Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

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Introduction

The Nikon KeyMission 360 is one of the three action cameras that Nikon have launched alongside the KeyMission 170 and the KeyMission 80. As the name suggests, its key feature is that it can record 360 degree photos and videos. Dual-lenses capture an entire 360 degree view, and the Nikon KeyMission 360 can record in 4K video quality. The KeyMission 360 is waterproof, shockproof and freeze proof. The sensor inside the camera is 23.9 million pixels, and is 1/2.3-inch type sensor. Other features include the ability to control the Nikon KeyMission 360 from your smartphone, compatibility with MicroSD cards and dual 1.6mm lenses (equivalent to 8.2mm in 35mm format). The Nikon KeyMission 360 retails for $499 / £419.

Ease of Use

Because of the nature of the camera, the Nikon KeyMission 360 is quite an odd thing to look at. The body of the camera is square, while the two ultra-wide angle lenses bulge out from two sides of the camera. It’s quite a chunky camera, but you can still fit it into most jacket pockets with ease – a slim trouser pocket may be out of the question though.

In terms of buttons and control, there is very little on the camera body itself, with almost all of the operation taking place via the free Snapbridge 360 / 170 app which is available for Android and iOS.

There are two important buttons though. On the top of the Nikon KeyMission 360 there’s a button marked with a red dot, while on the side, there’s a smaller button which doesn’t have any markings – both are textured to help you easily find them while you may not have good visibility (i.e. underwater). If you press the top button, the camera will automatically switch on and start recording a video – in whatever setting you were last using. For the button on the side, if you press that, the camera will switch on and take a still image, again using whichever setting you have previously been using. The problem here is that the buttons don’t have much in the way of resistance so it can be very easy to accidentally switch on the camera and start recording when you don’t want to – wasting both battery life and memory card space.

Nikon KeyMission 360
Front of the Nikon KeyMission 360

Also on top of the Nikon KeyMission 360 you’ll see an LED for indicating the battery status. It’s not all that helpful for assessing how much battery is left until you get close to running out, when it will glow orange – you can check the battery status via the app if you’re concerned, but generally the battery is good for around an hour’s footage (which is why it’s problematic when the camera switches on when you don’t want it to). Unlike the other KeyMission cameras however, it’s possible to change the battery for another one – it’s worth buying spares if you’ll be capturing lots of video. That’s especially true when you consider that the battery is quite slow to charge – it takes around three hours for a full charge.

The battery itself is found behind a door which requires a two step process to open it. First you must release the lock, then slide across a switch to open the door – it’s a little fiddly, especially if you’re using gloves etc, but it’s designed to stop the door from opening when you don’t want to – such as underwater or during dusty conditions and it does that well. Underneath the door, you’ll find the battery, which is released by flicking a small switch. There’s also the HDMI port, the charging port and the MicroSD card slot. You’ll also see there’s an airplane mode switch, which means you can use the camera without it trying to connect to your phone – which is particularly useful for saving battery if you’re happy to record or take stills without any input from your phone.

Nikon KeyMission 360
Front of the Nikon KeyMission 360

Setting up the link between the Nikon KeyMission 360 and the Snapbridge app is a little fiddly – in fact I had to look up a guide on how to use it as it wasn’t particularly self-explanatory. Basically, you need to connect the camera via bluetooth, and then connect via wi-fi if you want to do things like remote control the camera and change settings. You can download images over bluetooth alone. Once the camera has connected once, it’s easier to connect it again, but the app is not particularly reliable and it can refuse to connect, crash or not recognise the camera, seemingly without warning or reason.

Once in the app, you can change lots of things about the Nikon KeyMission 360. There are lots of different movie options, with the default being “Standard”. You can also shoot super lapse videos, or loop recording, or record a time-lapse. You also have the option to change resolution – 4K is the highest, but you can also shoot Full HD or other formats. For still images, you can change the size of the image, or you can switch a self-timer on or off.

Nikon KeyMission 360
Top of the Nikon KeyMission 360

There are also a few limited manual type options available, for example you can change the white balance and the exposure compensation. You can also choose to shoot in standard, vivid and monochrome, while you can switch on options for Active D-Lighting (which optimises for high-contrast scenes) and Underwater mode.

