Nikon D5500 great entry into DSLR photography
FOR a DX-format DSLR with a price tag well under $1000, Nikon's D5500 packs a lot into a light weight camera.
This is the camera that many of the experts recommend for those who want to get into 'proper' photography but also want many of the shortcuts point and shoot cameras feature.
It can handle everything from stunning portraits to action sports.
One of the best new features of the D5500 is a three inch touch-screen vari-angle monitor which allows you easy access to settings in a more visual format.
As you adjust your speed and aperture, you can see changes in the display on the screen in picture format, allowing you to see when the camera is opening up to let more light in, for example.
The D5500 features a 24.2 megapixel sensor without an optical low-pass filter, meaning more faithful renditions of what you are shooting. It also shoots in RAW format, allowing more expert photographers to get the best out of images in the editing process.
The quality of the images was superb.
We used this camera with an 18-300mm Nikkor lens to shoot everything from school formals to water sports and night time musical productions.
Video quality (HD at 60 frames per second) was very solid as was the stereo sound recording.
The camera has a number of options when shooting, including live view where you can capture the action by focusing on the touch screen.
Taking photos in live view, particularly in low light, feels very slow, so it's better just to use the viewfinder. But being able to use the screen to 'focus' on a subject simply by touching it in the viewfinder was handy.
The touchscreen also is a great way to review the images you have shot.
You simply swipe left and right to move between pictures in playback and pinch in and out to zoom.
With an ISO range of 100 to 25600, we rarely found ourselves having to use a flash.
The continuous-shooting performance on the D5500 is particularly good. It will take 5.1 frames per second, making for a great burst of 30 or more shots.
That means you might get two or three shots in as a wakeboarder does a flip over a jump, for example.
The camera has 39 focus points which means that most times it will capture the action you want, though subjects moving towards you can be a little tricky, especially if there is movement in the background as well.
Autofocus while shooting video can also be a little haphazard.
The continuous autofocus can become distracted so you need to ensure that you are using your touch screen to ensure it is focused where you want it to be.
As expected with many new cameras, the D5500 comes equipped with built-in Wi-Fi, allowing you to send photos from your camera to your mobile phone using the wireless mobile utility.
After shooting photos of my daughter and her friends in their formal dresses before the big event, they were more than impressed that they could see the best of them on my daughter's phone at the formal.
You can also shoot remotely with your smart device which is ideal for taking a better looking 'selfie'.
The camera has ten fun special effects including super vivid, selective colour, pop, photo illustration, toy camera, selective colour, and miniature effect. In live view shooting, they are even shown in real-time so you can see how they will look before taking your shot.
Some can also be adjusted in live view.
The scenes mode includes portrait, landscape, child, sports, close-up, night portrait, night landscape, party/indoor, beach/show, dusk/dawn, pet portrait, candlelight, blossom, autumn colours and food.
The D5500 has a recommended retail price of $999 with an 18-55mm lens kit but if you shop around you could get a twin lens kit for just a little more than that.