Nikon D5500 Review
Nikon D5500 Review

With the release of the Nikon D5500, Nikon aims to repeat the success of the earlier Nikon D5300, which launched back in October 2013. Nikon D5300 is a great performing DSLR which can offer excellent image quality, solid performance, good handling and the convenience of built-in Wi-Fi. The Nikon D5500 brings  some significant upgrades in several key areas.

Some noticeable changes come from a brand new body design. Nikon D5500 has a smaller and lighter body which is even smaller than the entry level Nikon D3300. Nikon has also added a touchscreen for the 3.2 inch LCD monitor, allowing it to act as an input device and it can provide consumer friendly features like a touch shutter and pinch zoom. Battery life has also been extended by approximately 37% which is always a welcomed upgrade.

Key features:

  • 24.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor
  • No optical low-pass filter for staggering sharpness
  • Compact design with swiveling touchscreen Vari-angle LCD display
  • Built-in Wi-Fi® connectivity for instant photo sharing with a smartphone or tablet
  • Full HD 1080/60p video recording with advanced movie features
  • 39-point high-density autofocus system with 9 cross-type sensors
  • EXPEED 4 image processor

Although resolution of the Nikon D5500’s APS-C sized, DX-format image sensor is unchanged at 24.2 megapixels, Nikon tells us that it is actually a new design, and this, it seems, has allowed the entire sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 25,600 equivalents to be made available by default.

Sensor and processor:

At the heart of the Nikon D5500 is a 24.2-megapixel, APS-C sized image sensor. As in the D5300, which had the same sensor size and resolution, there is no optical low-pass filter over the sensor, ensuring maximum possible resolution, but perhaps at the risk of moiré or false color artifacts with certain subjects. The D5500’s sensor hands off data to Nikon’s proprietary EXPEED 4 image processor, the same type as used previously in the Nikon D5300.

Specifications:

  • Effective pixels: 24.2 million
  • Image sensor: CMOS sensor, 23.5 x 15.6 mm; total pixels: 24.78 million; Nikon DX format
  • Image size (pixels): 6000 x 4000 (L); 4496 x 3000 (M); 2992 x 2000 (S)
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100 to ISO 25600
  • Storage media: SD memory cards, SDHC and SDXC compliant
  • Monitor: Vari-Angle 3.2 in, 1.037.000 dot Touch TFT-LCD
  • Interface: Hi-Speed USB, mini HDMI, A/V
  • Power sources: Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14 or EN-EL14a
  • Dimensions (W x H x D):  Approx. 124 x 97 x 70 mm (4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 in.)
  • Weight: Approx. 420 g (14.9 oz.) body only

Autofocus system:

As in the D5300, the Nikon D5500 uses a 39-point Multi-Cam 4800 DX phase-detection autofocus module with nine cross-type points to determine focus. The system has a working range of -1 to 19EV, operates in single, continuous or auto servo modes, and includes a predictive 3D autofocus tracking function. In live view mode, face priority autofocus using contrast detection is possible.

Image quality:

Nikon D5500 can produce excellent images, especially when you team it up with a lens which is slightly better than the 18-55mm kit lens. Performance is strong up to ISO 1600, and very usable at ISO 3200. It’s only above these that we start to see more significant loss of detail and shadow detail. The Nikon D5500 can go a fair bit higher than this, though. It has a native ISO sensitivity range of 100-25,600, where in the D5300 the top sensitivity (25,600) is a non-recommended ‘extended’ mode. It’s a clear sign Nikon has put some extra work into its noise reduction algorithms. But still doesn’t mean we recommend using the very top ISO settings apart from in emergencies. ISO 25,600 images are quite scrappy.

What’s in the box:

The contents are for the Nikon D5500 body only.

  • Nikon D5500 Body
  • EN-EL14a Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
  • MH-24 Quick Charger
  • EG-CP16 Nikon Audio/Video Cable
  • UC-E17 USB Cable
  • DK-25 Rubber Eyecup
  • AN-DC3 Camera Strap
  • DK-5 Eyepiece Shield
  • BF-1B Body Cap
  • BS-1 Hot-Shoe Cover
  • Nikon View NX2 Software CD-ROM
  • Warranty Cards

Conclusion:

Nikon’s mid-level DSLR line got a solid upgrade in the form of the D5500. It is one of the smallest and the lightest DSLR made by Nikon. But don’t let the small form factor fool you, as there’s a lot of firepower packed inside this little gem. Nikon D5500 offers great image quality for its class, including superb low light and high ISO performance, generous JPEG buffer depth and high resolution.