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Introduction

Entry-level DSLR cameras are one of the best cameras in the market and they offer the most value for their price. Since all of the manufacturers put immense focus on their entry-level DSLR models, they become one of the safest choices when buying a camera. Most of these cameras have excellent sensors and very user-friendly controls that make it very hard to take bad photographs. But what is most important with these cameras, is that they provide ample fun when shooting, and teach you the basic skills of photography without overwhelming you.

While all manufacturers deliver great entry-level models and as I said they all deliver excellent qualities, however, if you make a little research you will see that Canon and Nikon make the very best entry-level models. However, in my opinion, Nikon has a slight edge in this battle as its models are all very light, small, are equipped with good sensors, have a wide range of lenses, and most importantly are more affordable and therefore deliver the most bang for your buck at this category.

Today we have two entry-level DSLR cameras from Nikon and both of these have been released more than 4 years ago now, however, they are one of the best options for beginner photographers since they provide all the features and performances that you may need from a DSLR camera as a beginner photographer, the Nikon D5500 and the Nikon D3300.

The Nikon D5500, is an entry-level digital single-lens reflex camera that was released in January 2015, which may seem old, but if we know a thing or two about cameras, we know that the tech in this segment doesn’t improve significantly in a couple of years, so this should have more than enough power to provide beautiful photographs, thanks to its nice sensor, ISO range, video shooting, lightweight and more.

On the other hand, we have the Nikon D5300, also an entry-level digital single-lens reflex camera that was released in February 2014, about 11 years earlier than the D5500, however, it rocks the same sensor as the former and delivers similar performances, and there are just small differences between them. Most importantly the Nikon D5300 is one of the cheapest DSLRs you can buy, which makes it extremely attractive for buyers in the budget.

Since we are introduced to our cameras, let’s take a closer look, and see if any of them comes out on top.

Similar Comparison: Nikon D7500 vs Canon 80D

Head To Head Comparison

Nikon D5500

Nikon’s D5xxx lineup, in my opinion, has been one of the strongest and the most prominent series in the market, and since their first release, they have delivered some excellent cameras, for both entry-level and enthusiast-grade DSLR cameras. They delivered the perfect balance between the ultra-cheap D3xxx series and the more high-end D7xxx series, and in my opinion, they are the most successful series in the company’s lineup by a margin. They come with entry-level controls that deliver plenty of creative freedom, good sensors, and amazing price points that make them value pieces.

The Nikon D5500 is one of the best entry-level digital single-lens reflex cameras in the market, however, it delivers some excellent enthusiast-level controls that make it perfect for beginners that want to learn more about the hobby. It has a perfect sensor, no anti-aliasing filter, built-in WiFi, touch screen rear display with plenty of resolution, and tons of interesting features.

If you want a small form factor from DSLR things to get difficult, however, this camera achieves the unthinkable, as this device measures just 4.5×4.2×3-inches in total and weighs about 420 grams in total, complete with the battery and memory card, making it one of the lightest DSLR models in the market. Still, this device has a pretty good and deep hand-grip delivering a great sense of security and operational prowess. The camera has a pretty durable chassis, and like all Nikon cameras that are released, it is crash tested.

The Nikon D5500 is equipped with a 3.2inch touchscreen LCD with 1040k dots resolution and can be swiveled. The touchscreen is very responsive and delivers great functionality since you can also select focus points, use it as a shutter button, preview your photographs, menu settings and many more. As I mentioned earlier, despite being an entry-level device it delivers enthusiast-level control giving you tons of creative freedom, however, they are very easy to use and you will learn them in no time. The optical viewfinder covers 95% of the scene and has a magnification of 0.82x.

The autofocus system of the Nikon D5500 may not be the most sophisticated however, it can deliver a lot. It is equipped with a 39-point phase-detect autofocus system which is pretty quick and accurate. It even can track excellently moving subjects in good light conditions, but it was a little behind on low light scenarios, but then again this is an entry-level camera.

