I have had my Nikon D5500 DSLR for about six months now. It was an upgrade from a Nikon D3200 DSLR that I had for about 2 years. Let me start off by saying that I have found the D5500 to be a very good camera and certainly a good value for the money. In addition to the camera body I bought the new style kit lens that is 18-55mm.
I also have a Nikon 35mm f1.8 and a 55-200mm zoom. The zoom has vibration reduction and the prime lens does not. I was able to sell my two year old D3200 on line at a good price.
The D5500 is like the super deluxe version of the 3200. The sensors of the two cameras have the same pixel count. I have mostly taken stills with this camera but it works quite well for videos too. The video portion of the 5500 has stereo microphones which is an advantage over the 3200. I take more videos with my cell phone than the 5500, but find the results from the Nikon to be better. The Nikon lenses are able to isolate the subject much better than the cell phone. I shoot all my videos at 1080p. I usually use the setting for about 24-30 fps.
The touch screen of the Nikon D5500 is a great feature. It is much quicker and easier to use than the older style adjustments of the 3200. I find the Nikon settings to be very easy to figure out. Usually they have explanations to help you. This camera has taken the scene settings off of the top wheels and into the touch screen menu. There is a wide selection of scene settings and they seem to be quite effective. ISO settings are now easy to adjust with the touch screen. But for some reason Nikon put the control for applying auto ISO deep in the menus. There is also a button now for control of single or multiple shots where you can get to it quickly.
The D5500 has very good color rendition. I find this to be the case on either landscapes or people shots. Many of the shots I took this summer using a scene from the menu needed little to no adjustment in post. I did use the raw settings some of the time, but the D5500 jpeg software does a very good job. Unless you like to twiddle with the pictures a lot I don’t think you need to stay away from just the standard jpeg settings. The exception to this is very detailed landscape shots. I still shot most of those in raw so all of the possible detail would be in the photos.
The picture above was a medium jpeg setting and this is how it came out of the camera.
Why I chose to get the D5500. As I have mentioned in other posts I like well built cameras that take good pictures and the camera itself has good style. I especially like the look and size of my Olympus OM2n cameras who’s size and look were based on the Leica M series. I also have an old Voightlander Prominent from the 1950’s that is the same size as the Olympus with even nicer metal work. The Voightlander is beautiful industrial design. In my opinion.
So when I went to look at cameras I went to a camera store in San Diego that had the Nikon D5500, Nikon D750, Fuji XT1, and Olympus OMD – Em5 II. The Olympus OMD was the best looking of the four cameras. However, it weighed as much as the larger Nikon 5500 and would have cost me double what the I paid for the Nikon. Keep in mind I already have two Nikon lenses. And the kicker with the Oly is the small sensor. It is significantly smaller than the 5500 and has less mega pixels. And then there is no optical viewfinder. I still like those. The Nikon D750 is a great full frame camera that is like a big brother to the D5500. I would rather have a full frame camera but don’t want to drag around twice the weight of the D5500. The Fuji is a great mirrorless camera, but it costs lots of money to get the body and three lenses. It is mirrorless, so not through the lens optical viewfinder, and it’s looks don’t do anything for me.
So I picked the Nikon D5500. A very capable camera that feels very good in my hand. It is however a lump of black plastic and not in any way a thing of beauty. I am still waiting for that full frame good looking digital camera that is a similar size and appearance to the Leica M or Oly OM2n. That I can afford to buy.