The D5500 represents a slight upgrade in this high-end entry-level sector from Nikon, rather than a complete overhaul. But the changes that have been made are welcome and make using the camera a nicer and easier experience than before.
Keeping the already well-performing sensor and processor combination, but adding a touch sensitive screen means that you have the best of the old but with an acknowledgement of the new.
Overall it's a great screen to use. Setting the autofocus point when you're using Live View is particularly useful, as is changing settings via the screen itself. It's a little bit of a shame that there aren't a few more direct routes to key settings, such as ISO and white balance, but thanks to the combination of the screen and other buttons, it's not too long-winded a process overall.
The fact that you can still use the touch screen while you're using the viewfinder is good, it's something that I've particularly enjoyed with other cameras, such as the Panasonic GH4. However, here it's not quite so well implemented, meaning you have hit-and-miss results unless you articulate the screen away from your face - something which feels a little awkward in practice.
Nikon has kept the inbuilt Wi-Fi, but ditched the GPS. It's good to see Wi-Fi sticking around, but it would be nice to see more control available via the remote shooting app – without being able to control key settings, its uses are limited. GPS is presumably a less requested feature, but if you do miss it you can still add GPS data via your phone.
To make the camera even better it would be nice to see an improved autofocusing system when using Live View. It's put to shame by the systems in Olympus, Fuji, Sony and Panasonic compact system cameras so it would be fantastic to see Nikon DSLR cameras stepping up their efforts.
Image quality remains very good, with pleasing tones and good performance in terms of white balance and metering. Low light performance is also good, with not too much noise appearing at higher sensitivities.
The overall feature set of the D5500 is great. There's a high-resolution (24.2 Mp) sensor which produces very detailed images, and an articulating touch-screen. Inbuilt Wi-Fi and a 39-point AF system round off the specs very nicely. This is a camera which is very much a sum of its parts rather than having one single standout feature which makes it fantastic.
When using Live View, the autofocusing speeds just aren't up to the same par as other cameras which are on the market, and that is a shame. It would also be nice if the touchscreen sensitivity was better when using the viewfinder.
While Nikon hasn't exactly created a game changer with the Nikon D5500, it's nevertheless a very pleasing entry-level camera that brings a lot of very useful features to the beginner user. It's ideal as your first DSLR, or perhaps as an upgrade from a much older model.
The images it produces are great and the introduction of a touchscreen makes it a tad more intuitive to use than the previous model – but that does come at a cost premium. If you're on a budget, the older D5300 has the same image quality at cheaper price.