Nikon D5500 Digital SLR

Last updated date: May 17, 2019

DWYM Score
9.3

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We looked at the top 1 Nikon DSLR Cameras and dug through the reviews from 13 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, Trusted Reviews, Gadget Review, DP Review, Tech Radar, Photography Blog, Lifewire, Imaging Resource, Tom's Guide, CNET, Tech Spot, Lead Rating, Camera Labs and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Nikon DSLR Camera you should buy.

Overall Take

This lightweight DSLR is easy to use. It offers excellent performance for a good value. Its 24 Megapixel APSC sensor allows it to take sharp, clear photos, even in low light. Plus, the updated design includes a comfortable, deeper grip. In our analysis of 91 expert reviews, the Nikon Nikon D5500 Digital SLR placed 2nd when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 22, 2019:
Checkout The Best Nikon DSLR Camera for a detailed review of all the top nikon dslr cameras.

Expert Summarized Score
8.9
13 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.1
542 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Excellent touch screen makes navigating menus and setting camera modes easy. Easy to use, but offers lots of features to explore. Lightweight but rugged, and takes sharp, clean photos even in very low light.
- BestReviews
It’s smaller and lighter than the D5300, but the design changes aren’t really about miniaturising this camera. The D5500 has a much deeper grip than previous Nikon cameras, giving you a more comfortable, firmer hold.
- Trusted Reviews
November 11, 2016 | Full review
The Nikon D5500 is a DSLR camera that’s very easy to fall in love with, as it has quite a few average and above average features versus other models in its price range. It’s extremely easy to use too.
- Gadget Review
September 27, 2018 | Full review
Anyone seeking a lightweight, portable DSLR that can serve both point-and-shoot and advanced users. Videophiles who will appreciate a touch LCD and broad feature set.
- DP Review
January 16, 2015 | Full review
The biggest difference to be found here is that the screen is now touch sensitive. Along with the screen, there's an optical viewfinder which offers 95% coverage.
- Tech Radar
February 23, 2015 | Full review
The D5500 is once again slightly smaller and lighter than the D5300, sporting a new monocoque design that makes the camera one of Nikon’s lightest DSLRs. The right-hand grip is very deep given the overall size of the camera, and therefore comfortable for photographers with large hands and/or longish fingers, and there's also a handy rubberised thumb rest on the back of the body.
- Photography Blog
February 11, 2015 | Full review
Battery lifespan is another positive aspect of the Nikon D5500, which can give you 600 or more photos per charge if you primarily use the viewfinder to frame photos and don't use the Wi-Fi connectivity option. If you're using the D5500 with Live View mode activated for quite a few of your photos, you can expect a battery performance of 250 to 300 photos per charge.
- Lifewire
August 5, 2018 | Full review
Amazingly small for a DSLR; Great image quality for its class, including superb low light and high ISO performance; Generous JPEG buffer depth; High resolution.
- Imaging Resource
January 27, 2017 | Full review
Like its predecessor, the D5500 offers a number of special effects, including Toy Camera (pictured below, along with the same photo without the special effect), Miniature Effect and Selective Color, among others. Nikon has added three new effects in the D5500: Super Vivid, POP and Photo Illustration.
- Tom's Guide
April 14, 2015 | Full review
The Nikon D5500 delivers excellent photo quality as well as a performance that can keep up with your kids and pets.
- CNET
May 28, 2015 | Full review
The Nikon D5500 D-SLR delivers images that are just as good as the D5300 it replaces, and manages to do so in a smaller body.
- Tech Spot
Nikon D5500 and D5600 support HDMI Out, which means, you can view the images you click on a monitor or larger screen, so you can better appreciate the work that has gone into it. At the same time, it can also help with an understanding of what aspects you got right and where you went wrong. This helps to increase your ability as a photographer.
- Lead Rating
September 26, 2018 | Full review
The body’s also a little smaller and lighter than before, but otherwise the specs remain the same as the D5300 with a 24 Megapixel APSC sensor (without a low pass filter), 5fps continuous shooting, 39-point AF system, 1080 / 50p / 60p video and built-in Wifi.
- Camera Labs
March 29, 2015 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Like many Nikon cameras, the wireless features get mixed reviews, leaving some users frustrated.
- BestReviews
However, Nikon has actually cut out the other connectivity staple, GPS. The Nikon D5300 has GPS, but this more expensive model doesn’t. Disappointing? Yes, especially as the GP-1A GPS module accessory costs £189
- Trusted Reviews
November 11, 2016 | Full review
Perhaps the biggest problem you’re going to encounter with the D5500 is that it doesn’t offer a lot of image quality improvements over what its predecessor, the D5300, provides.
- Gadget Review
September 27, 2018 | Full review
Not so good for: Those who frequently shoot bursts of Raw images, want full control from their smartphone, or prefer twin dial operation.
- DP Review
January 16, 2015 | Full review
This camera is expensive compared to D5300, slow focusing in live view.
- Tech Radar
February 23, 2015 | Full review
The D5500 is the latest Nikon DSLR to offer built-in wi-fi, but it no longer offers GPS connectivity
- Photography Blog
February 11, 2015 | Full review
The autofocus system is strong with the Nikon D5500, offering good accuracy with a 39-point AF system. However, the AF system also provides a potential drawback for this model, as it sometimes works a little too slowly, which may result in you missing a spontaneous photo. More advanced DSLR cameras tend to have faster autofocus performance than the Nikon D5500 has.
- Lifewire
August 5, 2018 | Full review
Buffer depths are shallow when shooting RAW; Lacks GPS from the predecessor; No AA filter means it's susceptible to aliasing artifacts.
- Imaging Resource
January 27, 2017 | Full review
The live-view (on-screen preview) mode’s contrast-detect autofocus is fairly slow; I could see and hear the lens moving in and out while I was trying to acquire focus. Tapping the touch screen to focus seems to be a hair faster than pressing the shutter button halfway, but you’d be hard-pressed to focus on a moving subject in live view.
- Tom's Guide
April 14, 2015 | Full review
The redesigned grip may not be comfortable for people with large hands, and Nikon really needs to update its Wi-Fi app.
- CNET
May 28, 2015 | Full review
Smaller body means controls are somewhat cramped. This lacks in manual control buttons. Removal of GPS
- Tech Spot
These cameras are not your all-weather cameras because they do not come with the necessary environmental sealing that will protect it against all weather conditions. So, it is not always the best choice for taking pictures in poor weather conditions like rain or snow.
- Lead Rating
September 26, 2018 | Full review
In Live View using the kit zoom, you’re looking at between one and two seconds to lock-onto a target, so long as it has sufficient contrast; sometimes it can struggle to focus at all. Obviously the refocusing period is way too slow to support any kind of useful tracking of a subject in motion.
- Camera Labs
March 29, 2015 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

