Dpreview calls the Nikon KeyMission 360 camera “a sphere of frustration”

Dpreview reviewed the Nikon KeyMission 360 camera ($496.95) and while they liked the hardware, they did not have anything good to say about the software - they called it "a sphere of frustration" and described having the urge to throw the camera across the room:

The hardware impresses in many ways, but the software and interaction with mobile devices quickly make you forget about those advantages. Although Nikon is making incremental progress, you may find the urge to test the camera’s shockproof construction by throwing it across the room.

The Nikon KeyMission 360 has a lot of promise, but interacting with it is stepping into a sphere of frustration. During my recent sunset photo shoot, I watched the light ebb away as I repeatedly tried to connect to the camera from an Android phone and use its Remote Photography mode. When I did manage to make a connection, the live view gave little indication of what the final output would actually be.

A significant revamp of the software will go a long way toward making the good hardware more usable. Primarily that concerns the connectivity, but also having more exposure controls will be helpful.

In their latest financial results, Nikon reported "slow sales of action cameras" and "substantial downward adjustment of expected unit sales of initial assessment for KeyMission action camera series due to slow sales".

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  • Nikon either need to out source their software dev, or hire a brand new team. This sort of story hurts their reputation and sales and obviously pisses off uses

    • August Personage

      Its been about 17 years since digital arrived for the masses. That’s 17 years for them to understand that the software is as important as the hardware. If they don’t get it now they never will.

      • MB

        Its been almost 30 years since Knoll brothers offered Nikon the right to market an imaging software application … the application was called Photoshop … and Nikon still dont get it …

        • T.I.M

          I can’t watch you tonight, no beer in the fridge (actually I have not been drinking any alcohol since last year!)

      • T.I.M

        You’re right. without software you can’t read this comment.

        • This string made me laugh! Sarcasm at its finest. Lol.

        • tsintsin

          Ken M, is that you?

          • T.I.M

            Depends, if Ken M is a cool handsome rich guy, then yes I’m Ken M.

      • 17 years to get the software right. That means that firing the software team would not be enough. The software engineers as well as the CEO need to leave. Where’s Nikon taking responsibility? Or are they just going to ignore responsibility just like in the past?

      • ITN

        Nikon used to get it and they developed innovative software together with Nik software. Capture NX2 was ahead of its time and way advanced in selective adjustments and nothing quite like it exists today in new software. NX2 was discontinued when Google bought Nik and Nikon software has been a disaster since.

        • Thom Hogan

          Well, some of us question if Nikon ever got it or not. Capture was originally developed outside Tokyo as a revenue source for NikonUSA. Nikon corporate took it over, couldn’t make much of it, hired Nik to improve it, then took that over. We all know how that ended.

          Many don’t know this, but back in the 90’s my company was one of the ones that Nikon was looking at licensing the software from that eventually became View. I backed away from that opportunity because it really would have been a one-time fee for long-time hassle.

          • ITN

            ViewNX(2) worked nicely in most versions for browsing and launching until it got some crashing bugs in the last release (infected in 2014). Capture NX2 … well, it too had its bugs but the seamless integration of control points and a stack of editing operations which you could fine tune in any order was very innovative at the time of its release. In my opinion Lightroom’s local adjustments are primitive even today, in comparison, and the black and white conversion in Adobe software is badly thought out. Use of the Nik plugin is very slow and clumsy and doesn’t provide the some level of integration with the host software as NX2 did. Separating hair from seamless paper background for adjustment of the background is the easiest thing in the world in NX2, yet many photographers using Photoshop have struggled with this process for ages.

            • Thom Hogan

              Actually, building masks that deal with hair is quite easy on the current version of Photoshop CC. Adobe has dealt with that issue, though most people haven’t yet learned that the ability is there to quickly build excellent masks.

              Nikon had an interesting moment with the Google acquisition of Nik. I suspect that Nikon got caught in their usual “must be proprietary” logic. By that I mean that they couldn’t justify the purchase of Nik themselves because the number of units they’d sell to Nikon users wouldn’t ultimately justify the cost in their spreadsheets for ROI. Obviously, Nikon wouldn’t sell Nik Tools that would work with other software products outside the Nikon world (that silly proprietary thing). So they couldn’t justify the cost.

              Meanwhile, they needed a new version of Capture ;~) and their own software team had shown themselves unable to really maintain NX/NX2. It was inevitable, therefore, that they’d license something else, which turned out to be SilkyPix.

          • jimh

            Nik was actually bought by Google. They didn’t know wwhat to do with it either.

            • Thom Hogan

              Let me be clear: Capture was written in the US under NikonUSA guidance. When the other subsidiaries complained, corporate took over control of the software. They didn’t have the chops to make it a better product. Nikon invested in Nik about the same time that they hired Nik to rewrite Capture into NX. Nikon then took that code back from Nik and tried to maintain it themselves.

              When Google bought Nik, Nikon was still a minority investor and shareholder in Nik.

              As for Google not knowing what to do with Nik, I’d 100% disagree. Just because they did nothing with the Nik Collection doesn’t mean Google didn’t get value from Nik. They actually bought Nik for the low-level stuff they needed for photo manipulation in Android, including Snapseed. The Nik team got integrated into a number of areas in Google photos initiatives.

