CES 2015: Nikon Announces D5500 DSLR, 300mm f/4 Lens, and 55-200mm DX Lens
Functional, fast, and flexible are all accurate descriptors for Nikon's trio of announcements, which comprise the D5500 DSLR, AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens, and AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II lens. The D5500 succeeds 2013's D5300, and brings with it a new 3.2" vari-angle touchscreen, increased sensitivity to ISO 25600, and a sleeker, more lightweight body design. This new model maintains the same high-resolution 24.2MP DX-format sensor and EXPEED 4 processor, as well as full HD video recording, 5 fps shooting, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
Complementing the D5500 is the DX-dedicated 55-200mm f/4-5.6 telephoto zoom, which features an updated retractable design and improved VR image stabilization for easier handling in difficult lighting conditions. Benefitting FX shooters is the new 300mm f/4, which incorporates a unique Phase Fresnel element to nearly eliminate chromatic aberrations. A 4.5-stop effective VR system, electromagnetic diaphragm, and Fluorine coating further round out the range of updates this new optic sees.
Nikon's newest DSLR, the D5500, can be seen as a melting pot consisting of many of the new features found in other recent DSLR releases, but garnished with an expanded touch of connectivity and creativity. A slimmed-down body design and carbon fiber composite monocoque structure shave a couple of ounces off the D5500 when compared to its predecessor, the D5300, and this new model features a re-developed LCD touchscreen. At 3.2" in size and 1.037m-dot in resolution, this large, high-resolution screen has an articulating design that pairs well with the intuitive Touch Fn interface for intuitive control over exposure settings, focus point selection, and shooting displays. Additionally, an eye sensor is featured in this new model to reap the benefits of switching between using the optical viewfinder and LCD screen.
Carried over from its predecessor, the D5300, this new model sports the same 24.2MP DX-format CMOS sensor without an optical low-pass filter and the EXPEED 4 image processor, which combine to avail full HD 1080 60p video recording and 5 fps shooting. The D5500, however, squeezes out an extra stop of sensitivity, going to ISO 25600, and permits unlimited continuous shooting with shutter speeds between 4 and 30 seconds for star-trail-like imagery.
Benefitting video recording, this update sees the inclusion of the recent Flat picture control mode for greater color grading control when video editing, and an interval timer function is now included, with automated exposure smoothing, to allow in-camera time-lapse recording for up to 9,999 shots. Selectable audio frequency range settings aid in demanding video recording applications, and the ability to adjust Picture Control, white balance, and exposure compensation settings, when in live view, lend a greater air of control for both still and movie applications. The D5500 also features the same 39-point phase-detection AF system, with nine cross-type points, as used in the D5300, as well as the 3D Color Matrix Metering system for repeatable exposures with exacting focus.
Finally, the this new DSLR rounds out its feature set by including built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for wirelessly transferring photos and movies to your mobile device, or for using your smartphone or tablet as an external monitor and remote control. The updated processing abilities of the D5500 also enable the same EN-EL14a battery to run for approximately 820 shots per charge; up from 600 shots per charge in the D5300.
The D5500 is available as a body only in Black or Red, in a kit with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens and a Black or Red body, or in a kit with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens and a Black or Red body.
AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Lens
A relatively compact telephoto lens sporting an all-new optical technology, the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens succeeds the previous 300mm f/4 and features a lighter-weight design, more robust Vibration Reduction system, electromagnetic diaphragm, and unique Phase Fresnel element.
Beginning with the optical qualities, the new Phase Fresnel (PF) element effectively works to correct nearly all chromatic aberrations on its own, but is still backed by one extra-low dispersion element to ensure a high degree of sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy. A Nano Crystal Coat has been applied, too, to reduce lens flare and ghosting for more contrast-rich imagery. Additionally, following suit from other recent Nikon telephotos, this lens also features a Fluorine coating on the front element for greater protection against dust, water, and other elements.
Complementing the refined optical design, this new lens also touts an updated VR image stabilization system that compensates for up to 4.5 stops of camera shake to benefit handheld shooting and working in difficult lighting conditions, as well as dedicated settings for Sports & Action and Tripod shooting, too. The Silent Wave Motor (SWM) provides smooth, near-silent focusing performance, and a new electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism ensures consistent exposures, especially when shooting at high continuous rates. Also, the nine-blade rounded diaphragm helps to produce a smooth out-of-focus quality when utilizing shallow depth of field and selective-focus techniques. Compact yet long-reaching, this prime telephoto is ideal for both FX and DX sensors, and is also compatible with most Nikon Teleconverters for further extending its reach.
Included with the lens, available as a spare or replacement item, as well, is the dedicated HB-73 Bayonet Lens Hood.
AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II Lens
Rounding out the trio of products from Nikon is this DX-format-dedicated telephoto zoom, which provides an 82.5-300mm equivalent focal length range. The AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II features a retracting design to maintain a portable form factor that is approximately 20% shorter than previous iterations of this focal length. Benefitting handheld use in dimly lit situations, a 4-stop-effective VR image stabilization system compensates for the appearance of camera shake for sharper, clearer results.
In regard to its optical design, this lens includes one extra-low dispersion element to reduce distortions throughout the zoom range; a Super Integrated Coating (SIC) has been applied to minimize flare and surface reflections for greater clarity and maintained light transmission.