Nikon D5300 vs D5500 vs D3300, what’s the difference?

The Nikon D5500 is the successor to the Nikon D5300. Although it is directly designated as “D5500”, skipping the intermediate “D5400”, we can find only “tiny differences” from D5300.

New in the Nikon D5500:

Touch screens are not a novelty among digital cameras but the Nikon D5500 is the first DSL camera adopting this feature from Nikon. It is one of the main features of D5500 that’s the successor for the D5300, inheriting its APS-C size CMOS with 24 megapixel resolution and a low-pass filter.

Nikon D5500

The WiFi connection premiered with the D5300, also mentioned in the Nikon reflex catalog, is present on its successor whose monitor becomes the main focus for this renewal. An articulated touch screen grows in size up to 3.2 inches and has a resolution over 1 million points.

The Expeed 4 processor remains untouched from the previous version, and so is the burst with up to 5 frames per second with a maximum Native Sensibility ISO 25,600. Nikon promises optimized performance in terms of noise control.

However, there are some casualties of the update to the D5300, specifically the D5300’s integrated GPS receiver, which curiously does not figure on the list of this model’s specs. Probably as a result, the D5500 camera is slightly smaller and lighter (420 grams instead of the 480 grams, without the battery) than its predecessor. Nikon estimates its estimated battery life went from 600 to 800 shots.

There are no changes on the 39 point focus system or with the video recording (1920 x 1080 pixels at 50 and 60 fps). The camera features manual controls and an external microphone connection. The camera design comes with slight modifications in order to improve grip and ergonomics.

Though there are such small changes the D5500 is currently priced at 300 dollars higher than D5300, so is it justified for us to pay 300 dollars for these minute improvements? In this article we will make a detailed comparison of the three entry-level cameras, the D5500, its predecessor D5300 and the D3300, offering a guide for shutterbugs for finding their desired cameras.

First, a comparison in specifications for these cameras.

Nikon D5300 Nikon D5500 Nikon D3300
Nikon D5300 Nikon D5500 Nikon D3300
Sensor
Max resolution 6000 x 4000 6000 x 4000 6,000 x 4,000
Effective Megapixels 24 megapixels 24 megapixels 24 megapixels
Total Megapixels 25 megapixels 25 megapixels 24 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor type CMOS CMOS CMOS
Processor Expeed 4 Expeed 4 Expeed 4
Image
ISO Auto, 100 – 12800 (expansion to 25600) Auto, 100 – 25600 Auto, 100-12800 (expansion to 25600)
White balance presets 12 12 12
Custom white balance Yes Yes Yes
JPEG quality levels Fine, Normal, Basic Fine, Normal, Basic Fine, normal, basic
Autofocus
Number of focus points 39 (9 cross type) 39 (9 cross type) 11-point (1 cross-type)
Face Detection Yes Yes Yes
Auto Focus Assist Light? Yes Yes Yes
Lens mount Nikon F mount Nikon F mount Nikon F mount
Focal length multiplier 1.5× 1.5× 1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Screen size 3.2″ 3.2″ 3.0″
Screen dots 1,037,000 1,037,000 921,000
Touchscreen: No Yes No
Articulating LCD: Yes Yes No
Viewfinder Type SLR type: eye-level pentamirror
Viewfinder coverage: 95%
Viewfinder magnification: 0.82×
SLR type: eye-level pentamirror
Viewfinder coverage: 95%
Viewfinder magnification: 0.82×
SLR type: eye-level pentamirror
Viewfinder coverage: 95%
Viewfinder magnification: 0.85×
Photography features
Shutter speed Range 1/4000 to 30 sec 1/4000 to 30 sec 1/8000 to 30 sec
Built-in Flash: Yes Yes Yes
Flash X sync speed 1/200 sec 1/200 sec 1/200 sec
Continuous Speed 5 fps 5 fps 5 fps
Movie Resolution: 1920×1080 (60p/50p/30p/25p/24p)
1280×720 (60p/50p)
640×424 (30p/25p)
1920×1080 (60p/50p/30p/25p/24p)
1280×720 (60p/50p)
640×424 (30p/25p)
1920×1080 (60p/50p/30p/25p/24p)
1280×720 (60p/50p)
640×424 (30p/25p)
Battery life 600 shots 820 shots 700 shots
Built-in focus motor No No No
Weather sealed No No No
Wireless Build-in Yes, Wifi with NFC No
GPS Yes No No
Storage slots 1 1 1
Body Size 125 x 98 x 76 mm 124 x 97 x 70 mm 124 x 98 x 76 mm
Weight 480g 420g 430g
Reviews on Amazon User Reviews on Amazon User Reviews on Amazon User Reviews on Amazon