        • Henning

          Yeah, we should better blame Google for buying Nik…

          • ITN

            I don’t think so. What I meant to say is that outsourcing key software development has risks. It would be better to have basic functionality (including the necessary software) developed in house to stay independent.

          • Thom Hogan

            Google has been actually quite nice to us, all things considered. They didn’t buy Nik because of their Photoshop plug-ins. They bought them for their expertise on low-level photo processing and alteration, which they needed to improve in Android.

            Google changed the Nik licensing process so that it was mostly transparent to users instead of requiring typing in license numbers. They’ve kept the product on their site and even quietly snuck one or two small fixes in. They could have just killed it, as they weren’t interested in it.

            I did note that there’s now a bug in the Nik tools on some recent Macs that hasn’t been fixed, and could be problematic. I think we’re getting close to the end of the line for that product if Google doesn’t let the engineers spend some time fixing it.

        • Ric of The LBC

          missing adjustments embedded in the file. None of this sidecar/DB headaches

        • jimh

          Meanwhile Sony partners with Phase One (Capture One), with good results. Tethering works well. The “Sony Edition” of C1 excellent and very inexpensive for Sony camera owners.

          • Thom Hogan

            I’m not sure Sony is doing anything other than licensing an existing product there. The C1 color does not seem to be the Sony color.

            • jagigen

              C1 is special.
              Not Sony colour. Not Nikon colour.
              A very own colour I would say.

              The sad thing in regard of the Nikon is that we are slowly losing the special colour characteristics the nikons have.
              As the native Nikon raw software is so bad we are forced to move to other options and with that we step outside the special Nikon colour eco system.

              I wish there was an open. plugin system for profiling in all programs and that Nikon could offer “profiles” for us.

    • Fly Moon


    • Whoever is responsible for their app development, either outsourced or in-house, fire them all now, open a Nikon software development office in SF or Seattle, hire only the best software engineers, poach them, pay them more than any other team Nikon has, and fix this problem in 6 months or less. The future of the company relies on this. Shitty apps is becoming synonymous with the Nikon brand and it needs to change.

      • Carlo

        Nikon should not hire new software engineers … But team up with great software engineering companies and stop thinking: ” I am the best ”

        • ITN

          They did team up with Nik and there was some success. But Nik was sold to another company and the collaboration ended. This kind of partnership has its risks obviously; you don’t have full control. I am not saying the present situation is better; I think the problem is that Nikon do not take software development and testing seriously and they do not allocate the appropriate personnel and resources to it. In my opinion if they poured five times as much resources to it than they do today, and select the best people for the task, they would be getting ahead and solving their problems. But Nikon management seem to think that absolutely horrible software is totally ok and no change is necessary. This is my main quarry with Nikon: their software since 2014 is totally horrible and simply doesn’t work in many cases.

          • Thom Hogan

            The Nik relationship is stranger than that. Nikon was an investor in Nik. They must have had a chance to buy the company, but apparently didn’t see how that would fit into their plans. Says a lot for the similar medical investments they’ve been making, doesn’t it?

            • ITN

              I suspect that Capture NX2 sales were not good enough for Nikon to spend the money to buy all of Nik software instead of letting it be bought by Google. Also it may have been that Nik wanted to be a part of Google. The sale seems to have happened quickly because Nikon seemed to be caught in a rush to develop a replacement for ViewNX2 and Capture NX2. NX-D is still not usable if you have a number of files in the directory, but ViewNX-i can be used and if you keep the directories small and only use it for browsing and launching Photoshop, it works well. I dare not try the editing features. There are advantages: focus points are displayed, AF fine tune setting are displayed along with other EXIF data that Adobe software doesn’t show. And the camera picture controls are correctly applied whereas in Adobe software the “look” of the image flips from picture controls applied embedded JPG to raw with Adobe adjustments in a moment, which is very annoying. I think the integration of Nikon equipment and files with third party software is currently just not good enough. They need to invest more into this whether by collaborating with third party software developers, opening up the NEF file format and APIs for the cameras, or putting more resources and personnel into their own team of software development. But above all they must stop releasing software products that do not work correctly onto the market! In the case of Keymission with the software goes down the entire product. The case of D500 is easier in that if you just ignore the Snapbridge component exists, it reportedly works fine and the camera can be used quite successfully. Snapbridge is really a parody.

            • Thom Hogan

              Well, this speaks to management insight. Imaging has three components to it now, hardware, software, and sharing. You really need competencies in all three, and only the smartphone companies are really doing that.

              Google bought Nik and some other players because they understood that. Nikon passed on doing that because they seem to think they can “just do everything ourselves.” History has proven they can’t, and I predicted that based upon what I knew.

              But let’s push out five to ten years. What technologies do you think you need to master by then to be a major player in things that create and supply images? Computational photography is upon us, folks. And it will be moved and shared in the cloud. There’s an even higher software component in the future of imaging than there is now.

              Most of Nikon’s problems would be solved if they opened their kimono a little. You are correct, they need to embrace third party software developers. But realistically, they need to embrace third parties across a broad range of things (lenses, software, sharing, accessories, flash, etc.). The problem is that Nikon’s mentality is 100% proprietary.

