The WIN­NER IS… Nikon D5500

Nikon’s new­est en­try-level D-SLR is the out­right win­ner of the group, by the small­est of mar­gins

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

On bal­ance, the D5500 is the best cam­era in the group – just. Han­dling is ex­cel­lent and the in­ter­face is won­der­fully in­tu­itive thanks to the LCD screen’s graph­i­cal shoot­ing dis­play and touch­screen op­er­a­tion. It also goes a long way to please en­thu­si­ast pho­tog­ra­phers, with a far-reach­ing cus­tom set­tings menu for tai­lor­ing aut­o­fo­cus, ex­po­sure, timers and other shoot­ing pa­ram­e­ters to your cho­sen val­ues. This is no­tably ab­sent from the D3200 and D3300.

The D5500 isn’t per­fect, how­ever, as we found it had a habit of slight over-ex­po­sure in ma­trix me­ter­ing mode (a ten­dency also found on the D3200). The D5300 per­forms bet­ter in this re­spect, with more ac­cu­rate and con­sis­tent me­ter­ing, while it also pulls marginally ahead of the D5500 in most lab test scores. If you’d rather have built-in GPS than touch­screen con­trol, it’s a wiser buy.

Our next favourite cam­era is the D3300, which de­liv­ers very sim­i­lar im­age qual­ity to the D5300. It has less so­phis­ti­cated aut­o­fo­cus and me­ter­ing mod­ules, but is more be­gin­ner-friendly with its in­ter­ac­tive Guide mode. In this re­spect it builds on the pre­ced­ing D3200, while also adding spe­cial ef­fects to the shoot­ing mode dial, as per the D5300 and D5500.

In bot­tom place comes the 1 J5. Don’t get us wrong, it per­forms ad­mirably as a CSC and, as such, we gave it a five-star rat­ing back in is­sue 47. How­ever, it lacks ‘sys­tem’ flex­i­bil­ity – there’s no abil­ity to add a viewfinder or flash­gun, while lens choice is com­par­a­tively lim­ited. The shot-to-shot speed in sin­gle-ad­vance drive mode is also painfully slow com­pared with any D-SLR.

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