Nikon D5500 vs D7100

Nikon D5500 vs D7100 : Which Should You Buy?

Like its predecessor,  the new Nikon D5500 is the most advanced entry/mid-level SLR available,  making the choice to spend a little more money on the Nikon D7100 even harder. Below, I’ll briefly explain what has been added to (and what has been taken away from) the D5300 to derive the D5500, but I’ll primarily focus on the differences that remain between the D5500 and the D7100. If you’re trying to decide which camera to buy, my general advice is always this: buy the least expensive camera that will meet your needs, and buy the best lenses that you can afford. Most photographers will be very happy with the D5500, but some advanced shooters will require the D7100; this article should help you decide whether you fall into the latter camp.

[UPDATE: With the release of the Nikon D7200, I’ve updated this article with the new camera information. You can read that article here: Nikon D7200 vs D5500.]

New In the D5500

If you’re deciding between D5500 and older D5300, here’s the difference:

  • a touch-sensitive screen has been added to the D5500
  • built-in GPS have been removed in the D5500
  • the top of the ISO scale has been increased by a stop to 25600, though it may be more accurate to say that the “expanded” ISO of 25600 has been incorporated as “native”
  • its a millimeter shorter and narrower, 5mm thinner, and about 60 grams lighter than the D5300

That’s it! The D5500 and D5300 are virtually identical, otherwise, so as the price drops on the D5300, many photographers who don’t care about having a touch-screen or who want built-in GPS will be able to pick it up at a great price.

The Nikon D5500, left, is slightly smaller than the D5300, and about 60g lighter.
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter The Nikon D5500, left, is slightly smaller than the D5300, and about 60g lighter.

Nikon D5500 vs D7100: What’s the Difference?

To begin with, we can take a look at the most significant specs for the D5300, the new D5500, and the D7100.

Nikon D5300Nikon D5500Nikon D7100
Price (body)
Price (with 18-140mm kit lens)$896$1046$1096
Body MaterialSereebo, (carbon fiber reenforced plastic) body-chassis Sereebo, (carbon fiber reenforced plastic) body-chassis Partial Magnesium Alloy Frame, Plastic
Dust/Weather Sealed BodyNoneNoneModerate
Sensor Resolution24.1 Megapixels
24.1 Megapixels
24.1 Megapixels
Anti-Aliasing Filter
(Reduces sharpness, prevents moire)
ISO Range100-12800
Total AF Points393951
Cross-Type AF Points9915
AF Motor In Body
(For Using Older AF Lenses)
AF Light Level Range-1 to +19 EV-1 to +19 EV-2 to +19 EV
Autofocus Fine Tuning
Shutter Speed Range1/4000th - 30 sec.
1/4000th - 30 sec.
1/8000th - 30 sec.
Expected Shutter Life100,000 Shots100,000 Shots150,000 Shots
Max Frame Rate5 fps5 fps6 fps
(7 shots in 1.3x crop mode)
Max RAW Burst
(buffer size)
6 shots, compressed 14-bit6 shots, compressed 14-bit7 shots lossless 12-bit
6 shots lossless 14-bit
Max JPG Burst
(fine, Large)
Flash Sync Speed1/200th sec.1/200th sec.1/250th sec.
(1/320th* sec, or slower,)
Wireless Flash
(Built-in Commander)
Auto FP Flash Mode
(High Speed Sync)
Media Slots1 SD / SDHC / SDXC1 SD / SDHC / SDXC2 SD / SDHC / SDXC
LCD Size3.2"
1,036,800 pixels
1,036,800 pixels
1,228,800 pixels
LCD ArticulatedYesYesNo
LCD TouchscreenNoYESNo
Built-in GPS YesNoNo
Built-in WiFiYesYesNo
Body Weight480g (no battery)
530g (with battery)
420g (no battery)
470 (with battery)
675 (no battery)
Body Size125 x 98 x 76 mm 124 x 97 x 70 mm136 x 107 x 76 mm
Battery Life600 shots
CIPA Standards
820 shots
CIPA Standards
950 shots
CIPA Standards
Viewfinder Coverage95% Frame
.82x Magnification
95% Frame
.82x Magnification
100% Frame
.94x Magnification
Video CodecMPEG-4 / H.264
MPEG-4 / H.264
MPEG-4 / H.264
Video Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 50i, 30, 25, 24 fps)
1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps)

640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 50i, 30, 25, 24 fps)
1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps)
1920 x 1080 (60i*, 50i*, 30, 25, 24 fps)
1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps)
640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)

*only in 1.3x crop mode
Video Length Limit29 min 59 sec.29 min 59 sec.29 min 59 sec.
Headphone JackNoNoYes
Internal MicStereoStereoStereo
Nikon D5500 vs D7100 back view
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter

Build Quality

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the D7100 and the D5500 is in their construction. The D5500 body is significantly smaller and lighter, built of carbon-fiber reenforced plastics (Sereebo), while the D7100 is heavier and built for durability, with a metal (magnesium alloy) back and top, and importantly, it is weather sealed. Since the D5500 also uses a smaller battery, the carry-around weight of the D7100 is about 40% more1 Actually 38.6% than the D5500.

