Nikon D3500 vs. Nikon D90

Comparison

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D3500 image
vs
D90 image
Nikon D3500 Nikon D90
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Megapixels
24.20
12.30
Max. image resolution
6000 x 4000
4288 x 2848

Sensor

Sensor type
CMOS
CMOS
Sensor size
23.5 x 15.6 mm
23.6 x 15.8 mm
Sensor resolution
6045 x 4003
4281 x 2873
Diagonal
28.21 mm
28.40 mm
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »

Actual sensor size

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
vs
1 : 1.02
(ratio)
Nikon D3500 Nikon D90
Surface area:
366.60 mm² vs 372.88 mm²
Difference: 6.28 mm² (2%)
D90 sensor is slightly bigger than D3500 sensor (only 2% difference).
Note: You are comparing sensors of very different generations. There is a gap of 10 years between Nikon D3500 (2018) and Nikon D90 (2008). Ten years is a lot of time in terms of technology, meaning newer sensors are overall much more efficient than the older ones.
Pixel pitch
3.89 µm
5.51 µm
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Difference: 1.62 µm (42%)
Pixel pitch of D90 is approx. 42% higher than pixel pitch of D3500.
Pixel area
15.13 µm²
30.36 µm²
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
vs
Pixel area difference: 15.23 µm² (101%)
A pixel on Nikon D90 sensor is approx. 101% bigger than a pixel on Nikon D3500.
Pixel density
6.62 MP/cm²
3.29 MP/cm²
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Difference: 3.33 µm (101%)
Nikon D3500 has approx. 101% higher pixel density than Nikon D90.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.

Specs

Nikon D3500
Nikon D90
Crop factor
1.53
1.52
Total megapixels
24.78
12.90
Effective megapixels
24.20
12.30
Optical zoom
Digital zoom
No
No
ISO sensitivity
Auto, 100-25600
Auto, 200 - 3200 (plus 6400 with boost)
RAW
Manual focus
Normal focus range
Macro focus range
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
Aperture priority
Yes
Yes
Max. aperture
Max. aperture (35mm equiv.)
n/a
n/a
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
±5 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
±5 EV (in 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
Shutter priority
Yes
Yes
Min. shutter speed
30 sec
30 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/4000 sec
1/4000 sec
Built-in flash
External flash
Viewfinder
Optical (pentamirror)
Optical (pentaprism)
White balance presets
12
12
Screen size
3"
3"
Screen resolution
921,600 dots
920,000 dots
Video capture
Max. video resolution
1920x1080 (60p/50p/30p/25p/24p)
1280x720 (24)
Storage types
SD/SDHC/SDXC
SD/SDHC
USB
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI
Wireless
GPS
Battery
EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery
Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e rechargeable battery
Weight
365 g
703 g
Dimensions
124 x 97 x 69.5 mm
132 x 103 x 77 mm
Year
2018
2008



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vs

Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Nikon D3500 diagonal

w = 23.50 mm
h = 15.60 mm
Diagonal =  23.50² + 15.60²   = 28.21 mm

Nikon D90 diagonal

w = 23.60 mm
h = 15.80 mm
Diagonal =  23.60² + 15.80²   = 28.40 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

D3500 sensor area

Width = 23.50 mm
Height = 15.60 mm

Surface area = 23.50 × 15.60 = 366.60 mm²

D90 sensor area

Width = 23.60 mm
Height = 15.80 mm

Surface area = 23.60 × 15.80 = 372.88 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

D3500 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 23.50 mm
Sensor resolution width = 6045 pixels
Pixel pitch =   23.50  × 1000  = 3.89 µm
6045

D90 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 23.60 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4281 pixels
Pixel pitch =   23.60  × 1000  = 5.51 µm
4281


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

D3500 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 3.89 µm

Pixel area = 3.89² = 15.13 µm²

D90 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 5.51 µm

Pixel area = 5.51² = 30.36 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

One could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

D3500 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 6045 pixels
Sensor width = 2.35 cm

Pixel density = (6045 / 2.35)² / 1000000 = 6.62 MP/cm²

D90 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4281 pixels
Sensor width = 2.36 cm

Pixel density = (4281 / 2.36)² / 1000000 = 3.29 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

D3500 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 23.50 mm
Sensor height = 15.60 mm
Effective megapixels = 24.20
r = 23.50/15.60 = 1.51
X =  24.20 × 1000000  = 4003
1.51
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 4003 × 1.51 = 6045
Resolution vertical: X = 4003

Sensor resolution = 6045 x 4003

D90 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 23.60 mm
Sensor height = 15.80 mm
Effective megapixels = 12.30
r = 23.60/15.80 = 1.49
X =  12.30 × 1000000  = 2873
1.49
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 2873 × 1.49 = 4281
Resolution vertical: X = 2873

Sensor resolution = 4281 x 2873


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


D3500 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 28.21 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1.53
28.21

D90 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 28.40 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1.52
28.40

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

D3500 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Nikon D3500, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Nikon D3500 is 1.53

D90 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Nikon D90, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Nikon D90 is 1.52

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