A while ago I wrote an article about Nikon entering the action camera industry. It’s now time to review one of their newest camera: the KeyMission 170. The KeyMission 170 is their flagship action camera that is meant to compete with others such as the GoPro Hero5 Black, Sony FDR-X3000 and even the Garmin Virb Ultra 30. The camera features 4K video resolution and out of the box waterproof body up to 10m / 33ft. With a price of $400, it is definitely in the expensive section. So let’s see if Nikon has actually been successful in creating their first action camera.
- Dimensions: 66×46×43mm / 2.6×1.8×1.7″
- Weight: 127g / 4.5oz
- Video Resolutions: 4K 30/25fps; 1080p 120/100/60/50/30/25fps; 720p 240/200fps
- Angle Of View: 170°
- Photo: 12MP
- Modes: Single Shot, Burst, Time-Lapse, Continuous
- Features: Waterproof up to 10m/33ft, Shockproof up to 2m/6.6ft, WiFi, Bluetooth, 1.5″ LCD, Digital Image Stabilization
- Ports: MicroUSB, MicroHDMI, MicroSD card slot
- Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 128GB
- Battery life: 90 minutes of 4K at 30fps
- Price: $400
In The Box
- Nikon KeyMission 170
- Waterproof case up to 30m / 98ft
- Base mounting adapter, Flat adhesive mount, Curved adhesive mount, Lens protector, Underwater lens protector
- Remote control
- MicroUSB cable, AC adapter
Design & Accessories
So Nikon has followed the trend of rectangular action cameras. There are some design differences though. For example, the lens part looks more like something from a mixture of DSLR and a compact camera. It’s actually pretty cool and makes it look more professional. On the negative side, it also makes the camera bigger and definitely heavier. With a dimension of 66×46×43mm / 2.6×1.8×1.7″ and weight of 127g / 4.5oz, it is pretty thick and bulky. Still smaller than most compact cameras though.
The bulky casing is also caused by the neat features. The Nikon KeyMission 170 is both waterproof up to 10m/33ft and shockproof up to 2m/6.6ft. So you don’t need to get an external case if you plan on going swimming. It also gives some reassurance that your expensive camera won’t just break the second you drop it. Not saying that being shockproof makes it indestructible, just the chance of breaking is lower.
The Nikon KeyMission 170 is all black. The front side only has the lens, which is pretty big. On the top side there are two buttons, one for recording videos and the other for capturing still photos. The back side holds the 1.5″ LCD screen and buttons for navigating through settings. The left side has a locked compartment for the battery, MicroHDMI, MicroUSB ports and MicroSD card slot. Underneath the action camera you will find the standard 1/4″ threaded tripod hole.
The tripod hole is great as it means that you don’t only have to use the official Nikon accessories. For example you might see a mounting option that Nikon doesn’t provide. I know that GoPro has a few. If that is the case then you can just get the correct GoPro tripod adapter and you can use all of their mounting options. Nikon does still have a nice amount as well though. For example they also have a waterproof case that will let you take the camera even deeper. Besides that, you also get a remote control with the camera. This does make the $400 price more reasonable.
Video & Features
Nikon is known for their high quality DSLR cameras, the same can be expected from their action camera. The KeyMission 170 can capture videos at a resolution up to 4K at 30fps and Full HD 1080p at 120fps. The 1080p 120fps is what impresses me the most as it opens up the possibility to record slow motion videos in Full HD. Most high end action cameras offer this now.
Here is a perfect example of a company with decades of experience creating a fantastic action camera. The 4K video quality is as crispy clear as it can be. There is absolutely zero blur anywhere. And the colors are perfectly balanced and natural. I have no complaints about the video quality. What can maybe be a little bit annoying is that the fisheye lens does distort quite a bit. That is common with most action cameras though so that’s something you keep in mind.
The Nikon KeyMission 170 also has a digital image stabilization system, which only works with the 1080p and 720p resolutions. Again standard for most action cameras. The only exception here is the Sony FDR-X3000 which has a next generation system they developed themselves. But still, it is good. Most videos are captured in 1080p anyways.
The Nikon action camera has both Bluetooth and WiFi. You can pair the camera with any iOS or Android device via WiFi. By using a Nikon app, you can change all the camera settings and view live footage. You can also control the camera from a distance, if you mount it somewhere remote. You can also use the remote control that comes with the camera. It’s pretty neat. The only difference is that the remote can only be used to start and end recording. This is amazing in snowy conditions for example. Or any other situation where you don’t want to pull out your phone.
The Nikon KeyMission 170 is a fantastic action camera. It has super quality and definitely as good if not better than the GoPro Hero5 Black. So if you are looking for a high quality brand action camera then the Nikon is a good choice. You also get a nice remote with the camera. Sony does offer this kind of bundle as well but it is more expensive. I personally really like the Nikon KeyMission 170. It’s a nice breath of fresh air from the reign of GoPro and Sony.