The Nikon D5300 and Nikon D5500 appear very similar on first glance. However, there are some key differences that set them apart. To make sure you’re getting the best value for money we will lay down what these differences are and which model is best for your purposes.

Throughout this comparison, each camera will be assessed across a range of categories. They will be awarded points, which we will then tally up at the end. We will then give you our impression of which camera is best.

Megapixels

Megapixels are crucial for achieving the highest quality still-shots. Both models have 24.2-megapixel sensors which are powerful enough to take excellent images. This first category is a clear tie.

ISO

ISO is a setting that controls the brightness of your photos. The higher the number, the brighter your photos will be and vice versa. The D5500 has a higher max ISO than the D5300 (25,600 vs. 12,800). This allows for clearer images when shooting in low light conditions.

+1 for the D5500

Sensor Size

Both cameras have 15.60mm x 23.50mm APS-C sensors. There is no difference in this category and users of either device will have the same level of control over an image’s depth of field.

Autofocusing

The latest cameras have effective autofocus technology, which allows users to hone in on a subject quickly. Now, each Nikon device has 39 AF (autofocus) points, so no differences here.

Each camera also incorporates:

  • AF Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • AF Multi-area
  • AF Multi-view

These functions allow photographers to easily focus on subjects no matter where they are in the camera frame. They also allow users to track moving subjects easily.

Burst Mode

Burst mode allows photographers to take a rapid string of shots. If you are undertaking sports or actions photography, then burst mode is the ideal setting.

Each camera can shot 5fps when in burst mode. This simply means that they can take five photos per second. Users can then sort through the results to select the best images.

Lens Options

Both cameras use the Nikon F lens mount, which has a whopping 280 lenses available. These give plenty of options no matter what kind of photography you plan on doing.

An individual lens typically costs $50-$100. However, the most cost-effective way to get ahold of them is purchasing a bundle deal. These deals will typically include the camera plus a lens kit and range of other accessories. We will discuss bundle options in the price section.

Video Quality

Both cameras can record full HD (1080p) video at up to 60fps. This makes both devices ideal for those that want more than just still shots. Just be aware that neither model can shot slow-motion video.

Screen

Both cameras have 3.2” fully articulating screens with resolutions of 1,037k dots. The difference is that the D5500 has a touchscreen while the D5300 misses out on this feature. A touchscreen makes menus easier to navigate (just like on your smartphone) and saves clunking away on buttons.

+1 for the D5500

Portability

The D5500 is slightly lighter and more compact than the D5300. It weighs 60 grams less at 420 grams. Its dimensions are 124 x 97 x 70mm while the D5300 is fractionally bigger at 125 x 98 x 76mm.

Regarding portability, the D5500 is a slight improvement.

+1 for the D5500

Battery Life

The D5500 can take 820 shots on a single charge while the D5300 can only take 600 shots. This is a significant 220 shot difference.

+1 for the D5500

GPS

GPs is handy for geotagging your photos. The D5300 includes this feature while it was surprisingly removed from the D5500.

+1 for the D5300

Smartphone Remote Control

Another feature that is present in the D5300 while being mysteriously absent from the D5500 is smartphone control. This feature allows users to control the camera using their smartphone remotely.

+1 for the D5300

Further Common Strengths

Let’s touch on some more strengths that both devices share.

  • Both cameras have built-in Wi-Fi so that users can share and backup photos wirelessly.
  • Both cameras have a built-in flash.
  • Both cameras have a microphone port that is handy for recording quality.
  • Both cameras have HDMI out so that photos can be easily viewed on an external screen.
  • Both cameras feature bulb shutter so that users can manually hold the shutter open for the longest exposures.

Further Common Weaknesses

Let’s touch on the not so good things about each device.

  • Neither camera supports focus peaking which is useful for highlighting objects that are in focus.
  • Neither camera features image stabilization technology.
  • Neither camera allows panoramic shots to be taken. These are images that consist of multiple photos linked together.
  • Neither camera has built-in
  • Neither camera has dual SD card slots.
  • Neither camera has a headphone port for monitoring audio quality.

Price

A new D5300 costs around $490 on Amazon. A bundle deal with a lens kit, SD card, tripod, and other accessories costs about $570.

A new D5500 costs is around $570 on Amazon. To get a lens kit included you will need to pay about $750.

The D5300 is the more affordable option.

+1 for the D5300

Total Scores

Let’s tally up the final scores.

Nikon D5300: 3

  • GPS
  • Smartphone Remote
  • Price

Nikon D5500: 4

  • ISO
  • Screen
  • Portability
  • Battery Life

You can also compare the specs and features of each model by viewing the table below.

SpecsNikon D5300Nikon D5500
Photography:
Megapixels24.224.2
Max ISO12,80025,600
Sensor Size15.60mm x 23.50mm15.60mm x 23.50mm
AF Points3939
Burst Mode5fps5fps
Focus PeakingNoNo
Panoramic ShotsNoNo
Lens MountNikon FNikon F
Built-in FlashYesYes
Video:
Frame Rate60fps at 1080p60fps at 1080p
Slow Motion VideoNoNo
Microphone JackYesYes
Headphone JackNoNo
Build:
Weight480 grams420 grams
Dimensions125 x 98 x 76mm124 x 97 x 70mm
Screen:
Size3.2”3.2”
ArticulatingYesYes
TouchscreenNoYes
Resolution1,037k dots1,037k dots
Other Features:
Smartphone Remote ControlYesNo
Wi-FiYesYes
HDMI OutYesYes
Blub ShutterYesYes
Image StabilizationNoNo
BluetoothNoNo
GPSYesNo
Dual SD Card SlotsNoNo
Amazon Price:
Standalone$490$570
Bundle Deal$570$750

Which Model Should You Buy?

It’s a pretty close battle as both cameras have far more in common than they do apart. If you plan on shooting in low light conditions, then pay a little bit extra to get the Nikon D5500. This device is also more user-friendly with a touchscreen and longer battery life.

If you don’t need to take advantage of the Nikon D5500’s greater ISO range then just save yourself some cash and get the Nikon D5300. You will still find that it is a powerful camera with not much differentiating it from the Nikon D5500. If you like you can put the money saved towards more lenses.

Regardless of which camera you settle on, we recommend getting it included in a bundle. The reason is that these deals are simply the better value for money. You’re not only getting extra lenses, but also SD cards, tripods and a range of other handy goods.