            • Andrew

              Well, let us look at what IBM did. Around 1999 they saw how outsourcing had expanded in the previous ten years as many of the Indian executives in Silicon Valley showed companies how to lower cost and get contract programmers from India. So Louis Gerstner, a consumer products executive from RJR Nabisco was hired as CEO of IBM. And what did he do?

              Well, my work at IBM (San Jose, CA) introduced me to their culture. In around mid 1980, IBM had about 50,000 managers, about 5 to 6 employees per manager. Their workforce was maybe around 250,000. IBM had in 1999 about 950 engineers and technical staff in India. Gerstner decided to hire about 35,000 engineers, software developers, scientists, and technical staff in India in a less than a 5 year period. His goal was simple: hire as many people as we can and if we over-hire we can simply scale back.

              What about Microsoft? Their strategy was to buyout hundreds of companies while they were running the Windows monopoly train. So IBM got lots of cheap engineers and software developers from India while Microsoft simply hired top talents from their competitors and where possible buyout entire companies. Adobe seems to have moved their software development team to India.

              Japan Inc. has a language, culture problem, and software stragety problem. Maybe it is not convenient for Nikon to Invest in English speaking India which could have lowered their software development costs. But look at Sony, they are the closest thing Japan (outside of the recent Softbank) has to a software/media company having developed the PlayStation and if we add Nintendo since 1980. But outside of gaming, not much has come out of Japan in terms of software. The U.S. companies have an advantage in terms of their early PC industry which took-off over 30 years ago, but the world has changed and there is no sign that Japan understands the strategic importance of software.

              Nikon needs to hire some of the Sony gaming division staff or the father of the PlayStation. Sony PlayStation 3 was behind in online gaming and in a few short years have done an admirable job to advance online gaming with the PlayStation 4. If Nikon cannot get inspiration from abroad, then they should befriend some folks from SoftBank or Sony.

            • Thom Hogan

              I’d simply say no. Sony’s PlayStation software efforts have been time and again been hailed by independent developers as too complex, too proprietary, and too closely held. I don’t think that plays well in the modern world, which is moving rapidly and favors more open platforms.

              But it isn’t about how many programmers you hire (read Mythical Man Month, a lesson Gerstner should have learned but apparently didn’t). It’s about management of software. You need management that understands how the software fits into your product line, how it will be used, can handle the turf wars that will come up between hardware and software groups, who is at the leading edge of how software is evolving on the net, etc.

              In other words, what’s missing at Nikon is management, not coders. If you don’t have competent coders, then it’s management’s job to get the right ones and direct them to the right problems.

      • Thom Hogan

        Unfortunately, Nikon isn’t the only Japanese camera company that has this “software problem.” They pretty much all do, and for most of the same reasons.

        You also have to understand how “app development” mixes with firmware development. It would be difficult to have “software” done in the US and “hardware” done in Japan. Not impossible, just more difficult.

        My proposed solution to this was made back in 2007-2008: programmable cameras. That you develop and maintain a real API and have a real developer program.

        The one company that has anything close to that is Sony, with PlayMemories (which isn’t in the A9, apparently). The PlayMemories stuff seems to be living on an Android base, but Sony hasn’t opened that up to outside developers and is trying to keep it proprietary. I suspect that’s partly because they’d have to document their black box (Bionz) to make real use of programming abilities of the camera.

        • ITN

          I believe Nikon have released the API for remote control with cabled connection and this is how Camranger and Manfrotto Digital Director are able to work with any Nikon (or Canon) DSLR. However, I don’t know how it would work for wireless. There are third party apps which allow wifi to be used as well. I don’t know if having third party applications in the camera itself is such a good idea; it could result in buggy cameras when the communication between companies is not perfect.

          • Thom Hogan

            Nikon has a basic SDK, yes. Let me tell you a little bit about that: it’s not a lot different than the header file I was given back in 1990’s for film cameras on the 10-pin port. And as usual with Nikon software, some developers have had issues with the SDK when OS’s update.

            Nikon’s documentation leaves a lot to be desired, too, consisting mostly of simple read me type files. Support? Good luck.

        • localmile

          I’d love to see a more platform based system in Nikon cameras and better a fairly open platform, and better yet, support for custom apps. They’d need to be carefully fenced but could provide tremendous benefits.

          I think that there is a cultural bit that causes problems for Nikon and others on the software front. I’ve seen it in other industries — amazing hardware, inconceivably strange software. I don’t understand it but it’s there. As difficult as long distance between hardware and software is I’d agree with moving software to the bay and putting locals there in charge.

      • Firing people and replacing them with “better” people is almost never the right move. Now you have new, probably more expensive people who need to start from scratch. If you hire in SF and you’re in Tokyo you now have language, time zone, and cultural issues AND you’re definitely paying a lot more.

        Second, a good UI that points at a simple database isn’t necessarily something you can whip up in six months. Now make it run on a tiny screen with camera controls and hook it up to all manner of custom components. Yeah, quick job.

        It’s management issues that are the real problem, Nikon produces great tech. Dpreview loves the key mission hardware (and even a lot of the software, since it’s software producing the images, etc.). Bad user interfaces are a result of bad management. Great user interfaces may require some kind of artistic flair, but not having a completely messed up UI is something you avoid by using the stuff and complaining until it gets fixed.

