In the market for a Nikon DSLR for Christmas? We have plenty of options – some old and new. The best thing about DSLRs is you can get by without the tic tock upgrades we all go nuts over with smartphones.

While the D3300/3400 handle the base entry-level market, the Nikon D5500 is a true entry-level DSLR from the company for budding photographers. More options and I love the articulating screen. It’s getting an upgrade with the D5600, and it’s time to compare the two against each other. Which offers the best value? Should you wait for the release? Or stick with the known quantity?

Nikon D5500 vs D5600

Honestly, there isn’t much going on for the D5600 over the D5500. The upgrades are minor and include a slightly lighter body – you won’t notice the difference. Auto ISO with the touch of the Fn button. The idea is to learn to shoot outside of Auto and in Manual. In-camera time lapse is another addition, as is the frame advance touchscreen interface found in the D500 and D5.

nikon d5500

The big addition to the D5600 is Snapbridge. So far the app is just ok. I prefer to grab the SD card and pop it in my iMac. Easier and you don’t have your phone getting destroyed on battery life and storage. Rocking a 16GB iPhone? Snapbridge isn’t your buddy.

Snapbridge’s selling is instant sharing of your pictures. Instagrammers who do zero editing, please stand up…


Sure, Adobe Lightroom on mobile or Snapseed (yes, countless others). Maybe I’m resistant to change, but I’d rather have every tool at my disposal on a 27-inch screen versus tapping on my phone for specific editing.

D5600 offers D5500 deals

The upgrades above are essentially it. Both sensors are the same at 24.2-megapixels. Frames per second are static and max out at 5fps. It’s plenty for a new shooter. ISO range remains the same at 100-25600, and both cameras have Auto ISO.

AF points on the D5600 carry over from the D5500 at 39. Head over to video and there’s a glaring lack of 4K on the D5600. Had Nikon added the feature, the argument could be made that alone is worth the wait. But both are locked at 1080p. Not bad, but it means we can take advantage of Black Friday and score some deals on the D5500. You can check out our dual review of the D5500 here and here.

[amazon box=”B01MR2D0OG,B00RUBJ7EW” grid=”2″]

It’s a fun camera which will not overwhelm a beginner. We are working on our D500 review and handing it to a beginner will immediately toss them into the deep end of the pool.

Snapbridge or Extra Cash?

That’s not even a close question. Extra cash for lenses. And the fact the D5600 isn’t even on the market yet – we do know it will cost around 50% more than the D5500. I can tell you right now, the savings you get for an older model are worth it in forgoing the minor upgrades – many of which could be accomplished with a firmware upgrade.

Already Nikon is offering instant lens rebates for the holidays. And don’t shrug at certified refurbished. A lot of times refurbished means someone returned the lens after opening the box and changing their mind. You get the savings, and the lens is essentially new.

If it were me, I’d get the cheapest kit possible on the D5500 and start adding prime lenses. The 35mm and 50mm are both sitting at $190. Or shop around and get the accessory packs which might add a flash, filters or even a sling backpack.


Tons of deals between now and Christmas on the Nikon D5500 and you’ll have a well-rounded DSLR. Sure, it won’t have Snapbridge, and that’s ok. It makes up for it with Wifi connectivity if you have to have your photos.

Once you go down the rabbit hole of Lightroom presets and editing, you’ll smartphone transfer for easy sharing. You’ll be like the rest of us wanting to fine tune every image for Facebook or Instagram.

In a spec shootout, it’s a draw between Nikon’s D5600 and D5500. That’s a win for consumers looking for deals on the D5500. Toss in a few prime lenses and you’re set for the holidays.

Gear. TV. Movies. Lifestyle. Photography. Yeah, I’m the type who sees a shiny object and is immediately captivated. Wait... There’s another. You can reach me at marcus@newsledge.com

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