Apart from announcing their pro level DSLRs D5 and D500 at CES 2016, Nikon has unveiled their newest camera that is destined to be their very first effort to compete in action camera market segment: KeyMission 360. It really is an important camera for Nikon at this stage as this part of the market is highly saturated and dominated by the industry leader – GoPro – a name that has become synonymous with action cameras, just like an iPod was to the MP3 player in its time.
Thus, the majority of this segment is held (and rightly so) by the GoPro with the remaining tiny share split between Sony and other manufacturers. So, just making a good camera won’t even be enough to survive, let alone be successful in this market. To survive, and furthermore to flourish, you must offer something exceptional. So the question is, what's exceptional about Nikon’s KeyMission 360?
Firstly, just as the name suggests, it’s able to capture full 360-degree panoramic videos and still images. To sweeten this even more, it can do so in true 4K UHD definition. This is a very interesting feature, especially in these times of virtual reality content consumption with intensively advancing products such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. Also, a built-in electric shake reduction system can be enabled via applications event while recording a video.
Perhaps a time when you can film your skydive jump and any member of your family or friends can re-live the moment as if they were there, is closer than we think.
Secondly, Nikon has a long history of making truly quality optics and this paired with good body design (KeyMission 360 is sized similarly to GoPro Hero 4 Session) and durability (crash-proofed up to 2m and waterproofed for approximately 30m) gives it good potential to become popular among extreme sports lovers.
Thirdly, the sound output promises to be amazing. No technical details are yet available, but photographer Corey Rich, who was testing this camera for Nikon, has dropped hints that the quality of the audio recording was a game-changer.
This, all together with app enabled shake reduction, presence of NFC, and experience of Nikon in the field, should make for a device worth consideration.
Unfortunately, there are no more details available for now and to dig deeper we’ll have to wait until Spring 2016 when the camera is officially set to be released.