What It Is: An update of the Nikon D5300 (one of our favorite entry-to-mid level DSLRs) that sheds size and weight, and adds a user-friendly touchscreen.
Why We Like It: Camera “updates” are sometimes so miniscule it’s hard to tell that you’re shooting with something new. But all you have to do is pick up the D5500 to realize things have changed. Made with a carbon fiber composite, the shooter is extremely light for a loaded DSLR (the body is only 14.9 oz.) and the ergonomic handgrip is so comfortable and easy to hold, it invites you to forgo the strap and carry it around one-handed like a point-and-shoot. The guts and image quality are comparable to the D5300 — we especially like the way the 25MP CMOS sensor captures action shots and low light situations — but the big addition is a 3.2-inch touchscreen. Anyone making the jump from smartphone shooting to a DSLR will appreciate the familiar ease at which you can navigate the menus and review photos after shooting. You can even use a pinch-and-zoom motion to blow up images on the camera.
Nitpick: Although WiFi-enabled the D5500 doesn’t have a built-in GPS like its predecessor.
[$796, for the body only; nikonusa.com]