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Nikon D5500 review

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Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5500

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Excellent updated handling
  • Solid performance, great images
  • Fast AF

Cons

  • No GPS
  • Conservative upgrades

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Key Features

  • 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 39-point AF
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • Manufacturer: Nikon
  • Review Price: £679.00

What is the Nikon D5500?

Finding a decent entry level DSLR is always challenging, with the sheer number of cameras on offer making it difficult for new buyers to tell which is worthiest of their attention.

But, those on the hunt for one would do well to check out the Nikon D550. The D5500 features a decent 24.2-megapixel camera sensor, above average handling and solid noise reduction capabilities. The only serious drawback to the D5500 is that it lacks of a truly killer upgrade to differentiate it from its predecessor, the Nikon D5300.

SEE ALSO: Best Cameras Round-up

Nikon D5500 11

Nikon D5500 – Design and Handling

The Nikon D5500 uses a new style of DSLR body for Nikon. It’s smaller and lighter than the D5300, but the design changes aren’t really about miniaturising this camera.

At 420g (body only) it’s a significant 60g lighter than the D5300 and at 124 x 97 x 70mm it is slightly smaller too. However, it’s actually aiming for an all-round different feel. Like the Nikon D750, the D5500 has a much deeper grip than previous Nikon cameras, giving you a more comfortable, firmer hold.

On the body end of the grip there’s simply a lot more curvature for your fingers to wrap aroundNikon D5500 5.

Part of what makes this possible is a new construction style. Rather than polycarbonate (plastic) or a magnesium alloy, the Nikon D5500 is made of a carbon fibre composite this is effectively fibre-reinforced plastic. This presumably lets Nikon use less volume of material to get the same strength. Simple.

The feel is different, but the look and layout are similar to the D5300. You get two manual control dials: one around D-pad on the backplate and one on the top plate. These combined with the traditional PASM mode dial provide a good balance of accessibility and control.

The ‘i’ button has moved from near the shutter to down by the rear pad for easier access, but otherwise it’s familiar. Nikon D5500

Nikon D5500 – Screen and Features

There’s one other big change, though. The display is a touchscreen, where the Nikon D5300 is non-touch. As well as letting you use touch focusing in Live View, the touch display can work as another manual control surface when shooting with the viewfinder. For example, there’s a setting to make a swipe gesture across it alter ISO.

Of course, if you’re really after manual control you might want to consider the Canon 760D instead, a camera of the same level but with more pro-style controls.

For the more easy-going photographer, though, the Nikon D5500 has everything you need. As well as decent manual controls and a friendly layout, the screen folds out on a vari-angle hinge.

This makes shooting at odd angles much easier, which is made all the better thanks to the Nikon D5500’s light weight.

The screen itself is good too. It’s a 3.2-inch LCD display of 1.04M-dot resolution, and gets you fairly accurate colour and good sharpness. It’s on-par with any other cameras in this upper-entry-level class.

Of course, as a relatively affordable model, the Nikon D5500 uses a pentamirror optical viewfinder rather than the brighter, clearer (but more expensive) pentaprism kind. However, it’s still reasonably clear and quite large too.

It appears bigger than the Nikon D5200’s viewfinder, for example, with 0.82x magnification instead of 0.78x.

The Nikon D5500 has Wi-Fi, letting you transfer images to a mobile phone using the Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility app. It also lets you control the shutter wirelessly.

However, Nikon has actually cut out the other connectivity staple, GPS. The Nikon D5300 has GPS, but this more expensive model doesn’t. Disappointing? Yes, especially as the GP-1A GPS module accessory costs £189. Alternatively you can tag the photos yourself. But who wants to do that?

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chaosdefinesorder

January 9, 2015, 4:19 pm

I was under the impression that the main reason DSLRs have avoided touchscreens for the most part is due to the user's nose activating things unintentionally when using the viewfinder...

Stephen Middlehurst

January 9, 2015, 6:40 pm

Hmm, £40 more expensive for a touch screen, no GPS and very minor tweaks. Not so sure about that, especially as the D5300 kits will inevitably drop in price to clear inventory. Considering a D5300 body only goes for around £500 and the VR2 lens is around £100 I'd have to say that anyone interested in a midrange DX camera might want to look there for the best value for money...

