Conclusion

What we like:

  • Good static 360 image quality
  • Ability to swap batteries and memory cards
  • Dual-lens design for capturing full 360-degree scene
  • Compact design
  • Waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof construction
  • Encouraging to see Nikon enter a new market

What we don't like:

  • Unreliable and over-complicated connectivity software
  • Image stitching is obvious for objects close to the camera
  • 4K video quality is just ok, HD is underwhelming
  • Lack of exposure controls
  • Exposure comp. changes not reflected in live view from the app
  • Did we mention the software?

Overall Conclusion:

Consumer 360-degree photography is still a young market, but it’s one where several camera manufacturers have released products in hopes of establishing footholds. 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. And although the camera’s hardware buttons proved to be the best way to activate video recording or capture stills, they’re also easy to accidentally trigger. My memory card is littered with half a dozen hour-long videos that were accidentally recorded while putting the camera back in a bag. An option to turn on a quick-record mode would be welcome.

Good for:

  • Photographers and videographers who want to share a full 360-degree scene, especially in environments where weather-sealing is important, and who are willing to put up with the software in order to do that.

Not good for:

  • Video professionals who want more control over the exposure and who value their time enough to not want to mess with the software annoyances.

Rating:

Note: We realize two and a half stars is a rather low rating for a product technically capable of near - or class-leading 360 stills and video. It’s impossible to talk about (or use) the KeyMission 360 without grappling with its wireless interface. The low score reflects just how bad the software currently associated with the KeyMission 360 is. If Nikon improves this aspect of the product’s performance, we will revisit this review and re-score it accordingly.

Note: make sure the YouTube quality setting is set to "4K" for the best resolution.