Nikon D5500 Long-Term Review
- 24MP sensor
- 3.2” touchscreen LCD
- 39-point AF system
- ISO range of 100-25,600
- 5fps burst mode
- 820-shot battery life
- Full HD video
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- .92 lbs
- Shutter life expectancy of 100,000 actuations
Photo by Łøù Ķä from Pexels
As you may know, the Nikon D5500 dropped 5 years ago in 2015 and has since been replaced by newer bodies in the Nikon D5000 line.
But, I love a good bargain and a slightly older camera always means you’re going to be able to spend less on your camera body and more on your lenses. It’s how I’ve always shopped in the industry.
Plus, the Nikon D5500 still stands up pretty well to similarly priced cameras that are more modern. I strongly believe that beginner photographers should start out with older equipment anyways. Firstly to ensure that they actually enjoy this hobby, but secondly to ensure that they understand the basics of how to handle a camera without letting a lot of specs they don’t need get in their way.
In this Nikon D5500 review, we will discuss some basic Nikon D5500 features, pricing, and performance.
Nikon D5500 Specs
The Nikon D5500 is a compact DSLR that functions really well for beginner photographers who are on the market for a camera body with a touchscreen LCD and built-in Wi-Fi.
The Nikon D5000 line is notoriously simple for beginner photographers to work with, since Nikon isn’t known for its extravagant layouts anyways.
The Nikon D5500 is pretty similar to the Canon EOS Rebel T6i or the Fujifilm X-T1, for anyone familiar with those bodies.
While many of the Nikon D5500 specs aren’t anything to write home about, they get the job done:
The Nikon D5500 didn’t change too much from its successor, the Nikon D5300, which means its imaging is sharp, even if its color accuracy is a little off. Images produced by the Nikon D5500 tend to look a little too blue.
This camera is also quite excellent at shooting in extremely low light, which is helpful for beginner photographers who will want to learn all about how ISO affects their imaging.
However, unlike the Nikon D5300, the Nikon D5500 is incredibly light. It weighs just under 1 lb. This is especially helpful for older photographers who may become uncomfortable carrying heavier cameras around their necks for extended amounts of time. It’s also great for young, budding photographers who aren’t quite big enough yet for a larger DSLR.
Nikon D5500 Body & Design
Again, the Nikon D5500 is designed very much like the Nikon D5300 was.
One odd feature of the body is that the real control dial sits flush in the top deck which isn’t typically a feature seen on DSLRs (it’s usually seen in mirrorless cameras).
But, overall I believe the buttons are efficiently spaced and the top of the camera overall looks a lot less cluttered than versions of similarly-priced cameras I’ve seen.
The mode dial comes with five different scene mode positions: portrait, kids, sports, macro, and landscape.
The shutter button is also pushed forward on this edition a bit, which I actually found useful since I have longer fingers. I don’t think it will be a problem for people who don’t, though.
On the back of the camera, the info button sits on top of the screen while the “i” button sits to the right of the screen.
The rear control dial is higher than it was on the Nikon D5300, though just by a little. The control layout didn’t really change at all.
Unfortunately, the HDMI cable is no longer located on the left of the camera. It’s located on the right, which wouldn’t otherwise bother me except you can’t hold the hand grip while an HDMI cable is connected.
Nikon D5500 Build & Handling
As aforementioned, the Nikon D5500 is the perfect camera for younger or older photographers because it weighs in at just under 1 lb. This is because the camera body functions as a single unit, which keeps the body from being especially heavy.
This design, which Nikon refers to as a “monocoque” design, is what allowed the Nikon D5500 to also be so compact at just 4.88 x 3.82 x 2.76.
Thankfully, this compact design doesn’t mean handling this camera will be difficult, because unlike the Nikon D5300, it comes with an especially large grip.
Another great feature of the Nikon D5500 when it comes to handling is the fact that it features a fully articulating touchscreen. This will be especially helpful for photographers looking to use this camera for vlogging or travel photography purposes, or for people who just can’t get enough selfies.
The touchscreen is also fairly large, which allows you to quickly find whatever menu item you’re looking for in order to return to shooting more quickly.
While this camera does come with built-in Wi-Fi it doesn’t come with built-in GPS, but only because Nikon has an app that allows you to geotag your images in an easier fashion. This may be a good selling point for younger photographers since the app also allows you to edit photos for social media on the fly.
Nikon D5500 Video Performance
Thank you to Rockstar Eater for the Nikon D5500 video test.
As I talked about earlier, the Nikon D5500 can shoot videos in Full HD at 60fps. You can shoot in three different modes: automatic, program, or manual exposure.
You also have different options for using autofocus in video. You can either opt for continuous AF or for touch-screen AF.
I think both of these autofocus modes work pretty well, even in low contrast situations, although obviously not as well as they would in a camera body created for professionals.
As you can tell from the video test above, videos taken with this camera produce accurate, pretty colors and are overall pretty sharp.
While touch focus is nice in an emergency, this part of the Nikon D5500’s video performance is definitely subpar because every time the lens focuses it is incredibly loud in your video.
This is another point I need to mention. If you are serious about the types of videos you’re producing on the Nikon D5500, you need to use an external microphone because the microphone in the camera is simply too sensitive and will pick up a ton of stuff you don’t want it to.
Nikon D5500 Price
The Nikon D5500 price is definitely a lot cheaper than it was in 2015, and this is especially true if you pick up a used Nikon D5500 to save yourself some additional money.
For instance, there are currently a couple of Nikon D5500s on MPB right now starting at $390. Every single one of them is in excellent condition (as rated by the MPB team) and comes with a charger, battery and front body cap.
They range in shutter count from 10,000-20,000, but considering this body is rated for a shutter life of 100,000, they’ve all got years of shooting still to come.
An added bonus of shopping used on MPB is that you can trade in your old camera or camera gear in order to put those funds toward your purchase of the Nikon D5500. In essence, this camera could end up costing you nothing at all.