Nikon D5500 For Dummies book cover

Nikon D5500 For Dummies

By: Julie Adair King Published: 05-04-2015

Jump into photography and the Nikon D5500 with this easy-to-read guide

Armed with the new Nikon D5500 digital camera, but don't know where to start? No problem! Nikon D5500 For Dummies is the definitive guide to helping newbies and aspiring photographers get up and running with this great DSLR camera. You'll dive right in to using your camera in automatic mode, then build on this basic knowledge by learning about manual settings, exposure, and more advanced techniques that will have you taking great photographs in a flash. This easy-to-use guide combines the tips and tricks of a basic photography course with camera-specific guidance that will help you with the Nikon D5500's basic settings, manual mode, WiFi connectivity, touchscreen interface, and so much more!

The Nikon D5500 is the perfect camera for a connected generation — it offers the features of a DSLR with the connectivity of a smart phone and, but its high-quality photos go well beyond what you can snap from your phone. With this fun guide, you'll take your photography to the next level!

  • Get started with a roadmap of the Nikon D5500 controls and options for taking photos in automatic mode, with preset shooting modes, or in manual mode.
  • Take a crash course on exposure and how to control it, along with lens and flash options of your camera
  • Find out how to adjust color and focus, use manual settings, and take photos in scene mode and priority mode
  • Pull all your newfound photography chops together to take better portraits, action shots, night photos, and outdoor shots

Nikon D5500 For Dummies is the guide you need to get up and running quickly and easily with your great new DSLR camera.

Articles From Nikon D5500 For Dummies

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31 results
31 results
Nikon D5500 For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-25-2022

With the D5500 camera, Nikon proves once again that you don't have to give an arm and a leg — or strain your back and neck — to enjoy dSLR photography. The D5500 addition to the Nikon family of dSLRs doesn't skimp on power or performance, offering a great set of features to help you take your photography to the next level. To help you get started using your camera, here's a handy reference to your camera's buttons, dials, and exposure modes.

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How to Use Wi-Fi Transfer on Your Nikon D5500

