Nikon have today announced the successor to their entry level Nikon D5500. That comes in the form of the not surprisingly named D5600. While the two don’t differ greatly, there are a couple of significant changes. The first being that Bluetooth has been added. This brings the D5x00 range in line with Nikon’s new SnapBridge protocol and their new WiFi workflow.
Also added are the slightly more advanced timelapse features included on bodies like the Nikon D7200. It basically allows you to save space on your card by having the camera automatically convert the sequence of stills to a video file. Personally, I think I’d rather have the individual files so I could process the sequence properly before putting it into a final video.
Functionally, it’s pretty much identical to the D5500. It still uses the Expeed 4 processor, the same 24.2MP sensor, same physical dimensions, same 5fps shooting rate. It keeps the same 3.2″ fully articulated LCD, but adds a few other new functions, too.
For a start it’s now possible to enable and disable auto ISO via function buttons. The D5‘s frame advance bar touch interface has also been incorporated making it easier to browse your images after a shoot.
When Nikon released the D5300, one of its biggest hailed features was built in GPS. This was removed again in the D5500 in favour of longer battery life. The D5600 still doesn’t have GPS built in, but it does bring the feature back to the camera via SnapBridge. The camera and your phone are in constant communication while you shoot. The GPS data can be transmitted from your phone to your camera and embedded right into each shot.
Those who were hoping for 4K video will be a little disappointed. The D5600 has essentially identical capabilities to the D5500 when it comes to video. That means full 1080p HD at up to 60 frames per second. With the recently announced D3400 and now the D5600 only shooting 1080p, it’ll probably be at least a couple of years now before we see 4K on the entry level Nikon bodies.
As expected, it’s incremental updates still – the way the D5x00 line has been for a while. There’s rarely anything ground breaking coming along with any given new generation. They don’t usually make owners of the previous generation rush out to upgrade, but they’re not really designed to. Nikon don’t want you to go from a D5x00 model to a newer D5x00 model, they want you to go to a D7x00 model.
But they do make those who don’t yet own a camera consider the newest version with the one or two extra features the previous version didn’t have. Or at least, they’re supposed to. With the D5x00 line, though, I’ve not really seen that extra value being added for the last couple of generations. And, as mentioned, one or two features have been removed (like the D5500’s lack of built in GPS).
It’s confusing where Nikon hope to end up with the D5x00 range. I didn’t really see a compelling reason to pick a D5500 over the D5300 (I’d been considering a couple as behind the scenes video cameras). I still don’t see a compelling reason to get a new D5600 over a refurb or good quality used D5300, either considering the cost difference.
They seem to be making as few changes as possible to try and figure out what works and what doesn’t, rather than just knowing what we need and giving it to us. Or, they’re adding “me too!” features that seem to be a bit of an afterthought.
The D5600 is expected to be released in Japan first, with prices starting around ¥91,800 including tax (about $870). No word yet on US pricing, although it is expected to be a little less than Japan. Shipping dates have not yet been released.
What do you think? Is it even worth companies like Nikon and Canon upgrading these entry level bodies as often as they do? Or at all? Have they gotten about as good as they’re going to get without eating into higher end markets? Or is there still room to improve them? What features had you hoped to see in a D5500 replacement? Let us know in the comments.