This is a detailed comparison of the Nikon D3400 versus the Nikon D5500. Both are excellent entry-level DSLR cameras. Both have a top-of-the-line 24MP megapixel DX sensor, the EXPEED 4 image processor, continuous shooting up to 5 frames per second, full HD 1080p video, and a lightweight body that you can carry around all day.
But when we compare them side-by-side, there are some important differences. This detailed review will help you decide which one is right for you.
So first, let’s take a look at the key differences.
|Compare Specs||Nikon D3400||Nikon D5500|
|Processor||EXPEED 4||EXPEED 4|
|Sensor Size||APS-C (23.5mm x 15.6mm)||APS-C (23.5mm x 15.6mm)|
|Viewfinder||Optical LCD||Optical LCD|
|ISO||100 to 25,600||100 to 25,600|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.0 fps||5.0 fps|
|Video Resolution||1920 x 1080 @ 60 fps||1920 x 1080 @ 60 fps|
|Image Format||JPEG, NEF (RAW), RAW + JPEG||JPEG, NEF (RAW), RAW + JPEG|
|Battery Life||1200 shots||820 shots|
|Interfaces Provided||HDMI, USB 2.0||HDMI, USB 2.0|
|Additional Features||Nikon D3400||Nikon D5500|
|External Flash Shoe||✔️||✔️|
|RAW File Support||✔️||✔️|
|Face Detection Focus||✔️||✔️|
|Lens Mount||Nikon F||Nikon F|
|Autofocus||Nikon D3400||Nikon D5500|
|AF Multi Area||✔️||✔️|
|AF Live View||✔️||✔️|
|AF Face Detection||✔️||✔️|
|AF Contrast Detection||✔️||✔️|
|AF Phase Detection||✔️||✔️|
|Number of Focus Points||11||39|
The Nikon D3400 and D5500 are both excellent entry-level DSLR cameras. The model you choose will most likely come down to personal preference and the type of photography you enjoy most.
There are definitely pros and cons to both cameras. No camera is perfect. But rather, I find it’s all about finding the perfect camera based upon your photography needs.
So first off, let’s dive into what makes BOTH of these great cameras.
Then we’ll talk about the differences and why you might choose one over the other.
Common Strengths of Nikon D3400 and Nikon D5500
The Nikon D5500 and Nikon D3400 both have a 24.2 MP APS-C CMOS sensor. So you’re going to get excellent image quality out of both cameras. The EXPEED 4 image processor produces a wide dynamic range, sharp images, and excellent low light performance.
They both have 5 fps continuous shooting and a max shutter speed of 1/4000s. Which allows you to freeze action and capture some great sports photography.
They both have 95% viewfinder coverage. Plus, they’re both lightweight and comfortable to carry around all day. The Nikon D3400 is 395g and the D5500 is 420g.
The Nikon D5500 and D3400 both have 1920 x 1080 HD video resolution up to 60 frames per second. While I wouldn’t call either of these cameras top vlogging cameras, they certainly do the job.
They also both have access to 287 native lenses available for the Nikon F lens mount. So regardless of which one you choose, you’ll have access to a large selection of lenses.
The D5500 and D3400 bodies do NOT have image stabilization built into the camera. But there are plenty of lenses to choose from with optically-stabilized lenses.
Nikon uses the term VR (Vibration Reduction). So look for “VR” in the title, when you’re searching for Nikon lenses with built-in image stabilization.
Sigma uses the term “Optical Stabilization” (OS). Tamron lenses use the term VC (Vibration Compensation).
In a perfect world they would all use the same terms to keep us photographers sane. But most of it comes down to personal branding. With each company trying to differentiate themselves from the others. In the meantime, creating a lot of confusion for us photographers.
But you should be good to go if you look for OS, VC, or VR. Each of those abbreviations indicate that the lens has built-in image stabilization.
Reasons to choose the Nikon D5500 over the Nikon D3400
- Fully articulated (Flip-Out) screen
- Built-in Wireless
- Touch Screen
- 39 Focus Points
- Has a Microphone Port
- Timelapse Recording
- Better High ISO Performance
- Better for sports photography
The Nikon D5500 comes with a fully articulated touchscreen. So you can flip it out and tilt it to get just the right viewing angle. For most people, having a touch screen that flips out is a matter of convenience.
