You’re here because you want a new camera. Whether it’s to upgrade from your current point-and-shoot camera or it is time to find a new camera because your current device came straight out of the stone age.
It doesn’t matter why you just need answers and we’re here to give them to you. Nikon has a delightful range of cameras for entry-level users that will take care of most of your needs. These cameras aim to introduce you to the world of photography. They’re all great, but the question is: which one is the best?
Table of Contets
- 1 1. Nikon D5300 vs. D5500: Features
- 2 2. Build and Handling
- 3 3. Auto Setting and Autofocus System
- 4 3. Sensor and Processor
- 5 4. Image Quality
- 6 5. Technical Information
- 7 6. Wifi Connectivity
- 8 7. Nikon D5300 vs D5500: Pros & Cons
- 9 Nikon D5300 vs D5500: Verdict
1. Nikon D5300 vs. D5500: Features
The D5300 produces vibrant images and dazzling 1080p Full HD videos. When you use the Live View function, the full-time autofocus keeps on your subject and makes sure that the image is sharp. The built-in stereo microphone ensures that your videos have high-quality sound. The camera also features great metering and onboard intelligence, which allows you to focus on the composition of your shots. Nikon also boasts an outstanding Scene Recognition System that analyzes the situation you’re shooting in and compares it to an onboard database that has thousands of scenes. The system then quickly decides the best auto exposure, i-TTL flash exposure, white balance, and autofocus settings. This is the camera you want during those moments when life happens.
The differences between the D5500 and the D5300 aren’t immediately obvious. The D5300 has incredible image quality, a flip-out LCD, and feature set. But the D5500 has a more compact body with a faster processor, better grip, touch-enabled LCD, and built-in Wi-Fi.
Both cameras have great features that set them apart, but to fully understand what they’re capable of, we have to take a more detailed look at their most prominent features.
2. Build and Handling
Entry-level users will feel comfortable with the camera’s build and controls. It looks almost like its predecessor with a few key changes. The camera has a slightly larger screen on the back of the camera, and the controls are about the same. It has a reasonable, if unremarkable, set of external controls. The camera offers a fully articulated 3.2″ LCD screen that is great for live view and movie shooting. The 4-way controller that can be found at the back is used to move the active focus point between the 39 options in the viewfinder.
Unfortunately, the D5300 doesn’t have the same touchscreen capabilities that Nikon’s competitors offer. Even though it has a plastic body, the D5300 doesn’t feel cheap and is quite solid. The D5300 has a variety of connectors, such as the usual HDMI and USB/AV out, and a stereo microphone input for movie recording. It also features a multi-function port that can take both Nikon’s optional GP-1 GPS unit (this might feel unnecessary since the camera has built-in GPS) and the MC-DC2 electronic cable release.
You can choose to display the microphone levels on the screen in movie mode but if you need a headphone jack then you’ll need a different model.
The Nikon D5500 is one of the most compact DSLR’s on the market, and you could the D5500 into a small bag if you use a compact lens. Like the D5300 the D5500 is as light as a feather and doesn’t feel cheap. The front of the camera has a dedicated AF-assist lamp and an IR receiver.
You can find the find the HDMI jack and SD card slot on the right side, while the rest of the I/O ports are on the left side. You’ll find a 3.2″ fully articulating touchscreen LCD, decent-sized optical viewfinder, and a bunch of buttons at the back of the camera. Many users will love the compact body, but to save space the manufacturers created tiny buttons so it can be hard to tell which one is which. The left side also houses the microphone, the hot shoe, and the stereo mics.
As usual, the mode dial has the manual exposure controls, and the scene and special effects modes. The switch for live view is right below that. Thankfully, the build is fairly simple and it shouldn’t take you too long to figure out what the camera is capable of. You’ll get the hang of all those controls in no time.
3. Auto Setting and Autofocus System
The D5300 and D5500 share a similar Auto setting. The Auto setting changes the minimum shutter speed with relation to the current focal length, which means that it’s perfect for avoiding camera shake with a zoom lens. If you can keep the camera steady at the shutter speeds that ‘Auto’ uses, then you could adjust its behavior to keep faster or slower shutter speeds than the default.
This gives you enough control over the behavior of Auto ISO. But if you turn Auto ISO on and off, or adjust the finer settings, then you have to navigate to the menu item in the second tab of the main menu instead of having ‘Auto’ as a selectable setting by way of the Fn button or through the control panel.
