Nikon D3 vs Nikon D5500

This is a full comparison between the cameras Nikon D3 and Nikon D5500. We compare them by looking at the categories you see below.

Manufacturing

These cameras are both manufactured by Nikon.

Nikon D3 were released 2007 and Nikon D5500 was released 2015. That is a 8 years difference. In tech, this period can be of interest since technology is always improving, etc.

Camera Released
Nikon D3 2007
Nikon D5500 2015

Type of camera

Both these cameras are DSLR cameras. No difference there.

Sensors / crop factor

These cameras have different sensors. Nikon D3 has a "Nikon FX"-sensor while Nikon D5500 has a "Nikon DX"-sensor, and their difference in sensors will also affect the crop factor and experience focal length. See the table below.

Camera Focal length, 50mm f/1.8 **
Nikon D3 50 mm
Full-frame sensor
No crop factor/focal length multiplier
Nikon D5500 75 mm
Nikon DX sensor
Crop factor/focal length multiplier by * 1.5

** Experienced focal length when using a lens such as a common "50mm f/1.8"

Learn more about crop factor and focal length multiplier here:
Camera selection can affect the focal length (Nikon)

Resolution

Nikon D3 has a 12,1 MP (Megapixels) resolution while Nikon D5500 has 24 MP. If we break down this in more detail this is the data behind the numbers:

Camera Megapixels
Nikon D3 12,1 MP
12052992 pixels
4256 x 2832
Nikon D5500 24 MP
24000000 pixels
6000 x 4000

Nikon D5500 has a 99 % larger resolution than Nikon D3. This could give you more details in the picture but also a possibility to crop more in the pictures, afterward while editing the pictures, if needed that is.

ISO range

Nikon D5500 has a larger ISO-range than Nikon D3. Nikon D5500 has an ISO range that stretches from 100 to 25600 while Nikon D3 has 200 to 25600.

Camera ISO Range
Nikon D3 200-25600
Nikon D5500 100-25600

Autofocus and lens compatibility

There is a big difference between these two cameras. Nikon D3 has a built-in autofocus motor but Nikon D5500 does not. If you want to be able to use autofocus on Nikon D5500 there is a need for having an autofocus motor inside the lens. We really encourage you to look closely at our lens compatibility charts at the links below.

Here is a complete overview of which lenses work with each camera:
Lens compatibility chart for Nikon D3
Lens compatibility chart for Nikon D5500

Pictures per second

Depending on what you are shooting the FPS, or frames/pictures per second, can definitely be of interest. Nikon D3 can shoot up to 9 pictures per seconds and Nikon D5500 can shoot up to 5 pictures per seconds.

Camera FPS (Frames per second)
Nikon D3 9
Nikon D5500 5

Ability to record movies

It is becoming more and more popular to record movies with digital cameras.

It is only one of these two cameras that support recording movies and movie clips and that is Nikon D5500. Sadly, the Nikon D3 does not support this.

Weight

The weight of the camera can be an extremely important factor, especially if the camera is about to be used, or carried around, for several hours at a time.

Nikon D3 weighs 1300 gr (equal to 2.87 lb) which is 210% heavier than Nikon D5500 and its 420 gr (or 0.93 lb).

Camera Weight
Nikon D3 1300 gr
2.87 lb
Nikon D5500 420 gr
0.93 lb

Nikon D3 vs Nikon D5500 Specs

Below you will find the complete and detailed technical specs for both Nikon D3 and Nikon D5500, next to each other. Each category of data is a link to an article covering the subject, giving you a deeper understanding so you can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the two camera models.

Product
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Name Nikon D3 Nikon D5500
Manufacturer Nikon Nikon
Release Date and Price
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Release Year 2007 2015
Release Date 2007-08-23 2015-01-06
MSRP 4999 USD 899 USD
Buy it today
Camera Type
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Camera Type DSLR DSLR
Sensor
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Sensor Size Full Frame (approx 36 x 23.9 mm)
Also known as "FX"
APS-C (approx 23.7 x 15.5 mm)
Also known as "DX"
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Resolution 4256 x 2832 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
Megapixels 12,1 MP 24 MP
Image Processor EXPEED EXPEED 4
Image
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
ISO Range 200 - 25600 100 - 25600
White Balance Presets 12 12
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Image Stabilization CIPA Rating 0 stops 0 stops
Uncompressed format RAW RAW
Optics & Focus
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Autofocus Motor Yes No
Autofocus Contract Detect (sensor)
Phase Detect
Multi Area
Selective Single Point
Single
Continuous
LiveView
Contract Detect (sensor)
Phase Detect
Multi Area
Center
Selective Single Point
Tracking
Single
Continuous
Touch
Face Detection
LiveView
Focus Points 51 39
Lens Mount Nikon F

See Compatible Lenses
Nikon F

See Compatible Lenses
Focal Length Multiplier FX (Full frame)
No multiplier
Example:
24 mm remains 24 mm
50 mm remains 50 mm
100 mm remains 100 mm
200 mm remains 200 mm
DX / APS-C (1.5x)
1.5x multiplier
Example:
24 mm becomes 36 mm
50 mm becomes 75 mm
100 mm becomes 150 mm
200 mm becomes 300 mm
Screen & Viewfinder
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Articulated LCD Fixed Fully articulated
Screen size 3 3,2
Screen dots 922000 1037000
Touch screen No Yes
Screen type N/A TFT LCD Monitor
Live view Yes Yes
Viewfinder Type Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder Coverage 100% 95%
Viewfinder Magnification 0.7 0.82 (0.51 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder Resolution N/A 0
Photography features
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Frames per second 9 fps 5 fps
Minimum Shutter Speed 30 seconds 30 seconds
Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000 seconds 1/4000 seconds
Built-in Flash No Yes
Built-in Flash Range N/A 12 meters
External Flash Yes Yes
Self-Timer Yes Yes
Time-lapse Yes Yes
Metering modes Multi
Center Weighted
Spot
Multi
Center Weighted
Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps) +/- 5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
Videography features
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Video recording No Yes
Video format N/A MPEG4
H.264
Video resolution N/A 1280 x 720
1920 x 1080
Built-in Microphone No Yes
Built-in Speakers No Yes
Storage
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Memory Card Compact Flash
SD/SDHC
Connectivity
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
HDMI Output Yes Yes
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No No
Wireless No Yes
Built-In
Remote Control Yes Yes (MC-DC2 (wired), WR-1/WR-R10 (wireless))
GPS Yes
Optional with GP-1
No
Body & Dimensions
Nikon D3
Nikon D5500
Enviromentally sealed Yes No
Battery Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Details EN-EL4a rechargeable Li-ion battery
EN-EL14 / EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 4300 shots 820 shots
Width 160 mm 124 mm
Height 157 mm 97 mm
Depth 88 mm 70 mm
Weight 1300 gram 420 gram