The touch screen allows you to make quick adjustments to the settings. While the articulating LCD screen allows you to easily take photos at lots of different angles using Live-View. Without having to literally be on the ground or scrunched up in an awkward position.
You can also reverse the LCD so that it is protected against the camera.
The touchscreen allows you to control almost every aspect of the camera with simple iPhone-like gestures.
When you combine Nikon’s intuitive menu system and the highly responsive touch screen, this is one of the fastest DSLR cameras on the market. In terms of how quickly you’re able to use and access all the different key features.
And finally, the flip out screen is also very helpful for when you’re shooting video of yourself and you want to see what the frame looks like.
This is one of the downsides of trying to vlog with the D3400. Without the articulating screen, you have no idea what the frame looks like.
With the Nikon D5500, you have a flip-out screen that allows you to monitor exactly what’s being recorded. Even if you’re in front of the camera.
The D5500 also has built-in WiFi. Which allows you to wirelessly transfer full-size photos to your smartphone or tablet quickly and easily.
You can also download the Nikon wireless mobile utility app and use your phone as a shutter remote!
The Nikon D5500 also has 39 focus points. 28 more focus points than the D3400. If you are doing sports photography, the additional focus points are very helpful.
Those additional focus points can also help you get more images that are in-focus. Especially if you’re a beginner.
Overall, it just gives you a lot more flexibility. The increased number of focus points also gives you more convenience when you want the main subject off center.
But (in reality) if you’re not doing sports or action photography, the 11 focus points is more than enough.
Again – a lot of it is just additional freedom and flexibility.
But one of the features I really like about the Nikon D5500 is that it has built-in timelapse capabilities. Without having to use any 3rd party adapters.
Under the camera shooting menu, you have an option called “Interval timer shooting”, which allows you to setup your entire timelapse. Start options, intervals, number of shots, and exposure smoothing.
This option lets you take photographs automatically at a specified interval.
This will turn your series of images into a timelapse video. Pretty cool.
With the Nikon D3400, you would need to setup an OTG cable, download a phone app to time the shutter release, etc.
With the D5500, they’ve made it easy with a built-in setting.
Now let’s talk about video performance.
Overall, the D5500 is a better option for video. It has a built-in microphone port that allows you to connect an external microphone. Such as a lapel mic or a shotgun microphone. This allows you to get MUCH better audio quality. Which is essential if you’re looking to do YouTube videos.
It also has the flip-out screen that allows you to monitor the frame while you’re recording. Even if you’re in front of the camera. Another key feature for any vlogger.
However, I do recommend using an AF-P lens which has a stepping motor. This lens is much quieter with smoother autofocus. The kit lens can be quite noisy and is constantly searching for focus. So you’ll want to get a lens that is good for video. I recommend either a 35mm or 50mm prime lens. Both excellent options for video.
However if you’re really into video, you might want to take a closer look at Lumix, Sony, or Canon.
Reasons to choose the Nikon D3400 over the Nikon D5500
- More affordable
- Longer Battery Life
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- Lighter Body
Although the D5500 does seem to be the clear winner here, there are some benefits of the D3400 over the D5500.
First, it has a longer battery life. 1200 shots (with a single charge) vs 820 shots on the D5500.
It’s also a little bit lighter. Although just by 25 grams so you’re probably not going to notice any major difference. Especially after adding a lens.
But you are going to pay about a $100 to $200 less for the D3400. Which is probably the biggest differentiator here.
So if you don’t have any need for the flip-out touch screen, the 28 additional focus points, the external mic port, or timelapse recording capabilities – then the D3400 is an excellent option that will also save you a few bucks.
The quality of the images on these two cameras is going to be very similar. So it comes down to which features you personally prefer in the body of the camera.
It’s hard not to like both of these cameras. They’re both excellent entry-level DSLR cameras with superior image quality. You really can’t go wrong with either one. Just depends on which features you like best.
In terms of features, the Nikon D5500 does have a slight edge over the D3400. But comes at a higher price point. You’ll generally pay $100-$150 more (depending on the time of year) for the D5500.
For about $100 to $200 more (depending on the time of year and where you buy), you get built-in WiFi, flip-out touch screen, 39 focus points, timelapse recording capabilities and a microphone port for video.
The D5500 also has better autofocus for moving objects. If you do a lot of sports photography, the D5500 is the better choice.