I've shot Nikon for many years and I've reviewed hundreds of accessories for Nikon cameras, so I want to write this article to help you make the best choices on accessories for your brand spankin' new Nikon D5500. It's an excellent camera, so it's worth customizing it to your liking.
As you look through the options below, the three accessories that I'd encourage you to buy first would be (1) extra batteries and charger, (2) a screen protector, and (3) a quality, professional-grade tripod.
The Nikon D5500 doesn't have the world's best battery life, especially if you shoot by looking at the LCD screen rather than the viewfinder. Powering the LCD screen on the back of the camera uses a lot of battery power as you compose photos and review the pictures you've taken.
If you buy two extra batteries and an extra charger from Nikon, you'll pay about over $130! That's absurd. Fortunately, there is a company called Wasabi that makes after-market batteries for Nikon cameras. From them, you can get two extra batteries and a charger for just $35 on their Amazon listing.
I've purchased dozens and dozens of Wasabi batteries for my Nikon batteries for several years and have never once been disappointed. They have always been very reliable. The other thing I like about the Wasabi batteries BETTER than the Nikon stuff is that they are 1500mAh, whereas the Nikon brand batteries are only 1250mAh. That gives you about 10% more battery life for 1/5 the cost!
I know this is starting to sound like a Wasabi ad (It's not. They don't pay me and I have never even communicated with anyone at the company), but the other thing I like is that they include a car charger cigarette lighter adapter for their chargers so that you can charge your batteries in the car while traveling. Beautiful!
Getting Nikon to repair a broken or cracked LCD screen on a camera costs about $300. Yes, I know that from sad personal experience 🙁 But the Nikon D5500 has a touch screen, so it would likely be even more costly to fix. So you're spending $20 on an accessory that makes it much much less likely that you'll have to pay for a $300 repair.
Even worse, the Nikon D5500 does not have an accessory screen protector like the higher-end Nikon cameras.
So the very first thing I'd buy for this camera would be a screen protector. You can get the little cheap ones that really feel just like a piece of transparent tape, but I'd highly recommend getting the Expert Shield screen protector instead. It's an incredibly thin piece of glass that adheres to your LCD screen.
You put the Expert Shield on your camera very similar to how you'd put on the screen protector on a cell phone, but it's much more protective than the tape style. You can get it on Amazon.com. (It will say D5300. It's the same size as D5500).
A battery grip is an extension that goes on the bottom of the camera and gives you a few nice features: (1) It makes the camera more comfortable to hold when shooting portrait orientation (turn the camera sideways so it's up-and-down) because it gives you a grip on the bottom of the camera. It also gives you a shutter button on the side of the camera so you don't have to reach around to press it. That's REALLY handy!
(2) A battery grip gives you an extra battery. You can now put a battery in the camera like normal, and also one in the battery grip so you can shoot for twice as long before you need to change.
(3) I have an average size hand, and my pink still floats under the D5500. With a battery grip, it extends the normal grip so that you have something more substantial to hold onto.
So a battery grip is a handy accessory. Definitely worth considering for your new D5500. Nikon makes one that is extremely expensive, but I like this one from Neewer which is way less money and just as good. Buy it on Amazon.
The camera straps that Nikon gives out are HORRIBLE! Pathetic! They have sharp edges, are thin and unpadded, and they don't stay on the shoulder very well because of the cheap fake leather material.
Black Rapid knows how to make a good camera strap! It's soft, stays on the shoulder, connects to the tripod socket for better stability, and can easily swing out of the way when you need to use your hands.
When I use a camera strap, it's ALWAYS the Black Rapid. Buy it on Amazon.
There is no way I could do my landscape photography without a good quality tripod. After the camera and a lens, it'd be the first thing I buy.
There are tons of cheapo $100 tripods on Amazon or at Walmart. They look like a good deal, but they ALWAYS break and they won't hold the camera steady enough to get crisp photos, and that's the whole reason you are buying a quality camera, right?
I have reviewed dozens and dozens of tripods, and compiled my top picks on the best tripods under $200 here. If you want to spend more to get the ultimate tripod, then read the review of my favorite tripod.
You really only need two filters for your camera, and you only need them if you'll be doing serious landscape photography work. If you won't be, then skip them for now.
The first is a polarizing filter, which cuts some reflections in water. The second is a neutral density filter which allows you to cut out a lot of light when shooting daytime landscapes. If you're brand new to landscape photography, I wouldn't worry about either of these for a while. The tripod and other items on this list should come first.
Similar to the screen protector, a rain cover is a tiny cost now that can save you the cost of repair or replacing the entire camera later. I once destroyed a $3,200 Nikon D810 full-frame camera by getting just a TINY amount of water on it, and that's a weather sealed body!
I highly recommend this cheap rain cover that you can easily stick in your camera bag and then bring out to put on the camera any time it starts raining.
Some photographers stop taking pictures in the rain because they don't have a cover, but pictures in the rain is one of the BEST times to take photos!
#9 Pec Pads
Pec Pads are GREAT for cleaning your camera! You can get those “lint free” microfiber cloths for cleaning cameras and lenses, but they never seem to work. Why? Because even if the cloth itself is lint free, if you use it multiple times, it'll get the lint on it from the lens.
A much better option is a one-time use lint-free cloth so that after you use it you just toss it and get another one. I use these to clean my sensor, the lens, the viewfinder, the LCD screen–everything. They're great!