Article / Updated 11-18-2019

The Wi‐Fi on your Nikon D5500 feature enables you to connect your camera wirelessly to certain “smart” devices to transfer photos: specifically, Android and Apple iOS‐based phones, tablets, and media players. Connecting the camera to your device To connect your camera to your smart device, take these steps: Open the camera’s Setup menu and select Wi-Fi. You see the Wi‐Fi setup screen. Enable Wi‐Fi via the Setup menu. Select Network Connection and then choose Enable. You’re returned to the Wi‐Fi setup screen. The Wi‐Fi symbol blinks to let you know that your camera is now sending out its Wi‐Fi signal. The same icon blinks in the Information display and in the default Live View display while Wi‐Fi is enabled. Select Network Settings to display the screen shown on the right. Here’s the launch screen for configuring the camera to connect with your smart device. Select a connection option. Which option you use depends on your device: Push‐button WPS (Android only): Some Android devices offer a WPS (Wi‐Fi Protected Setup) feature that enables you to initiate a connection just by pushing a button. If your device has this feature, choose Push‐button. The camera displays a screen prompting you to press the WPS button on the device and begins searching for a connection. PIN‐entry WPS (Android only): If your device uses a PIN (personal identification number) for wireless security, select this option from the screen. On the next screen, enter the PIN and then choose OK to attempt the connection. View SSID (Android or iOS): Your camera is assigned an SSID number (Service Set Identifier), and, after a few moments, the SSID appears as an available network on your smart device. Select the camera’s SSID on your device, and then choose the Connect option on the device. Choose the camera’s SSID (left) from the list of available networks on your smart device; the message shown on the right appears when the connection is made. If the stars are in alignment and the devices connect, you see the confirmation screen and the Wi‐Fi symbol stops blinking. Launch the Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility app on your device. The initial app screen offers two main options: Take Photos and View Photos. Somewhere on the screen, you should also see an icon that lets you access other app settings; usually, the icon looks like a little wheel. The initial app screen gives you the option to view or shoot photos. To sever the connection and turn off Wi‐Fi, set the Wi‐Fi option on the camera’s Setup menu to Off. Viewing photos on the smart device After connecting your camera with the device and firing up the WMU app, tap View Photos on the smart device. Tap the option labeled Pictures on Camera. After a few seconds, thumbnails of your images appear, and you can view your pictures using the same techniques you use to view photos that you take with your smart device. You can display thumbnails of photos stored on the camera’s memory card. Transferring photos to the device While you’re viewing your photos on the device, you can use options built into the WMU app to tag photos for transfer to the device. You can also set the size of the file you want to download. But an easier option is to use a camera feature that enables you to tag all photos you want to transfer. To try it out, open the camera’s Playback menu and choose Select to Send to Smart Device. You see thumbnails of your images. Use this menu option to tag a batch of files for transfer to your smart device. To tag a photo for transfer, tap the Set icon at the bottom of the screen or press the Zoom Out button. To remove the transfer tag, tap Set or press the Zoom Out button again. After choosing all your photos, tap OK or press the OK button. Now when you select the option on the smart device that transfers photos, your tagged files are automatically downloaded. During playback mode, you can tag an individual photo for transfer by pressing the i button, which displays the mini‐menu. Choose the Select to Send to Smart Device/Deselect option to add the tag. The “marked for transfer” symbol appears on the image during playback. During playback, press the i button and then choose this option to tag a photo for wireless transfer. If you shot the picture in the Raw (NEF) format, it is automatically converted to the JPEG format during the transfer process so that it’s ready for online sharing. Taking pictures via the smart device To use your smart device as a remote shutter release, connect the devices, launch the WMU app, and then tap the Take Photos button. The camera automatically shifts to Live View mode, and the live preview appears on the smart device screen, along with some shooting data, such as the shutter speed and f‐stop. A focus box appears on the preview; tap your subject to place the focus box over it and set focus. The focus box turns green when focus is achieved. The Live View preview appears on the device screen; tap the camera icon to trigger the shutter. Make sure that the option at the top of the screen is set to the icon that shows a finger on the tablet; this tells the app that you want to use the tablet to trigger the shutter. Then tap the camera icon at the bottom of the screen to trigger the shutter release. Through the app options, you can specify whether you want the picture to be automatically downloaded after it’s captured. You also can delay the shutter release by enabling the app’s self‐timer option. Again, you must set all picture options before connecting the camera to the device; you can’t change settings after the two devices are paired.

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How to Trim Movies on Your Nikon D5500

Step by Step / Updated 03-27-2016

You can do some limited movie editing in camera on the Nikon D5500. Limited editing is emphasized here. You can trim frames from the start of a movie and clip off frames from the end, and that’s it. To eliminate frames from the start of a movie, take these steps:

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Controls on Your Nikon D5500 Camera

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

The Nikon D5500 is a great camera for all your photography needs. If you're not familiar with the Nikon D5500, here's a quick guide to its buttons, dials, and other external controls. Next, take a look at the controls that you will find on the back of your Nikon. It’s a good idea to locate the flash and function buttons, as you will probably use these frequently. Also, make sure you check out the sides of your camera for some important storage access.

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Customizing the Picture Controls on Your Nikon D5500

