Additional Nikon KeyMission 360 camera coverage – first reviews are in

nikon-keymission-cameras
Some additional Nikon KeyMission coverage:

→ Nikon KeyMission 360 field test by The Camera Store.

lensrentals-review-of-the-nikon-keymission-360-camera
LensRentals also published their review of the Nikon KeyMission 360 camera:

Pros:

  • Nikon’s decades of industrial design lead to a solid construction.
  • The housing is waterproof without need for an additional case.
  • It’s a suitable option for dipping your toes into 360 video.

Cons:

  • The app is really bad. It will turn away all but the most determined of users.
  • Image stitching is okay but needs improvement closer to the camera.
  • 4K resolution is muddied by what seems to be an inefficient video codec.

Newsshooter on the Nikon KeyMission 360:

"Using the app with the camera is painful. You have to turn the camera on, start the SnapBridge 360 app and connect via bluetooth; then use the app to turn on the camera wifi, then use your phone wifi control to connect to the camera wifi. The remote start/stop from your phone defaults to a 2-second self timer. Better to just hit the little switch on the camera that puts it in airplane mode and forget the app. On the positive side, you can control the image for: underwater; ‘Active D-Lighting,’ which changes the dynamic range; white balance; standard or vivid or monochrome color settings; and up to two stops exposure compensation."


PetaPixel's conclusion:

In my opinion, this camera as the potential to become a bestseller if Nikon will just add a few things to their software. My wish list:

  1. Manual settings for still and timelapse photography
  2. Auto HDR (especially useful for sunrise/sunset photography)
  3. RAW photos
  4. The option to record two .mp4 files, one for each sensor, on UHS3 SD cards.

→ Nikon KeyMission 360/170 utility version 1.0.1 is now released. Nikon published several videos on how to connect the KeyMission 360 with the Snapbridge 360/170 app on iOS and Android:

All three Nikon KeyMission cameras are currently in stock at:

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  • Joey Bagadonuts2

    I’ve kind of grown to like it. It needs all those software upgrades, but it’s surprised me recently.

  • ZoetMB

    I find the video disconcerting. Aside from the quality issues, I find it very difficult to deal with the extreme bending of straight lines and in the sample parade video, watching people leave the frame on the left and then show up on the right. It might be find for underwater shots or airplane shots, but I’m not sure how useful it’s going to be for other types of videography.

    • Joel Andersson

      agree with the straight cut between the lenses, became even more “aware” of this in the TheCameraStoreTV review. As they were driving the boat only the front facing lens had a lot of drops and made the “cut” stand out even more

    • RMJ

      There is something wrong with your video player.
      Unless the people are walking circle around the shooter, there is no way one should disappear to left and appear to right. Only when your video player isn’t capable of creating 360 degree 3D world of the video that happens. You should be in the center of the video, able to look at any direction just like in the real world.

      • Thom Hogan

        Yes and no. Yes in that you need a 3D video player to see the image correctly. But there’s more missing in Nikon’s software than really good player support. The thing I really wanted was software to pan and scan the 360° image to produce 1080P video. For instance, I want to put the 360 on the front of my kayak and produce video that shows where I’m headed and then panning back to me or to the side (or vice versa). This notion of the viewer of the video changing the angle by interacting with the player is a bit far forward of where we really are with VR and immersion at the moment.

        • RMJ

          Sure, I’m not even getting into the software problems on Nikon’s side. 🙂

          Not sure if I understand what you said at the end. You want the whole video to be played on 2D plane at the same time ? To me that sort of video play seems very unnatural and unpleasing. I agree it’s not very practical all the time change the view either but I think in most cases you don’t have to change anyways. Think the missing view to be something extra, which you can view if you feel like it. The focus is always on the front camera.

          True 3D experience would, of course, need a true 3D theatre (or 3D glasses) where to watch the video. You’d be sitting/standing in the center of it and would be able to turn around as you wish.

          • Thom Hogan

            We’re still in a 2D world. I want 3D data that I can map to my 2D world in the way I want to.

            I try to think in “user problems.” I can’t begin to count the number of times I wished I could do a pan with my GoPro. Even a small one. Many of us already take 4K video and do 1080P crops from within it, which allows panning.

            • RMJ

              Ah, now I got what you meant. But Nikon 360 wouldn’t be good for that in any case as it’s fisheye type of lens. You’d want a camera with rectilinear lenses. Otherwise the video it would be just too weird, with wavy and distorted lines.

              Or if using fisheye type lenses you would have to map it on sphere and crop a view from it, which will reduce resolution quite a lot. You can actually do that even with the 360 video (it’s pretty much normal video, it’s just 3D player that wraps it in 3D world).

