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Nikon KeyMission 170 Review

We review the Nikon KeyMission 170 - Nikon's ultra-wide angle action camera with 4K video recording.

|  Nikon KeyMission 170 in Action Cameras
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Nikon KeyMission 170 (3)

The Nikon KeyMission 170 is Nikon's answer to the GoPro Hero - and is Nikon's small action camera, recording 4K (UHD) video with a 170 degree ultra-wide-angle lens. The camera is waterproof down to 10 metres, dustproof, freezeproof, and also shockproof up to a drop height of 2 metres.

Nikon KeyMission 170 Features

Nikon KeyMission 170 (4)

The Nikon KeyMission 170 is Nikon's compact wide-angle action camera, with an ulta-wide-angle 170 degrees FOV lens, the camera records 4K video at 30 or 25fps. The camera is waterproof, and features built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth for an always on connection, which in theory should make it easy to connect to any Android or iOS device. 

The camera can also take 8 megapixel still photos, and there is a 1.5inch screen on the back. 

There are two buttons on top of the camera, both of them will switch on the camera, and pressing the video record button will start recording video, the photo button, taking photos. There are three buttons on the back, an up / display button, an OK button and a down / play button. To switch the camera off you need to enter the menus and scroll down to the bottom option. 

As the most obvious competitor to the Nikon KeyMission 170 is the GoPro, we thought we'd compare the different cameras: 

  GoPro Hero4 (Black) Nikon KeyMission 170 GoPro Hero5
Stills 12mp, 30fps 8.3mp (from 12mp) 12mp, 30fps burst
Lens f/2.8, 149 degrees f/2.8, 170 degrees f/2.8, 149 degrees
Raw N/A N/A Raw and WDR photos
Video 4K*, 30fps, 60Mbps 4K*, 30/25fps, 60Mbps 4K*, 30fps, 60Mbps
ISO max ISO6400 (video) ISO1600 ISO6400 (video)
High speed FullHD, 120fps
720p, 240fps
FullHD, 4x, 100/120fps
720p, 8x, 200/240fps
FullHD, 120fps
Waterproof 40m (with case) 10m** 10m
Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth Y Y Y
Screen No screen 1.5inch 2inch Touchscreen
Battery 1160mAh (66min 4K^) 1050mAh (60min video) 1220mAh
Audio Mono mic Stereo mics Stereo mics, Voice control
  - Electronic VR (FullHD) Video Stabilisation
Weight 152g (with case) 134.5g 117g
Price £289 £329 £389

* UHD 3840x2160 resolution ** 40m with optional waterproof case (WP-AA1) ^ Longer when recording FullHD.

Nikon KeyMission 80 170 360 (1)
The Nikon KeyMission range consists of the (from left to right) KeyMission 80, KeyMission 170, and KeyMission 360.

The camera is provided with a number of accessories in the box, including a BlueTooth remote control that can be used to start and stop video recording, take still photos, as well as providing a Fn (Function) button. The Function button can be set to "Insert highlight tag" or "Add slow motion" (when in the right video mode). The remote control is rated as waterproof to 1m (for 30minutes), but does not recommend the use of it under water. 

Nikon KeyMission 170 (5)

Key Features

  • 12 megapixel CMOS sensor, 8.3 megapixel photos
  • 2.4mm, 15mm equivalent, 170 FOV lens, f/2.8
  • Electronic Image Stabilisation (FullHD video)
  • 1.5inch screen, 345K dots
  • Waterproof (10m) / Dustproof (IP68)
  • Freezeproof and Shockproof (2m, MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5)
  • ISO100 to ISO1600 (Auto)
  • Still and continuous shooting
  • 4K UHD Video (30/25fps), stereo sound
  • Slow motion (up to 120/240fps), superlapse, loop recording and time-lapse
  • Wi-Fi / NFC / Bluetooth

Nikon KeyMission 170 Handling

Nikon KeyMission 170 (2)

The Nikon KeyMission 170 feels solidly built, and tough, with a compact camera body that easily fits in to your pocket. The camera body is made out of a tough plastic, with even the screen feeling strong. It's small enough that you can forget that you have it on you, although due to the protruding lens it's more comfortable to keep it in a jacket pocket, rather than jeans trouser pockets. The battery, memory, USB and HDMI connections are under a side compartment which features a double locking mechanism so that you don't accidentally open the compartment. 