The Nikon D5500 is a compact DSLR capable of inspiring a new level of creativity. From the moment you flip the touchscreen Vari-angle display and capture an ultra-sharp 24.2-megapixel photo, you'll begin to see your photography in a new light. At the flick of a switch, the D5500 transforms into a versatile Full HD video camera. Record 1080 video at a high speed frame rate of 60p. Break free of the ordinary with star trail images, interval-timer sequences and HDR photography. Add artistic filters and effects and even retouch your shots right in the camera, and then share your creations instantly with built-in Wi-Fi. This outfit also comes with the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II DX AF-S Zoom-Nikkor Lens.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Nikon D850 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 9
2. Nikon D5500 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 13
3. Nikon D7200 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 8
4. Nikon D3400 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 11
5. Nikon D750 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 9
6. Nikon D3300 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 9
7. Nikon D5300 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 6
8. Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera With WiFi
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 6
9. Nikon D3200 Digital SLR
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 7

An Overview On Nikon DSLR Cameras

It wasn’t too long ago that powerful cameras were prohibitively expensive and limited to professionals. The times and technology have certainly changed. Now, families tote DSLR cameras around on trips to the playground, and many consider them a travel necessity.

It makes sense, as companies like Nikon have honed professional-level technology so that beginners and aspiring photographers alike can take stunning photographs every day. Having a high-quality camera, like a Nikon DSLR, will make a significant difference in the photos that you take, no matter how incredible you might think the built-in camera on your phone is.

DSLR cameras were made to capture impressive scenes, minute details and everything in between. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex camera and was designed to mimic its predecessor, the single-lens reflex film camera. As such, the DSLR cameras have similar design features. The camera body is equipped with a viewfinder and a reflex mirror and connects with an interchangeable-lens system.

DSLR cameras come in a wide range of prices and features. If you want to take the most beautiful photographs, they are unparalleled in image-capturing technology. They boast the highest image quality, speed and user-friendly design. Similarly, they can match basically any type of photography you can dream up. A DSLR camera is generally the first step toward serious photography for many people. While there are reasonably priced models, any DSLR camera purchase will be an investment. As such, it’s important to understand the DSLR cameras available so you can select one that best fits your personal needs.

Nikon DSLRs are among the wide array of digital cameras available on the market today. Canon and Sony are competitive camera manufacturers. There are models suitable for beginners, professional photographers and everyone in between. DSLRs are the leading camera technology available today, and Nikon is often the camera of choice for professional photographers.