            • Thom Hogan

              Yes, the fisheye is less than effective for what I want, but it still seems like something I want to do. The issue is whether I want to be forced to use a 3D player and let the user do it or if I can control the “player” myself. There’s a lot like this that hasn’t been solved in VR/360, despite decades of work.

      • ZoetMB

        I’m watching the YouTube video of the parade. There are shots where the same person is on the left and right. It happens on my computer and phone.

        It reminds me of the old trick with panorama photos taken with the old Cirkut cameras where you’d start on the left side of the group shot, the camera would start the exposure and you’d run behind the crowd to the right side and show up in the photo twice. Cirkut images with that phenomenon are sought out by collectors.

        • Allan

          So those were not identical twins in my summer camp photos?

        • RMJ

          Could you give a time mark for an example ? I watched the video through and could not spot any single moment when that happened. Neither on the parade video nor on the fishing video.

          Because obviously something is wrong with the video play if you see it like that. The 3D video is supposed to show about 120 degree view (or whatever human would normally see, and what Youtube has configured the videos to show) at any time and if the person is on the both edges then either the universe has bent or something even stranger is going on. The same person being on left and right would mean there is nothing behind you (between the two halves of the person). Full circle would be just 120 degrees. And as far as I know, that’s impossible in our universe.

          Sure it’s possible to represent the full video on 2D plane (I can’t find option box on youtube player that would do that), too. In that case obviously people can be on both edges. This will also cause all the lines to get distorted (like in super wide angle lens, or fisheye… as this is extreme wide angle lens anyways). You can see example of that on those thumbnails on Youtube time line, they show the full 360 degree video frame on 2D plane. But the video itself is supposed to play in 3D mode on Youtube, with no distortion and obviously with no chance one person being in two location at the same time. The video is wrapper on a ball around you, and you are free to move your view on it, just like what you do when turning your head in real life. If the person is split in thumbnail, it means it’s directly behind you and you must turn your view 180 degrees to even able to see him.

          • ZoetMB
            • RMJ

              Your video player is not able to show the video correctly. It shows it on 2D plane.

              The video screen you see should be wrapped around you, and you should be able to look at any direction.

              This is how the video SHOULD look like (notice the same people in front of the camera). And notice the arrows on top left corner, where you can change the view (you can change the view with mouse also, or if using capable smartphone, I think by swiping and/or turning the phone).

              https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8b30dc32c3ee3426b1efefd6669e3e8360d39c51daa070b6616ae8e84b36c01b.jpg

              I tried to get as close to the same frame as possible. At around 0:24 time mark.

              As you can see, no person is split in two, and the image does not have big distortions (because the video is mapped on sphere instead of 2D plane). It shows roughly 120 degrees of the full 360 degree video. Something you’d expect to see with your own eyes.

            • ZoetMB

              Okay, I used a different browser and it played as it should. Now I have different issues: I realize it was shot at night under low light conditions, but nothing is in focus. Secondly, who wants to sit there and constantly have to move the image around to see the full view. It might make sense as part of a VR application where you turn your head to see the full view, but it doesn’t make sense to me when you’re using a mouse, touchpad or finger to move the image.

              In addition, this practically takes the photographer out of the equation as far as composition is concerned. It’s almost a wide-angle security camera.

    • Vaggelis Atropus

      check the bbc episode (show click ) with a 360 camera , pretty interesting imo.

  • sickheadache

    Oh Nikon

  • Aldo

    I try really hard to like 360 I just cant… my brain cant make sense of it and it almost gives me a headache… I know it has its uses (gopro type shooting) but for creative stills not my cup of tea.

    • fanboy fagz

      that and the selfie stick and dog collar and br straps that cost double

    • M09

      i’d have done 1 Camera with interchangeable lenses, make a set like 3 to 5, now you would really have done something new/different.

      no, 3 cameras with each a different lens, with shape of carrot, potato and candy box, why would i just not pick up a gopro ?

    • Thom Hogan

      You have to think perspective in a whole new way to get good still images. And you really need an incredible near, a near middle, and a strong far to pull it off.

  • MonkeySpanner

    I just care so little about this product. But I hope Nikon makes some money with it.

    • dabug91

      They won’t. They should have released it last year while GoPro was sitting on their asses. The KeyMission cameras feel like beta products and offer nothing compelling for their price. Each one is at least $100 too much.
      I can hardly even imagine Nikon selling enough of these to ever merit coming out with a second generation.

      • Thom Hogan

        Well, they sold a lot to dealers, mainly because they required a minimum stocking to get the full display support.

        If those units don’t pull off the shelf, dealers are going to be itching for return-for-credits on them and we’re going to see a massive Refurbished sale.

