Price: $970 with 18-55mm lens [street price]
Smallish and competent
THE LOW-DOWN: This 24mp digital single lens reflex seems designed to go head to head with compact system cameras. It has a fully articulated, high resolution, touch sensitive LCD, allowing for touch-navigation of menus, touch-focus-fire function and pinch, expand and swipe by finger in review. The WiFi connection now works with a smartphone app to give remote control of some functions when the camera is in live view. The D5500 is small and light, but still larger than some compact system cameras. The usual Nikon auto-focus system with its 3D tracking ability makes focussing a breeze.
LIKE: The image processing is notable for its wide dynamic range. A couple of hundred test photos taken in harsh afternoon light show fine shadow/highlight detail preservation. (See samples here) All the essentials – exposure, focus, colour and tone are handled well, giving consistently good results.
DISLIKE: So-called “live view” continues to be a pain in the posterior. It is clunky to access, sludgy in operation and disables the eye-level viewfinder. It still feels like interim technology needing further development.
VERDICT: The challenge that Nikon and Canon face with their entry level DSLRs is that for the same price or less there are superb compact system cameras. The Sony a6000 uses a similar sensor to the Nikon in a smaller body with a more modern control set and it is $100 cheaper. There is no feeling that the Sony has been cut down to a price, whereas with DSLRs there is always the feeling that something has been left out of the cheaper models. The D5500 is a competent camera and it takes lovely photos and, as we always say, it is an entry into a superb system of lenses and accessories.