First, realize that low-light action is one of the most difficult (read: expensive) situations to photograph.
That said, a flash will help. But IMO at the cost of losing the "atmosphere" of the situation. In a nutshell, when you add a flash, you are no longer shooting in low light, so it will be cheaper, but it also won't look like you were shooting in low light since, essentially, you weren't. A diffuser (or bounce card) will help some, but you're still shooting with a single, camera mounted light source. (This is why most studios use two or more off-camera flashes, along with "umbrellas".)
Given that, IMO the (APS-C) D5500, while fine with a flash, is neither here nor there for true low-light photography.; I would either move up -- both in size and budget -- to a full frame camera -- ideally, a Sony A7s (and their 50mm f1.8 lens) -- or down in size, but up in lens budget -- to an Olympus micro four thirds camera and Voigtlander "hyper-prime" (e.g. 25mm f0.95). Both options should be similar since the A7s has around a 2-stop ISO advantage, but the Voigtlander lens also has a 2-stop advantage. But do note that the Voigtlander lens will be manual focus only.
Full disclosure: I own an Olympus E-PL5 and several Voigtlander Hyper-primes. In fact, here's a pic I took at 1/200 (to capture a water drop as it fell) that was lit by a single candle:
Hey everyone, I'm interested in becoming the party photographer for many of the parties going on around me at the moment.
I wanted to know which DSLR would take the best nighttime photos.
One thing that would be quite important besides photo clarity obviously is how fast the Camera can actually take the photo.
As this will be at nighttime as well what type of speedlight and lens would be best suited.
I don't need anything with Zoom on it as ill be taking close up photos of people.
After many hours of bench-marking I think the Nikon D5500 would be a good choice?
Is this a good choice? Is there something better around this price range. I wanna keep the total I'm spending to around $1000 but i'm willing to go a little higher if the quality of the photo is going to be significantly better.
Also to put it in perspective I'm an 18 year old so the environments will all be backyard house parties.
Thanks heaps to anyone that can help!