Whether this is an advantage or disadvantage depends on your photographic needs; some photographers (especially those with larger hands) prefer a larger camera with some ‘heft’ to it, while others prefer something more lightweight and easy to carry around, especially travelers and hikers. Needless to say, those who work in harsh conditions will also prefer the D7100’s weather sealing and heavier-duty construction, as a matter of practicality.

Nikon D7100 with grip
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter Nikon D7100 with optional battery grip.

The Sensors : Exactly the Same

The success of the D800e may have led directly to Nikon’s decision to produce an APS-C camera without an optical low-pass/anti-aliasing (OLP/AA) filter, but whatever led to the fact, the D7100’s sensor is naked. Before the D800e, all of the major SLRs produced their sensors with an AA filter: essentially an extra layer in front of the sensor that blurs the image slightly, in order to reduce the jagged edges and moire 1 that have traditionally been associated with digital capture. With modern improvements in image processing software, though, Nikon was confident that the moire and jaggies could be avoided without the AA filter, so they opted to remove it and allow the cameras to capture finer image detail.

Now, with the success of the D7100, Nikon has also decided to remove the AA filter from the D5300 and D5500’s sensors. For all practical purposes, there is no difference between the sensors the D7100 and D5500, so there should be no difference in image quality if you shoot RAW. Though this lack of AA filter does provide the potential to for the camera to produce sharper images, don’t expect too much.

Comparisons of images produced by the D800 (AA Filter) and D800e (no AA Filter) have shown that the principle works; there are subtle improvements in fine detail in the D800e’s images. However, we should not expect such significant improvements in the D7100’s images. The receptors on the 24 megapixel sensor of the D7100 are already much, much smaller than those of the D800e. In fact, the D7100 and D5500 fit about 56% more pixels into the same sensor area than the D800e.

Why does that matter? Even with the much larger receptors of the D800, lens resolution has become a serious bottle-neck for image quality. The dramatically higher pixel density of Nikon’s 24 megapixel sensors will tax lens resolution even more, meaning that the D7100 and D5500’s images won’t get much sharper unless lenses get sharper first.

Auto Focus Systems

Unlike most entry and mid-level SLRs, the Nikon D5500 has a very sophisticated autofocus system. While cameras like the Canon T5i and 70D have 9 and 19 autofocus points, respectively, the D5500 has 39, though only the central nine of them are cross-type2If you’re not sure what cross-type points are, or why they’re important, check out our short video on the subject, here.. This autofocus system, which also incorporates color information, has been adopted from the Nikon D7000.

The D7100, however, shares the same AF system with the flagship Nikon D4 and the D800: 51 AF points, including 15 cross-type… the best system available in a Nikon body.

For all but the most dedicated action photographers, the system in the D5500 will be more than sufficient, even if you’re buying a camera primarily for shooting sports. If your paycheck, however, is going to depend on your focusing system, the extra several hundred dollars will be well spent on the D7100.


When it comes to speed, the differences between the D5500 and D7100 are more modest that you might expect. The D7100 does have a top shutter speed that is one full f-stop faster than the D5500’s (ie, 1/8000th vs 1/4000th). When it comes to shooting bursts of photos, though, the D7100 only provides an additional frame per second over the D5500’s 5 fps (unless you’re shooting in 1.3x crop mode, in which case it will give up an additional frame per second).

More importantly, though, the under-sized buffer in the D7100 does not allow longer bursts than the D5500; in fact, the D5500 comes out dead even. The D7100 and D5500 can both only shoot 6 14-bit RAW shots before the buffer is full (the D5200 could manage 8). Compare this to the 15 RAW shots allowed by a Canon 60D or 25 in a 7D, and it will be clear that neither Nikon is probably ideal for photographers who rely on the machine-gun method of action photography.

That said, shooting JPG changes things dramatically. The D7100 can shoot bursts of at least 33 frames (at 6 fps) while the D5500 may be able to shoot 100 or more frames (at 5fps).

The D5500’s Downfall

Flash. With the popularity of “Strobist” techniques over the past several years, flash photography has become increasingly important to amateur and semi-pro photographers, and this is where the D5500 falls short: it lacks high-speed-sync3For a quick explanation of what high-speed-sync is, watch our video here. (Auto FP Flash, henceforth AFP) and external flash control with the built-in flash. External flash control may not be a big deal; many of us prefer to use radio-units instead… though the built-in IR system can be very useful with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS).