        • Andrew

          I remember Windows 95 with its GPF (General Protection Fault) errors. That Microsoft Operating System was crashing my computer and other corporate PCs many times a day. It took Microsoft years to fix.

        • I work just outside of tech, not really a coder but sort of. My main criticism of companies is their over reliance on out sourcing skills, especially UX when people within the company are more likely to understand their clients. However, Nikon have serious problem on their hands of the software side destroying the hardware side. They don’t have good video codecs, their image software is ok for free but releasing a bug that corrupts images is a major issue, and their snap bridge problems( haven’t used it but certainly heard the complaints!) is all damaging their name. Maybe their should open source some of their software and let the talented communities help them?

          • Personally, I think that the first major camera vendor to throw in the towel and replace their rear LCD and controls with a slide in dock for an iPhone or Google Pixel wins.

            Basically, take the DxO camera concept one step further and simply get out of the way of Apple, Google, Samsung and third parties and concentrate on lenses, autofocus, and ergonomics.

            Open sourcing their software would probably be impossible. They are probably building their crap out of a creaky pile of licensed crap they can’t open source and there are also probably trade secrets in the source code.

            • Not sure the drive to combine cameras and photography will work. Most of the people who are now using their phone rather then dedicated cameras are unlikely to buy add ons, or certainly not enough to keep Nikon alive. There are some people who are happy snapping with their phone, photography isn’t their first love. Now that camera phones take very good photos they are happy, it takes good enough photos for them. Not sure you would grab any of that market with phone add ons. Nikon should probably think about producing phone lenses though.
              Personally i think Nikon should overhaul their strategy and then release a lens road map. Good mirror less options, massively improved video, and top line releases will show that Nikon still make dependable cameras. At the moment it feels they don’t know their market.
              As to software, I realise it might be difficult open sourcing their software. I’m not suggesting firmware or the nef file format, just the image editing and transfer software. The coding community could make options infinitely better then they currently have. But yes i realize this is unlikely to happen.

            • I’m not sure what you meant by “combine cameras and photography”. Phones and photography? I don’t think the point of turning DSLRs or whatever into phone docks is designed to appeal to the entire smartphone crowd; I agree that most smartphone owners have no interest in carrying a 2lb camera everywhere. It’s designed to appeal to the entire photography crowd, who have been dealing with shitty connectivity and software from every vendor for twenty years.

              Lightroom runs on my phone, it doesn’t run on my camera. Heck the free photos app on my phone is so far superior in every respect to anything any camera company has even contemplated… I can edit video on my phone. I can share photos from my phone. Photos on my phone are transparently stored in the crowd. If Apple stuck a lens mount on my phone I’d probably just give up on Nikon and Olympus altogether.

              If Nikon open sourced its software (which it probably can’t per my preceding post) and the world’s most talented and hungry developers worked like crazy on improving it for ten years, it would still suck compared to the iPhone because the iPhone has already had ten years of the world’s best an hungriest developers and it was an outstanding paltform to begin with, and it won’t be sitting on its hands for the next ten years.

            • Personally I’m not a fun of the IPhone OS but that’s a different topic all together! There are many well balanced and brilliantly thought out UX examples on the market, even within open sourced dev. Thom’s point on this thread is probably right, its not just the software dev that’s the problem but the decision making within the company. Not sure what the answer is, but I feel that Nikon should poach some people from Fuji, Panasonic and other companies that seem to have got things a little more ‘right’ recently.

            • Oh the decision making is definitely the big problem. One of those decisions is to keep building your own UX when you have limited resources and suck at it.

            • Crowd -> cloud 🙂

          • I’m a little puzzled by your comment about Nikon’s video codecs. I didn’t realize there was a problem there. I think their problem is in pulling data off the sensor fast enough and/or processing the data (in any event, Nikon allows external recording which is what pros tend to want anyway). The 1.5 crop factor on the D500 is pretty crippling, but also they’re not sampling all the pixels inside the cropped area and then interpolating down to 4K the way Sony is on the A9 and A7S (I believe’ someone feel free to correct me).

            Nikon’s handling of video has been half-passed on both the hardware and software sides, but I don’t think codecs are the problem.

            • My point was the lack of good codecs, as well as their version of an S log. Some videographers would want a choice of codecs and profiles to use, Nikon hasn’t done that as far as I know. I assumed the point of the crop was to remove the need of sampling and therefore reduce rolling shutter and other nasty artifacts, which if they did full sensor read outs and it did include those issues I’m sure everyone would have made a fuss about that instead. Maybe Nikon should have given users the choice?

            • I’m no video specialist, but perusing reviews by video guys of the D500 there are no serious complaints about its output quality or codecs. Just the crop factor.

              It seems like video guys are used to (1) using lens mount adapters (although Nikon’s flange distance is a disadvantage relative to everyone else here), and (2) buying new bodies constantly, so if Nikon can put out good video cameras they’ll probably sell bodies.

    • This lurking tumor has metastasized – the issues with getting snapbridge working showed Nikon doesn’t spend enough on software snapbridge was amateur hour half baked monkey garbage. I’ve seen private devs working solo release better software, and Nikon HAD to get their 360 can software perfect, because with such a complicated output this camera is 70% a software equation, and with Nikon’s track record, I didn’t think this would be worth buying.

