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Nikon D5500 Comparison Review

The Nikon D5500 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in January 2015 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 24 megapixel.

camera

Is the Nikon D5500 a good camera? The D5500 has a Camera Elo of 2336. This rating puts the D5500 among the top 20 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the D5500 ranks among the top 30 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 4.5-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D5500
Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25600
Optical viewfinder
3.2" LCD, 1037k dots
Swivel touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second
820 shots per battery charge
124 x 97 x 70 mm, 420 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Nikon D5500 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Nikon D5500 vs credit card front
D5500 versus credit card top view
D5500 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon D5500 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D5500 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D500« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599- i Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5200« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 500 n Nov 2012 749- i Nikon D5200
 
Samsung NX30« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.3 in 13.2 oz 360 n Jan 2014 999- i Samsung NX30
 
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon D5500 was launched in the US market at a price of $899. 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.

Nikon D5500:
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Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Nikon D5500 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon D5500 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Nikon D5500 sensor measures

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
 
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
 
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484Nikon D5200
 
Samsung NX30« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.512.4101476Samsung NX30
 
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785Sony A6300

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D5500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the D5500 can use is 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D5500 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.57x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D5500 and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M5
 
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Nikon D500
 
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5200« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5200
 
Samsung NX30« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y n Samsung NX30
 
Sony A6300« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n Sony A6300

One convenient feature of the D5500 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

 

Connection 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 D5500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Canon M5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
 
Nikon D5600« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
 
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
 
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5200« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5200
 
Samsung NX30« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Samsung NX30
 
Sony A6300« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6300

It is notable that the D5500 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

 

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D5500 handle or 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Canon M5« »+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D500« »+ +91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Nikon D3400« »+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D5300« »+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« »+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5200« »+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749- i Nikon D5200
 
Samsung NX30« »-77/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2014 999- i Samsung NX30
 
Sony A6300« »+85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D5500 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the D5500.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the D5500?

The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Nikon equipped the D5500 with the EXPEED 4 image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the D5500?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600.

Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?

Yes, the LCD-screen of the D5500 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon D5500?

Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the D5500. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the D5500 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my Nikon D5500?

Nikon embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your D5500 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Nikon D5500 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Does the Nikon D5500 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The D5500's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

Does the Nikon D5500 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).

Which battery does the D5500 use?

The camera gets its power from the EN-EL14a (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the D5500?

Nikon does not offer an optional battery grip, but third party suppliers do (see here on eBay).

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Nikon D5500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2015
    Launch Price USD 899
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor 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
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type EN-EL14a power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)820 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 420 g (14.8 oz)

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