Marcello

March 15, 2015, 11:24 am

Touch can be deactivated.

Andrew

March 20, 2015, 4:38 am

Actually the touch screen is awesome, the body ergonomics is awesome, the image quality has increased noticeably, and Nikon has moved things around on the body to make this a big upgrade. If you love taking pictures, then the way the camera feels in your hands is very important. I plan to buy the D5500 for all those reasons and more; and because of its small size and weight.

P.S. The sample pictures are awful, they are not representative of the camera.

Jack Thrams

March 26, 2015, 7:56 pm

I've been looking at the D7200 to upgrade from my current D7000, but then I read the specs on the D5500. Despite carrying the stigma of an "entry-level" camera, this thing is comparable to the D7200 which I have been wanting for the built in WiFi...and it's cheaper. Any other semi-pros out there having a similar dilemma of wanting to buy this one vs. the D7200? I have a battery grip for the D7000 which gives it a sturdy feel, but more & more I shoot with it off in favor of the small size. This D5500 is even smaller and lighter. What to do...

NSRajaram

April 15, 2015, 11:09 am

I find D5500 and the whole Nikon 5000 series not noticeably better than the 300 series and poor value compared to the Canon 70d which I find the best intermediate level camera.

Simon65

January 18, 2016, 11:25 am

Why the tiny viewfinder?

It's a real irritation and shows how little Nikon understand the game they're playing in.

The unique selling point of compact DSLRs over their frequently more sexy mirrorless rivals is the optical viewfinder. Yes?

So it really doesn't take the marketing genius of Steve Jobs to realise that Nikon needed to play to its strengths with the D5500 and make the viewfinder as large, bright and usable as possible.

So what do they do? Give it an itsy bitsy, tiny weeny claustrophobic
tunnel viewfinder with a mere 0.82x magnification.

For the purposes of correct composition anything under 0.85x is unusable imo and
the D5500's cramped viewfinder compares very poorly with the 0.87x viewfinder found in the diminutive Canon EOS 100D, and even with the 0.85x viewfinder Nikon itself has put in its base DSLR, the D3300! Go figure...

Unfortunately both Nikon and Canon now seem to be on a roll downhill with regards viewfinder sizes, which means that between them they are likely to kill off the compact DSLR market, sooner rather than later.

Selvakumar M

February 26, 2016, 4:06 pm

Dear Simon, actually i have a plan to upgrade my gear from canon Rebel T3i to Nikon. because recent releases from canon not attract me well. so i have D5500 and D7100 in my mind. but after i seen your review in this page, it is sad. could you please suggest me which is best either D5500 or D7100? Thanks, regards, Selva, maniselvaa@gmail.com

nmharleyrider

February 26, 2016, 8:01 pm

yes but it does have the wifi connection which I find necessary. I agree that the sample pictures suck. The camera is way better than that.

Arclight101

March 1, 2016, 10:47 am

The Nikon D7100 wins hands down if you don't mind the extra weight. It weighs 765 g versus 420 g for the D5500.

But for that you get 51 focus points (39 in the D5500), a 100% optical pentaprism viewfinder (far far larger than the pentamirror in the D5500), a higher resolution rear screen, max top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec (1/400 in D5500), 6 fps (5 fps), and optional GPS (none).

Image IQ and video is the same.

The only thing the D5500 has over the D7100 is wireless connectivity. In the D7100 it's optional.

But the D7100 is far larger and heavier, so pick it up before you decide Only you know if you can live with it. I used to use an Olympus OM1n (a small 35 mm SLR) which nothing to this day touches in terms of size and bang for weight ratio. That''s the problem. Nikon could have pushed the boat out and stuck a decent sized viewfinder in the D5500 (it's big enough to take one), but it opted not to. That means those of us still waiting for a decent compact DSLR with a proper viewfinder, remain disappointed. There is no DSLR equivalent of the Sony A6000. And that's the fault of the DSLR manufacturers. Engineering wise its perfectly possible.

Selvakumar M

March 1, 2016, 5:32 pm

Thanks Arclight... d7100 has max iso 6400. But d5500 has more than that. So, will d7100 perform well in low light conditions compared to d5500?

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