The lack of AFP, however, is a serious problem. Consider this situation: you’re shooting a portrait outdoors during the day, and you want to use a large aperture to blur the background… perhaps f/2 or f/1.4 . This will push your shutter speed beyond 1/1000ths of a second, much higher than the camera’s 1/200th sec. maximum sync speed. So, if you want to use a flash to soften the shadows or create a catch-light in the eyes of your subject, forget it: the flash will not sync. The same is true if you want to use flash for sports and a high shutter speed, and while you can purchase external command modules or radio transmitters for off-camera-flashes, there’s nothing you can buy to work around the lack of AFP. You’d need to buy the D7100 instead.

In some instances, a neutral density filter can be used to bring the shutter speed down within the range of the D5500’s sync speed. There are several problems with the method, though: the image through your viewfinder can become quite dark, making it hard to frame your shot and making it hard for your camera’s AF system to pull focus, you lose flash power, if you’re shooting with a telephoto lens, shutter speeds at the camera’s sync speed might not be safe for hand-holding, and they’ll always be too slow for sports or fast action (if you’re balancing flash and ambient light).

Nikon SB-910, SB-700, and SB-500
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter A Nikon Flash Trio

All the Little Things

There are a few other assorted differences that deserve mention here, but they’re mostly the same differences that we saw between the D5100 and D7000. First, the D5500 does not have an autofocus motor built into the camera body, so it will not be compatible with the full range of (old school) Nikon lenses, while the D7100 does posses the motor. And speaking of “focus”, the D7100 is capable of micro adjustments to correct for front or back-focus problems on lenses, while the D5500 is not.

Nikon D5500 articulated screen
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter The Nikon D5500’s swivel screen.

As should be obvious from the images above, the D5500 has an articulated LCD screen, which some people find helpful for ground-level shots and video but others find a breakage hazard or amateurish.

Finally, if you are interested in video, the D7100 has been given a headphone jack for monitoring audio while you shoot. The jack is absent in the D5500 (and D5300, D7000). It’s also worth noting that the D5500/5300 are capable of shooting video at 1920×1080 at 60p, while the D7100 currently only does so at 30 or 24p (although it can shoot 60i if you’re willing to use 1.3x crop mode).

Which to Buy?

The Nikon D5300  and D5500 are great cameras, and I’d recommend them for the vast majority of amateur photographers, with the exception of those who need superior flash capabilities. If you’re ready to buy now, please support this site by purchasing through one of the links below! Thanks!

To summarize, you should buy the D5300 if you:

Buy the D5500 ONLY IF you:

Buy the D7100 if you:

  • are hard on your equipment and need a more durable body
  • use flash for action or fill and need high-speed sync
  • use Nikon’s CLS and want to use the built-in command module
  • shoot macro (or other focus critical work) and need to make micro adjustments to your lenses
  • shoot a lot of video and want a simple headphone jack on your camera
  • don’t need to worry about spending a little more. At Amazon, the current price for the D7100 body is [amazon template=price&asin=B00BI9X97I]

For the sake of simplicity I’ve tried to focus on only the differences that, in my experience, will actually be important. There are, of course, numerous differences between the two cameras, though, and some features may be more important to particular photographers. If you think that I’ve left out something important, please feel free to let me know.

Please Comment!

If you have additional questions or comments, please let me know, below. I’ll do what I can to answer questions and clear up any confusion.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chris Lam

Thanks for spotlighting the HSS limitation on the D5500. I heard that HSS on the Yongnuo YN-568EX flash works on the D5500. Can you confirm it? Thanks.

Chris Lam

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your quick response. As I learn more about HSS, I realize it is the tight coupling between the camera and the flash that makes it possible. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Yongnuo 568’s HSS will work on the D5500.

I much prefer the D5500 over the D7x00 because of small size, lightweight, and touch screen. It is very unfortunate that Nikon cripples its HSS. HSS can be a very useful feature for even a causal photographer who wants to take better photos of his kids outdoors. It is not an esoteric feature for only the professionals. Are there any other Nikon solutions that have most of the benefits of the D5500 but with HSS?



Jose Miguel

Hi Matt, I have a Nikon D60 for eight years and finally I’m going to renew my camera.
I was comparising 5500 and 7100 because I thought that buy the 7100 may be a good upgrade for me. But I was wondering if I really need 7100, because the price and the weight (I use the camera for travel and hiking).
And I also think that having a D60, the 5500 is already a good upgrade.
After reading your article I think I have more accurated information to decide.



Hey Matthew thanks for the review my best review yet! I used to have a d5500 and I used it very well but I sold it and now got a d7100 but I am not getting the same result, maybe cos of the LCD screen I don’t know I feel the image quality of the 5500 Is better than the d7100 now should I get another 5500 or stick to this d7100 and probably get better lenses because now I use a 50mm 1.8g expecting your reply..thanks!


