Nikon D5500 Review

Photographers who have been looking for a highly powerful compact DSLR that provides a greater degree of enthusiast features than the D3000 series, which is the series that sits below it, have found the Nikon D5000 series to be a solid option for some time now.

The D5500, Nikon’s most recent model, is a continuation of this trend, despite the fact that there aren’t many significant differences between it and the D5300, which was the model that came before it. The image quality, flip-out LCD, and overall feature set of the D5300, which was released in the fall of 2013, left a positive impression on us. The performance of its live view and menu system did not wow us as much as we had hoped.

So, what exactly has changed? In a nutshell, the body of the D5500 is more compact and lighter, and it has a better grip. Additionally, it boasts a quicker CPU, a touch-enabled LCD, a ‘flat’ picture control, and built-in Wi-Fi. In the future, we will determine whether or not the manufacturer resolved some of the problems that we had with the D5300.

It would be an understatement to say that the D5500 competes in a saturated market today. It competes with DSLR cameras such as the Canon EOS Rebel T6i (750D) and the Pentax K-S2, as well as mirrorless cameras such as the Fujifilm X-T1, Olympus E-M10, Panasonic DMC-G6, and Sony a6000. On the DSLR side, it also competes with the Sony a6000.

Nikon D5500 Body & Design

The Nikon D5500 is the most “pocketable” digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) that you’ll discover. Even though it’s a little bit bigger than the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (100D), the Nikon D5500 can still fit into a tiny bag if you’re using a lens that’s on the smaller side.

The body is made of ‘long-fiber reinforced thermoplastics,’ which allows it to be both lightweight and rigid while having a monocoque construction (meaning it’s all one piece). In other words, the D5500 is extremely lightweight without having a low-cost feel about it.

Aside from the specialized AF-assist bulb and the IR receiver, the front of the camera does not reveal a great deal of information to the user. The camera’s connector for an HDMI cable and its slot for a microSD card is located on the right side of the device, while the remainder of its input and output ports are located on the left.

On the rear of the D5500 is where all of the activity takes place. In this area, you will discover a decently sized optical viewfinder as well as a multitude of controls. The LCD screen is 3.2 inches and is completely articulating. Say that three times quickly. Unfortunately, these buttons are really little, and it may be difficult to differentiate between them; nonetheless, there is not a lot of space available on a body of this size.

Nikon D5500 Video Quality

The video capabilities of the D5500 are, for the most part, quite comparable to those of its forerunner, the D5400. This indicates that you are able to record 60 frames per second video at a resolution of 1920 by 1080 or 1280 by 720, with a duration restriction of 10 or 20 minutes, respectively. A setting with a resolution of 1080 and a frame rate of 24 frames per second is also available. Under movie mode, you may alter the ISO and shutter speed (by turning on manual movie settings in the movie options), however, the aperture cannot be changed, and the ISO cannot be changed once recording has begun.

The D5500, like its predecessor, the D5300, is capable of producing clear video output through HDMI in the format of 8-bit 4:2:2.

The ‘Flat’ Picture Control (profile) that was added to the D5500 is the new video function that was added to the camera. This records a scene that has a low contrast and a high dynamic range. This mode is perfect for when you wish to make post-production adjustments to the exposure or color (it works for stills, as well). After the D810, all Nikon DSLRs that have been launched since then have had this setting.

Nikon D5500 Image Quality

The fact that the image quality of the D5500 is practically identical to that of the D5300 is a positive development. In spite of the absence of an anti-aliasing filter, the 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor maintains a very low noise level and excellent clarity over a significant amount of its ISO range.

Because the sensor, which was most likely produced by Sony, is capable of capturing a large degree of dynamic range, the photographer is afforded a great deal of creative freedom when dealing with Raw photographs. In spite of the fact that it is a camera in the middle price range, the D5500 includes advanced control over the Auto ISO setting, which is generally only found on more costly cameras.

Nikon D5500 Specs

Body typeCompact SLR
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Other resolutions4496 x 3000, 2992 x 2000
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorExpeed 4
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100 – 25600
White balance presets12
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal, Basic
File formatJPEG: Fine, Normal, BasicRAW: 12- or 14-bit, compressedDPOF compatibleDCF 2.0 compliant
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points39
Lens mountNikon F
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots1,037,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD monitor
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage95%
Viewfinder magnification0.82× (0.55× 35mm equiv.)
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesProgrammed auto with flexible program (P)Shutter-priority (S)Aperture priority (A)Manual (M)
Scene modesAutumn ColorsBeach / SnowBlossomCandlelightChildClose-upDusk / DawnFoodLandscapeNight LandscapeNight PortraitParty / IndoorPet PortraitPortraitSportsSunsetSpecial Effects Mode
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range12.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes (Hot-shoe)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain
Flash X sync speed1/200 sec
Drive modesSingle frameContinuous (low, high)Self-timerDelayed remoteQuick-response remoteQuiet shutter releaseInterval timer
Continuous drive5.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2, 5, 10 or 20 sec)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notesRemote control / photo retrieval via smartphone
Remote controlYes (MC-DC2 (wired), WR-1/WR-R10 (wireless))
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionEN-EL14 / EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)820
Weight (inc. batteries)420 g (0.93 lb / 14.82 oz)
Dimensions124 x 97 x 70 mm (4.88 x 3.82 x 2.76″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone

Nikon D5500 Final Verdict

The Nikon D5500 is a camera that can be found on the shelf at retailers such as Target and Costco, but it should not be underestimated because of this fact (no pun intended). The Nikon D5500 is a tiny, well-built, and user-friendly digital SLR camera that offers a comprehensive feature set. Many of the D5500’s capabilities are derived from those of higher-end versions.

The image sensor of the Nikon D5500 is capable of producing images of exceptional quality with a wide dynamic range, and the camera’s video output is on par with that of other cameras in its class. Because the D5500 has a battery life that is two to three times longer than that of comparable midrange interchangeable lens cameras, you will be able to capture images and movies for a significantly longer period of time.

Unfortunately, the D5500 is not ideal; certain concessions had to be made in order to keep its size down, and others had to be made in order to encourage customers to continue purchasing the D7200. When using Raw, the camera does not have a secondary dial, the buttons are extremely small, and the buffer fills up very quickly. There is no headphone jack, aperture control, or zebra pattern included in the video features. Additionally, there is no zebra pattern.

If you’ve used Wi-Fi on cameras made by other companies, you’ll notice that Nikon is playing catch-up in the realm of smartphone apps, particularly when it comes to the ability to manage a camera from a distance (which is point-and-shoot here).

Nikon D5500 Pros & Cons

Good For
  • 3.2″ fully articulating LCD ideal for video and tripod use
  • Excellent image quality with a wide dynamic range
  • Compact and light yet well-built body with perfectly designed grip
Need Improvements
  • Limited buffer memory affects continuous shooting and bracketing when using Raw
  • Fine detail in JPEGs can get smudged at higher ISOs
  • Lacks second control dial found on most of the competition
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Photographers who have been looking for a highly powerful compact DSLR that provides a greater degree of enthusiast features than the D3000 series, which is the series that sits below it, have found the Nikon D5000 series to be a solid option for some...Nikon D5500 Review