Touch screen

What makes the D5500 special in comparison with all other Nikon DSLRs (include D5300 and D3300) is no longer just the vari-angle screen, but also the addition of touch operation. The new monitor measures 3.2 inches and has a resolution of 1.037 million pixels. In the first test at the trade fair, the operation worked flawlessly. The photographer can optionally set the focus via the touch screen and also trigger the camera, which can also be done conventionally via the four-way cross and the Nikon’s shutter.

Nikon D5500

The D5300 has no touch screen, but like D5500 it has also a flip-screen, which allows you to make shots from an angle that would frustrate a non-tilt screen camera. The screen can flip 180-degrees in the same direction as you’re shooting, making them a terrific tool for selfies. The D3300, by contrast, has a non-flip and slightly smaller screen.

Body

Another special feature is the camera body itself. The D5300 and D3300 are constructed with carbon fiber reinforced plastic material. Carbon-fiber composite material,as a better chemical which is stronger but lighter than ABS plastics, is used for D5500. As for body design, the D5500 uses a control dial which is different from the traditional style, and has a handle which is deeper than that of D5300. If you have had experience with D750, you may find that a deeper handle often means a better holding sense.

Sensor

SensorThe three models use the same sensing element:APS-C sensor with no optical low pass filter or AA filters. They have the same size and effective pixels.

Tips: AA is the acronym for “Anti-Aliasing”. When the images are processed in a certain way, they can produce unwanted effects such as the moiré patterns. Moiré is an effect that occurs mainly when shooting elements with line patterns or lines too close together. These lines interfere with the sensors pixel grid, thus creating an unpleasant effect to sight. The AA filter that comes with the camera sensor makes sure that this doesn’t happen.

Nikon confident about avoiding moire and jaggies by its high resolution and advanced technology after removal of the low-pass filter, and the photos shot have better sharpness. So the D7100 becomes its first camera removing the low-pass filter, which is also used in the D3300, D5300 and the latest D5500 subsequently.

They also have the same sensitivity ranges, all are at ISO 100-25,600. But the top setting is the expansion settings on D5300 and D3300 while the D5500’s maximum native ISO. The native ISO range of the D5300 is ISO 100-12,800

Processor and Speed,

The three models use the same processor, Expeed 4, which offers a comparable photo processing speed for them, According Nikon, the Expeed 4 processor has been used for improved image quality and not higher continuous shooting speeds, allowing better photo quality than other entry-level cameras using Expeed 3. Because of the constraints made by Nikon on processor performances,however, some of its performance parameters are still a cut below D7100 that is only fitted with Expeed 3 processor.

These cameras feature the same continuous shooting speed and shutter speed, at 5 fps and 30 – 1/4000 sec respectively, good enough for daily shooting.

Auto Focus Systems

Nikon D5500 has the same 39 point AF Systems including the 9 cross-type sensors in the center as that used on D5300, whereas the AF system on D3300 has only 11 points and only 1 cross-type AF point in the center. AF systems with more points show a better follow focus capability for action shot taking but have little effect on static shots. So if you have more interest in taking action-intensive shots, it is preferable to choose a D5500 or D5300.

Viewfinder

They use the same Penta-mirror viewfinder, which is used on entry-level cameras as standard, but D3300 has a larger magnification factor. If you want a camera has more advanced Pentaprism viewfinder, buy a middle-range one such as D7100, but this is not very important. However, Pentaprism viewfinder boasts a slightly brighter display than Pentamirror version, but the viewfinder has little to do with image formation. A somewhat brighter viewfinder may help if you use manual focusing(because you can see slightly clearer that easier to manual focus),but it is of little value to auto focusing.

Video

The three versions of cameras perform equally well in video taking because of the same processor used.