Away from the photographic options, there are also several camera specific options, such as changing the length of time auto-off takes, the ability to synchronise the clock, formatting the memory card and so on. If you want to charge the camera by plugging it into your computer, there’s an option for that here too.

If you choose to remote shoot, you’ll see an image displayed on your phone’s screen of what the lens is seeing. As it’s a 360 degree camera, you’ll need to “move” around the screen by using your finger to move the viewpoint and angle. Because of the way the camera is set up, it can be pretty easy to accidentally cover one of the lenses with your fingers, and of course, it being a 360 video, you will be in it too. When you press the record button on the phone screen, the live view feed will stop and you won’t be able to see what you’re recording – which is a little odd.

Nikon KeyMission 360
The Nikon KeyMission 360 In-hand

Also packaged in the box is a silicon jacket for adding extra protection to the camera, as well as underwater lens protectors which boosts the underwater depth rating of the KeyMission 360 from 20 metres down to 30 metres – it could be useful for divers and so on. A mount adapter is also included, with two different bases – one which is flat, and one which is curved – the latter is designed to be used with curved surfaces, such as a bike helmet.

A simple piece of software can be downloaded to allow you to view videos and photos on your computer – but it’s pretty restricted in what you can do with it. One handy feature is the ability to flip a video, which is useful if you had to mount the camera upside down for some reason.

When you upload videos from the 360 directly to YouTube, it automatically formats it for 360 viewing. This also means you can watch it with a VR headset, such as Google Cardboard, for the best experience.

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

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Image Quality

The Nikon KeyMission 360 is intended for quite a niche purpose, and for that reason it’s perhaps unfair to judge it as we normally would.

For example, while it is possible to create “standard” still images, the stitching can look rather odd – and it’s unlikely to be a desirable effect. What’s much better is the effect when you’re viewing through a 360 viewer, such as the Nikon software, where you can move around the image as it’s intended to be.

In terms of video, the Nikon KeyMission 360 is sharp, especially when shooting in 4K. If the subject moves between the two lenses, you can sometimes see a little oddity in terms of the stitching – for instance, someone’s head may start to disappear if they happen to be in the exact wrong place for a second or two – but the overall impression is very good, and very interesting.

It’s a shame that the maximum frame rate is 24p for 4K shooting as this isn’t quite as smooth as 30p. It’s also only 24p for Full HD which is even more disappointing – but depending on the subject this may not be too noticeable.

There’s no optical image stabilisation, so some situations may result in quite jerky footage. If you can stabilise the Nikon KeyMission 360 yourself – such as on a tripod, then you’ll probably get the best footage possible.

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”.

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Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon KeyMission 360 camera, which were all taken using the 23.9 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movies

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840×2160 pixels at 24 frames per second. Please note that this 27 second movie is 249Mb in size.

This is a sample Hyperlapse movie at the quality setting of 1920×960 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 15 second movie is 35Mb in size.

This is a sample Timelapse movie at the quality setting of 1920×960 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 4 second movie is 10Mb in size.

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”.

The Luminar Creative Bundle includes a mega preset pack, overlays, an eBook and more all for free. Plus, Luminar also now offers free and premium preset packs.
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Product Images

Nikon D5600

Front of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 
Nikon D5600

Side of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 
Nikon D5600

Side of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 
Nikon D5600

Top of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 
Nikon D5600

Bottom of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 
Nikon D5600

Side of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 
Nikon D5600

Side of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 
Nikon D5600

Front of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 
Nikon D5600

Front of the Nikon KeyMission 360

 

Nikon D5600

Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”.

