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Introduction

The Nikon D3400 is an easy to use, DSLR camera that was released in August 2016, and it was meant for beginners who would like to invest in a strong, entry-level camera without spending a fortune in order to pave their road toward becoming professionals!

Nikon’s D5500 is also an entry-level DSLR camera that was launched in January 2015 as a direct successor of the well-known D5300, and it didn’t take long until it received positive critiques by the photographers who are always hyped when a new camera is being introduced on the market.

Although there’s around 19 months of gap between their release dates, the technology is similar, and they share multiple things in common which is awesome, since these types of comparisons are the most entertaining. So, let’s get quickly into action and find out how does each of them performs and what should you expect from them in the case of an eventual purchase!

Head To Head Comparison

Nikon D3400

Design-wise, the D3400 sports a sleek black-finished, composite, carbon fiber construction that measures 3.9 x 4.9 x 3″ (HWD) and weighs around 13.9 ounces without a lens, and take a closer inspection at these information, you can easily conclude that we are indeed talking about an exceptionally compact and lightweight DSLR camera that does not share the typical bulky body of most of the DSLR cameras!

Aside from being a compact and lightweight DSLR camera, the D3400 is extremely comfortable to shoot with thanks to its modest grip that is covered in a soft rubber which also helps you to hold this camera steadily in hands without feeling strained even if you’ve been shooting for hours.

Moreover, the control layout is really well-organized, and you’d have an opportunity to reach each button easily, which is super cool since most of the compact DSLR cameras have a slightly cramped control layout.

On the top, you can find a hot shoe located on the top-center, whereas on the right, there is a single Mode dial, which is followed by three dedicated buttons that surround the shutter release button that is positioned close on the grip.

Once you flip the camera over, at the rear-left, you can find 5 buttons, single AE-L/AF-L button that sits to the right of the viewfinder, as well as a couple of more buttons that are placed on the right-handed side.

For your information, the viewfinder has a pentamirror design and although it is a bit dimmer, considering the fact that it has a magnification of 0.85x and covers up to 95% of the field, I can easily say that you’d be satisfied to shoot through it.

Below the viewfinder, there’s a 3″, 921k-dot display that will offer you a clear sight regardless if you shoot or preview the videos and pictures you’ve previously taken, however, my only remark is the lack of touch sensitivity and flexibility, because you’d be kind of restircted to shoot from different angles. Either way, we are still talking about an extremely affordable, entry-level DSLR camera, so, this can’t be seen as a huge remark to be honest.

Furthermore, the connection options consist of a mini-HDMI port, a micro-USB port, a single memory card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and it is Bluetooth-enabled which is awesome, since you will never face any difficulties in terms of transferring your photos and videos to compatible devices.

Speaking of the performance, the Nikon D3400 utilizes an EXPEED 4 image processor, a 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS image sensor, no optical low-pass filter, has an 11-point AF, a continuous shooting speed of 5 fps, and a native ISO of 100-25,600. At a glance, this camera is better than most of the DSLRs in this price range for sure! Let’s see how it performs in practice.

Well, the D3400 records both JPGs and RAW imagery, and it handles the noise pretty well throughout the ISO range.

Namely, JPGs shot up to ISO 3200 look wonderful, because even though the noise may be present, it isn’t heavily pronounced so that it would affect the image quality. Details look great, and the same can be said about the color accuracy.

But, once you reach ISO 6400 and go beyond, noise becomes more prominent and it affects the overall quality of the photo, and at the top ISO 25,600, the grain simply overtakes the image quality and you should definitely avoid it as much as possible.

Once you gain skill, you can try to shoot RAW images, and keep in mind that up to ISO 12,800 the details are holding up really well, however, at the highest ISO level, the result is poor and once again, you should really avoid. Either way, details of RAW imagery at highest levels look way more better than JPGs.

Before we end, I would like to inform you that this camera records 1080p videos at 24/25/30/60 fps and 720p videos at 50/60 fps, and considering its price tag, a camera that records 1080p videos at 60 fps simply can’t disappoint you with the footage quality! Good job, Nikon!

Nikon D3400 Sample Images:

Nikon D5500

The Nikon D5500 measures 3.9 x 4.9 x 3″ (HWD) weighs approximately 1.1 pounds and in comparison to the D3400, the measurements are identical, hence, both cameras are exceptionally compact considering the fact that both of them are DSLRs!

Also, the D5500 has an attractive, black-painted body that is made of carbon fiber composite material that adds a solid feel to the camera and make it strong enough to withstand daily use so that even after years, you’d unlikely notice significant decrease at its look!

