Top positive review
Consider buying a D5500 instead
January 17, 2017
I purchased this camera (with the 18-55mm VR kit lens) from Amazon in order to replace a much-loved D5100 that was stolen. The camera has all the plusses I loved in the D5100, especially its light weight and reticulating LCD. In addition, the basic D5600 kit now includes the much-improved 18-55mm VR AF-P lens, which is incredibly sharp and useful. Focus is now adjustable by touching the focus ring on the lens rather than flipping a switch. And the LCD, like the competing Canons, has touch-screen capabilities, making use of the menus far easier (and faster). I compared the D5600 to a D7200, the flagship of Nikon's DX offerings, and found, quite simply, that I took much better photographs with the D5600. The size and weight of the D7200 militated against spontaneity in my shooting. Admittedly, I would have gotten used to this in time, but even so, the D5600, to me, offered all the crucial flexibilities of the D7200 in a far more user-friendly, approachable context. I found it far easier to shoot the D5600 in aperture-priority (A), shutter-priority (S), and manual mode (M). To be sure, you don't have two dials, but the single D5600 dial can control both shutter and aperture simply by holding down a button. The bottom line was the D5600's featherweight construction. I'm a huge believer in the adage, "the camera you have with you is the one you will use." Let's face it: the competition is the iPhone's camera, and I've taken a hell of a lot of great photographs with it. The D5600 is light enough to make you stop and consider lugging it with you, iPhone and all.
I'm less than enthusiastic about the single major improvement over the D5600's predecessor, the D5500: Snapbridge. The low-power Bluetooth connection is capable, as I ascertained, at transferring large format images to my iPhone 6S, but the transfer is inordinately slow and consumes battery power voraciously. Although the camera still has wi-fi, like its predecessor, wi-fi is now wholly subordinated within Snapbridge, such that the user cannot choose between Bluetooth and wi-fi. There is one positive: So long as you have your smartphone with you, the Bluetooth transfers can be configured to encode your pictures' GPS coordinates, but there's a major downside to this: If the pairing doesn't happen for some reason, and the transfer happens elsewhere, the coordinates will be wrong.
I regret to say that I pulled out my D5100's EyeFi card and plan to use it instead of Snapbridge to transfer full-size images to my smartphone; in my experience, at least, it's 10x faster. Or better, I'll simply pull the SD card out of the camera and stick into the slot on my MacBook Air. The unfortunate truth is that the D5600 offers very little in comparison with its predecessor, the D5500, and buyers might well consider saving $100 by foregoing the most recent version of this camera.
This year marks Nikon's 100th anniversary, and for me personally, the 40th year I've owned and photographed with Nikon products. It is with sadness that I note signs of Nikon's desperation in the face of smartphone competition. In order to cut costs, evidently, this camera kit does not include the camera's reference manual, an indispensable item for serious photographers, and it isn't available on Nikon USA's site, at this writing. Personally, I'd prefer to have a printed manual rather than a 300-page PDF.
In spite of my criticisms, I must say that I absolutely love this camera. Its light weight, reticulating touch-screen LCD, crystal-sharp optics from the 18-55mm VR II kit lens and beautifully thought-out controls have enabled me to take dozens of memorable, perfectly-exposed photographs. The built-in flash is surprisingly useful, producing shots free from red eye and obviating the need for an expensive, add-on flash unit in many situations. Aside from time-lapse movies, a feature I haven't evaluated, I see little in the 5600 that isn't already available in the D5500, at a reduced price.