Nikon's new D5500 is the
successor to the Nikon D5300, which rests just above level of D3300 entry. Thus, D5500 can be considered a higher camera of the level of entry DSLR.
Like the D5300, it has a 3.2-inch fully articulated display which
can flip 180 degrees for selfie shots, but the display is now a
The sensitivity range has been boosted slightly to ISO 100 - 25,600
from the D5300's ISO 100-12,800. But the D5500 does not have the
built-in GPS ability of the older camera.
The body of the newcomer weighs 420g, or 60g lighter than the D5300.
Even with the AF-S 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR kit lens used for this
review, the overall package weighs under a kilo - just 960g.
The weight loss is probably due to the D5500's monocoque structure,
strengthened with carbon-fibre composite. Though lighter, it feels
quite solid, with a more deeply contoured grip that comfortably
accommodates my fingers.
In terms of button layout, there are only slight differences between
the two cameras. Where the D5300 had a command dial at the rear, the
D5500 has a circular metallic command dial at the top right.
The Info button, which is near the shutter release on the D5300, is
now under the Play button at the back, near the thumb rest, so it is
easier to press with your thumb. Together with the touchscreen display,
it makes it easier for you to change settings using your thumb.
The Live View lever stays beside the Mode dial at the top right, and
the dedicated video-recording button and exposure-compensation button
remain close to the shutter release.
I like being able to change the autofocusing (AF) point quickly
using the rear four-way controller. Overall, for this class of camera,
it handles superbly.
The camera gets to work quickly, starting up almost instantaneously
and shutting down in just one second. AF is quick and accurate in
bright sunlight. In dim conditions, it takes only about one second to
lock on to a focus, with the aid of AF assist light.
On the downside, AF is not automatic during video recording. You
need to depress the shutter release half way to re-focus when you pan
to another scene.
While shutter lag is negligible with the optical viewfinder, there
is a one-second lag when shooting in Live View. Using an SD card with a
writing speed rated at 45MB per second, the D5500 can capture eight RAW
images in 2.5 seconds.
As you might expect from Nikon's APS-C image sensor, the image
quality is outstanding. Images are sharp, colours are vivid with
distinct details and skin tones are natural.
Image noise performance is equally superb. You will notice few noise
artefacts up to ISO 3,200. Even at ISO 6,400, pictures are usable,
though slight detail loss and colour desaturation are evident. But
nothing above that setting is recommended.
Videos are crisp but pick up too much AF sound from the lens and ambient audio.
In battery life, the D5500 is much improved from the D5300 - 820
versus 600 stills. For this class of DSLR cameras, the battery life
approaches that of mid-range and professional DSLR cameras.
- If you do not need a tiltable touchscreen display, you can opt
for the entry-level Nikon D3300. But for a lightweight and competent
DSLR camera that lets you take selfies as well, the Nikon D5500 is a
superb choice for an upper entry-level model.
Image sensor: 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS
Display: 3.2-inch tiltable touchscreen LCD with 1,037,000 dots; optical viewfinder
Sensitivity: ISO 100 – 25,600
Shooting speed: Up to 5 frames per second
Weight: 420g (body without battery and memory card)
Value for money: 4/5
Battery life: 4/5