Yeah hello Matthew for the d5500 I used a 50mm and I’m using that same 50mm for the d7100 but I’m not getting the same result. Even when I take pictures in the night I get more noise on the 7100 like I did on the 5500. I feel the 5500 is smarter or I haven’t used the 7100 to its full potential also an issue with the 7100 is the color distortion which I didn’t see in the 5500


you are a patient soul to answer all of us asking the same questions over and over! Best and most thoughtful reviews anywhere. Thank you so much and I apologize for contributing to your pain.
I have a D7000 which I bought when it first came out and certainly no professional but love photography. I have back focus issues and can’t seem to get adjusted with the lens but I still like it. Anyhow, my 15 year old daughter wants a camera for Christmas and I am looking at the D5500 versus the 7100 (the deals now make the 7200 300 dollars more than the 7100 which seems a total waste). The deals right now place the 7100 with 18-140 and the d5500 with same lens about 100 dollars apart. She is a very small girl and wondering if the D5500 would be easier to deal with although I can’t imagine not having the LCD screen and 2 dials. I know she will get used to whatever but didn’t know how big a pain this is to deal with, is it pretty easy to adjust without a LCD on top? she will take mostly artsy photos nothing overly demanding I don’t think- just take photos and would want to wifi to phone. As a typical dumb guy, it is hard to get the D5500 when the 7100 is “bigger and better”. I have 100 micro and 50 1.4 prime and 55-200 and the usual kit lens also for my camera and she can use these also. I had finally decided D5500 might be better for her even though price difference isn’t a big deal and knowing the 7100 is better then realized the D5500 is backordered which has again got me spiraling! I think I have a hard time seeing the D500 as a “proper” camera without the LCD and 2 wheels!


Thanks for the prompt reply. :) I happened to check in a DSLR shop this weekend and had my hands on to D7100 and D5500. But the 5500 seemed so small for my palm which was a downer for me. Right now i have two options : D7100 with a 18-105mm kit lens and D5300 with 18-55 and 70-300 kit lens. Which one out of the both would you suggest or do you have any other options to suggest for the long run? . Eagerly awaiting your reply.


Hi Matt,
Must say you are a patient human. :) I meant D5300 in my previous question and not D5500 since the former is little more bigger in size and have a good review.Your suggestion on investing more on the lens made me think actually. So here it is..How about buying D5300(yes..D5300) with 18-140 VR lens along with a 70-300 VR lens. Is it outdated or worth buying? Also would these serve most purposes and also if you could suggest me a wide angle lens it would be helpful.


Hi Matt,
And finally ended up buying the D7100 :). Thank you very much for showing a big heart to all the queries. Will be back with after purchase questions soon ;)


Hola: estoy en la disyuntiva todavía de qué comprar, si la nikon D 5500 o la nilon D 7100. Creo que la D 7100 es más duradera…,es la impresión que tengo. En mi ambiente de trabajo suele haber polvo humo. Tan poco estaré todo el tiempo en este ambiente,son fotos puntuales a la fragua,luego haría fotos de las composiciones que termino y tambien quiero fotografiar paisajescy hacer retratos. ¿Podrian ayudarme en mi decisión…?? Muchas gracias.


Regarding image quality – D5500 outperforms D7100 by quite margin. Sensor is definitely improved, as is in-camera noise processing. Watch yourself:


Hi Matt,
I want to purchase a new DSLR which would be first one. My preferences are either D5500 or 7100 and i would like stick on to nikon only. Now totally confused which one to choose seeing the reviews where not much differences could be seen but there is diff in price though. My usage would mostly be for outings with friends, family functions, and portrait images as well. I dont plan to upgrade for another 5 years and I need good image quality and sharpness in the pic. I am an amateur in photography but really keen to learn it in the manual way than the auto mode. Please help me in this regard.


Thanks for the prompt reply. :) I happened to check in a DSLR shop this weekend and had my hands on to D7100 and D5500. But the 5500 seemed so small for my palm which was a downer for me. Right now i have two options : D7100 with a 18-105mm kit lens and D5300 with 18-55 and 70-300 kit lens. Which one out of the both would you suggest or do you have any other options to suggest for the long run? . Eagerly awaiting your reply.


Hi Matthew , I am considering changing cameras- I have a Canon E550. I mainly use my camera for landscapes , portraits and my sons when they are surfing. My brother has a Nikon D5550 which he loves – what would you recommend.?


what do u suggest between the 18-140mm kit lens vs tamron 18-270mm for general photography on a d5500 or a d7100 body


Hi Matthew,
Thanks so much for all your helpful information. I have been torn between the D7100 and D5500 and have pretty well finally decided to go with the D7100, for many of the reasons you have provided – a big one being durability as I am not in a financial situation to make this kind of purchase very often (thus the D7100 and not the newer D7200). So the question comes down to the lenses. The kits come with either the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 OR the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VRII and the 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VRII lenses (virtually no difference in price). The convenience of not changing lenses weighs against losing some of the zoom capability and also, the VRII lenses are newer, so I am not sure if they are better performing lenses. I have read a lot of reviews and this still isn’t totally clear to me.


