For quite some time, Nikon has been in the stage of economizing on resources. After they have invested all their energy in developing and promoting several very successful models in the last couple of years, survived a few affairs with undocumented flaws and support that was not adequate at certain points, they moved on to a state that can be called strategic silence. The models that Nikon has launched lately can hardly be called revolutionary. Perhaps not even by the evolution of the existing ones, but more revisions. It is absolutely clear that Nikon has adopted the tactics of the chief rival (Canon) and decided to apply it in its own market battle.
In contrast to Canon, which has opted for unpopular tactics of designing new labels for old products due to being unable to technologically confront his rival in the last couple of years as far as the sensor is concerned, Nikon has offered some improvements, in bits and pieces though. The D610 is an extreme example, which caused a certain level of resignation among members of the public, almost equal to the one that occurred because of the problem with oil on the sensor of the D600, as it is literally identical to its predecessor in technical terms, whereas the D5300 did better, not ideally though, since the differences in relation to the D5200 are just symbolic for the majority.
The Nikon D5500 is another offshoot of that policy, at the moment when even Canon came to its senses and decided to considerably slow down the tempo of launching new models, precisely in order not to irritate the public with obviously offering the old technology. There are innovations concerning its specifications, but only that acknowledgement is not enough to declare the product better; all the more so because some innovations are negative, not positive. Fortunately, the sensor was not denied high-end performances. We were sure about that even before laying our hands on the camera for the first time. The maximum attained by Sony APS-C sensors is simply the maximum that the industry can offer at this moment. In this respect, the expectations about the D5500 are great, and there is no doubt that the D5500 will confirm in practice that it is positioned high on the APS-C scale.
The very fact that a lot of characteristics are repeated parrot-like from generation to generation gave us no choice but to simply copy whole sections of the previous review. Although an unpopular step, it is becoming increasingly necessary as the time goes by. If in any case you wondered how we missed the D5400, believe us that you are not the only one, yet the Nikon management think it is wise marketing to skip a number in a series without rhyme or reason. Whether out of superstition or something else, it is not important, but the model is really labeled D5500.
The list of specifications reveals only modest technical improvements, but also some minuses, in relation to the D5300:
Technical characteristics: Nikon D5500 in comparison to D5300
For a period of barely 15 months, as it has been since the D5300 was introduced, the improvements in fact could not be much better. A quite logical question arises here – why insisting on the new model at all?
The sensor is the same, or very slightly improved, the ISO range as well, while the processor, AF sensor, light metering, speed, connectors, video are all the same… What is different? Different is the memory buffer capacity, the battery autonomy, because of a more efficient LCD screen, and – the absence of GPS! What the table cannot display can be felt only by one’s own hands, and that is the ergonomics of the body. Although a jump in the nomenclature from the D5300 to the D5500 suggests that technological differences are much greater, they are in fact very slight. On the other hand, the ergonomic improvement is so great that Nikon would not have made a mistake even if it had labeled the camera D5600. As for the details, we’ll do that later.
The package that we used during the review consisted of a black body (in addition to it, there is also a red version) and the shortest kit lens, AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, and we can see its content in the following image:
Nikon D5500, the content of the package with the AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens
Aside from the body and body cap, the box also includes: an EN-EL14a Li-Ion battery with a protective cap, an MH-24 charger, a wide shoulder strap, a USB 2.0 cable, an AV cable, a printed manual, and two DVDs, with software and electronic manual, respectively. The software is recommended in two versions – for Windows and iOS – and it encompasses the tool for the basic preview and conversion of RAW images, labeled View NX2.