      Does anyone buy a Nikon based on the software? And I don’t mean menus – different subject.
      I don’t think anyone does. I get great photos out of a J4 DESPITE it’s software failings and bugs such as switching to video in certain modes with any shots in the buffer crashes the camera.
      My D500 doesn’t have wonky issues snapbridge aside, it’s almost like they put more money into that project oh wait they did.

    • Carleton Foxx

      And don’t forget resale.

    • jimh

      They’ll never be able to do it internally; they need a partner.

  • Allan

    Is that a picture of the “sphere” after it has been thrown across the room?

  • Allan

    “substantial downward adjustment of expected unit sales of initial
    assessment for KeyMission action camera series due to slow sales”

    Some high school student at Nikon writes almost as poorly as I write.

    • This is probably a translation from Japanese.

      • Allan

        Some high school student at Nikon translates almost as poorly as I write.

        • ZoetMB

          You already wrote that.

          • T.I.M

            He write like he take pictures, 8fps!

            • Allan

              Cameras can do that now?

            • T.I.M

              go play with your D7500

  • ZoetMB

    There’s a bigger issue than the quality of the software and that is what is the purpose of a 360 degree camera. For me personally, with only a few exceptions, the result has all the interest of a security camera. All of the examples on the DPReview site leave me cold.

    IMO, the art of photography and video is about what the photographer/videographer chooses to see that other people don’t see, how they compose that image and how they choose for us to view their perspective via their lens choice. A 360 degree camera takes all of that away. With the exception of street scenes for mapping programs and maybe being in the middle of a road race or in the middle of a band performing (with the addition of immersive sound), I just don’t see why the result is in any way desirable once the viewer gets over the gimmick. And even in the case of the band performance, I don’t want to sit there and have to constantly move the image around so I can see each performer. I want the finished video to find what’s interesting for me in an artistic way.

    And just about everyone responsible for user interface at Nikon needs to be fired because it’s clear they don’t understand good UI at all. The mindset is that if the function is available in any way, that’s good enough. I see the same thing in programmers who have studied coding extensively, but have never formally studied user experience.

    • BVS

      The “middle of a road race or in the middle of a band performing” type stuff is really intended to be combined with VR.

    • Thom Hogan

      Yep. Why would I want a 360 degree camera? Well, I have reasons, but they don’t seem to correspond to the reasons that ANY camera company thinks I might want one. Thus, I’m butting my head against all of the products in this category.

    • NorthPol

      “IMO, the art of photography and video is about what the photographer/videographer chooses to see that other people don’t see, how they compose that image and how they choose for us to view their perspective via their lens choice”.
      This is so nicely put together, I haven’t read anything similar so far…!!!

  • MB

    This is not a rumor … this is a gruesome fact …

  • Aldo

    I’ll just wait for the keymission 720

    • Thom Hogan

      Buy the whole set and you’re only 10 short (80+270+360) ;~)

  • Eddie Eindhoven

    I assume the Dpreview reviewer was connecting to the camera using SnapBridge.

    I have used SnapBridge with a Coolpix B700. Using the ‘Remote Photography’ feature forces the camera into Auto mode, so users only have a limited palette with which to work. Basically you can only zoom the focal length, and the AF sensing seems very limited. This feature really ought to be renamed ‘Remote Snapshooting’.

    I would happily trade the remote shooting feature for a simple remote shutter release so that I could use manual settings as desired and fire the shutter without having to physically interfere with the camera. You’d think such a simple thing would be possible, but nope.

    SnapBridge is even too dumb to store the name of the smart device to which it is connected. Instead of using the device name, it shows the device in the form of ‘Android_20170319_1’, so if you want to connect with multiple smart devices, you have to take a note of what SnapBridge has named each device.

    That’s been my experience, anyway. The connectivity does seem very poorly thought out and clunky. I suspect the problem may be that SnapBridge is intended to operate across a spectrum of Nikon models.

    • Captain Megaton

      I suspect the basic problem is that they are trying to do something far more complex with Bluetooth LE that it was designed to do originally.

      If a wireless standard had been drafted from the ground up by a industry consortium expressly as “this is the communications protocal we are going to use to move data between smartphones and cameras” and given in advance to smartphone OS developers such that all Nikon had to do was write an app to use that standard things would *definitely* not be the hot mess they are.

      • Eddie Eindhoven

        Agree that a wireless standard would be terrific.

        At any rate,
        the remote snappery function is implemented using direct wifi so it is
        reasonably fast (although it takes at least 10 secs on my equipment to
        initiate, which is ridiculous).

        BT/LE is used for low level stuff
        like GPS coord and time updates, and for background transfer of pics to
        the smart device (snapbridge also allows faster transfer of pics via
        direct wifi, but you have to specifically initiate a connection for

        I dunno, but maybe Nikon should have stuck with using wifi
        exclusively for connectivity as was the case with their WMU app. But
        for better or worse (or worser) they have added the further layer of BT/LE

        • Captain Megaton

          Yes, it seems that it’s that switchover from BT to wifi that the principle cause of dpreviews frustration. Blame Snapbridge … Nikon invested in the branding, so now they have to implement it come what may.