I don’t have any questions as you answered all of them but I really want to thank and appreciate your efforts in answering all the questions !! Just a thank note.

Though I think I will flip a coin to choose with Nikon D7100 and D5500 :) , since its so confusing for new comers to decide. This is first time I will buy a DSLR and probably go ahead with 50mm 1.8g and Sigma 18-15 1.8mm Setup. Hope I will be able to learn whatever I will go ahead with(previously had Sony HX 300).


Hi Matthew!

Very nice and helpful article, thank you very much for your work here. I have a deadly D5100 and I shot most of the time in studio with macro lens (tech journalist) and I wasn’t sure about what buy. I know that changing from D5100 to D5500 can be “silly” but the articulated LCD is fantastic for some pics. I wasnt sure about D7100 and D5500 and I think I will go def. with 5500. I guess I will enjoy even all that AF points, since I have way less.

Keep pushin, I will follow your site :)


Hi Matt, first thank you for the sharing of your knowledge. I need your advice on my choice of my first DSLR. Since experts like you often emphasize that we should invest in the lenses vs the body I am left with these options. I will very predominantly shoot landscapes (involving use of tripod, filters, slow shutter speed etc). I have no need for wi-fi, GPS. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by too many buttons and functions but I can grow with it. So here are my two options: 1) D3300 with a Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED (cost $1730CDN) or 2) D7100 with Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR ($1130CDN). To complicate things though I read last night that the Pentax K-S2 is a pretty proud competitor of the above two: 3) Pentax-Appareil Photo Numérique à Réflex DSLR K-S2 avec Objectifs HD PENTAX-DA 18-50mm DC WR et SMC PENTAX DA 50-200mm ED WR ($775CDN).
So what do you recommend? Everyone is welcome to join. Thank you.
Greetings from Québec.


Thanks Matthew. Considering the 18-140 will be the lens of choice for the moment it is to decide now about the body. D5500 and D7100 sells about the same, D3300 is $330 cheaper. Is the slowness in the autofocus of the D3300 a very important factor in landscape photography or any other important feature to justify the difference in price? Maybe I could go with the more basic D3300 and evolve from it??? I guess I can take very good pics anyway. What do you think?

Jordyne Couts

Okay, I’m a band photographer. I am learning video so it sets me apart and it helps me tour which is what I want to do with my career. I have a Nikon D200 which I love but I need an upgrade for video. I’m debating between the D5500, D7000 or D7100. Everything talks about studio lighting, which I don’t use very often. Only behind the scenes, although I’m mostly on stage with all different types of lighting. Which camera would be the best out of those for my use? Nikon D5500, D7000, or D7100?


Hey Matthew,

Great article :). Thank you for this.

I never used DSLR but am eager to buy my first one asap. Should I buy Nikon D3300, D5200, D5300, D5500 or D7100. Also, should I go with dual lens bundle of 18-55mm and 55-200mm or just with 18-144mm ?
I just like shooting things around and esp. nature with my phone so not any specific needs
Any suggestions please.


Excellent review… Thanks.. I am using canon rebel t3i (600D). I want to upgrade. So after a deep search i got an opinion that latest all nikon models are better than canon specially in image quality. Which one i have to choose D5500/D7100/D7200?


Thanks Matt, replied with Useful matter.
You mentioned D7100 is good for street photography. it means it is not suit for landscape compare than D5500. Right?
in otherway, D5500 is not suit for street photography.right?


Is the kit lens ok for D5500? or I have two lenses in mind. can you please check the following lenses are ok?
1. Nikon AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR
2. AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED


So which lens you are recommending for landscape photography?


Hi matt,
Is the kit lens ok for D7100/D5500? or I have two lenses in mind. can you please check the following lenses are ok for landscape and general photography?
1. Nikon AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR
2. AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED


I started my daughters fashion Instagram account and currently use my iPhone for photos. I really enjoyed reading your review on both cameras. Which camera would you recommend? And what lense would be best for fashion photos, purpose being showing of the clothes or accessories? I really like the blurred background, which lense would do this?


Hi Matthew
Just bought a D5500 twin lens kit
With 18 – 55 mm & 50 – 200mm
Lenses , want to get a good prime lens , looking at 35mm 1.8 or 28mm 1.8 what are your thoughts
For best option.
Regards Michael.


I have a D5100 with an 18-200 VRII lens. I have used and loved them but am looking for my next step (which may not come for a few months).

I’ve considered D5300, D5500 & D7100. Are there other suggestions you might make?

My photography is nearly exclusively landscapes. I just stick it in auto mode when I take pictures of people (I leave that more to my wife with her Canon Point&Shoot).

