Nikon D5500 £580/$600

A wor­thy upgrade, from any an­gle

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

For con­ven­tional shoot­ing with your eye to the viewfinder, the D5500 beats the D3400 with its more ad­vanced aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem

A head­line fea­ture of the orig­i­nal D5000 was its fully ar­tic­u­lat­ing vari-an­gle screen, which was use­ful for shoot­ing movies and stills in Live View mode from tricky an­gles, and for self-por­traits. The D5500 en­hances this ex­pe­ri­ence by mak­ing the vari-an­gle LCD a touch­screen, and boost­ing its res­o­lu­tion four-fold for re­ally sharp, crys­tal-clear view­ing.

For con­ven­tional shoot­ing with your eye to the viewfinder, the D5500 beats the D3400 with a more ad­vanced 39-point aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem, and a more su­pe­rior me­ter­ing mod­ule based on 2016 pix­els in­stead of 420 pix­els. A po­ten­tial in­crease in im­age qual­ity is en­abled by the avail­abil­ity of 14-bit colour depth in RAW qual­ity mode, whereas the D3400 only sup­ports 12-bit colour depth.

Both cam­eras are rel­a­tively light­weight and com­pact, be­ing based on a mono­coque cas­ing that’s made from car­bon-fi­bre. Due to the mech­a­nism for the vari-an­gle screen, how­ever, the D5500 loses the ver­ti­cal row of but­tons down the left-hand side of the rear panel that fea­ture on most other Nikon D-SLRs. On the plus side, it gains a Cus­tom Set­tings menu for ad­vanced cam­era set-up – some­thing which is lack­ing in the D3400.

For wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity, the D5500 has built-in Wi-Fi, whereas the D3400 only has Blue­tooth. The brand new D5600 adds Blue­tooth as well (see our full re­view on page 104 for de­tails) but, on pa­per at least, this is the only sig­nif­i­cant upgrade over the D5500.


Like the D3400, the D5500 is fully com­pat­i­ble with Nikon’s new AF-P and ex­ist­ing AF-S lenses, but both cam­eras lack a built-in aut­o­fo­cus mo­tor. This makes aut­o­fo­cus im­pos­si­ble with Nikon’s older ‘AF’ lenses.

In our tests, the D5500’s light me­ter­ing sys­tem some­times pro­duced slightly over-ex­posed re­sults, but in terms of over­all per­for­mance it’s def­i­nitely a step up from the D3400.

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