You are probably wondering what is the better choice, Nikon D3500 or Nikon D5500.
Choosing the right camera today is overwhelming. Just looking at specs is often confusing, especially when it comes to these two models.
We are here to take a closer look at specifications and key features as well as user reviews. I had a hard task of comparing these two because there are small differences depending on what do you want from a camera.
Hopefully, this guide will help you make a decision and find the best fit for you.
Which is better, the D3500 or the D5500?
Nikon D5500 very similarly to the D3500, with 24 MP sensor and similar size. It’s almost too close to call. The D5500 has a few slightly more advanced features, like exposure and white balance bracketing, and a more advanced autofocus system. The price is slightly higher than the D3500.
Movie mode here is amazing with 1080p Full HD resolution and articulated 3.2 in LCD screen, which is a great feature to have if you are used to filming yourself a lot. If you are still not set on buying this model, take a look at our full comparison.
Check the price of the Nikon D5500 on Amazon.
Nikon D3500 is a perfect entry-level DSLR camera for novices in photography. This is a small and lightweight camera with amazing battery life. It features a 24.2 MP sensor which creates great images and 1080p Full HD videos.
Check the price of the Nikon D3500 on Amazon.
We recently compared the D3500 to the Nikon D3400. You can read our comparison here.
Interested in how it matches up to the Canon T6i? Check out the D3500 vs T6i comparison.
Nikon D3500 vs D5500 Comparison Table
As can be seen from the comparison table, there are small differences. Let’s go take an in-depth view of the specifications and see how they stack up against each other.
Detailed Specification Comparison
Both cameras have the same sized CMOS sensor, 24MP. Image resolution and performance should be similar.
Another spec that is the same in both cameras.
The ISO range for both the D3500 and D5500 is 100- 25600, allowing you to take pictures in low light. the D5500 does have some more advanced exposure features, like exposure bracketing and more options for exposure compensation.
The D5500 has a more advanced autofocus system.
Both Nikon D3500 has an 11 AF point 3D tracking autofocus system. D5500 has 39 AF points with 3D-tracking. Autofocusing speeds in both cameras are great, but speeds do drop in low light conditions or when the subject is too close.
The clear winner here is Nikon D5500.
The D5500 has a 3.2 LCD touchscreen with 1,037,000 dots. Having a touchscreen makes the camera super easy to use. It also has a fully articulated screen which can be viewed at different angles. So if you are a vlogger and used to always filming yourself, or you love shooting from unusual angles this is the camera for you.
The D3500 has 3.0 in LCD screens with a display resolution of 921,600 dots.
The D5500 gets the nod here.
Both models feature Full HD video recording at resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 pixels at 60 fps. But, when filming a lot of moving subjects with D3500 autofocus can struggle at times, which can be frustrating. I would say D5500 is the winner in this race because of its tilt-swivel screen and superior autofocus system
Both offer 5fps continuous shooting, so this category is pretty close. The only factor that may tip the scales in favor of the D5500 is the Autofocus performance which I mentioned earlier.
Both models have optical pentamirror viewfinder with 95% coverage, which is standard for cameras of this level. But this win goes to Nikon D3500 because you can get a bigger view of the scene with a magnification of 0.85x to D5500’s 0.82x.
As shutter speed goes, both cameras have the same specifications, so we have a tie again.
Both models go from 30 seconds for long exposures to 1/4000 seconds freeze any movement you can think of.
It’s a tie again here.
Both models have Nikon F lens mount with approximately 287 available lenses to choose from. Popular kits include the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens, a good all-around lens to get started.
We also published a roundup of lenses for the D5500, where you can learn more about the range of lenses available for that camera.
I have to mention that both models also feature built-in flash and microphone jack. One thing to note is that the D5500’s microphone is stereo, so if you shoot a lot of videos that may be important to you. Otherwise a triple tie we have here actually.
After a long day of taking photos, sifting through the images, deleting and maybe in-camera editing, battery life is extremely important. So here the clear winner is D3500 with impressive 1550 shots compared to D5500’s 820 shots.
Size and Weight
Nikon D5500 is nicely built and designed to last, but in this category D3500 is the winner. The overall dimensions are about the same but the D3500 is significantly lighter than D5500.
Both cameras use a similar sensor and lenses, so lens size and weight for both should be comparable.
The differences between these models are really small, this was a tough comparison, but one thing is clear, these entry-level DLSR models are amazing for beginners. It’s hard to go wrong with either.
Nikon D3500 has excellent image quality with high ISO performance. You can take amazing low light shots, it has good dynamic range and using panorama mode can result in beautiful images.
With its 5 fps shooting, you can take some shots of your pet running or flying and print them without losing the quality of the image.
The negative side of this model is the lack of a tilt-swivel screen, struggling autofocus while in video mode and limited external controls. On the positive side though, it is a small and lightweight, but powerful camera.
Overall the D5500 is very similar in specs to the D3500 in many ways. It has a few extra features like exposure bracketing, built-in WiFi and a better performing autofocus system.
The price is slightly higher, but overall I would rate it the winner in this comparison based on the specifications.
Learn more about the Nikon D5500 on Amazon.
As far as what camera is best for you, the D3500 if battery life and camera weight are the most important factors, and you can compromise slightly in performance, especially autofocus.