What is the cost/picture benefit of going to a full-frame and if so, what would you recommend (keeping in mind budget is not unlimited).

I’ll probably have the camera five years or so before upgrading again so want to make a good choice. Like the flip out viewfinder on the 5x series but like the durability of the 7x series as well. Not always in the greatest conditions out taking pictures.

Sridhar K Nemani

I am jumping between D5500 and D7100 for video and filmmaking work? What do you recommend?



Hi everyone.

I’m thinking about buying a new SLR after having worked with Nikon D3000 for almost five years (was my first SLR). I was satisfied with the photos I took with it so far, but I want a new one because the camera gets pretty weak when it comes to low light situations and makro…
I shoot various kinds of photos (makro, portraits to landscapes etc.), but as a hobby. I do not plan the shoots in advance but shoot whatever jumps to my eye.

Do you recommend the D5500 or D7200/D7100? The price is less important. I plan to take the camera with me on a 6-week-trip to Japan, so I’m not sure whether the additional weight is worth it. What do you think?



Hi Matt,
I read all the reviews and tried to figure out the same issue: D5500 or D7100. I found an offer with 18-140 lens cheaper for 7100 than 5500.
I would use it for outdoors (some landscapes as well), macro, sports and most important for portraits – do I need to buy a fixed 50 mm? I want to take a lot of pictures of my children so please advise …


Hi Matthew,

I really appreciate this site.

Buying something this expensive always makes me a tad nervous but I do also consider the cost of having to replace cheap things that don’t work properly – so I am hoping for the best.

So…I’m trained in some composition but I know there is always more to learn and in terms of all the technicalities – I’m clueless.

I love to enjoy life and sit and just watch it without a lens in my eye mostly but when I see ‘something’ (a moment or a beautiful landscape) I have to take a picture before it’s lost!!

I am going to buy the D7100 from the Nikon site. 1 for it’s cost because I’m broke LOL and 2) because I’ve seen the raving reviews.

All though I did read something about oil seeping through or something – not sure what that is about?

I would appreciate any advice or feedback you have considering I still need to practice and get to know my camera – working my way up – and need to watch the budget.

I would rather buy 2 good lenses that fit my needs then 5 cheap ones. I will do midline for sure. I just don’t want to spend money, find the quality is poor and want to go buy another one. I don’t mind being patient and shooting my way up the lens ladder.

Here’s my line up. I could use advice on:

-a lens for versatility and I think you usually suggest the 18-140 but I have noticed posts of these and they are tad blurry…That could also be that I saw it on my cellphone.

– a lens for close-ups of small insects etc

-a lens for portrait

-a lens for landscape (I love taking pictures of landscapes, architecture and STREET photos of people)

I like to take pictures outside mostly (live in California) and 50/50 on DAYTIME and NIGHT TIME photography. I LOVE city lights!

That’s a mouthful. I know there is no all in one and I do know that I can just as easily take an amazing picture with a much lower level camera – however, the quality outside of the viewfinder will differ of course.

*I would like to buy 2 lenses to start with and work my way up.
As an Emergency Services public servant my cashflow is low so that will be my bigger decider on how many I will buy in the end.

If there is a lens that will allow me to test the camera’s versatility first with the things I’ve mentioned – covering some of my wants – I’m willing to try that for now as well (again I know there’s no all in one but something close is a consideration if it exists).

I would like to eventually do some PRINT and WEBSITE work.

As a note, I did come across a package with (not sure if it’s partly a fit):

1) AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR and
2) AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

Thank you for your time and thoughtful response in advance. I know you’ve helped lots of folks on your site!



Hi Matt,

Thank you for your reply!

I appreciate you clarifying the grease spots issue and the tip on Adorama.

I will most def be reading your post on blur, along with the others. Your site is invaluable!

Great question in regards to my distance. I guess it varies.
I LOVE the picture you took with the Nikon 18-135. Breathtaking!
That is def a shot I would have taken if had the opportunity.

Some examples of my distance/ style of photography I enjoy:

-I shot Haleakalā in Maui and road the clouds and the angles, horizontally, vertically, angled…so I think I would need a lens that covers a lot of ground for a scene that runs for miles.

-If I find a large object with great lines I like to shoot through – per say – in different angles. I guess a lens that allows for Bokeh would work best here…?

-Morning surf with sun rising. Always fun.

-Small insects. Close.

-I usually stand at least 10 ft. or more away from my subject for general everyday tourist or outing kind of photos.

-For my more emotionally loaded I am usually right in the face or 5 or so ft. away.

Perhaps the 90mm to 105mm range may be a good fit and start. I’ll do some research. If you have any other suggestions with what I’ve mentioned I’m all ears.

Thanks again!


