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 type||Compact SLR|
|Max resolution||6000 x 4000|
|Other resolutions||4496 x 3000, 2992 x 2000|
|Image ratio w:h||3:2|
|Effective pixels||24 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||25 megapixels|
|Sensor size||APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100 – 25600|
|White balance presets||12|
|Custom white balance||Yes (1)|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, Normal, Basic|
|File format||JPEG: Fine, Normal, BasicRAW: 12- or 14-bit, compressedDPOF compatibleDCF 2.0 compliant|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||39|
|Lens mount||Nikon F|
|Focal length multiplier||1.5×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD monitor|
|Viewfinder type||Optical (pentamirror)|
|Viewfinder magnification||0.82× (0.55× 35mm equiv.)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Exposure modes||Programmed auto with flexible program (P)Shutter-priority (S)Aperture priority (A)Manual (M)|
|Scene modes||Autumn ColorsBeach / SnowBlossomCandlelightChildClose-upDusk / DawnFoodLandscapeNight LandscapeNight PortraitParty / IndoorPet PortraitPortraitSportsSunsetSpecial Effects Mode|
|Built-in flash||Yes (Pop-up)|
|Flash range||12.00 m (at ISO 100)|
|External flash||Yes (Hot-shoe)|
|Flash modes||Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain|
|Flash X sync speed||1/200 sec|
|Drive modes||Single frameContinuous (low, high)Self-timerDelayed remoteQuick-response remoteQuiet shutter releaseInterval timer|
|Continuous drive||5.0 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2, 5, 10 or 20 sec)|
|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 Bracketing||Yes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)|
|Resolutions||1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Wireless notes||Remote control / photo retrieval via smartphone|
|Remote control||Yes (MC-DC2 (wired), WR-1/WR-R10 (wireless))|
|Battery description||EN-EL14 / EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||820|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||420 g (0.93 lb / 14.82 oz)|
|Dimensions||124 x 97 x 70 mm (4.88 x 3.82 x 2.76″)|
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
- 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
- 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