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Your Nikon D5500 offers a choice of seven Picture Control settings, each of which applies different color, sharpness, and contrast. If you can't find a Picture Control that suits your needs, you can create a custom Picture Control. Follow these steps: Set the Mode dial to P, S, A, or M. These are the only exposure modes that enable you to select or modify a Picture Control setting. Open the Shooting menu and choose Set Picture Control from the Shooting menu. Select the Picture Control, such as Landscape, you want to modify. Tap the Adjust symbol or press the Multi Selector right. You see the screen shown containing sliders that you use to modify the Picture Control. Which options you can adjust depend on the Picture Control. Modify the settings as you see fit. You can change the setting by rotating the Command dial or pressing the Multi Selector right or left. To set the option to Automatic (the camera chooses the right level of adjustment), press the Zoom In button or tap the button that shows a magnifying glass plus the letter A. A few pointers: Some Picture Controls offer the Quick Adjust setting, which enables you to easily increase or decrease the overall effect of the Picture Control. A positive value produces a more exaggerated effect; set the slider to 0 for no adjustment. The Monochrome Picture Control offers Filter Effects options that vary the way various colors are rendered in black-and-white. The Yellow, Orange, and Red filters enhance contrast, with Yellow producing the minimum effect and Red, the strongest. The Green filter, which is designed for portraits, softens skin tones. Reset all options to their defaults by pressing the Delete button or tapping the Reset icon. Tap OK or press the OK button to wrap up. An asterisk appears next to the edited Picture Control on the menu and in the Information and Live View displays to remind you that you have adjusted the settings. Consider these steps as just a starting point for playing with Picture Controls. Through the Manage Picture Control option on the Shooting menu, you can create and store your own Picture Controls. Serious Picture Control enthusiasts should also investigate the Picture Control Utility, a separate software tool you can download from the Support section of the Nikon website. Complete details are found in the electronic version of the camera manual, also available for download. You can read the manual in Adobe Acrobat or any other program that can open PDF files. The paper manual contains only basic operating instructions, and Picture Controls didn't make the cut.

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Advanced Exposure Modes for Your Nikon D5500

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

To really take creative control over your Nikon D5500, step up to one of these exposure modes, which enable you to adjust aperture (f-stop) to manipulate depth of field (the zone of sharp focus) and to adjust shutter speed to determine whether moving objects appear sharply focused or blurry. You also gain access to some features not available in the fully automatic modes, such as the option to adjust flash power and tweak colors.

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Automatic Exposure Modes on Your Nikon D5500

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

For photography novices, the Nikon D5500 offers automatic settings that enable point-and-shoot simplicity. In addition to Auto and Auto Flash Off, you can choose from more than a dozen Scene modes, which automatically select the best settings for different types of photos, such as portraits, landscapes, sports, and so on. The settings listed here help you capture the most common types of subjects. To access additional Scene modes, set the Mode dial to Scene and rotate the Command dial to select the scene type you want to photograph (portrait, landscape, sports, and so on). There are five Scene modes that are most useful on a regular basis. For automatic photography using special effects, set the dial to Effects and rotate the Command dial to select an effect. (You can take advantage of Effects mode when shooting movies, too.)

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How to Adjust Settings via the Control Strip on Your Nikon D5500

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

The Information display on your Nikon D5500 provides a control strip that gives you quick access to some of the most critical of those settings. Here’s how it works for viewfinder photography (that is, when you’re not shooting in Live View mode): Display the Information screen by pressing the Info button or pressing the shutter button halfway and releasing it. Press the i button or tap the i symbol on the screen. The top part of the display dims, and the two rows of settings at the bottom of the screen become accessible. The currently selected setting appears highlighted, and its name is displayed above the control strip. For example, the Image Quality option is selected. Press the i 000button or tap the i icon (left) to activate the control strip (right). Select the setting you want to change. Either tap the setting or use the Multi Selector to highlight it and then press OK. Either way, the next screen displays the available settings for the option. Adjust the setting as desired. Again, you can tap the setting or highlight it and then press OK. Either way, the camera returns you to the control strip screen. You can then adjust another setting, if needed. To exit the control strip, press the i button or tap the exit symbol. You also can just give the shutter button a quick half‐press and release it to exit the control strip.