      • Thom Hogan

        Sorry, I don’t get that comment. That’s like saying that they’re trying to do something more complex than RS232 or USB 2.0 was designed to do. (And by the way, the protocol on the 10-pin connection port of all Nikon cameras evolved from simple serial communication at slower than Bluetooth speeds.)

        The real issue here is that Nikon doesn’t seem to have any proficient Android/iOS developers.

        • Captain Megaton

          Well – to go with your analogy – it’s like taking USB2 and RS232 and … trying to remote pilot a drone.

          BT-LE was as far as I can tell for passing commands and status updates from phones to smartwatches and fitness trackers. To run liveview or download video between devices you need to change networks on the fly … and afaik moving transparently from BT to wifi is not something that Google or Apple or any of the hardware workgroups out there have had to deal with before. Nikon is asking of the smartphone OS something that it was not designed to do, or at least never asked of it before.

          • Thom Hogan

            I suspect that you’re mostly worried about moving large amounts of data (image file) quickly. Yes, BT has a bandwidth limit in that respect. That’s why SnapBridge wants to enable the Wi-Fi channel when you want to push large or many image files over. Nothing wrong with that.

            Even on the BT-only D3400 it wasn’t really data speed that was my complaint about SnapBridge. Really, SnapBridge fails for these reasons: (1) instability; (2) complexity presented to the user (in a simple UI!); (3) lack of features; (4) inability to deal with raw files; (5) poor reporting of status/timing/etc. None of that is the fault of BT or Wi-Fi. It’s all on Nikon’s coding. Every last problem.

        • whisky

          and, ironically, vision and strategy.

          they’re part time reactive rather than full time pro-active.

  • T.I.M

    True, since I stopped drinking I have no need for VR anymore.

  • New Yoko

    I returned it after 2 months, I think it 360 degree camera as a car dashcam or surveillance camera has potential but the IQ quality has to be at least 8K or more to render useful viewing. Also, connectivity is the worst software I’ve ever experienced, even cheap generic $40 dashcam has better connectivity to my smartphone!!!

  • CaMeRa QuEsT

    Remember the rumor about Nikon engineers visiting Apple’s campus? Maybe they all got lured by Apple and resigned from their Nikon posts. I mean, who really wants to work 16-20 hours daily shifts in a stressful working environment like the one usually found in corporate Japan after tasting how people work in Silicon Valley? Thus, Nikon lost all the original engineers working on SlapBitch, er, SnapBridge and hence the sorry state of development it is now.

  • T.I.M

    I think Nikon had that toy designed and made by an other manufacturer.
    Of course it’s optical, but Nikon should stick with what he knows.
    Already lenses, cameras, binoculars, industrial measurements tools, it is a lot and keep Nikon busy.
    I never dated more than 3 girls at the same time.

  • Fuji

    I always liked my Nikon gear but its this sort of stuff that made me sell it all off. IMO (we all have one) the only way I see Nikon being saved is if they avoid mirrorless alltogethr (that ship has already sailed folks, who the F wants 5 to 10 years of catchup?) BUT what Nikon has that no one else has is legacy.

    I am SURE that a properly designed Df would have extremely high sales, by properly design I mean small like an Fm/Fe etc, great build quality, focus on features that are needed and get rid of all the fluff, maybe even an OVF that that makes it way easier for MF (like the points are alot more sensitive to whats in focus so as you spin green boxes quickly change to show you whats in focus).

    As mirrorless is becoming more popular so will the products that go back to the roots of photography, not everyone wants 20fps in a plastic body that is 90%firmware.

    That said, I doubt Nikon will go down this path, lets see what the Df2 offers, if they do it right and its a great seller as I predict then maybe they will rethink their strategy.

    • decentrist

      How’s your FujiFilm GoPro?

      • Fuji

        The Fuji gear is great, thankfully no inferior gopro clones in sight.

    • Maksim

      I disagree.

      I also left Nikon and switched to Fuji a few years back because I got fed up with stagnating Nikon.

      However, I still have a soft spot for the trusty Nikon gear which in many ways was better than my far more recent Fuji XT1.

      Therefore I would love Nikon to come back from ashes again, jump straight into mirrorless and start innovating again.

      It is just not enough to hire a new team of software engineers for that, in my opinion. This will not help Nikon.

      IMHO, Nikon Inc. must start with firing their CEO and current management. They are entirely responsible for current disaster. They repeatedly failed to understand and to deliver what market wants.

      • decentrist

        Are they entirely responsible for a rapidly shrinking market? What do you think the market wants? What market are you speaking of..Euro,US,Asia?

  • Stephen Gatley

    What the hell was going on in Nikons collective heads when they decided to go after GoPro with this junker series of craptastic?. Why can the masses see the colossal mistakes this pigheaded company is fumbling out but they can not!

    • Thom Hogan

      They didn’t talk to users, that’s what they missed. Otherwise they would have known the action market was already mature. Funny thing is, GoPro didn’t really talk to users, either, or solve their users’ biggest problems.

      That said, the KM270 makes better imaging than the GoPro 5. As long as you treat it just like a stand-alone action camera and don’t try to control it remotely. I outlined all the things that Nikon got wrong with the KMs. The one thing they didn’t do is skimp on the image quality.

  • David

    “substantial downward adjustment of expected unit sales of initial assessment for KeyMission action camera series due to slow sales”.

