Nikon Makes a Splash in the Action-Camera Market


In January of 2016, Nikon gave us a little taste of things to come, but today, Nikon has proven that it is serious about the action-camera market. Three new Nikon action-camera models are making their way to market, all part of the KeyMission series: the aptly named KeyMission 360, KeyMission 170, and KeyMission 80. Each one has a different field of view and application, and all are versatile and rugged options that are easy to use.

Originally announced in January, at CES 2016, Nikon’s KeyMission 360 ticked a lot of boxes in the burgeoning 360-degree video and VR market. It uses two lenses to capture 4K-resolution spherical video without any gaps. Footage created with this camera is immersive, and viewers can look in any direction. Adventurers can show all the scenery around them without fear of leaving anything out.

KeyMission 360

Filmmakers can guide the viewer’s eyes in any direction through post production by selectively showing a portion of the 360-degree frame. This portion can be moved as if to pan and tilt a conventional camera.

As an action camera should be, the KeyMission 360 is ruggedized. By itself, it can withstand shock from drops up to 6.6', and can be submerged in 100' of water, so you don’t have to worry about it—even in extreme sporting situations.

As the nomenclature would suggest, the wide-angle lens of the KeyMission 170 renders a 170-degree field of view, capturing nearly everything in front of the camera in UHD 4K resolution at 30fps. The camera by itself is waterproof to 33', so aquatic activities can be recorded without requiring a housing. It’s also shockproof to 6.6' and freeze resistant in cold climates. If recording at lower resolutions, more video recording options are available. Electronic image stabilization minimizes shake in HD videos, while higher frame rates let you slow down the action for dramatic presentation. At 1080p resolution, 120 fps videos can be captured; 720p unlocks 240 fps video for some serious slow-mo.

KeyMission 170

Finally, the KeyMission 80 offers HD video recording and interval photography in a compact, body-wearable form factor. It features dual cameras; one at the front with optical and electronic image stabilization, perfect for hands-free shooting. While it’s not quite as waterproof as its brothers, it can still survive submersion 3.3' of water, and falls from 5'. Designed to be ready at a moment’s notice, with features such as auto-on, this model is best for documenting your day. Simply unclip it from its magnetic harness to turn it on and start shooting videos with the front camera, or photos with the rear camera.

KeyMission 80

With these three cameras, Nikon has its bases covered for a well-rounded line of action cameras. If you’re interested in capturing your excursions or just documenting your daily life, one of these cameras can be just the ticket. Check the B&H SuperStore for more information on these products, including availability, pricing, and compatible accessories.


As cool as these cameras appear to be I am having a hard time trusting Nikon. I made the mistake of purchasing a 1 V1 pig by Nikon. From day one the camera overheated in 78 degree weather after 22 minutes of recording. The auto focus is equally unreliable. The camera burns through batteries like toilet paper in the rain. Basically I have a nice pretty black paper weight. The price was just about what they are asking for this new line. I'm old enough to remember when "Made In Japan" meant cheap shit; never thought I see the day when this was true again. 

Regarding the criticism made to the V1, I have had a V1 camera for some 4 years and I am very happy with it.  I agree the battery runs fast but the autofocus is very good and actually was the fastest at the time;  overheating has never been a problem (and I live in Spain where it can be very hot during the summer).  To note that I also have a Nikon D700 and a Nikon 810, apart from many lenses and adapters that I also use with the V1 (Nikon´equipment compatibility is remarkable)  In my opinion, the mirrorless "department" is far from being the strongest of Nikon´s:  the sensor is probably too small, the design of the camera - already in its 3rd version - is not yet perfected,  the V1 lacked a flash and a fragrantly missing ISO command, the V3 lacks a view finder.  While I would agree the V1 is certainly not the best mirroless camera, I strongly disagree in calling it cheap shit.  I can show the latest photos I made with it just one month ago to prove it is still a worthy camera to have.  I just hope the V4 has a design incorporating everything it should have had from the beginning.  

I see from reading the specs that this camera (KeyMission 80) is limited to 29 minuntes recording; it is not clear whether this is a bettery or design limitation, but assume the latter (there is a silly EU limitation on the classification of cameras, and the taxes that apply; most manufacturers prefer to not have their cameras classified as "camcorders").

29 minutes is a huge drawback for my intended use (we shoot three Panasonic G6 bodies that have no design limit, recording time-wise and can record up to card and battery power lengths, typically 2.5 hours). We shoot multicam and sync in post.

IF the battery is able to be changed, then no major problem. If the unit has to be recharged before recording its 29 minutes, then we have a problem.

Hi Kit,

Thanks for reading! The 4GB/29-minute recording length limitation might be a function of the camera's file system if it uses FAT32. Nikon likely disabled recording longer than this for the fact that the camera might overheat, based on the literature they have given us. I'm in agreement with you, the 29-minute maximum clip length is an unfortunate limitation, but one that may have been necessary as well, and not just to skirt European video camera taxes. Another wrinkle is the battery life. Nikon's spec sheet reports that continuous video recording will yield a ~40-minute battery life, but, as the battery is integrated, you wouldn't be able to pop it out to replace it with a fresh one. So even if you wanted to record for longer than 29 minutes, you wouldn't get much farther.

You may want to look into the KeyMission 170, it has no recording limit (other than the size of your memory card), promises a longer battery life of ~60 minutes, plus the batteries are swappable and readily available. It's pretty small, and may be what you are looking for.

I hope you find what you need, and happy shooting!

The "KeyMission" 80 may be perfect for a use I have been looking for a camera for. I make exercise videos; we master in 1080p/30, and compress to 720p/30 for our Vimeo on Demand channel. Some of our exercises use partner support (to get into the best alignment); to be able to see how these corrections will be done, from the 'corrector's' perspective, will be very useful, and an unuque view.

The 25° EFOV is perfect for these applications. 

My questions: what is the longest recording time (I assume it depends on the card, and is not a fixed 30 minute limit that many cameras have)?

Will Nikon design and build a light body harness?

Can the camera be switched on while attached magnetically (if the 80 features this)?

The size and shape are far better than the GoPros, for this use. I am definitely interested.

movies are typicaly shot with a 20:1 ratio so 240 minutes will yeaild about 12 mins of footage and that may be a good day

for comparison

Lord of the Rings Fellow ship of the ringaling had a 500:1 ratio ... 



Yeah but it may take 4 hours of footage to get two minutes of awesome!

Why is it that they can keep improving the image quality and rugedness of these action cameras but can't do anything to improve battery life. Those of us in endurance sports are always hung out to dry. When most of the things you want to shoot are in excess of 4 hours these 1.5 hour batteries are a pain in the butt. 

Shorten your activity to 1.4 hours and you will be fine.

Yoda is right. NOBODY cares to see ANY 4 hour movie of ANYTHING, period!

Samsung tried to rush battery improvement in the Note 7. You see how that turned out.