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How to Adjust Video Settings on Your Nikon D5500

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

When you’re ready to take more control over your movies, start by exploring the video settings. Your Nikon D5500 lets you adjust these settings to capture video without needing to switch out cameras. Choosing the video mode (NTSC or PAL) The first option to consider is Video Mode, found on the Setup men. This setting determines whether movies adhere to the NTSC or PAL video standard. NTSC is used in North America; PAL is used in Europe and certain other countries. Your camera should already be set to match the country in which it was purchased, but it never hurts to check, especially because your decision affects your choice of movie frame rates. Set the video mode to the standard — NTSC or PAL — that’s used in your country. Understanding the Frame Size/Frame Rate options This setting determines the resolution, or frame size, of your movie, as well as the number of frames per second (fps), both of which affect video quality. One way to access the setting is via the Movie Settings option on the Shooting menu. You can access the Frame Size/Frame Rate option via the Movie Settings option on the Shooting menu. After you select the Frame Size/Frame Rate option, you see the settings screen. These options appear when NTSC is selected as the video mode. If you’re new to video, here’s the information you need to decode the settings: Frame size: The first pair of values shown for each Frame Size/Frame Rate setting indicates the number of pixels used to create the movie frame. In the world of HDTV, 1920 x 1080 pixels is considered Full HD, whereas 1280 x 720 is known as Standard HD and produces slightly lesser quality than Full HD. Selecting the last option on the list steps the frame size down to 640 x 424 pixels, which translates to a regular definition movie. This setting also produces a movie that has an approximate aspect ratio of 3:2 rather than the HD 16:9 format. This smaller resolution can be useful for online videos. Frame rate (fps): The value immediately following the frame size indicates the frame rate. This value, measured in frames per second (fps), determines the smoothness of the playback. Your options here depend on whether you select NTSC or PAL as the video standard. Assuming NTSC as the video standard, the following frame rates are available: 24: This frame rate is the standard for motion pictures, giving your videos a softer, more movie‐like look. 30: This setting is the standard for most network broadcast TV and produces a crisper picture than the 24 fps setting. 60: This option is often used for shooting video that will be played back in slow motion. With more frames per second, the video is smoother when you slow down the movie playback. For PAL video, you can choose from 24, 25 (the PAL television broadcast standard), or 50 fps. p: The p that follows all the settings refers to progressive video, which is one of two technologies used to record the lines of pixels that make up a digital video frame. The other technology is interlaced video. With interlaced video, a single frame is split into odd and even fields, or lines of pixels. The data from the odd lines is recorded first, followed rapidly by the data from the even lines — so rapidly, in fact, that the picture appears seamless during playback. With progressive video, all the lines are pulled out of the magic video hat in sequential order, in a single pass. Your camera offers only progressive video, which delivers smoother, cleaner footage than interlaced video when you’re shooting fast motion or panning the camera. Two more notes about this setting: Viewing the current setting: See the little symbols appearing to the left of each setting? They’re used in the monitor to indicate each setting. The first number specifies the vertical pixel count of the frame size; the p indicates progressive video, and the other number tells you the frame rate. This data represents the current Frame Size/Frame Rate. Changing the setting via the control strip: You also can adjust the Frame Size/Frame Rate option by using the control strip. In this case, the available Frame Size/Frame Rate settings are presented together with the Movie Quality option. From the control strip, you select the Frame Size/Frame Rate and Movie Quality settings together. Together, these two settings affect the maximum length of the movie you can record. The gray box labeled Maximum movie length to show you that length for the current combination of frame size/frame rate and movie quality. Selecting the Movie Quality option The Movie Quality setting determines how much compression is applied to the video file, which in turn affects the bit rate, or how much data is used to represent 1 second of video, measured in Mbps (megabits per second). You get just two choices: High and Normal. The High setting results in a higher bit rate, which means better quality and larger files. Normal produces a lower bit rate and smaller files. Because bit rate affects the size of the video file, it also determines the maximum length of the video clip you can create each time you press the movie‐record button. As with the Frame Size/Frame Rate setting, you can select the Movie Quality setting via the Movie Settings option on the Shooting menu. Or you can use the control strip to select both the Frame Size/Frame Rate and Movie Quality setting together. This option determines the movie bit rate, which affects playback quality and file size. One last tip about this setting: In the control strip and Live View display, a star appears with the Frame Size/Frame Rate setting when you select the High bit rate. No star means that the option is set to Normal. The tiny star indicates the High Movie Quality setting; the star disappears when you select the Normal setting.

