Nikon D5500 First Shots posted: Does this newly designed sensor improve high ISO performance?


posted Monday, February 16, 2015 at 7:05 PM EDT


Improving high ISO performance is one of the most sought after frontiers in modern camera technology, and for good reason. Most every photographer out there needs faster shutter speeds in low light from time to time, and some rely on it for their very careers. Sports photographers crave it, as do handheld shooters in low light and landscape photographers needing small apertures with a faster shutter for certain situations.

The mid-level 5000 series Nikons have been an incredibly popular line dating back many years, with the predecessor to the D5500, the D5300, garnering acclaim in our 2013 Camera of the Year awards. Both the sensor size and resolution of the D5500 are the same as the one housed in the D5300, and the Expeed 4 processor remains the same, but Nikon tells us that the chip is a newly designed one with better high ISO performance in mind.

Claims like this are best researched by looking at side-by-side sample images taken in controlled laboratory conditions, and we therefore present our Nikon D5500 First Shots. From this page you can access the full ISO spectrum across our Still Life test target, and by going to our Comparometer you can compare the D5500 to any camera we've ever tested.

Below are a few side-by-sides with the D5300, the D7100 and the lower resolution Canon T5i to get you started. We believe you'll find the results somewhat eye-opening, as we did here, especially at ISO 12,800.

[Editor's note: The 1:1 crops below are taken from out-of-camera JPEGS at their default settings. RAW files can be accessed via the Lab Samples page for download and conversion.]

Nikon D5300                      base ISO                           Nikon D5500
Nikon D5300                     ISO 12,800                        Nikon D5500
Nikon D7100                     ISO 12,800                        Nikon D5500
Canon T5i                     ISO 12,800                        Nikon D5500

For much more please visit our Nikon D5500 Hands-on preview, as well as our D5300 vs D5500 comparison page.

UPDATE: We've just posted 51 images to our D5500 gallery page. [News postGallery]

[quick links: D5500 Lab SamplesGallery •  Comparometer]