        It seems to me that Nikon is baking in their own failures these days. Price high, stuff the channel, take back and mark down later. Note that Nikon’s SG&A costs (which is where the take back and mark down comes into play) have been consistently rising lately. Eventually this tactic ends up in a massive catch-up write off if you’re not careful. But it looks better for your short term financials.

        I’m seeing a fundamental issue now. “What camera business is Nikon in?” What do they see the camera business as truly being? And what value does Nikon add to that business that would sustain them with customers?

        They’re all over the board at the moment. There are two consistencies at the moment: SnapBridge and image quality. SnapBridge is broken, and image quality isn’t clearly marketed.

        • Eric Calabros

          Refusing to outsource Snapbridge software developing, is like a political stubbornness that eventually causes economic meltdown.

        • Captain Megaton

          I guess they’ll willingly defer the financial hit for a boost right now, since the missing DLs means 2016 results are otherwise not going to be pretty.

          Re software, a 7 step process to pair the camera seems excessive… though I suppose it only needs to be done once? Anyway, they should make the SDK available asap… and let the app ecosystem take care of itself.

          • Thom Hogan

            Right, as I pointed out somewhere the real user problem isn’t pairing the first time. Pairing is “plugging in a virtual cable.”

            While we’d all love a one-step touch-and-pair system, it’s really what happens after pairing that really is most important. And that still needs significant work in SnapBridge and the cameras themselves. I couldn’t care less if it takes six steps to pair if what I get while paired is truly useful.

            And yes, an app ecosystem is what I proposed many years ago. Tokyo is simply not going to be able to keep up with changes in players, APIs, and so on happening at Silicon Valley pace. Especially since they’re all under cost cutting restraints due to market shrinkage.

  • Eric Calabros

    Off topic
    Roger Cicala tested 70-200FL and said its sharpest 70-200 they’ve ever tested.

    On topic
    We don’t get perfect stitching with only two lens. Other than gap, corners tend to be much softer on such a wide lens. 3x 120° lenses could be better but also makes it bulkier.
    8k is out of question at the moment. There is no consumer friendly 4k codec, let alone 8k. and don’t buy h.265 hype, its not noticeably better than h.264 in high bitrates.

    • manattan

      They should do 3x of 150 degree lenses and allow for easier stitching by having more overlap for the computer to properly stitch with.

      • Eric Calabros

        Computer should do a lot of work to fix those overlaps (which are also volume deformed). Doubt a low profile chip inside this small cam can handle it.

        • Thom Hogan

          Size isn’t the issue. Plenty of CPU horsepower is available in a KeyMission-sized chip/board. It’s cost that’s the issue. You need a lot of volume to bring the development costs back. I’m not yet convinced that 360° is going to be a big enough market any time soon.

    • MB

      Stitching for closer objects could also be improved by just making the camera (much) thinner and lenses at the opposite sides closer to one another …

      • Eric Calabros

        Making it thinner means making it more like Theta (electronics, card, battery, packed in bottom), and I think thats ergonomics is not sport/mounting friendly.

  • MonkeySpanner

    Why is Nikon entering this market when there is a huge glaring hole in their product catalog in their core competency? Nikon – don’t waste your time with this crap – first produce a really great DX or FX mirror less system!

  • Kenahhhhh

    Refreshed app to come out in mid December.

  • EarlFargis

    Reading online reviews at Best Buy and B&H from actual purchasers, there’s a lot of frustration with iPhone users with Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. Nikon is offering supplemental instructions (http://www.nikonusa.com/kmwifi ) but it’s unclear if they’re solving all of the users’ problems. It’s unfortunate Nikon is releasing an unpolished product because by the time it’s fixed through bug fixes/software updates and better instructions/support, the reputation of this product with be tarnished.

    I don’t have VR gear so my experience viewing the sample videos is YouTube which gives me a clumsy, less than optimal viewing experience but to the extent I’m toying with rotating through a full 360 degree view I will have to say it’s a fun novelty. However, this feels like a bleeding edge product that will quickly mature over the next year or 2. The video – based upon YouTube in HD quality (I don’t have a 4k monitor) – isn’t exactly knocking my socks off.

    Everyone has to decide for themselves but I expect it won’t be long before this early generation of the KeyMission 360 is left far behind by technology and ends up either gathering dust in a closet or on eBay at a stiff discount. Though, I suppose, there is hope for early adapters that most of the problems with this gear is software – codecs and SnapBridge – that will evolve into making this a stellar performer.

  • Bob Cozzi

    I ordered two of the 170’s and one 360. I also ordered the latest GoPro which was about the same price as the 170. After some testing (image quality was very good) I returned the KeyMissions and will stick with the GoPro. KetMission, even after a 1/2 year delay is not ready for primetime.

  • jagigen

    Can we guess that Nikon will screw up everything wifi featured with their smap bridge stupidity and stubbornness?

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