    Someone already commented below about this, and it MIGHT be a translation from Japanese, but this kind of corporate-speak shows where Nikon’s head is it. It’s like how one town in Massachusetts had to spend the better part of two weeks coming up with just the right wording to make it clear to the town’s school district that they had completely failed their students. Priorities, people!

  • MY OB

    Nikon continues to baffle the world with their MISMANAGEMENT! The loss of Capture NX2, an absolutely useless – worthless replacement in NX-D, and…now the KEYMISSION JOKE……really makes you wonder why the idiots running the company are still there!

    Keymission is a joke. The Market in this vertical is long gone. What is the point? If I had to buy, it would be GoPro, not this half-baked joke. So, how about you get back to grass roots and make awesome cameras? Try making some affordable so people have a reason to buy your product!


  • Edison Firme

    3 months till Nikon’s 100th birthday… They need a miracle camera

  • Chewbacca

    Thankfully that D500 was released not so long ago because that may be the only thing that is helping Nikon look like a serious company nowadays.
    This product is embarrassing and whoever thought it was a good idea needs to not only go back to the drawing board, they need to take that drawing board and chuck it off the nearest bridge with this product attached to the top of it, filming the whole event.

    • C_QQ_C

      AGree with the D500 as a camera, but for connectivity they added snapbridge which is a failure by itself. No they are putting this failing software in all new camera’s so Nikon shows it does not want to learn from its mistakes …

  • Eric Calabros

    Stop pretending if it was equipped with a perfect software, it would sale like crazy. The whole 360 idea is a niche part of niche wearable segment.

    • Thom Hogan

      Well, that’s part of the problem with the software design: it was designed as part of the wearable segment, and maybe part of the VR segment. But the two things I want a 360 degree camera for, it wasn’t designed for.

      • Mike Gordon

        So what are these things? This is the 3rd time you have said it was not designed for your needs.

      • Carleton Foxx

        I second that emotion: what ARE the two things you want a 360 camera for?

        • Thom Hogan

          Still stitching, and post-pannable 1080D (or 4K if you can get that far).

  • Captain Megaton


    Oh, that’s gonna sting.

  • Andreas Vesper

    As long as Snapbridge tries to use Bluetooth LE as file transfer protocol, it won’t work. Live view control with the app is minimalistic. Nikon CEO Kazuo Ushida got a registered letter from me this week concerning Snspbridge.

  • Graham Blaikie

    I can understand people wanting the cancelled DL series cameras but see little reason for the KeyMission range. They would have been better reversing this, cancelling KeyMission and continuing with the DL range, which would be good with a rethink of the lens specifications.

    It is like Nikon do not know the market. Or perhaps they should fire their advisers. Or stop living in fantasy land. Or stop smoking that stuff.

    It sure looks like Nikon management have no connection at all with users with the exception of a few hand-picked professionals that suit their style. An imperious (and blinkered) management style is not good for business.

    I tried to use Nikon software on my PC a few years ago but found it very ‘crashy’, a total waste of time. Whatever talent they have at camera and lens design they have none on the software side. I don’t doubt that outsourcing is they way forward for Nikon, perhaps even on firmware.

    • ITN

      Nikon firmware is extremely reliable. I am quite sure outsourcing its development wouldn’t work at all; it is intimately tied to the hardware implementation. What Nikon needs is a proper software team in house and management that understand that they can’t release a product if the software doesn’t work.

  • Nick

    Ikon has no clue what people want or expect from software… the remote application Nikon WMU for their cameras is a perfect example of poorly developed and badly designed software. It’s a headache to use impossible to stay connected, slow and cumbersome piece of software. I stopped using and bought a Non Nikon remote trigger which has worked flawlessly. Come on Nikon wake up and smell the slumping sales .

    • ITN

      Of course they know. Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 is a fully featured remote control and tethering application and it has been available for ages. But it doesn’t work on a smartphone.

  • C_QQ_C

    When it was announced, and it said it would work with a version of “SnapBridge” it was evident that failure would happen. Everything using snapbridge has some points of failure buildin allready.

  • JetLi

    oh boy nikon is really losing it on all fronts….

    • ITN

      Not really. They still make excellent cameras and lenses. You just have to make sure you don’t need to use Nikon software to be able to use the device you buy.

  • Luis F. Vidal

    My God, Nikon, come on…

    Just hire great recognised software devs… That’s not difficult at all! Just look for some successful people from Apple’s or Google’s Devs Conferences and talk to a couple of them!

    • nwcs

      It’s a cultural thing. They get hardware but they don’t understand software and they are too prideful to look for solutions outside of Japan.

  • nukunukoo

    After several times disconnecting itself even at close 2-feet range, I returned mine for a replacement only to get the same results…

  • Chaitanya

    It certainly is the worst product Nikon has released in recent times. Only interesting product in that stack is Keymission 70.

  • Someone

    Forget the app, use the buttons on the camera to start/stop recording, take photos, become a happy keymission user.

    • Eddie Eindhoven

      Yep, let’s give up on the 21st century. 😉

  • Nikos Delhanidis


  • docnorth

    It’s odvious that Nikon connectivity software sucks, but who wants to control an action camera via a delicate smartphone? Really tough phones are rare and most of them aren’t even smartphones. Or someone wants a new smartphone but is afraid to tell his wife – “Sorry dear, I destroyed my phone during bungee jumping”.

