Cameras

Nikon D5500 Review

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The Nikon D5500 is a new 24.2 megapixel DX-format DSLR camera with no optical low-pass filter (OLPF). The D5500 can record Full HD movies at 1080 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p with stereo sound and comes equipped with built-in Wi-Fi online connectivity. A high-resolution 3.2-inch vari-angle LCD touchscreen makes it easier to compose your shots from challenging angles.

More: Best Lenses for Nikon D5500

Nikon D5500 Price

The D5500 is certainly Nikon’s initial ever DSLR with touch operation, allowing the user to choose their focus point via Touch AF, pinch in to check focus and actually activate the shutter with the contact of a fingertip, with a fresh Fn touch feature providing one-touch access to important settings like AF stage selection, aperture, ISO sensitivity, AF area mode and more. It also offers an extensive ISO range of 100-25,600, a 5fps burst shooting setting, EXPEED 4 image processor, 39-point autofocus system with 9 cross-type sensors, 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor, Great Dynamic Range mode, Active D-Lighting, and 10 different particular effects for stills and movies full the Nikon D5500’s headline specs.

The Nikon D5500 is available in black and red, as a body-only offering for £639.99 / $899.95 and in two different kit configurations: alongside the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens for a suggested retail price of £719.99 / $999.95 or with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens for £899.99 / $1,199.95.

Ease of Use

The Nikon D5500 replaces 2013’s D5300 as the new mid-range model in Nikon’s considerable DSLR line-up, slotting in between the existing Nikon D3300 and Nikon D7200 models, not only when it comes to feature set and functionality, but also with regards to size and weight. It isn’t quite as compact and lightweight as the D3300, but neither is it as bulky and large as the Nikon D7200. In comparison to its predecessor, the D5500 is once again slightly smaller and lighter than the Nikon D5300, sporting a new monocoque design that makes the camera one of Nikon’s lightest DSLRs.

The right-hand grip is very deep given the overall size of the camera, and therefore comfortable for photographers with large hands and/or longish fingers, and there’s also a convenient rubberized thumb rest on the back of the body.

The D5500 uses the same 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor without optical low-pass filtration system as its predecessor. The sensor can clean itself by way of high-frequency vibrations which will, at least in theory, shake off any non-adhesive dust particles that may have settled on the low-pass filter during a lens modification. You can specify, via an option in the Setup menu, whether you desire sensor cleaning to take place at shutdown, startup, both or neither, with the default getting ‘both’. The cleaning process pleasingly has no practical impact on startup times, which were near instant. The image sensor is normally complemented by the same EXPEED 4 processing engine and a huge buffer as well.

The D5500 is the newest Nikon DSLR to offer built-in wi-fi, but it no longer offers GPS connectivity, which is instead provided via a smartphone. The wi-fi function essentially pairs the Nikon D5500 with an iOS or Android smartphone or other sensible devices and allows you to edit and share images directly to social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. In addition, it makes it possible to control the D5500 remotely with a smart device using the free Wireless Portable Utility app and set the focus point using the smart device’s touchscreen.

More: Best Nikon Entry-Level DSLR Camera

The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II kit zoom lens that now ships with the Nikon D5500 is among the main talking points of this new camera. Also shipping with the cheaper D3300, Nikon has implemented a retractable design to make the lens more portable when it’s not in use, something that quite a lot of compact system cameras have in their lens ranges. Because of this, the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II is much more compact than its predecessor when retracted to the L position, although of training course you still have to expand it outwards to start shooting.

The Exposure Settlement button is thoughtfully positioned next to the shutter release, alongside the dedicated one-touch Movie Record button. Hold down the Direct exposure Compensation button with your best forefinger and spin the control wheel on the top-rear of the camera together with your thumb to adjust its settings – simple and intuitive.

The D5500’s Live View continues to be accessed in a different and arguably less intuitive way than on the D3300/D7200. Instead of a combined switch, the D5500 has a fore-finger operated the spring-loaded switch on top of the body that is pushed downwards and toggles between turning Live View on and off. Positioned next to the Shooting Mode dial, it enables you to enable Live Watch whilst holding the camera at arms length with one hand, or to turn it off as you hold the camera up to your attention. We’d prefer it to become on the rear of the camera and also to incorporate the Film record button, in keeping with the D3300/D7200 models.

Press the Lv switch and the mirror flips up, the shutter opens and the trunk screen displays the scene as seen through the lens. There is a reddish colored rectangle in the middle, which you can move practically anywhere in the body. When in manual concentrate (MF) mode, you can magnify into this rectangle in a number of methods by repeatedly pressing the key marked with a loupe icon, but this magnification seems to end up being at least partially interpolated. This means that you cannot discover detail down to the pixel level, unlike some competing cameras.

Image Quality

All of the sample pictures in this review were taken using the 24 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

The Nikon D5500 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The D5500 produces noise-free JPEG images at ISO 100-1600, with ISO 3200 also looking pretty good. ISO 6400 only shows a little noise, while the fastest settings of ISO 12800 and 25600 are quite a lot noisier and suffer from softening of fine detail and a loss of saturation, but the images are still properly usable for small prints and resizing for web use.

The images were a little soft straight out of the D5500 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting for JPEG files. The night photograph was exceptional, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and bulb setting allowing you to capture plenty of light. Red-eye was not a common occurrence with the built-in flash, and when we did encounter it, it was very moderate and quickly cured by establishing the flash to red-eye reduction mode.

Active D-lighting managed to squeeze most of the dynamic range captured by the sensor into the JPEGs the camera produced, while the HDR mode greatly expands the powerful range by combining two shots taken at different exposures. The Picture Handles and creative Effects help to get even more out of your JPEG pictures.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Nikon D5500 and the ISO speed can be adjusted in 1/3 EV increments. Here are some 100% crops which present the noise levels for each ISO placing, with JPEG on the still left and RAW on the right.

The Nikon D5500 also has ISO Sensitivity Auto Control, activated from the shooting menu. If arranged to On, the camera will immediately change the sensitivity if correct exposure cannot be achieved at the value chosen by the photographer. The user can put a limit on the utmost sensitivity selectable by the camera.

Conclusion

Nikon’s mid-range DSLR camera continues to evolve with the launch of the D5500, which is smaller and significantly lighter than its predecessor whilst additionally offering a new touchscreen LCD/interface. It also sensibly ships with the retractable 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II lens which helps to keep the overall package deal very compact for a DSLR. While it won’t establish your pulse racing, for the most part the Nikon D5500 is an excellent and affordable DSLR camera.

In terms of features, the brand new Nikon D5500 is a rather modest upgrade of the previous D5300 model, with the touchscreen, a smaller/lighter body, the new Flat Picture Mode, a few more Effects and Scene Modes and a slightly reconfigured control layout. In any other case the core specs are the same as the prior model, so D5300 owners probably won’t find more than enough to tempt them to upgrade, but just like its predecessor the D5500 presents a compelling mix of excellent picture quality, straight-forward handling, and quick efficiency, in an also lighter and smaller sized body. It’s a shame, though, that the built-in GPS has been sacrificed in order to make the D5500 more compact camera.

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