The Nikon D5500 is a compact SLR system with an APS-C-sized sensor and 24-MP resolution. It has a new and very fast AF system and some enhanced handling options.
Comments on Image Quality
Colour: The colour test chart was reproduced with a saturation of 100.6 percent, which is nearly perfect. The white-balance system did a very good job; nearly all of the gray pattern of the test chart is located in the center of the result graphic and has a minor shift into the bluish, cooler colour area. Only the brightest test pattern showed a shift into the green direction. This is also noticeable in the model shot (background), but the neutral reproduction is visible in our standard test box shot.
As a characteristic colour effect for Nikon cameras, the blue nuances are boosted and over exaggerated (even though the mean saturation is on a lower level). Skin tones are reproduced very realistically and naturally. The differentiation of red colours (model’s t-shirt) is very good.
Sharpness: The new camera performed excellently in our resolution test and transferred its image resolution of 6000 x 4000 in images with 3864 lines per picture height. Images look crisp and clear, but without the artificial look of over-sharpening effects. The camera showed some sharpness-enhancement effects on contrast lines, but over- and undershot effects are at a very low level. The reproduction of fine details, like the model’s hair, is very clean and crisp without moiré or aliasing effects.
Noise: The Nikon D5500 performed well in our noise tests. The luminance noise level keeps way below 1.0 percent in images taken with ISO 100 to 1600. The 1.0 percent line is crossed in ISO 6400 mode, which still creates very clean looking images, but overshadows the combination of colour noise and anti-noise filtering. The highest ISO mode 25600 shows clearly noticeable colour-noise artifacts and a little reduced image details (reduced and smoothened by the filtering).
The dynamic range results are very good. The camera achieved a maximum of 11.6 f-stops and keeps this a very high dynamic range level between ISO 100 and ISO 1600. Beginning with ISO 3200, the dynamic range drops significantly in higher-ISO speed settings. With 9.62 f-stops in ISO 25600 mode, it still achieves a high level for a camera with APS-C-sized sensor.
Comments on Handling
The new Nikon D5500 looks familiar. The 24-MP camera has gotten a little smaller and lighter than its forerunner, the D5300, but the differences are marginal (D5300: 125 x 98 x 76 mm, 530 g/D5500: 124 x 97 x 70 mm; 470 g). The camera has the same image processor as the D5300 (“Expeed 4”), but now offers a slightly higher ISO speed setting. While the D5300 worked with ISO 100 to 12800 and an additional high mode of ISO 25600, the D5500 offers ISO 100 to 25600 as a standard. Noise results in our tests were a little better than the results of the D5300.
The D5500 has an optical SLR viewfinder system. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 95 percent, which is a little uncomfortable because you won’t see exactly what’s on the captured image and a discrepancy of 5 percent is really distracting. To get a 100-percent field of view, you have to use the electronic live preview on the LCD screen. To toggle between optical and electronic viewfinder, the camera has a large “LV” hand gear/lever beside the mode dial on the top that can be reached very easily and comfortably. In addition, the camera has an eye sensor near its eyepiece, which will deactivate the menu when the photographer looks through the optical viewfinder.
The swivel monitor is very helpful in many photographic situations. Maybe the smaller body size and the lighter weight are also a result of a missing function. While the D5300 offered an integrated GPS system, the D5500 now has a GPS module, but is able to receive GPS/geotagging data with Nikon’s optional GPS GP-1/GP-1A adapter.
The camera uses Nikon’s “Multi-CAM 4800DX” AF system with 39 focus areas, including 9 cross-type sensors. It worked very fast in our tests and keeps up with the continuous shooting mode with a maximum of 5 frames per second. Camera start-up time is a little longer than the start-up times of professional SLRs, but overall performance of the D5500 is very good.
+ compact SLR design (a little lighter and smaller than the D5300)
+ very good resolution results
+ easy handling for beginners (scene modes, digital effects)
+ a lot of individual settings
+ fully articulated swivel LCD
+ very good video-recording capabilities
– missing GPS system (the forerunner D5300 has an integrated GPS system)
This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.
|SPEC SHEET: Nikon D5500|
|BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:|
|Resolution:||6000 x 4000|
|Colour depth (in bits)||42|
|Size of sensor (in Inches)||0/0.00|
|Size of sensor (in mm)||23.5 x 15.6|
|Focal length (wide angle; 35-mm equivalent; in mm)||27|
|Focal length (tele; 35-mm equivalent; KB in mm)||83|
|Focal length (wide angle; real; in mm)||18.0|
|Focal length (tele; real; KB in mm)||55.0|
|Speed||3.5 – 5.6|
|Macro||28 – 100|
|Manual focus, controlled by function elements||no|
|Manual focus, controlled with lens ring||yes|
|Startup time (in sec)||0.50|
|Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing||0.21|
|Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing||0.01|
|Continuous shooting speed (frames per second)||5.0|
|Max. burst during continuous shooting speed||999.0|
|Fastest shutter speed (in sec)||1/4000|
|Long time exposure/shutter speed (in sec)||30|
|Aperture presetting, shutter-speed presetting, manual-exposure settings,|
|automatic bracketing, time-lapse photography|
|Individual white balance||yes|
|Manual ISO control||yes|
|On, off, automatic, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear-curtain sync|
|Standard file formats||JPEG, RAW, DCF|
|JPEG compression grades||3|
|LCD AND PREVIEW:|
|Size (in inches)||3.2|
|Resolution of LCD (in pixels)||1037000|
|Zoom mode during preview||yes|
|Index during preview||yes|
|Slideshow during preview||yes|
|Battery charger included||yes|
|Power supply unit||no|
|Supported memory cards||SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card|
|PC connection||USB 2.0, HDMI, WLAN|
|TV out||PAL/NTSC + HDMI|
|Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm)||124 x 97 x 70|
|Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g)||470|
|Manual on CD||yes|