JD Benabides

I upgraded from a d5200 to the d7100. I miss the flip out screen, but the d7100 is SO sharp and the control scheme is great. And while it is heavier, it’s tougher too.

I travel in some rough places (Tibet, Cambodia, Myanmar) and I like that my camera can take a little wear and tear.

I think the 5000 series is better for the novice photographer or the more social one because the flip out screen is fun for selfies. But I love my d7100.

Might not recommend it for a first time DSLR user as it is a lot of camera and can be a little overwhelming.


Hi matt ,
how are you ? i hope that you will be fine .i saw your review thanks for the review ,but i am still confused. i spent 4 days searching a camera that i want to buy here in the internet. i watched some video comparisons and blogs of different types of cameras.every site has there own review and am very much confused as it is my first DSLR camera so i am thinking about to buy best camera . i am confused between D5500 and D7100 . i am not intrested in touch screen so i thinking about to buy D7100 but still when i see ISO range of D7100(100-6400,+12800,+25600) and ISO range of D5500(1-25600) i am not getting it because am new and a beginner . i need your help will you please guide me or suggest me the best one i will thankfull to you , waiting for your reply .


Hi Matt,
I decided to finally buy my first dslr and after some research I picked up the d 7100 two lens kit, I reached home and decided to take it back and I got the d5500 instead. I feel awful that I didn’t see this review before because I now understand that maybe it wasn’t the best thing to do. I was thinking the newer will be better. My photography will be nature and macro. Should I return for the d7100 or I can work with the d5500?


Hi Matt,

I’ve been a sports photographer (with few actual paying gigs) for awhile now and have killed two cameras from use (first was a D40X and second was a D3100). Looking for a good sports camera that isn’t going to kill my bank account. I’m careful, but do shoot football and lacrosse as my primary sports. Am looking at the D5500 and D7100, leaning toward the 7100… in your opinion, would I be making a good choice? I can’t upgrade lenses yet… I primarily use a 55-200mm 1.4-5.6 lens but am little concerned about batteries, but hoping that I’m making a good choice. Thoughts??


Hi Matthew,

I have been reading your reviews and they are easily up there with the best that I have come across and let me lock in a Nikon D5500 so thankyou for that!
My wife is wanting her first ‘serious’ camera and I have taken upon the task of purchasing it for her but am wondering if you could help me out as I am still struggling with understanding what the best lense/s would be for a beginner in the field?

I have read that the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm F1.8G Lens is a “must have” but am also considering whether the 18-55mm VR II Lens is suitable? Can you please help me out and suggest which of those (or another, or even both) would be nice for her to play around with?
I can see her photographing family/friends and some wildlife at the park sort of thing. There wont be much sport type action apart from when we head up to the river once in a while.
Sorry and thanks for your time!


There is also the option for a “twin kit” that offers the 18-55mm VR II & 55-200mm VR Twin Lens but if I went for that, would not be able to afford the “must have NIKKOR 35mm prime”. Am so out of my area of expertise (def not cameras) here haha


hello mat! i spent 4 days searching a camera that i want to buy here in the internet. i watched some video comparisons and blogs of different types of cameras. my choices are, d5300,d5500, d7100 and d7200. i really want to buy the d7200 but i guess thats a little bit expensive than d7100. so i was making some comparisons between d7100 d5300 and d5500. i finally made up my mind and go for d7100. its going to be my first dslr and if a newbie in photography. is it a good choice of me buying the d7100? by the way they are coming next week. thank you sir.


Thanks for your detailed comparison which was very helpful in decision making and I bought d5300 with 18-140mm lens. Now I like to buy another prime lens should I go for 35mm and 50mm 1.8 or 35mm and 50mm 1.4? I need your valuable advice. Thanks again.


Hi Matt,

This article was very helpful. I am looking for a good DSLR to shoot car show events. some events are outdoors and some indoor. I am still torn between the Canon 70D, Nikon D7200/D7100 and the D5500.

Image quality is important to me as I will be posting pics and video on my web site and social media. I do tinker a bit in lightroom and photoshop.

Video is important as well, however I am not using it for high-speed action. I will be using it to walk around a vehicle highlighting the features and maybe a brief interview of the car owner.

Also, if you can recommend a good lens size. I have been told the best lens to use is 10mm – 18mm, then I heard 85mm and most recently 35mm. I am thinking the 35mm but I am not certain.

I am currently using a point and shoot camera and my phone and I am looking to step things up to a real camera.

Initially, I wanted the Canon 70D but I have been hearing so much about the image quality on the Nikons are so much better. I pretty much like the way all of them feel in the hand. I just want the best one for this type of photography and I can build on the platform for years to come.

Additionally, it would be used for other things too, vacations, roadtrips etc. But mainly for the events.



Hi Matt,

Thank you for the reply. That does help, I think it just comes down to picking one. From what I am understanding there is no wrong decision.

