Image and Video Quality

1/500 sec | F2 | ISO 100 | Auto WB
(Click for a flat view)

To evaluate the KeyMission’s output, we need to look at two factors: how the camera stitches together the images from each of the opposing lenses, and the overall quality of the images.

Since the cameras are physically separated by the body of the camera, the seam between the two images isn’t going to be perfect. In most cases, the stitching isn’t bad, manifesting often as just a peripheral smudge. Objects that are closer to the camera are more likely to be obfuscated than those farther away: another reason to get the camera away from you or your subject. When nothing is in the immediate foreground to focus on, the stitching can be almost invisible.

1/1000 sec | F2 | ISO 100 | WB Auto
(Click for a flat view)

Some of this can be mitigated by smart composition. If you’re in the shot, for example, position the camera ahead of or behind you, rather than at your side where you’ll fall into that dead area. (It’s also more distracting because our eyes are adept at identifying humans, and don’t often encounter people looking like they’ve been folded-in on themselves.)

1/1000 sec | F2 | ISO 100 | WB Auto
(Click for a flat view)

For a camera that captures everything largely in automatic mode, the image quality can be quite good. During a recent unexpected snowfall here in Seattle, I went for a short walk to see how it would fare with the snow on the ground, patchy sunlight, and white clouds. Although some of the top-end highlights are blown out, the overall exposure is good and the color isn’t off.

1/1000 | F2.0 | ISO 100 | WB Auto
(Click for a flat view)

The KeyMission 360 also handles low light situations fairly well, thanks to its F2.0 maximum aperture and ISO sensitivity up to 1600. I thought I would set it up for failure by taking it to a birthday party at a roller-skating rink: a notoriously terrible venue for photographic light. This was an example where the ability to adjust exposure compensation helped when shooting stills, even though Exp. Comp. changes aren't reflected in the live view when you’re shooting from the app.

1/25 sec | F2.0 |Exp. Comp. +1.0 | ISO 1400 | WB Auto
(Click for a flat view)

Exposure compensation doesn’t apply to video footage, however. And yet, to my surprise, the image quality in that dark environment is acceptable. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’s also not a completely dark smudge nor an off-kilter color nightmare (being under both fluorescent and blacklight bulbs).

Note: make sure the Youtube quality setting is set to "4K."

The middle ground of lighting can create mixed results. When I shot a sunset, the camera did a fair job of balancing the bright sun itself with the darkening light around the rest of the scene.

Shot with no exposure compensation (Click for a flat view).
1/125 sec | F2.0 | Exp. Comp. 0.0| ISO 100 | WB Auto

Setting exposure compensation to -1.0 helped blunt the sun’s light and bring more detail to the sky in the front lens, but lost detail in the darkness in the opposite lens. That’s to be expected, but the darker areas appeared muddy.

Shot with exposure compensation (Click for a flat view).
1/500 sec | F2.0 | Exp. Comp. –1.0| ISO 100 | WB Auto

With two lenses capturing at the highest resolution, don't get too attached to the free space on your hard drive or mobile device. A 07:30 video clip occupies 4.29 GB of storage (that's the maximum size for a single file; the camera breaks up longer clips into multiple 4.29 GB files). Full resolution still images come in at roughly 12-15 MB, depending on the scene and how much JPEG compression is automatically applied.

'Even when played at 4K resolution (3840 by 2160), the image is soft throughout.'

Video quality similarly gives you a good sense of the scene, but any detail in the sunset itself was blown out, with no way to compensate for that. You can also see how resolution becomes more important for 360-degree videography, because even when played at 4K resolution (3840 by 2160), the image is soft throughout.

Note: make sure the Youtube quality setting is set to "4K."

Audio quality from the dual built-in microphones seems perfectly acceptable if not remarkable. A Wind Noise Reduction setting is available under the Movie settings: which would have been helpful in the video above if I had enabled it. But, to be honest, I was too preoccupied with just making a solid wireless connection to the camera to think about the wind noise. In subsequent tests, turning the feature on does reduce wind noise, but affects all other audio, too, making it sound tinny.