Like Nikon D750 and D810, a new “Flat” Picture Control mode is introduced into D5500. Compare to the Standard, Vivid and other models, Flat mode is designed to retain as many details in lights and darks as possible for post-capture adjustment. It can also be applied to video taking, and it would be easy to increase dynamic range for Post-processing when shooting in the “flat” mode.

Wifi and GPS

Both D5500 and D5300(but not D3300)have built-in WiFi, which can be used to download Nikon Apps to smart phones and offer instant transfer of photos to phones,a function that much appeals to those obsessed with photo sharing. It is perplexing, however, that the GPS capability which already is a built-in feature in D5300 has been removed from D5500. This is perhaps for power saving; The D3300 does not have built-in GPS.

Battery Life

Although these cameras use the same EN-EL14a battery, D5500 is well optimized for power use, thereby significantly extending its battery life. Nikon claims the battery life has been increased from 600 shots of D5300 to 820. D3300 also does well in battery life — 700 shots, 100 shots more than D5300.

Nikon D3300 vs D5300 vs D5500, how to choose?

The three models are just what entry-level players need with their performances perfectly attuned to the needs of most users. Compared with D3300, a more important improvement in D5300 is its auto focus system, and D5500 goes further, incorporating such features as touch screen and flat picture control mode and clarity adjustment item which is not found in the other two versions.

The flexible flip screen on D5300 and D5500 helps for shooting, especially in such applications as low angle shooting and video taking. Many users can also use it to take selfies.

If cost-effectiveness is factored in, then I strongly recommend D5300 or D3300. The latter is sufficient for the average user;for those more interested in creative photography and dynamic scenes, the D5300 would be a better choice because it has a more sophisticated AF system and excellent adjustability with more detailed and complete settings. >>Read User reviews on Amazon<<

As a product unveiled not long ago, D5500 has a high price tag, and offers relatively few improvements over D5300. If you have a sufficiently deep pockets, or want to enjoy convenience brought by touch screen, then D5500 (User Reviews on Amazon) may be a just passable choice. But now D7100 is priced just $100 above D5500, read here Nikon D5500 vs dD7100, which might make you think D7100 is a better choice!

22 Comments - Leave a comment
  1. Geir says:

    Very nice and informative info. I went for d3300 due to a second hand great price offer vs a small sony rx 100 compact. HDR/Bracketing is the only thing I wish the d3300 had instead of panorama….

  2. Corrie says:

    The D5500 does not have NFC

  3. jacob says:

    Hi admin…could you please help…I’m at dubai…. D3200 is 273 USD now and D5300 462 USD… have D5200 also in 381 USD… I would like more low light captures like night life of dubai with lesser noise.

  4. Tony Azzurro says:

    I recently purchased a D5300 PACKAGE, Nikkor AF S DX 18-55mm VR II 3.5-5.6G; Nikkor AF S DX 55-300mm VR 4.5-5.6g; remote; filter and bag. I had to buy an extra filter and memory card. I’ve also, ordered a Nikkor AF S DX 50mm 1.8G. I had to really watch the on-line offers because they will reply with the FX rather than the DX and D rather than the G.
    If you are new to photography, as I am, I highly recommend Creativelive on-line photography courses. Especially the introduction to D series of Nikon. I’ve tried the “read the manual” route and it is boring and does not make cross links with other manual topics.
    As Novoneil Deb says above, the type of photography was one of my main reasons for Nikon over Canon.

  5. Sue Hord says:

    Very accurate review of cameras. very well put together and I like the feed back options that you have. The D5300 was the best solution for me and yes you can disable the GPS option and the Wi-Fi option so it doesn’t eat up the battery life I was looking at the Canon D7 and decided on Nikon because I liked my previous one so well and it is very straight forward in using for the most part.

  6. Sue Hord says:

    Option 3 would be the best for a new photographer to cover all of your most basic photos. That’s what I would go for.

  7. Sue Hord says:

    I bought the D5300 model Nikon and when I bought it had all 39 points in the screen when looking through the viewfinder, Now it will not show it again? Any hints on how I can get it to show them all again? I have tried to reset the camera back to the original settings but it has not been able to show them to me. Maybe my first description is better at it than this example.
    I have a question about my Nikon camera. It is a D5300 and when I first got it when I looked through the viewfinder I saw all 39 points or actually little squares that I could visualize in the eye piece. Now I found where I can move the point where I want to have the center of the picture directed. But I no longer see those 39 little squares boxes in the view finder. I have reset my camera back to the original settings and that does not come back. Any clues as to how I can make them reappear? If you could help I’d appreciate it.