The Luminar Creative Bundle includes a mega preset pack, overlays, an eBook and more all for free. Plus, Luminar also now offers free and premium preset packs.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

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Specifications

Inside the box:

– Camera
– Charging AC Adapter EH-73P
– Rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL12
– USB Cable UC-E21
– Base Adapter AA-1A
– Lens Protector AA-14A
– Underwater Lens Protector AA-15A
– Black Silicone Jacket CF-AA1
– Flat Base Mount AA-2
– Curved Base Mount AA-3
– Documentation

Dimensions (W × H × D)

Approx. 65.7 x 60.6 x 61.1 mm (2.6 x 2.4 x 2.5 in.) (including lens protectors)

Operating environment

Temperature
-10°C to +40°C (14°F to 104°F) (for land use) 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F) (for underwater use)
Humidity
85% or less (no condensation)

Dustproof performance

JIS/IEC protection class 6 (IP6X) equivalent (under our testing conditions)

Bluetooth

Communication protocols
Bluetooth Specification Version 4.1

Weight

Approx. 198 g (7 oz) (including lens protectors, battery and memory card)

Waterproof performance 2

JIS/IEC protection class 8 (IPX8) equivalent (under our testing conditions)
Capacity to record images and movies underwater up to a depth of 30 m (98 ft) and for 60 minutes

Shockproof performance 3

Cleared our testing conditions4 compliant with MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock

Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN)

Standards
IEEE 802.11b/g (standard wireless LAN protocol)
Operating frequency
2412–2462 MHz (1–11 channels)
Security
Authentication: Open system, WPA2-PSK

Number of effective pixels

23.9 million (Image processing may reduce the number of effective pixels.)

Image size (pixels)

• 30 M 7744×3872
• 7 M 3872×1936

Lens

NIKKOR lens ×2
Focal length
1.6 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 8.2 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
f/-number
f/2
Construction
7 elements in 7 groups

Focus

Fixed focus
Focus range
Approx. 30 cm (1 ft) to ∞ (distance measured from center of front surface of lens)

ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity)

ISO 100–1600

Exposure

Metering mode
Matrix
Exposure control
Programmed auto exposure, exposure compensation (–2.0 – +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)

Power sources

One EN-EL12 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (included), EH-62F AC Adapter (available separately)

Charging time

Approx. 2 h 20 min (when using EH-73P/EH-73PCH Charging AC Adapter and when no charge remains)

Image sensor

1/2.3-in. type CMOS; approx. 21.14 million total pixels ×2

Storage

Media
microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC memory card
File system
DCF and Exif 2.3 compliant
File formats
Still images: JPEG
Movies: MP4 (Video: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Audio: AAC stereo)

Resolution/frame rate (movie options)

• When NTSC/PAL is set to NTSC 2160/24p, 1920/24p, 960/30p, 640/120p, 320/240p
• When NTSC/PAL is set to PAL 2160/24p, 1920/24p, 960/25p, 640/100p, 320/200p

Shutter

CMOS electronic shutter
Speed
1/8000 -1 s

Self-timer

Can be selected from 10 s and 2 s

Interface

USB connector
Micro-USB connector (Do not use any USB cable other than the included UC-E21 USB Cable.), Hi-Speed USB
HDMI output connector
HDMI micro connector (Type D)

Battery life 1

Still images
Approx. 230 shots when using EN-EL12
Movie recording (actual battery life for recording)
Approx. 1 h 10 min when using EN-EL12

Tripod socket

1/4 (ISO 1222)

All measurements are performed in conformity with Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA) standards or guidelines.

1. Battery life does not reflect the use of SnapBridge 360/170 and may vary with the conditions of use, including temperature, the interval between shots, and the length of time that menus and images are displayed.

2. The camera can be used up to a water depth of about 20 m (65 ft) when the lens protectors are attached.

3. When the lens protectors or underwater lens protectors are attached.

4. Dropped from a height of 200 cm (6 ft 6 in.) onto a surface of 5 cm (2 in.) thick plywood (changes in appearance, such as paint peeling off and deformation of the drop shock portion and waterproof performance are not subject to the test). These tests do not guarantee that the camera will be free from damage or trouble under all conditions.

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”.

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Conclusion

There aren’t too many cameras existing in this area of the market, so it’s interesting to see Nikon trying to get in there early to be a key player in the 360 degree action camera market with the KeyMission 360.

