Surprise announcements are few and far between at CES, the huge consumer electronics show held every January in Las Vegas. But this year, Nikon dropped one I didn't see coming: It was entering the action cam category and with a 360-degree model no less.
The Tokyo-based company didn't provide many details about the camera at the time, save that it would shoot 4K ultra high definition (UHD) video with a 360-degree field of view, have electronic image stabilization and that it would be rugged: Shockproof to 2 meters (6.6 feet) and waterproof to 30 meters (100 feet).
Today, though, it's offered up all the details including availability and price -- October for $500 (roughly £385 and AU$665).
On each side of the camera is an f2.0 8.2mm lens (35mm equivalent) backed by a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor. The camera can capture 30-megapixel stills and 4K UHD video (3,840x2,160 pixels) or full HD (1,920x1,080 pixels), both at 24 frames per second in MOV format. Stereo mics are built in and the camera has a standard tripod mount in the bottom.
All the stitching is done in camera, so it's ready to share straight away. But, if you'd rather do a minor edit first, the new KeyMission mobile app for Android and iOS facilitates that as well as letting you change settings and gives you a live preview from the camera. Desktop software for Mac and Windows is also included with more editing options.
Joining the 360 camera in October are the $400 KeyMission 170 (approximately £300 and AU$530) and $280 KeyMission 80 (about £215 and AU$370). Like the 360, the number in the name refers to angle of view. The 170 has a superwide f2.8 lens similar to what you'd find on other action cams, so you'll want to mount it to its tripod to capture all of a scene in 4K UHD or full HD video. There's a small LCD on the back to help frame your shots, change settings and play back clips, and the whole thing is waterproof to 10 meters (33 feet) and shockproof to 2 meters (6.6 feet). It comes with a wireless remote, too.
The KeyMission 80 is more of a rugged life-logging camera. Though it records video in full HD at 30fps, the main attraction is its time-lapse and interval timer options so you can just clip it on and capture hands-free 12-megapixel photos. The camera also has a second 5-megapixel selfie snapper on the back above its 1.75-inch touchscreen.
Nikon plans to have accessories for all its cameras to help you get the most out of them, including a dive housing for the 170, a tripod adapter for the 80 and a variety of mounts for the 360 and 170.