  8. Paul says:

    “The three models use the same sensing element:APS-C sensor with no optical low pass filter or AA filters.”

    This is not correct: The D5500 DOES have an AA filter/OLPF; the D3300 and the D5300 do not.

  9. Nubin says:

    Very useful review. 🙂

    I am an amateur, and so was looking at the D3300, D5300 and D5500 !!! I short-listed this further to D5300 or D5500. I would really like to have the flexibility of the touch screen, but looking from a price perspective, looks like I will stick to the D5300. My confusion currently is regarding the lenses. The options that I see are :

    1) Buy body + kit lense (18-55mm VR II) + a Prime (AF-S Nikkor 50mm F/1.8G)
    2) Buy body + kit lense (18-55mm VR II) + a Prime (AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G)
    3) Buy body + kit lense (AF-S DX 18-55mm VR II & AF-S DX 55-200mm VR II)
    4) Buy body + a Prime (35 or 50 ?) + Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD IF

    Which do you think is the best option ?

  10. Haytham says:

    thanks for the compare, very clear and useful, i think i will go for D5300.

  11. Peter Cal says:

    Note: The touchscreen is nice to have. However, under real sunny conditions it’s useless,
    unless you purchase a sun visor. For sunny days best not to use touch screen. There are some adapters on Ebay & Amazon that would solve this issue if you must shoot on sunny days days.Without the adapter, you will be using the viewfinder.

  12. Marcus says:

    I have the D3300 and want to upgrade to the D5300 or D5500. on the D5300 is there a way to disable the GPS feature? I heard it was a huge batter drain on the camera

  13. Manjunath says:

    hi,
    I want start photography as hobby I want to buy DSLR camera which brand is best NIKON OR CANNON still confusing
    and I have little doubt about D5500 or D5300 which is better

    please suggest me

    • Novoniel Deb says:

      Hi,

      I had this confusion a lot about whether Canon or Nikon earlier and spent lot of time getting into every detail of every comparable models between them and in the end the answer was pretty much very simple: NIKON was the outcome.

      The reason for NIKON is taking into consideration to the fact that those who want to buy a DSLR wont have a completely open pocket to buy one of ANY COST. So why not see which camera is better when talk about a price bucket/range/or amount.
      Now, when you take up any amount (in Indian Rupees), 35000, 50000, 70000 or whatever, and you look for the best camera in NIKON or CANON falling in that amount, you will always find that NIKON has more feature, better picture quality (Dynamic Range, Color depth), better low light ISO handling and may be something more. Thats why NIKON has always my choice when I am spending money.
      Now this also stays true even if you go higher in amount range.
      For practical reason, if any camera has reasonably burst fps then if Canon have more fps number does not make any much difference when I am trying to shoot.

      I have another criteria for camera choice:
      NIKON: If nature, landscape, portrait, street, wedding, fashion…may be more
      Or if for primarily photo shoot.

      CANON: If wild life, animals, action, sport
      Or if for primarily video shoot.

      Lastly, please understand that any camera shoots great, pics are wonderful….its just what all you need or you can have max within the money you spend, is important. Later on you would be spending on lens etc. more than the cost of your camera. And always compare the models before you buy anyone.

      Please also dont look more into weather sealing because its a very good feature if you like to shoot in rain or dust storm but again, are your lens also weather proof??? Then only it makes sense. Weather proof or resistant lens would cost you huge.
      You would rather use a weather cover for your camera.

      All the best and do let me know.
      n_deb_click@yahoo.com

  14. Denbagus says:

    Today, cost of D5500 & D5300’s comparable, just a little different, so that I think I prefer D550 to D5300…. 🙂

  15. Maxwell Hartzenberg says:

    Also, The D5500 and D5300 shoot 14-but RAW, the D3300 only shoots 12-bit RAW.

  16. Dipak Saha says:

    It was so helpful for me to choose the right one. Thanks.

  17. DG47 says:

    A very useful comparison. Thanks.

  18. Sadashiva Rao Nuthalapati says:

    very nice and useful sir

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