Nikon KeyMission 80 Review

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review ImageNikon KeyMission 80 Review Image

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The KeyMission 80 is the wearable version of the trio of KeyMission camera from Nikon. As you would expect from the name, it has an 80 degree field of view. The camera’s body is waterproof (down to 1 metre), and shockproof from 1.5 metres. It is also dustproof and freeze proof down to -10 degrees. As well as the camera on the front of the KeyMission 80’s body, there’s a second front-facing camera (a bit like a mobile phone). The front facing camera is 12.4 megapixels, while the rear camera is 4.9 megapixels. Like most of Nikon’s current crop of cameras, the KeyMission 80 has Bluetooth and is compatible with the Snapbridge app. Unlike the other KeyMission cameras, the KeyMission 80 only records Full HD, and not 4K. The Nikon KeyMission 80 costs £249 / $279.

Ease of Use

The Nikon KeyMission 80 is not shaped like a conventional camera at all, having a thin rectangular body. It almost looks like a dictaphone, or a very small mobile phone.

Unlike the KeyMission 170, the 80 has a touch-sensitive screen, via which most of the operations are carried out.

The lens on the front of the Nikon KeyMission 80 doesn’t jut out at all, while the second lens, on the back of the camera has a much smaller circumference.

Nikon KeyMission 80
Front of the Nikon KeyMission 80

On the right hand side of the camera, there is a switch which you can use to turn between shooting stills and shooting video. Directly underneath this switch is a menu button – hold this down and you’ll switch on the camera.

Switching to the back of the Nikon KeyMission 80 and most of it is taken up by the 1.75-inch screen, through which you compose your images and change settings. There is also a large shutter release button underneath the screen, which you can also use to turn the camera on by holding it down. Whether you’re in stills or video mode, you just need one push of this button to start recording, or to take a picture.

On the screen itself there’s a virtual playback button, and a button which switches from using the front camera, to using the rear one – the latter of course designed for shooting self portraits.

Nikon KeyMission 80
Rear of the Nikon KeyMission 80

When you press the Menu button, you’ll be greeted with a variety of options. If you press the top left icon, you’ll simply be taken back into the shooting mode, while the top right icon and you’ll go to playback. While in playback, you can swipe left and right to move between the images, zoom in, zoom out, and erase any pictures you don’t want. You can also press menu again and you’ll be given the option to lock a picture to to mark it for upload when you’ve connected to a smart device, such as a phone or tablet.

To go back to the main menu, you’ve got an option for what the Nikon KeyMission 80 can do when it’s in its holder (we’ll come back to that shortly). You can also change “scene” mode – there’s only normal, easy panorama and HDR to choose from. If the mode switch is in the movie configuration, this will instead show you the options for creating time lapse movies.

The second to last option is the more extensive menu, where you can change a variety of settings, including shooting options (which includes the ability to change white balance, colour options, exposure compensation). You can change the aspect ratio, of still images, or make changes to things such as date and time, sound settings, auto off, format the memory card, switch on touch shooting, the language of the camera and so on.

Nikon KeyMission 80
Top of the Nikon KeyMission 80

It’s also here that you’ll find the network menu, where you can set up wi-fi or bluetooth connectivity. The camera has SnapBridge, Nikon’s Bluetooth connection solution. You’ll need the standard SnapBridge app, rather than the one which is designed for the KeyMission 360 or KeyMission 170 cameras to use with the KeyMission 80. Once connected – just follow the instructions on the KeyMission 80’s screen and your phone’s screen, the camera will maintain a low power connection with your smartphone. That means that your photos will automatically be transferred to your phone ready for sharing online and the like. It makes sense to have the images automatically resized for quicker sharing, but you can change the setting to have them transfer at full resolution if you prefer.

Connecting the Nikon KeyMission 80 to your smartphone also means that the clock on the KeyMission will be synchronised, and it will also tell the camera your location, making it easier to locate your images when you get back home.

The final option available when you press the main menu button is to switch the camera off.  This is the only way to switch the camera off, but it will turn off automatically, depending on the setting option you’ve got selected. By default, that’s just 5 seconds, which is a little short – I’ve found changing it to 30 seconds is more realistic.

Nikon KeyMission 80
The Nikon KeyMission 80 In-hand

There’s a door which you need to open in order to insert or remove the Micro SD memory card, as well as the port for charging the battery. Unlike the KeyMission 170, the battery here is not removable, so you won’t be able to get a spare one to have ready for if the KeyMission 80 should die. The memory card door is a lot easier to open than the KeyMission 170’s, so you need to make sure you’re careful when handling the camera underwater to make sure it doesn’t accidentally flip open.

A small LED light just above the front facing camera can be switched on for help when shooting in dark conditions. To switch it on, hold down the menu button for a couple of seconds when the camera is switched on.

A strap and a holder is included in the Nikon KeyMission 80 box, which you can use to attach the camera to a backpack. When you release the camera from the holder, it automatically switches on ready for you to shoot whatever you’ve come across. Alternatively, if you press the menu button, then the third option, you can us the route shooting setting. This will take 100 stills, or 10 three-second movies within a specified period. The movies are combined into a single movie around 30 seconds long.

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review ImageNikon KeyMission 80 Review Image

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Image Quality

For what the Nikon KeyMission 80 is, image quality is fine. Although it can take still images, it’s very unlikely anybody would choose this camera to be their main device for doing so. 

If the light is very good, you can get some nicely exposed and detailed images, but there’s incidence of image smoothing even when the conditions are all very good. The lens struggles to focus when you get too close to a subject, but with no “half-pressing” to focus action on the camera, you just have to learn not to do that. 

In lower light, images leave a lot to be desired, but again, it’s perhaps unlikely that this camera will be used all that often in poor lighting conditions. 

The panoramic images that the Nikon KeyMission 80 can create are fine if you don’t examine in too much detail, but if you zoom in to 100%, you can see some movement. 

Video quality is decent enough, but with only Full HD options available, anybody who wants better quality 4K will be left wanting. Sound quality is OK, and overall you’ve got a fun camera which you can use for capturing action and so on – but it’s far from the best you can get on the market.