Nikon today announced the successor to their D5300, the D5500.
Completely skipping over the D5400, perhaps due to the number 4 being bad luck in Japanese culture (although this doesn’t explain away the D4/D4s bodies), the D5500 seems to be mostly a minor, but appreciated, update to their consumer-level D5300.
Like the D5300, the D5500 sports a 24.2 Megapixel sensor and lacks the OLPF (Optical Low Pass Filter), also known as an Anti-Aliasing filter, which sits in front of most sensors. Without this filter being present, you can expect to see significantly sharper photos just as we’ve seen in the D610 and D810 models.
With a native ISO range of 100-25,600 we’re seeing further progress in ISO options available in these consumer-level cameras. (Editor’s note: a given ISO on a crop-sensor APS-C [DX] camera such as this will be considerably noisier compared to their full-frame [FX] counterparts further up the food chain)
At 5 fps you’re not going to be shooting for Sports Illustrated anytime soon, but with a little practice you can make that work for youth and high school sports in Continuous High mode. If you like to “spray and pray”, think of this as not the best machine gun in this analogy. Be more deliberate when you lay on the shutter, buy the fastest SD card you can buy and try not to fill up this camera’s buffer. We’ll see how this shakes out once we get our hands on one for a complete review.
The D5500 marks Nikon’s first-ever touch screen DSLR; a feature we believe is clearly going to make its way into more cameras as consumers have been trained to operate devices this way thanks to the iPhone and other smartphones. Its 3.2″ vari-angle LCD screen fully articulates, allowing you to shoot photos and video of yourself with the self-timer, wired/wireless remote or smartphone app using its built-in WiFi. As nice as this is, Canon’s T4i had a touchscreen over two years ago. Way to innovate Nikon. 😉
With 39 AF points you should have pretty good coverage across the viewfinder, but we would like to have seen more than 9 AF points being of the cross-type variety. (Editors’ note: cross-type AF points are significantly more sensitive).
For those of you who shoot DSLR video, this camera should be an excellent, inexpensive alternative with full 1080p HD 60 fps shooting. What’s particularly impressive is Nikon’s inclusion of Auto ISO smoothing. Doing so allows your camera to adjust the ISO on the fly to smoothly transition your video without the telltale stuttering that gives up the ghost. While there’s no aperture changing allowed while shooting like we see in the excellent Nikon D750, some things need to be held for the more pricey models of course.
It sports a 1/8″ mic-in jack, but sorry, still no headphone jack for monitoring your audio. While Nikon included a stereo mic in this body, everyone knows that built-in audio is useless if you’re serious about your video work. Great as a scratch track, but not ideal as good audio is important. If you’re serious about your filmmaking, do yourself a favor and at least pick up a Rode Video Mic Go.
Available in early February in black or red versions, the D5500 is available for pre-order for $799 USD on Amazon (body only), with the Nikkor 18-140mm for $1,196.95 or with the Nikkor 18-55mm for $996.95.
Who is this camera for?
This is a great starter camera for anyone who wants a decent camera at a decent price and especially if they’re looking to get into shooting better video. For $799 you’ve got an excellent video camera which just happens to also shoot great stills. You really can’t buy a bad camera these days.
Who is this camera not for?
If you’re looking for a camera with great weather sealing that’ll hold up to the elements, is great for sports and is a highly versatile video camera…this likely isn’t it. For that you’d be happier getting the AMAZING Nikon D750.
Our initial impression:
If you own a D5300, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to “upgrade” for a touchscreen and some minor tweaks. Good camera, not very exciting update. One has to wonder what Nikon is thinking with such a minor revision.
Click for Nikon’s full press release on the D5500.