I have some pretty killer shots on my site with far less than Canon or Nikon.. LOL.

There will certainly be a little bit of a learning curve for either one but I am sure I will figure that out with practice.

Thanks again, and I want to say man I love your site. I came across it last night and I will also dig a little deeper into some of your articles. Good stuff :)

Keep up the good work.


ajay parikh

I am having D 80,18-155,50mm,70-300mm nikkor ed lens,now I am deciding to purchase Nikon D 7100, as I can use my older lenses also.
I am also having FM10 camera, can I use it lens on it ?
I also want to purchase 11-16 mm tokina lens, will it be suitable?


hi Matthew

I love your reviews and advises, I’m yet to start my photography school training,I plan on being a newborn,maternity,family, portrait and architectural photographer after completing my training. I intend to buy just one camera for a start to use at the photography school training and that would still be able to serve the purpose after graduation.

I need your advice on the choices of camera I’m considering buying- Nikon D5500 with the 50mm – 200mm nikkor lenses or the Nikon D7000 , which of the two should I get or do you have better suggestions but affordable ones ?

Thank you


Hi Matthey,

I bough nikon 7100 and would like to buy lens for the camera.
Could you please suggest any following sigma lens which could be used for many purposes.
1. 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM
2. 18-125mm F3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM
3. 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM
4. 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM | C

Thank you.


Thank you. It is so happy to hear from you.



Thank you for this complete review.

I am buying my first DSLR after having a good training on photography. I want a step up from my P&S camera to get better pictures. My use is shooting landscapes, casual family events and specially for travelling. I am fun of the D7100 because it’s a versatile DSLR, well built, have the top LCD info screen ( very useful for parameter adjustment) and 2 seperate dials ( Shutter speed & Aperture). but between what I like and what I need, there are 200 buks to be spent better in a lens. ( a 35mm1.8G for example)

Should I get The D7100 + Nikkor 18-105mm
or a D5300+ NIKKOR 18-105mm + Nikkor 35mm1.8G

For my travels, I need a general purpose lens to carry with me. I’ve heard about the Tamron 16-300mm VC PZD. Is it a good lens to buy?

Thanks in advance.
From Tunisia.


Thank you for the great review. I am upgrading from a D90 primarily for better image quality but also for the lighter weight. I had pretty much decided on the D5500 when a friend, who also has a D90 and is looking for better image quality, said his usual camera store was recommending the 7100. I have decided on the D55000 but I am comcerned that some of my present lenses, other than my Nikon 35mm 1.8, may not be up to the resolving power of the 24mp sensor.

My other lenses are a Tamron 18-270 F 3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, a Tamron SP Di 90mm 1:2.8 Macro 1:1, and a Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II VC. Do you have an opinion regarding the appropriateness of these lenses with a 24mp sensor? If not, can you recommend a web site that might give me the answer. Thanks.


I recently purchased the d7100 refurbished online at a substantial discount. I looked a several factors when comparing the 7100 and the 5500, but determined that the 7100 would most likely be more durable, and after using a 3200 for about 3 years, I wanted to go back to the feel of a more substantial camera. The 7100 I received had about 300 shutter clicks and looks brand new. It cost about half as much as a new 7200 body.

N.S. Rajaram

I find D5500 and the whole Nikon 5000 series not noticeably better than the 3000 series and poor value compared to the Canon 70d which I find the best intermediate level camera.

John Haas

Excellent reviews, enjoyed reading them.
I’m wondering about lens interchangability with lenses from older film cameras?
Can you help?

Thank You.


Very helpful comparison…I am considering upgrading from D90 and would like to pursue serious close up work where the articulated screen can be useful. However what I need is the ability to reduce vibration with a mirror up ….that would stay up in live view mode. The D7100 clatters back and forth, but how would the D5500 help if at all?
Thanks if you can advise,…if not, have a nice day, as they say!


don’t even doubt between an (old) 7100 and new 5500, go for the 7100 and enjoy the good toshiba sensor, and far most important, the easy way of changing settings with your fingers, still the best reason to go for a 7×00 nikon… I (was) still waiting for a lower price now the 7200 is out, but I think the 7100 will be soon out of production, 7200 is a bit better in low light, and has a better buffer, but if you don’t need the buffer, grap a 7100, for wifi, you grap a eyefi mobi pro card, and you are set


Wow! Matthew! Great review and real world information that matters. Thank you. Until now I was not able to make a decision between the D5500 and the D7100. My last Nikon is a D200 (yes, I know…ancient). I used it to shoot primarily Head shots but I’d like to get into event photography professionally and flash will be extremely critical. Thanks again. Would love to get your take on what’s the best Nikon flash system to go well with the D7100. I currently own the SB-800.


nice review. you addressed all my questions about what the difference between 5500 and 5300 and high speed sync. can’t wait to see what you have to say about the t6i & t6s and how they compare against the 5500.