8/13/2015

Fast Forward to the Nikon D5500 from the D3100 - Part II

Fast Forward to the Nikon D5500 from the D3100 - Part II

Motivation

In the previous part of this series, I mentioned several features that were not available that I wanted to have on my camera, but were not on the Nikon D3100:

  • Bracketing of Exposure and Shutter Speed
  • Wireless remote control
  • Intervalometer
  • Advanced Flash integration
  • GPS
  • Wi-Fi
Another motivating factor was that I really wanted a new lens!  Between my 18-55mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6G lens and my 55-300mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6G ED, I would need to keep switching lenses to go from a wide-angle shot to a telephoto shot.  I wanted just one lens that I could just keep on my camera and be able to get both shots.




As I shopped for the camera upgrade, I noticed that the D5500 was often bundled with a 18-140mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6G ED.  So far, this new lens has been almost perfect for all my needs.  Occasionally, I still reach for the 55-300mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6G ED for a real up-close shot, but most of the time I'm happy with the range provided by the 18-140mm lens.

Comparable Specifications

The following table compares the specifications of the two cameras where a quantitative comparison can be made:

FeatureD5500D3100
ProcessorExpeed 4Expeed 3
Megapixels
24.2
14.2
Format
DX
DX
Photo Frames Per Second 
5
3
Movie 1920x1080 Frames Per Second6024
ISO100 to 25600100 to 12800

The Biggest Difference 

The most noticeable difference between the Nikon D5500 and the D3100 is that the D5500 has an articulating (movable) touch screen monitor.  Congratulations to Nikon for having the first serious DSLR camera to have a touch screen.


I know it's not just me!  If I'm shown a TFT display, I want to touch it to control it.  On the Nikon D3100, I often would catch myself trying to pinch to zoom in on a picture that was displayed on it's fixed 3.0" diagonal monitor.  

Not only do I appreciate the pinch to zoom for a detailed look at shots in the field, but it's nice to flick through photos quickly on the D5500.  The D5500 also presents an excellent touch screen interface for configuring the settings of the camera. 

When put into LiveView mode, the D5500 touch screen can also be used to select a focus point and take a photo.  Since the D5500 monitor screen can be articulated, whereas the D3100 could not, you can turn it 180 degrees, so you can take selfies too!

The one thing that frustrates me about the touch screen interface is that double-tap is not implemented except for a few places.  I really would want it to be able to zoom all the way back out of a picture that I had zoomed all the way in on.

Get a Grip

The grip on the newer Nikon D5500 feels deeper than that of the D3100, so I feel as if I have a better, stronger grip on the camera while just holding it in my right hand.  Surprisingly, the D5500 is slightly smaller and about one ounce lighter (14.9 oz) than the D3100 (16 oz).

More To Come

I'll write more about the Nikon D5500 soon!  I've got to spend a bit more time with it to really get to know its pros and cons, but I thought I'd share my first impressions with everyone for now.

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About Me - WrightRocket

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I've worked with computers for over 30 years, programming, administering, using and building them from scratch.

I'm an instructor for technical computer courses, an editor and developer of training manuals, and an Android developer.