Test Review: The Nikon D5500

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March 24, 2015 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in Gear & Reviews, News & Events, Review by  •  0 Comments

 

The Nikon D5500

The Nikon D5500

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.

The reproduction of the standard test scene is neutral coloured and very crisp. Differentiation of colours (even the oversaturated blue nuances) of the coloured spools in the upper right is excellent.

The reproduction of the standard test scene is neutral coloured and very crisp. Differentiation of colours (even the oversaturated blue nuances) of the coloured spools in the upper right is excellent.

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.

The white-balance system caused a shift of the brightest tones (white background) into the green direction. Because of this effect, the skin tones also have a slight greenish look, while the skin tones in the colour chart were reproduced very precisely. The model shot shows clear details, and the same scene shot in raw format (with studio flash system) is even a littler sharper.

The white-balance system caused a shift of the brightest tones (white background) into the green direction. Because of this effect, the skin tones also have a slight greenish look, while the skin tones in the colour chart were reproduced very precisely. The model shot shows clear details, and the same scene shot in Raw format (with studio flash system) is even a littler sharper.

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.

The Nikon D5500 is an entry- or midrange-level camera and has no status LCD on the top. For image and exposure information, the photographer has to use the LCD screen on the back. A mode dial on the right-hand side allows one to set up exposure modes and special image effects. The “LV” switch beside the mode wheel activates the live preview on the LCD screen.

The Nikon D5500 is an entry- or midrange-level camera and has no status LCD on the top. For image and exposure information, the photographer has to use the LCD screen on the back. A mode dial on the right-hand side allows one to set up exposure modes and special image effects. The “LV” switch beside the mode wheel activates the live preview on the LCD screen.


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 is available with a kit lens, AF-S DX NIKKOR 18–105 mm 1:3.5–5.6G ED VR, which is shown here. All of our test shots were done with the AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 60 mm 1:2.8G ED. The camera offers a USB/TV combi interface, a microphone jack and Nikon's remote control interface on the left-hand side of the body. The HDMI interface and the SD card slot are located on the right-hand side of the body.

The D5500 is available with a kit lens, AF-S DX NIKKOR 18–105 mm 1:3.5–5.6G ED VR, which is shown here. All of our test shots were done with the AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 60 mm 1:2.8G ED. The camera offers a USB/TV combi interface, a microphone jack and Nikon’s remote control interface on the left-hand side of the body. The HDMI interface and the SD card slot are located on the right-hand side of the body.

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 new camera has a fully articulated LCD monitor, which is helpful. The monitor can be rotated to the front. The swivel-joint on the left-hand side of the camera body makes it easy to mount the camera on a tripod while using the electronic viewfinder on the screen.

The new camera has a fully articulated LCD monitor, which is helpful. The monitor can be rotated to the front. The swivel-joint on the left-hand side of the camera body makes it easy to mount the camera on a tripod while using the electronic viewfinder on the screen.

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.

The Nikon D5500 has a 3.2-inch LCD (8.1 cm) with a resolution of 1037000 RGB dots. An 8-way control field is used for menu navigation.

The Nikon D5500 has a 3.2-inch LCD (8.1 cm) with a resolution of 1037000 RGB dots. An 8-way control field is used for menu navigation.

Pros
+ 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

Cons
– 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
Resolution Sensor 24.2
Colour depth (in bits) 42
Size of sensor (in Inches) 0/0.00
Size of sensor (in mm) 23.5 x 15.6
LENSES:
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
TAKING PICTURES:
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
Self timer yes
Exposure Settings:
Aperture presetting, shutter-speed presetting, manual-exposure settings,
automatic bracketing, time-lapse photography
Exposure programs 16
White balance:
Auto yes
White-balance settings 6
Individual white balance yes
ISO:
ISO min 100
ISO max 25600
ISO steps 25
Manual ISO control yes
FLASH:
Integrated flash yes
Flash Mode:
On, off, automatic, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear-curtain sync
External Flash:
X-sync no
Accessory shoe yes
FILE FORMATS:
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
VIDEO:
Video available yes
Max. width 1920
Max. height 1080
Picture frequency 60
POWER SOURCE:
Rechargeable battery yes
Battery type Li-Ion
Battery charger included yes
Power connector no
Power supply unit no
STORAGE SYSTEM:
Supported memory cards SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card
PC-CONNECTION:
PC connection USB 2.0, HDMI, WLAN
TV out PAL/NTSC + HDMI
DIMENSIONS:
Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm) 124 x 97 x 70
Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g) 470
ACCESSORIES:
Docking station no
Printed manual yes
Manual on CD yes
Bag no
Remote control no
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