by buying from unknown, cheap brands. While you save a few bucks, you probably won’t even get the advertised speeds, and are at a bigger risk of losing your shots.
We see too many beginners choosing the cheap route here, but until you transfer your shots to a computer/online, this is where they’re stored at. You want the memory card to be the most reliable piece of your equipment!