Test Drive: Nikon D5500, 18-55, 55-200

This past spring I got to play around with the Nikon D5500 and a standard pair of lenses – the 18-55mm and the telephoto 55-200mm. The D5500 is on the “second rung” of Nikon’s line of cameras, being one step up from their D3000-series. To external appearances, the biggest differences between it and the D3000-series are that the D5500 is slightly larger and has an articulated LCD screen.

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For still being in the “consumer-level” end of Nikon’s line, I was really impressed with the camera and enjoyed it. There’s plenty of features to play with, if you like to experiment, and plenty of point-and-shoot modes, if you want to let the camera do the lifting. The 18-55mm lens, like most kit lenses continued to impress me with how much it was actually capable of. Seems like many “kit lenses” get unjustly disparaged, but this one is pretty darn sharp and has an impressive close-focusing distance. The 55-200mm is an adequate telephoto lens. It’s not the sharpest, but for its price-point and market segment it’s aimed at, it does just fine (when using it, probably best to stop it down a bit, though. Wide-open it didn’t seem that sharp).

The built-in “instagram-like” filters were fun, though I didn’t use them much. Exposure on Nikon cameras often seems a bit like over-exposure to me, so I found myself using a little bit of negative exposure compensation on a regular basis. I’m not sure what Nikon does, to do it so well, but their flash control always seems spot-on, in my opinion. I use flash pretty regularly, and have never had any doubt in Nikon’s ability to hit the right exposure. White balance…like many cameras, too, still has a hard time with regular daylight, but handled artificial lights just fine (I tend to favor “daylight” and “cloudy” for natural light, and AWB in artificial light settings).

Overall, heck yeah, this is a good camera with lots of potential for beginners or “a bit beyond beginner” users who want some more options from their DSLR.

You can get this, and most Nikon cameras at Mike Crivello’s Cameras! 🙂 Find them online, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Instagram. Also, I’ll be soon teaching some general photo classes, and a Nikon-specific class soon – call the store or stop by to sign up!

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