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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.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3500 versus Nikon D5500
Nikon D3500 Nikon D5500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25,600 ISO 100-25,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 3.2 LCD, 1037k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
1550 shots per battery charge820 shots per battery charge
124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g 124 x 97 x 70 mm, 420 g

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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D5500
Compare D3500 versus D5500 top
Comparison D3500 or D5500 rear

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 365 g 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i
2.
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899i
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
5.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
6.
 
Canon M5 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i
7.
 
Fujifilm X-A5 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 n Jan 2018 399i
8.
 
Nikon A1000 114 mm 72 mm 41 mm 330 g 250 n Jan 2019 429 i
9.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
10.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
11.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
12.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
13.
 
Panasonic TZ95 112 mm 69 mm 42 mm 327 g 380 n Feb 2019 449 i
14.
 
Panasonic TZ90 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449i
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.

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Sensor comparison

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.

Nikon D3500 and Nikon D5500 sensor measures

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.

D3500 versus D5500 MP

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
2.
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
4.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
5.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
6.
 
Canon M5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
7.
 
Fujifilm X-A5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p........
8.
 
Nikon A1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
9.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
10.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
11.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
12.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
13.
 
Panasonic TZ95 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
14.
 
Panasonic TZ90 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636

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).

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Feature comparison

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.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D3500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
4.
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
5.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon M52360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
7.
 
Fujifilm X-A5none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon A10001166 n 3.0 1036 tilting Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
9.
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic TZ952330 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
14.
 
Panasonic TZ901166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

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.

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Connectivity comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D3500Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
2.
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon M5YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
7.
 
Fujifilm X-A5YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
8.
 
Nikon A1000-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
9.
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
10.
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
11.
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
13.
 
Panasonic TZ95-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
14.
 
Panasonic TZ90-stereomono--micro2.0Y--

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.

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Review summary

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.

D3500 05:09 D5500

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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3500....75/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i
2.
 
Nikon D55005/5+79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
3.
 
Canon SX740..+..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon M1003/5+..4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
5.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
6.
 
Canon M54/5+82/1004/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i
7.
 
Fujifilm X-A5..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399i
8.
 
Nikon A1000..+ +..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 429 i
9.
 
Nikon D56004/5..79/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
10.
 
Nikon D34004/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
11.
 
Nikon D33003/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
12.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
13.
 
Panasonic TZ95..+ +..4.5/5.. Feb 2019 449 i
14.
 
Panasonic TZ90..+ +..4/54/5 Apr 2017 449i
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.

Nikon D3500:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D5500:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    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 Specifications
    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 Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    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%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.57x
    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 Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer 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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 Type EN-EL14a EN-EL14a
    Battery Life (CIPA)1550 shots per charge820 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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