The control layout is nicely done, and they aren’t compressed like you’d expect from a compact camera, but instead, Nikon did an excellent job in spreading them across the body because you will never face difficulties reaching and taking advantage over them.

On the top plate, you can recognize the similarities with the D3400, because at the top-center, there’s a hot shoe, while on the right, there is a single Mode dial. The difference is that at the grip, there aren’t 3 dedicated buttons, but instead, there are two dedicated, Record and Exposure buttons, a shutter release button and a power switch.

On the rear, the left side remains neat, while on the top, there are three buttons positioned in between the viewfinder, such as the Menu, Info and AE-L/AF-L button. On the right, you can find a four-way directional pad with an OK button that is followed by some playback and delete buttons.

Since I’ve mentioned the viewfinder, I’d like to inform you that the viewfinder is nearly the same as the D3400, because of its magnification of 0.82x, the 95% of frame coverage, and its pentamirror design, so, the result is a tie here.

But, the area where the D5500 simply outperforms the D3400 is at its LCD screen that measures 3.2″, has a resolution of 1,037k-dots and it it allows you adjust its position due to its vari-angle design as well as it can recognize your gestures because it is touch-enabled. Clearly, you will have a far more convenient experience while shooting with this camera, because the display is not only sharp, but it is also flexible, which by default means that you can shoot from multiple angles.

In terms of the connection ports, the D5500 has an HDMI port, USB port, single memory card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, a proprietary remote control port, and in comparison to the D3400, it is Wi-Fi enabled, so, I will leave this up to you to decide which one deserves more credit. This camera which supports Wi-Fi or the other that is Bluetooth-enabled.

Speaking of the performance, the D5500 employs a 39-point AF, 24.2MP DX-format CMOS with no optical low-pass filter, has a burst shooting speed of 5 fps, an ISO range of 100-25,600 and it runs on an EXPEED 4 image processor which is also included in the D3400.

Yet again, we can notice the similarities between both cameras, because the D5500 does also support shooting JPGs and RAW format images, so let’s see how do they look in practice.

Well, JPGs are relatively noise-free up to ISO 3200, because even if you recognize some noise, I doubt that it may decrease the image quality, since up to this stage, blur is set to the minimum and both, details and color accuracy remain strong!

Starting from ISO 6400, noise starts to get more pronounced, and you can see some decrease at the details, but still, images are usable. Once you go to the highest setting, at ISO 12,800/25,600, I think that you won’t be satisfied because the blur is kind of too strong.

This isn’t the case with RAW images, because even at ISO 12,800 they are still usable and look better than JPGs, and the same thing can be said for images taken at 25,600.

In the end, I’d like to mention that the D5500 also records 1080p videos at 60 fps, and in my opinion, I really like the footage quality because it is sharp and it does not look like you’ve been recording with an entry-level camera. Once again, the result is a tie because the D3400 is also recording 1080p/60 videos.

Nikon D5500 Sample Images:

Similar Comparison: Nikon D3300 vs Nikon D3400

Nikon D3400 vs Nikon D5500 Feature Comparison

Nikon D3400 Nikon D5500
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
24.2
24.2
ISO Range
100-25,600
100-25,600
Flip-Out Screen
No
Yes
AF Points
11 AF Points
39 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
No
Yes
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
APS-C
APS-C

Similar Comparison: Nikon D3400 vs Canon T5I 

Conclusion

Up to this point, I hope that you’ve had an entertaining reading and that you do really have a better insight regarding the capabilities of both cameras, and before we finish, let’s briefly explain the advantages of both cameras and what are the areas in which each camera performs better than the other and vice-versa.

Interestingly, the result of Portrait photography is the same of both camera, while for Street photography, the D5500 performs better, although the result of these two cameras is above average.

For Sports photography, once again the D5500 output a better performance, while for Daily and Landscape photography the result is a tie!

The only area where the D3400 is better than the D5500 is at its battery life ( 1200 vs 820 shots), because it is 25g lighter, and has a higher color depth.

In comparison to the D3400, the D5500 is Wi-Fi enabled, has an articulating, touchscreen that has 12% more resolution and it is by 0.2″ larger than the D3400,has a better high ISO performance, a better AF system (39 point vs 11) packs a microphone port that would make a difference once you opt to record videos, has a timelapse recording ability and has a slightly higher dynamic range.

If you ask me, I’d go for the D5500 because it distributes better, overall results and it is more convenient to shoot with.

Similar Comparison: Nikon D3400 vs Nikon D5600