Perhaps it’s closest rival is the Ricoh Theta, but the Nikon KeyMission 360 has waterproofing which makes it more desirable for action photographers who may either want to use the camera underwater, or in all-weather situations where the camera is likely to get wet. The Theta is also not capable of recording in 4K, so if you’re after the higher resolution, the KeyMission 360 appeals more again. 

Using the Nikon KeyMission 360 can be very simple, if you generally tend to shoot in one format – i.e. always 4K or always Full HD – but having to use the phone app to change settings can be unnecessarily cumbersome if the app decides to crash, or it won’t connect to the camera. 

Another downside is the short battery life – especially considering how easy it is to accidentally switch the Nikon KeyMission 360 on. You may want to think about removing the battery if you’re planning a journey and only putting it back in when you get there and want to use the camera. We’d also recommend purchasing a second battery for back-up too. 

While the price for this camera is a little on the high side considering it’s quite a niche product – if it’s what you’re interested in and the videos you like to create, then for what you get it’s actually pretty good value for money. 

More could be done to improve the Nikon software that comes with the KeyMission 360, for example letting you join two videos together. That said, if you are serious about this kind of videography, then it’s likely you will have other video editing software you can use. 

It’s also good that the video is automatically ready for Facebook and YouTube, meaning you can upload directly to your social media site of choice and it will work instantly without any need to work around – great if you just want something simple and quick. 

Although it’s possible to record still images, it’s not really what the Nikon KeyMission 360’s forte is – especially if you want to view the photos “flat”, as the stitching will make them look a little odd. 

It’ll be interesting to see how Nikon moves forward with this format of camera. There are clearly improvements that could be made, from increasing the frame rate of recorded video, to making the bundled software, but the Nikon KeyMission 360 is an interesting and promising first start. 

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 3.5

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”.

The Luminar Creative Bundle includes a mega preset pack, overlays, an eBook and more all for free. Plus, Luminar also now offers free and premium preset packs.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

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Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon KeyMission 360.

Nikon KeyMission 170

Nikon KeyMission 170 Review thumbnail

The KeyMission 170 is Nikon’s first attempt at an action camera, featuring 4K video recording and a 170-degree lens. Can it compete with the similarly priced GoPro Hero 5? Find out by reading our Nikon KeyMission 170 review.

Nikon KeyMission 80

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review thumbnail

The KeyMission 80 is Nikon’s cheapest action camera, featuring 1080p video recording, front- and rear-facing cameras, and an 80-degree lens. Read our Nikon KeyMission 80 review now…

Kodak PixPro SP360

Kodak PixPro SP360 Review thumbnail

The new Kodak PixPro SP360 is an actioncam with a difference – it can capture a complete 360-degree view of the world. Is the Kodak PixPro SP360 worth considering alongside, or even instead of, the mighty GoPro? Read our in-depth Kodak PixPro SP360 review to find out…

Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K

Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K Review thumbnail

The Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K is a new 360-degree virtual reality action camera, featuring 4K video recording, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, and a 12 megapixel sensor. Read our in-depth Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K review now…

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”.

The Luminar Creative Bundle includes a mega preset pack, overlays, an eBook and more all for free. Plus, Luminar also now offers free and premium preset packs.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

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Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon KeyMission 360 from around the web.

ephotozine.com »

The Nikon KeyMission 360 is one of the first 360×360 all-in-one cameras available with 4K video recording. The camera can take 360×360 photos and is shockproof, waterproof, and freezeproof. It also features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for easy connection to your smartphone, using Nikon’s Snapbridge 360/170 app.
Read the full review »

trustedreviews.com »

With its KeyMission range, Nikon has moved away from its still image camera heritage and moved into action camera territory, arguably arriving somewhat late to the party with its KeyMission 80 and KeyMission 170 cameras.
Read the full review »

uk.pcmag.com »

The Nikon KeyMission 360 is the easiest 360-degree camera to use and delivers strong quality video, but the technology is still in its infancy.
Read the full review »

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Nikon KeyMission 360 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”.

The Luminar Creative Bundle includes a mega preset pack, overlays, an eBook and more all for free. Plus, Luminar also now offers free and premium preset packs.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

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