Unlike basic digital cameras, when buying a DSLR camera, you’ll likely purchase at least two parts. These two main components are the body and the lens. Generally, these pieces are sold separately, and there are specific lens options for each camera body. For beginners, you can purchase a kit that includes the body and one or more lenses as a package. Generally, these lenses are lower performance than those sold individually. The DSLR camera body contains a mirror that reflects the light onto an optical viewfinder that displays the image viewed through the lens.

It is with various lenses, not camera bodies, that you will notice the biggest difference in photos and capabilities. As such, one of the most important characteristics to think about is the system of lenses compatible with each camera body. While you may begin with one or two lenses, you will likely invest in more over time as your photography grows. Each camera body connects with a different system of lenses.

Even though Nikon is well-known as a top camera choice for professional photographers, there are plenty of beginner-friendly Nikon DSLR cameras too. These cameras, like the Nikon D3400 and D5500, are especially appealing because they have reasonable starting price points (around $300 and up). They also have helpful automatic photography settings. That means you will have high image quality but less control over the camera settings. As such, these are aimed at beginners and could be frustrating for more advanced photographers. Armed with a variety of preset effects, you can rely on these and gradually learn how to handle a DSLR camera.

The value pick, the Nikon D3400, is an excellent first DSLR camera for beginners and costs around $400. It delivers solid image quality and shutter speed for its class at a good value. That means it is fast enough to capture kids and pets. For a step up in performance without a significant price increase, the D5500 offers upgrades across the board. At around $600, this camera is one of the lightest Nikon DSLR cameras and features a more comfortable grip.

If you’re familiar with photography and want a bit more control and range in a Nikon DSLR, you may be ready for a higher priced and higher performance intermediate category camera. There are many intermediate options for aspiring photographers as well as professionals. If you’re looking for innovative technology, this is an exciting category.

For example, the Nikon D7200 costs around $700 and offers upgraded features, such as the 51-point autofocus system and native range of ISO100-25,600.

The top pick Nikon D850 DSLR camera boasts many impressive features. It shoots up to 45.7 megapixels resolution, one of the highest resolutions on the market today. It also has an upgraded 153-point autofocus system, advanced 181,000-pixel RGB metering system and 7 frames per second continuous shooting speed. By design, this camera outperforms others in low-light. Overall, it’s a powerful, professional camera that commands an equivalent price tag.

Within Nikon’s range of DSLRs, there’s a camera and a price point that’s perfect for every photography skill level. As the company innovates, the cameras are constantly improving, boasting more features and improved image quality at ever more reasonable prices.

DYWM Fun Fact

Digital cameras seem like they’re everywhere these days. Before Steve Sasson at Eastman Kodak built the very first digital camera, there weren’t any hanging from tourists necks. The first digital camera was very low quality, at only .01 megapixel and weighing eight pounds.

Nikon’s first DSLR camera debuted in 1999 with the D1. It was the beginning of multiple generations of constantly improving DSLR cameras. Now, Nikon has progressed into the D7000s, as well as offering Z series mirrorless and full-frame DSLR options.

Today’s most impressive DSLR cameras, like the Nikon D850, can capture images with as many as 45.7 megapixels. These files can be blown up to 20-inch by 30-inch poster size and maintain a crisp, clear image.

The Nikon DSLR Camera Buying Guide

  • Entry-level DSLR cameras generally incorporate an APS-C-sized sensor and polycarbonate construction. These two components help make them compact and lightweight. However, those new to DSLRs will notice they are heavier and more unwieldy than standard point and shoot.
  • Beginners should look for features like guide modes when buying their first DSLR. These entry-level DSLR cameras help teach new photographers about the controls and settings with the ultimate goal of understanding exactly how to produce specific types of imagery in mind.
  • DSLR cameras tend to have superb battery life because the optical viewfinder uses minimal power. Depending on the length of time you’re shooting, DSLR cameras can take thousands of photos on a single battery charge
  • DSLR cameras can range from around $200 on the low end to $1,000 and up for the high-end cameras professionals rely on. Nikon DSLR prices tend to be a bit higher than competitors because each level of camera includes enhanced performance features.
  • Be careful when changing lenses to not touch the mirror or sensor or get dust on the inner components. If anything does get on the sensor, some cameras include an auto-clean mode, or you can use specialty cloths to clean.
  • Some DSLRs have more rugged weather sealing. However, most require a separate housing to be waterproof and weatherproof. You should be careful in adverse weather conditions or wet or dusty areas to protect the sensitive camera.