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How to Bracket Exposures on Your Nikon D5500

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Many photographers use exposure bracketing on the Nikon D5500 to ensure that at least one shot of a subject is properly exposed. Bracketing simply means to shoot the same subject multiple times, slightly varying the exposure settings for each image. In the P, S, A, and M exposure modes, your camera offers automatic bracketing. When you enable this feature, your only job is to press the shutter button to record the shots; the camera automatically adjusts the exposure settings between each image. This feature is especially helpful in situations where you don't have time to review images and adjust exposure settings between shots. The D5500, however, takes things one step further than most cameras that offer automatic bracketing, enabling you to bracket not just basic exposure but also Active D‐Lighting or white balance. The camera records a three‐shot series of bracketed images when you use the autoexposure and white‐balance bracketing options. For Active D‐Lighting, you get only two shots in the series: one with the feature turned off and one at the setting currently in force for the Active D‐Lighting option. To try your hand at exposure or Active D‐Lighting bracketing, follow these steps: Set your camera to the P, S, A, or M exposure mode. You can't take advantage of the feature in any other mode. Display the Custom Setting menu, highlight Bracketing/Flash, and press OK. Select Auto Bracketing Set and press OK. This screen is where you tell the camera whether you want to bracket the exposure (AE), white balance (WB), or Active D‐Lighting (ADL). Note that even though the first option is called AE (for autoexposure), it enables you to bracket exposure in M (manual exposure) mode just the same. Before enabling auto bracketing, select the feature you want the camera to adjust between shots. Select the desired bracketing option and press OK. Use the control strip to specify the bracketing increment. After pressing the i button or tapping the i icon onscreen, select the BKT setting. On the next screen, choose the desired amount of shift you want the camera to apply when taking your bracketed shots. The available settings depend on the feature you're bracketing, as follows: Set the bracketing amount from the control strip. For exposure bracketing, the settings control the amount of exposure shift between frames. The settings are based on Exposure Compensation values. For example, if you choose 0.7 for an autoexposure bracketing set, the camera makes three exposures: one with exposure values as metered by the camera, one exposure with EV +0.7, and one exposure with EV –0.7 Your choices are from 0.3 EV to 2.0 EV. Choosing Off disables bracketing. For Active D‐Lighting bracketing, you get only two options: ADL and Off. Select ADL. (This option is a little weird — if you select Off, you just disable bracketing.) Return to shooting mode by pressing the shutter button halfway. Shoot your first bracketed series. Remember: For autoexposure bracketing, a series consists of three shots; for Active D‐Lighting, two shots. When bracketing is enabled, the Information and Live View displays offer a bracketing indicator. That's a technical way of saying, "Little bars appear under the meter, each one representing one shot in your bracketed series." The indicator updates after each picture to show you how many more shots are left in the series. For example, the middle bar represents your first shot; after you take your first picture, it disappears. You then see one or two bars — and thus, one or two shots left to shoot — depending on whether you're bracketing exposure or Active D‐Lighting. A label on top of the meter reminds you which feature you're bracketing — AE‐BKT (autoexposure) bracketing. The bars under the meter tell you which frame of the bracketed series you're about to shoot. To disable bracketing, repeat Step 5 and select Off from the second screen. If you set the Release mode to Continuous Low or Continuous High, you can save yourself some button pressing: In those two Release modes, the camera records the entire bracketed series with one push of the shutter button. To change the Release mode, press the Release Mode button or select Release Mode from the Shooting menu. Remember, though, that you can't use flash in either Release mode.

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