Camera - - WHAT’S NEW -

THE BIG QUES­TION be­ing asked at Pho­tok­ina 2016 was why, with so many ex­cit­ing new cam­eras cur­rently be­ing an­nounced, are sales still in de­cline?

One an­swer is def­i­nitely the iPhone with Ap­ple very heav­ily pro­mot­ing its ca­pa­bil­i­ties – par­tic­u­larly with the last cou­ple of ver­sions – as a cam­era. The con­ve­nience of car­ry­ing only one de­vice is un­de­ni­able, but im­me­di­acy and the shar­ing op­tions are un­doubt­edly also at­trac­tions. Yet Ap­ple isn’t just pro­mot­ing its smart­phones for snaps… the ad cam­paigns sug­gest se­ri­ous pho­tog­ra­phy and that’s the prob­lem for the cam­era mak­ers. It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that the cat­e­gories do­ing big busi­ness at the mo­ment – namely ac­tion­cams and cam­era drones – have a real el­e­ment of excitement and it’s not just about shoot­ing video (be­cause they shoot stills as well), but about the ex­pe­ri­ence and in­volve­ment…. the buzz word is im­mer­sive. It’s just pos­si­ble that the huge di­ver­sity that’s now part of the cam­era mar­ket – sen­sor sizes, mir­ror­less or re­flex, 4K and 2K video, RF style or SLR (and this is even be­fore you get to the ac­tual specs) is sim­ply confusing many con­sumers who re­ally only just want to take bet­ter or dif­fer­ent pic­tures.

This is part of the think­ing be­hind Nikon’s head­long dive into the ac­tion­cam busi­ness. The KeyMis­sion 360 was, of course, an­nounced way back in Jan­uary, but has been de­layed be­cause of sen­sor de­liv­ery is­sues (Nikon is not alone here) so it’s now been caught up by the two mod­els planned for a later launch… the KeyMis­sion 170 and KeyMis­sion 80.

Like every­body else, Nikon’s com­pact cam­era busi­ness has been dec­i­mated by the rise and rise of the smart­phone, so ac­tion­cams look like a good re­place­ment, es­pe­cially now it’s launch­ing a fam­ily of prod­ucts. The brand’s rep­u­ta­tion will help here too. As with the 360, the new KeyMis­sion mod­els are wa­ter­proof, dust­proof and shock­proof, but Nikon be­lieves the po­ten­tial au­di­ence ex­tends be­yond the ex­treme sports and ac­tion ap­pli­ca­tions to ev­ery­day use… in other words, they’re the new in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the com­pact cam­era.

Con­se­quently, the KeyMis­sion 80 is a smart, slim­line de­vice that’s de­signed to be wear­able and in­cor­po­rates a sec­ond lens-and-sen­sor combo specif­i­cally for shoot­ing self­ies. It’s able to record time-lapse movies and there’s a ‘Route Shoot­ing’ mode which cap­tures your jour­ney in ei­ther stills or movie clips.

The KeyMis­sion 170 is the more con­ven­tional ac­tion­cam de­sign and, frankly, the model likely to sell the best. It’s ex­tremely rugged and an op­tional hous­ing en­ables it to be taken to depths of 40 me­tres. The Nikkor lens gives a 170-de­gree an­gle-of-view and it can shoot 4K video in the UHD res­o­lu­tion. As with the orig­i­nal twin-lens KM 360 model, both the 170 and 80 have Nikon’s Blue­tooth-based ‘SnapBridge’ for quicker – and sub­se­quently con­tin­u­ous con­nec­tion – to a mo­bile de­vice. There’s a swag of mounts for nu­mer­ous ap­pli­ca­tions.

You might have ex­pected a com­pany of the cal­i­bre of Nikon to do some­thing a bit big­ger at an event like Pho­tok­ina, but the KeyMis­sion pro­gram makes sense in terms of find­ing a re­place­ment for its com­pact cam­era busi­ness… and of­fer­ing some­thing that smart­phones can’t.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.mynikon­

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