Both feature a Nikon Multi-CAM 4800DX autofocus sensor module, 39 phase-detection focus points (9 are the more accurate cross-type sensors) and both cameras can keep up with most fast-moving subjects. Although both cameras are similar, Nikon says that the D5500 has an improved full-time autofocus for video recording.
3. Sensor and Processor
Both cameras boast Nikon’s Expeed 4 image processor which also features in Nikon’s more high-end cameras. This processor keeps the camera works well and delivers high-quality images in all sorts of lighting conditions. The cameras also have APS-C CMOS sensors that are bigger than the ones in most mirrorless cameras, which means that their image-quality is unrivaled. As you can see, there isn’t much difference between the cameras when you look inside. Most differences can be found in different features and on the exterior.
4. Image Quality
Unlike its predecessor, the D5300 doesn’t have an anti-aliasing filter. The sensor resolutions have advanced enough to accurately sample high levels of detail, which means that the frequencies which could’ve caused moiré interference patterns are too high and most lenses can’t resolve them. This means that the lens has the same effects as the expensive optical low-pass filter that was traditionally used. The D5300 allows you to apply distortion correction to JPEG images.
You can find this option in the shooting menu. The D5300 inherits Nikon’s traditional automatic (lateral) chromatic aberration correction, which is a very useful feature that many Nikon cameras have benefited from.
If you consider the class of camera that the D5500 falls under, its 39-point autofocus is a good feature. The generous allocation allows you to easily line up a focus point with the subject instead of having to do it the other way around. The camera also enables subject tracking, which is something that Nikon’s rivals can’t say. You can choose 3D Tracking so that when you press the shutter button the active autofocus point will follow the subject around the frame. Although it does well when capturing moving subjects, the D5500’s continuous performance isn’t as distinguished.
The camera managed 5fps for 21 frames before slowing to 2.5fps for JPEGs. On the bright side, when you enable Auto Distortion Control in the menu, it won’t take a toll on continuous performance. The D5500 got up to six frames at 4fps before slowing to 1.1fps when the RAW capture was tested. You can get the camera to perform better when you switch from 14-bit to 12-bit RAW files at 5fps for nine frames, slowing to 1.4fps. This is typical for an SLR at this price.
The Nikon D5500’s performance isn’t much higher than the D5300’s. As we mentioned earlier, the cameras share the same type of processor, so both cameras offer you a burst performance of 5fps. This means that the cameras are n’t action DSLRs, but their speed should be alright for the occasional action shot if your expectations aren’t too high.
That being said, the Nikon D5500 does produce noteworthy stills, especially when you team it up with the right lens. Even at the lowest ISO settings, you can get about 3400l/ph detail and 12.3EV dynamic range.
The camera’s performance is strong up to ISO 1600, and it works well at ISO 3200. When you go above these, you’ll see a significant loss of detail and shadow detail. The D5500 has an ISO sensitivity range of 100-25,600, while the D5300’s top sensitivity (25,600) is not recommended in ‘extended’ mode. This means that Nikon has done some serious work to its noise reduction algorithms. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you should get comfortable with using the very top ISO settings.
The D5500’s shots have excellent color tone. Since the camera takes great JPEGs, you won’t be forced to rely on post-processing to get good results. A good tip is to turn on Active D-Lighting if you want to get the best results. The effect plays with shadow level and contrast which provides a great dynamic range.
5. Technical Information
The D5300 allows burst shooting in two speeds: High and Low. You can get continuous focus in either mode, but it will lower the frame rate while the camera pauses to adjust focus. The most notable absence is the lack of a touchscreen. This is not a crucial flaw, but the D5300’s rivals were already offering touchscreens at this point. It is also a shame since a touch screen allows fuller access to settings.
The D5300 features the same Auto ISO configuration options as its predecessor, which were already brought over from Nikon’s more high-end DSLRs, which made it the most sophisticated Auto ISO system in its class.
The D5500 is an intelligent camera that makes taking great photos and videos a pleasant experience. The Scene Recognition System uses information from the camera’s 2,016-pixel RGB sensor and image sensor to analyze brightness and color. The system then immediately contrasts your shots to a database of thousands of similar shots to optimize the camera settings, like the white balance to make sure that you get the best shot possible.
You can choose one of the D5500’s 16 Scene Modes to get great results even in difficult situations. You could also choose to be creative and use the Scene Modes to add a little personality to your shots. The D5500 allows you more control over your shots thanks to its seven improved Picture Controls. These controls let you control color depth and more.The D5500 is the first Nikon DSLR that features a touchscreen. The Vari-angle LCD allows you to explore new shooting possibilities and is much easier to handle.
