Nikon D3500 vs D5500
The Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D5500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2018 and January 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D5500? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D5500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D5500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the D3500 is only available in black.
In this particular case, the Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D5500 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the D5500 is markedly heavier (15 percent) than the D3500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3500 nor the D5500 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||365 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|2.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||117 mm||68 mm||40 mm||361 g||450||n||Jan 2018||399|
|8.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|9.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|10.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|11.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|12.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 52 percent) than the D5500, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the D3500 and the D5500 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the D3500 is much more recent (by 3 years and 7 months) than the D5500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The Nikon D3500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The Nikon D5500 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3500 and the D5500 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), as well as the same magnification (0.57x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3500 and Nikon D5500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D5500 has a touchscreen, while the D3500 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The D5500 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D3500 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D5500 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D3500 and the D5500 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D3500 and Nikon D5500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the D5500 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3500 does not provide wifi capability.
The D3500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D5500 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D5500 was succeeded by the Nikon D5600. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3500 or the Nikon D5500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3500:
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 55g or 13 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1550 versus 820) on a single battery charge.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (52 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D5500 launch.
Advantages of the Nikon D5500:
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2015).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5500 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3500 and the Nikon D5500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3500 or the D5500 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D3500||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|2.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399|
|8.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|9.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|10.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|11.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|12.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D5500
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D3500||Nikon D5500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2018||January 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 429||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D5500|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||84|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1438|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D5500|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D5500|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D5500|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3500||Nikon D5500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1550 shots per charge||820 shots per charge|
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||365 g (12.9 oz)||420 g (14.8 oz)|
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