Nikon D5500

Most of the spec is familiar, but at last there’s a Nikon SLR with a touch­screen. An­gela Ni­chol­son gives it a poke…

NPhoto - - Test Team -

£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

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