The camera also has a new Fn button which gives you easy access to important settings. During playback, pinch to zoom in and check the details. The screen makes navigating menu items and adjusting settings as easy as using your phone.
6. Wifi Connectivity
The D5300 was the first Nikon DSLR to feature built-in wifi. Many users felt that this feature was long overdue, but once it was installed in Nikon’s cameras, users were overjoyed to see how simple the process is. To get started, all you have to do is download Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app for your device. Once that’s been installed, you can start the connection process by selecting wifi in the ‘Settings’ menu on the camera and turning the network connection on.
When the camera screen shows a ‘Waiting for connection’ message on the screen, then you need to look for the network in your mobile device’s wifi settings. When you’re good to go, then you open the app and you’re ready to go. The connection is signaled by a remote icon in the left corner of the app home screen. It is very easy to use the wifi once this process has been finished.
The D5500 has the same process and there isn’t much of a difference between the two cameras in this regard. Connecting to wifi is smooth sailing and Nikon went out of its way to make this a simple process for their users.
7. Nikon D5300 vs D5500: Pros & Cons
Now that we have looked at some of the most important features that these two cameras have to offer, it is time to compare their strengths and weaknesses. After this, you should have a good idea of what you can and can’t live without. You might even have a good idea of which camera you’d like to own.
Nikon D5300 Pros:
- With built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
- Incredible image quality
- Efficient ergonomics
- Light and easy to transport
- Inefficient remote shooting
- Various features take their toll on battery life
- The location tagging system relies heavily on a strong signal that can be blocked by buildings
What do other users think of this camera? For starters, they love the simplicity of the camera. It has a homely feel to it and it is a very comfortable camera to use. The design is user-friendly and you won’t feel lost when using the camera for the first few times. Nikon developed this range of DSLRs to appeal to all sorts of photographers. Beginners will love the simplicity and experts will be impressed by the image quality. Many users do wish that this camera was a little more high tech, but considering what you get from the D5300, it is a decent camera.
Nikon D5500 Pros:
- Impressive battery life
- A user-friendly touchscreen that enhances the experience
- Helpful features
- Great image quality
- Uncomfortably tiny buttons
- Awkward menu system
- The self-timer switches off after every shot
- Live view autofocus is slow
If you approach the D5500 with the right expectations, then you will be impressed by all that it has to offer. The camera features a few key upgrades from its predecessor and the image quality for this type of camera is impressive. That being said, a few users have complained about various technical issues. These issues include bugs in the software, awkward functions and a few interesting consequences, such as the self-timer switching itself off after every shot. These are minor issues, but they can be very annoying. It is important to keep a clear view of the camera and appreciate it for everything that it can do despite the fact that it’s technically a camera for beginners.
Nikon D5300 vs D5500: Verdict
The time has come to choose which of these cameras is the true winner. After looking at all the information, you might already have a clear winner in mind. As the photographer, you’re going to have to live with the choice that you make. If you’re happy with your choice, then your mission is accomplished. Go out and take beautiful pictures, it’s what you came here to do. On the other hand, it’s our solemn duty to choose a winner from the evidence that we’ve gathered.
In some ways, the D5300 falls behind the competition. Live view implementation and screen interfaces can be awkward to find while finding a few important settings like Auto ISO On/Off requires exploration and a map.
That being said, the D5300 offers 1080/60p video and built-in Wi-Fi, when many other cameras in the same class can’t compete in those categories. DSLRs tend to be heavier than other types of cameras which can be a bit of a surprise if you aren’t used to using this type of camera. The D5300 offers an impressive array of features and wonderful picture quality.
The D5500 might not be the most remarkable camera on the market or in its class, but it is a solid camera that does what needs to be done. It has excellent handling and general shooting is a pleasure. There aren’t any technological advancements, but it will perform as advertised, which is more than can be said about many cameras on the market.
Both cameras have admirable qualities and a few drawbacks that are worth looking into, but which one is the clear winner? That answer is up to you, but in our opinion, we believe that the D5300 stands out. While it is true that the D5500 has a few more advanced features, the clunky design takes away from all that. The buttons are confusing and the menu system could be organized a little better.
Nikon D5300 and D5500 are two popular, well-built and quality cameras. If you’re looking for a good device, you must choose between these two.
The D5300 and the D5500 are similar, so you can get almost the same benefits from the D5300 without needing to deal with the upgrade’s issues. The D5300 has also been on the market for longer and has a more reliable reputation. As we mentioned before, the final choice is yours, and all we can do is give our opinion. Be sure to choose the camera that you feel will be the best and use it to capture life’s most precious memories.