  • Nikita


  • THIS is why I have 5 gopros

  • Chewbacca

    Thought for the day. imagine if someone like Apple created a camera. I think these companies would all be scratching their heads even more than they are now.

  • Nikon should open source the code for this contraption and let the marketplace give it some air. It’s a cool piece of hardware that someone will figure out something interesting to do with. Someone other than DPreview, obviously. What’s with those “examples”?

  • AndrewT1974

    It is a pity the Tony Northup is not available to hire, not only is he a good photography but someone who is a good software dev and has a vision of what nikon should be doing

    • nwcs

      You’d be surprised by how many software developers do photography on the side. Tony just brands himself better (or cares more than most to make an online presence). But doing things the Western-world way is not something the camera makers (any of them) will do at this time.

      • AndrewT1974

        As a software developer does photography I am not surprised 🙂

  • animalsbybarry

    Nikon’s “key mission” should be stuff like FF mirrorless or D820, not nonsense like this KeyMission.

  • Gaonkar

    Yes, Some of the comments speak the truth. But Nikon has an chronic problem – Their Senior Management does not listen to the consumer voices. Their R & D team has great technology but by the time it gets translated from the drawing board to a marketable product they find some competitor has already stolen the limelight.

    Take the case of replacement of D300s body with D500. It took them close to 5 years to decide on launch of a replacement body. They fail to understand that in today’s competition the Product Life cycle is drastically reduced to within one and half to two years. DSLR market is going the same way as Mobile markets. Also Nikon is still lacking in coming out with Full Frame Mirror Less bodies. Instead they are experimenting with 1 inch Sensors & DL Cameras which is waste of time. When Sony has set the bench mark of FF sensor its no point for Nikon to waste its resources & time on developing something which no one will buy. Sony has aggressively launched into this segment though Sony has a good technology its products cannot match Nikon.

    Sooner Nikon wakes up to this reality it is better for them to recover & grow.

    • whisky

      “Instead they are experimenting with 1 inch Sensors & DL Cameras which is waste of time. ”

      it’s a viable niche — not a waste of time. i’d prefer an updated V1 series precisely because of it’s 1″ sensor size. not because it’ll give me better IQ than a FF Sony — that’ll never happen — but because of it’s reduced size, weight, and versatility.

      even if Nikon could get a FF sensor into a V1 frame, it does nothing to shrink the size and weight of glass required for 35mm equivalent FOV’s. what you call ‘experiment” i call a viable market — if executed correctly. JMO.

      • Gaonkar

        Niche market is not about numbers. For a global company like Nikon it cannot survive Manufacturing & Selling Niche products to negligible small Niche markets which is also priced exorbitantly to cover up their costs & earn descent profits to keep their “Kitchen Fires” burning.

        Today given the financial state of the company (which is in public domain) Nikon cannot survive on experiments & on products which won’t be well accepted in market place in face of stiff competition. Sooner this fact is realized by their management better it is for them & to consumers who in-spite of problems in Nikon are eagerly awaiting good products from them which can give competition a run for their money.

        • whisky

          Niche markets are all about numbers.

          Olympus survived for many years, and still does as a full time niche player in the medical instruments market and part time general consumer market.

          if Nikon’s portfolio included a number of successful niches, they might also manage to complement or exceed current earnings.

          more of the same-same in a declining market is the least profitable place to put their money. JMO.

  • MonkeySpanner

    Cool. Can’t wait to pick one up on firesale.

  • Oscar

    That’s odd. ephotozine gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

  • Julian Solomons

    The reason for “slow sales” on the action cameras is because the software sucks and salespeople in the stores are embarrassed because they don’t know how to demo the product.

    If Nikon get the software fixed the “slow sales” might go away as an excuse for poor execution.

  • Sebastian

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that they should have last-minute ditched these action cams and instead kept that nice upscale compact line.

  • Tom Taubert

    Someone might be interested in this event in SF regarding the RICOH THETA and their open software API

    Date/time: Tuesday, May 2, 6pm – 7:30pm
    Location: PubNub, 725 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

    THETA has just announced exciting new functionality for the next
    product version including 4K Video, Spatial Audio, and an Android-based
    Open Camera OS. They’re doing their new technology demoes at the NAB
    Show in Las Vegas just this week.

    Next week, Tues, May 2, the
    RICOH THETA product manager will be giving an overview of the new
    functionality and taking your questions. And, San Francisco-based
    Bonfire Labs will be doing a really cool “before and after” sequence
    using the RICOH THETA professionally to build time-lapse videos with the
    open API and without.

    • thanks, I will share this on Facebook

  • Carleton Foxx

    Such a bummer.

  • Nikon has always had iffy to bad software. They need to learn how to play well with a high-end software developer because this story has been repeated for years with Nikon. I was really excited about this camera to move into this arena for my company, but it looks like a sphere of GoPros is the only way to go for now.

  • jimh

    It’s like climate change: the issue of software connectivity issue is now beyond critical. Addressing it is a matter of survival.

  • dabug91

    The KeyMission cameras are so mind-numbingly pointless that Nikon should have had a holiday fire sale on them by at least 50% just to clear out their inventory and rid themselves something so destined to be a flop.

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