For image quality the Nikon D5500 utilizes a 24.2Mp DX APS-C sensor, that delivers great image quality, but what makes it a capable shooter is its Expeed 4 image processor. This image processor delivers excellent colors, and the sharpness from the sensor is extremely natural and as I said it is very hard to take bad photos. There are plenty of modes included and they all work great, the ISO range is good too, as it spans from 100 to 25,600 and the performance is great.

Talking about speed, this camera is pretty fast for its price since it can capture 5 frames per second in JPEG and 4.1 frames per second for raw files in burst shooting mode. This doesn’t make it capable of shooting wildlife and sports, but you can try in different settings and it will deliver.

Nikon D5500 Sample Footage:

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Nikon D5300

The Nikon D5300, like the aforementioned D5500, is an entry-level digital single-lens reflex camera that was developed for advanced beginners, that have a knack for the hobby. It is equipped with amazing controls that are very easy to use, has a good autofocus system, no anti-aliasing filter, tried and tested sensors that can deliver amazing photographs in tons of situations, making this camera one of the most versatile models in the entry-level.

This camera has a pretty straightforward and simple DSLR design, that is used in Nikon’s entry-level models for a long time now, and it is constructed, from a special material that makes this camera pretty strong, the Sereebo CFRTP which is a kind of polycarbonate but a little stronger and the camera weighs about 480 grams. It feels more than its price suggests in your hand, not a true tank feel but pretty solid overall. On the top part of this camera, you will find a stereo microphone that picks up the sound excellently. The handgrip of this camera is very good and exceptional, as it delivers a great and secure grip and it makes the camera feel more balanced, even with heavier and larger lenses.

On the back of this camera, you will spot a 3.2-inch LCD panel that unfortunately isn’t touch capacitive, however, on its right, you will spot the 4-way controller that delivers a great way to select focus points without a touchscreen. In terms of other controls and dials, this is a pretty balanced camera, delivering the ease of entry-level cameras and the creative freedom of enthusiast-level cameras, it is one of the pleasing cameras to learn to shoot on. On top of that, the viewfinder offers 95 percent coverage of the scene, which is pretty much what all of the cameras in this price range deliver, and the magnification is about 0.52x meaning that it is pretty mediocre.

This camera is equipped with a 39-point phase-detect autofocus system, from which 9 of them are cross-type and you even have the option to select between 39 and 11 AF points. It also supports 3D tracking autofocus performance and it is pretty quick to do so, something a little unexpected in this price range. In good lighting settings, it delivers a perfect performance especially with still subjects and landscape photography, however, in low light scenarios, the autofocus system was a little lacking.

For its amazing image quality, it utilizes a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor which is proven already to deliver amazing photographs, and combined with the Expeed 4 sensor, it takes things into another level as it can take extremely natural photographs. It manages to eliminate noise in high ISO ranges as it has an ISO range that spans from 100 to 12,800 but that can be boosted up to 25,600. It eliminates noise but a little too aggressively not quite perfect.

In terms of speed and performance, like its competitor the D5500, it can shoot 5 frames per second in burst shooting mode, and it was a little better than it since it could deal with various lightings adequately. This is mostly due to the Active D-Lighting, which is very useful for high-contrast subjects especially.

Nikon D5300 Sample Footage:

Similar Comparison: Nikon D5500 vs Nikon D5300

Nikon D5500 vs Nikon D5300 Feature Comparison

Nikon D5500 Nikon D5300
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
24.2
24.2
ISO Range
100-25,600
100-12,800(25,600)
Flip-Out Screen
Yes
Yes
AF Points
39 AF Points
39 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
Yes
No
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
APS-C
APS-C

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Conclusion

If you just take a look at the specs of these two machines, you won’t notice much difference since they are pretty much the same, however, the Nikon D5500 performs slightly better than its counterpart, as it manages to capture colors better, and its creative freedom is much bigger than the D5300.

However, if the price is your concern and you want the cheapest of both, you should opt for the D5300.

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