Most of the spec is familiar, but at last there’s a Nikon SLR with a touchscreen. Angela Nicholson gives it a poke…
£640, $900 (body only)
Your first question on seeing the new Nikon D5500 may well be, “But what’s new?” It takes a fairly careful look at the D5500’s specification list to find the differences between it and the D5300. Both cameras have the same APS-C- (DX-) format sensor with 24.2 million effective pixels and no optical low-pass filter; an Expeed 4 processing engine; a 3.2-inch 1,037,000-dot LCD screen; Nikon’s 39-point Multi-CAM 4800DX AF module; and Wi-Fi connectivity built in. The exposure metering systems and maximum continuous shooting are also the same.
The most significant difference between the two is that the screen on the D5500 is touch-sensitive, enabling you to make a range of adjustments by touching the LCD (see Touch Control, above right).
Nikon has kept the sensitivity range the same on the D5500 as it is on the D5300 (ISO100-25600), but the top three settings are now in the native range rather than expansion settings. Could this mean that Nikon has managed to improve image quality at the higher values? We’re keen to get one in the office for testing – in our lab and in real-world shooting conditions – to find out.
Interestingly, while the D5300 has a GPS unit built-in, the D5500 does not. However, Nikon’s GP-1A GPS Unit is available as an optional extra. It should also be possible to add GPS data to images via a smartphone connected to the new camera’s Wi-Fi system.
Like the D810 and D750, the D5500 has Nikon’s new ‘Flat’ Picture Control mode in addition to the usual Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape options to tailor the look of JPEGs and video footage. It’s also possible to adjust the ‘Clarity’ settings for each of The touchscreen can also be used to move the autofocus point and shift focus while you’re shooting movies. these modes, along with Saturation, Contrast and Sharpness. The Flat option is aimed at video recording, as it’s often desirable to produce flat footage with a wide dynamic range for post-capture adjustment.
On the subject of video recording, the D5500 has the same specification as the D5300 and Full HD (1080) recording is possible at 50/60p.
Although the D5500 uses the same EN-EL14a battery as the D5300, Nikon claims the battery life has been increased from 600 shots to 820.
Light and comfortable
Like the D5300, the D5500 has a monocoque (one-piece) construction. However, the new camera is lighter and slimmer. The difference in the depth of the two cameras is particularly noticeable when they are seen from below, and the D5500 is considerably thinner between the lens mount and grip. This thinning has meant the internal layout of the camera has had to be redesigned, but it has enabled Nikon to make the D5500’s grip more shapely, while still reducing the overall depth of the camera. As a result the D5500 feels more secure in your hand.
Another visible difference between the D5500 and the D5300 is the