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Nikon D5500 vs D7100 comparison, which camera should you buy?

This very same night, in the CES 2015 scope, Nikon, the photography company has introduced their new mid-range APS-C camera, the Nikon D5500 – forgetting all about the Nikon D5400, because in Japan, 4 is means bad luck. A new camera that has very little or almost no improvements over its predecessor D5300, a very good camera for its segment and price.

This very same night, in the CES 2015 scope, Nikon, the photography company has introduced their new mid-range APS-C camera, the Nikon D5500 – forgetting all about the Nikon D5400, because in Japan 4 means bad luck. This new camera has very little or almost no improvements over its predecessor D5300, a very good camera for its segment and price.

This camera introduces a series of small improvements. The first one is the 3.2 inches touch-type screen with more than one million dot resolution, a relative enhancement that can improve its use, but is still a minor improvement. Also, you can find small design tweaks, the camera dials have been changed a bit and it also looks like the handle has a new shape. The truth is that even without testing it, it looks like the camera is quite comfortable.

Nikon D5500

The operation and performance over its predecessor is very similar. They both have the same 24 megapixel CMOS sensor with an APS-C size, with the same image processor; the Expeed 4 that will take 5 frams per second, 39 focus points and a maximum ISO of 25,600. Nothing new there. Although, the Japanese company assures that the performance will be better and they have improved the image processing and it’s supposed to reduce a bit the high sensitivity noise, which is necessary because even low end cameras like the D3300 have a better performance. So we could say that the difference is minimum, but still a difference.

Last, the video disappointed us again because there’s no full HD resolution and the recording had only 50 and 60 fps. We are still waiting to see 4k in a DSLR camera. Certainly the price quite expensive, but it will lead to a price reduction on previous models, which are still an excellent choice to make for those who want a reflex camera that is more than just an ornament. Certainly Nikon is doing the right thing with its D5000 series, which is the queen of the mid-range DSLR catalog without a doubt.

Nikon D5500 vs D7100 specs comparison:

Models Nikon D5500 Nikon D7100
Picture Nikon D5500 Nikon D7100
Max resolution 6000 x 4000 6000 x 4000
Effective Megapixels 24 megapixels 24 megapixels
Total Megapixels 25 megapixels 25 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor type CMOS CMOS
Processor Expeed 4 Expeed 3
ISO Auto, 100 – 25600 in steps of 1/3 EV Auto, 100-6400, Hi-1=12800, Hi-2=25600
White balance presets 12 12
Custom white balance Yes Yes
JPEG quality levels Fine, Normal, Basic Fine, Normal, Basic
Optics & Focus
Autofocus Yes Yes
Number of focus points 39 (9 cross type) 51 (15 cross type)
Face Detection Yes Yes
Auto Focus Assist Light? Yes Yes
Lens mount Nikon F mount Nikon F mount
Focal length multiplier 1.5× 1.5x
Screen / viewfinder
Screen size 3.2″ 3.2″
Screen dots 1,037,000 1,228,800
Touchscreen: Yes No
Articulating LCD: Yes No
Viewfinder Type SLR type: eye-level pentamirror
Viewfinder coverage: 95%
Viewfinder magnification: 0.82×
17mm eyepoint
-1.7 to +1.0 diopter
SLR type: eye-level Pentaprism
Viewfinder coverage: 100%
Viewfinder magnification: 0.94×
19.5mm eyepoint,
-2 to +1 diopter
Photography features
Shutter speed Range 30 – 1/4000s 30 – 1/8000s
Built-in Flash: Yes Yes
Flash X sync speed 1/200 sec 1/250 sec
Continuous Speed 5 fps 6 fps
Movie Resolution: 1920×1080 (60p/50p/30p/25p/24p)
1280×720 (60p/50p)
640×424 (30p/25p)
1920×1080 (30p/25p/24p)
1920×1080 (60i/50i (1.3x crop))
1280×720 (60p/50p)
640×424 (30p/25p)
Battery life
820 shots 950 shots
Built-in focus motor No Yes
Weather sealed No Yes
Storage slots 1 2
More information and reviews son Amazon Reviews on Amazon Reviews on Amazon

As can be seen from the specification, although Nikon skipped the D5400 and directly released the D5500, the D5500’s improvement is quite conservative compared with the D5300. Here we are not talking about the D5300 and D5500, but its another high-end ASP-C camera, the D7100. The D5500’s improvement narrowed its gap with the D7100, and both the prices are very close, only about one hundred US dollars’ difference, so how do we choose between them?

Touch screen:


The D5500 is Nikon’s first camera with touch screen, and the touch screen camera users (users who used Canon’s touch screen camera) must have been able to feel its convenience. By using the touch screen, together with the buttons on the camera body, the set up and operation of the camera can be more convenient to complete. But for users who are accustomed to using the buttons the touch screen is really not essential and increases the cost of the camera. In addition, unlike the rotating screen of the D5500, which can rotate flexibly and achieve the self-timer function, the screen of the D7100 is designed more cautiously. For users of a mid-range camera, there is little need to shoot by rotating the screen, moreover the rotating screen makes the camera’s body seem not so firm. From this perspective, it is reasonable that the D7100 does not have a rotating screen. However, the D7100 screen has a higher pixel.


Both adopt the same APS-C sensor, It is noteworthy that both the sensor with no optical low pass filter or AA filters. 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.

SensorThe D800E is Nikon’s first camera without low-pass filter, but strictly speaking it does not remove the low-pass filter, but it achieves the same effect as the low-pass filter by other means, which makes 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 D5300 and the latest D5500 subsequently. However, moiré is still possible in certain scenes susceptible to moiré, such as clothing photography. But we can avoid and eliminate it by changing the shooting angle, the focus, using a telephoto lens, and by post-processing, and so on.


Furthermore, as we can also see some changes in ergonomics include modifying aspects such as grip, newly-designed control dial, being now more similar to models like the D7100. The D5500 uses a new type of carbon fiber composite materials, the weight being lighter, and a high strength and durability being maintained. While the D7100 uses magnesium alloy on the top and the back shell of the camera in order to meet the needs of the special environment, firm, dust-proof and water-proof, much heavier with its weight of 720g compared with the D5500’s weight of 420g.

Auto Focus Systems

In the entry-level cameras, the D5500 has 39 focus points with 9 all cross-type sensors as its predecessor the D5300, but its AF Systems has been very excellent, the competitors of the same level such as Canon t5i / 60d have only 9 point All-cross type AF sensor. As a mid-range camera, the D7100 has a better AF system, having the same 51 AF points including 15 cross-type as its flagship D810.

Auto Focus Systems

The D5500’s AF System is sufficient for most photographers, even when mainly used for shooting sports scenes. The D7100’s AF system is more suitable for professional users who pursuit sharper images and a higher success rate when shooting sports scenes. As the prices of the two cameras are similar, the AF System will become the key reason that the users select the D7100 .

The D5500 adopts advance image processor, the Expeed 4. Having been released earlier, the D7100 still uses Expeed 3. Nikon may give certain restrictions on the performance of the D5500 processor, so it is not so fast as the D7100 in terms of speed, and the D7100 has a faster shutter speed (ie, 1 / 8000th vs 1 / 4000th). In terms of continuous shooting, the two have little difference, the D7100 with the 6 fps is only 1 fps more than the D5500.(Note, the D7100 can get a continuous shooting speed of 7 fps in 1.3x crop mode )

Although both of the continuous shooting speeds are not slow, in RAW + JPG only the first five are high-speed continuous shooting because of the restriction of too small buffer, and then the speed slows down, only 6 are kept in pure RAW.


The video feature is the D5500’s advantage, thanks to its Expeed 4, it offers Full HD (1080p) video capture at 50/60fps with improved live preview and contrast detection autofocus. In addition, a flat picture control is added as a video mode option for footage to cater videographers. while the D7100 can only shoot videos of Full HD (1080i) at 50/60fps due to the restrictions of Expeed 3 processor.


In recent years, the Auto-FP function is more and more important for amateur photographers, but unfortunately, the D5500 still does not support high speed flash sync or Auto-FP just like its predecessor, maybe Nikon has always thought that this is a function only professional cameras should have and that is not suitable for some entry-level cameras, but it is really unbelievable that Nikon is so “stingy” for this “old” technology.

The D5500 has a pentamirror viewfinder, compared with the pentaprism viewfinder of the D7000 series, it has a smaller field of view coverage, and lower brightness, which will also affect the shooting of the macro photography. Besides, it has no body motor, the autofocus is only achieved by using the AF-S lens , and manual focus only by using AF / AI lenses, while manual focus is limited by the viewfinder is not big and bright enough. However, the body motor, viewfinder, top LCD display of the D7000 series are all very practical configurations.

In addition, the D5500 does not support AF fine tuning, not suitable for the use of large aperture lens, when using a large aperture lens the body can not fix it once the lens is out of focus .

How to make your choice?

If you are a seasoned photographer, and enjoy constantly resetting your camera from shot to shot according to changes in the environment, you will prefer the D7100, because it has more buttons and allow you to set them directly , while for the D5500 you will need to spend more time to set in the menu. In addition, as a mid-range camera, the D7100 has a more solid body, better autofocus system, high speed flash sync function, which is very important for professional photographers who pursuit better photo effect. Currently both the prices are very close, I prefer the D7100 if you intend to become a professional photographer.

As an entry-level camera, the D5500 has a good specification, very suitable for amateur photographers. If you like a touch screen, lighter body, if you want to shoot great photos easily, the D5500 will be more suitable for you. In addition, the improvement of the D5500 is really very small compared with the D5300, and its release will cause the further price cut of the D5300, so the D5300 will be a more sensible choice if the newly-added features are not essential for you.

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  1. Thanks
    top article – I am still making my choice between 5500 5300 and 7100 ..
    But wondering if there are comparison about comparison between similar sony models ?

  2. Which one would be more suitable for wildlife photography? Any other cameras you would recommend for this?

  3. so thanks for your information i decide go to D7100.

  4. As a serious (non-professional) photographer and being a smaller person compared to average Americans, I like the lighter weight and tilting screen. However, I am concerned about mist or dust causing damage to the camera. From the longevity perspective, which one between D7100 and D5500 is better? In terms of abuse, like camera hitting an object with no external damage, which one is better? Please provide your best advice.

  5. Wow this article was so helpful! I think i decided on the d7100. Thank you 🙂

  6. Great work here, very helpful thanks

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