The camera is quite easy to use, but not always intuitive to use, for example having to scroll down to the off button in the menus is a little frustrating. The size of the icons on the screen makes you think it's a touch-screen, but unfortunately it's not. Like the KeyMission 360, it's easy to accidentally turn the camera on when picking up the camera for the first time, due to the large buttons on top of the camera. It's also possible to accidentally start recording video when holding the camera. Once you get used to the way to operate the camera it becomes quite easy, and the menus are clear and easy to read.

Some may find it difficult to hold the camera, due to the size and layout of controls. It's also important to ensure your fingers don't end up in the shot. The use of a mini desktop tripod or action camera grip could help here.

The 1.5inch screen is quite small, quality is okay, although viewing angles aren't great. There's a reflective back coating to the screen, which means that it can help you view the screen in bright sunlight. 

The lens protector can be unscrewed so that you can put the underwater lens cover on. 

Underneath the camera is a standard 1/4inch tripod socket, so the camera is compatible with all Tripods available, so you don't need an adapter to start using it with any other kit you have. However, the position is very near to the edge.

Nikon KeyMission 170 (6)

Connecting to an Android Smartphone

Once you have the Nikon SnapBridge 170/360 app on your smartphone. Connecting to your Android Smartphone with built-in NFC is very easy, as you simply put the two devices together where the NFC points are. You can download location data from the smartphone, as well as sync the clock with the smartphone. This uses BlueTooth, and the app asks you to switch this on before connecting. If you don't have NFC, then the process takes you through the steps needed.

To setup remote shooting, the app asks you to switch to Wi-Fi. Our first attempt to connect failed, but the second attempt worked fine. There are a limited number of settings, and for stills photography you can choose between single shot or continuous shooting, and you can also choose the white balance setting, however the camera does not let you set the ISO speed for example. 

Nikon KeyMission 170 (1)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 250 shots according to Nikon test results, and the camera will record approcimately 60 minutes of video. With a replaceable battery, it will be easy to carry spare batteries with you if you need to record more. 


Nikon KeyMission 170 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon KeyMission 170 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The Nikon KeyMission 170 doesn't let you choose different aspect ratios when shooting still images, so you are stuck with 16:9 aspect ratio, 8.3 megapixel photos. Fixed focus of the lens means the camera isn't suitable for very close subjects, with the focus range starting at 40cm.

Colour is reasonably good, with warm results on default settings. There aren't any effects available, with just three colour options available, including Standard, Vivid, and Monochrome. Care needs to be taken to ensure your fingers don't end up in the shot, due to the extremely wide-angle lens.

There aren't any HDR options available, however, the camera does a good job with dynamic range. Vignetting wasn't a problem, and the lens appears resistant to flare. With straight objects in the frame, it's easy to see the distortion that the ulta-wide angle lens creates. Continuous shooting will shoot at 5fps, for up to 30 shots.


Video - The camera records 4K, UHD video at 25fps and 60Mbps, or 30fps in NTSC mode. FullHD video is recorded at 50/25fps (or 60/30fps in NTSC mode), with stereo sound, and no optical zoom is available. High speed video can be recorded at 4x the normal speed when recording FullHD video, or 8x when recording 720p, and is recorded without sound. When recording FullHD video, electronic Vibration Reduction (VR) is available, and this does a very good job of keeping video stable and steady. 

When recording 4K video, the camera will record up to a 4GB file, which works out at 9 minutes 10 seconds, and then the camera will start a new file automatically, continuing to record until the battery is flat or the memory card is full. Audio quality is good, video image quality is good with detailed high resolution images when recording 4K video. Video appears softer when recording FullHD video. Video recording doesn't offer any HDR settings, but the dynamic range captured seems reasonable. More videos can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel

Value For Money

The Nikon KeyMission 170 is available for £329, making it quite good value for money compared to some of the other branded action cameras available. Alternatives include the following 4K cameras:

GoPro Hero5, 4K, 30fps, £395
Sony FDR-X1000, 4K, 30fps, £380
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30, 4K, 30fps, £370
Olympus Tough TG-Tracker, 4K, 30fps, £244

Have a look at more action cameras in our Top 10 Action Cameras, or have a look at the Top 10 Best Waterproof Cameras. You'll also need to buy a MicroSD memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.


Nikon KeyMission 170 Verdict

The nearest and most obvious competitor is the GoPro Hero5, and the Nikon KeyMission 170 is available for slightly less, however does not offer as many features and options as the Hero5, with a smaller screen, and shorter battery life. A benefit of the 170 is the good range of accessories in the box, making it easy to start using it straight away, without having to buy further accessories. For stills photography, the ultra-wide angle lens is unlikely to be your first choice, and the limit to 8.3mp 16:9 photos is also a shame, as the camera has a 12mp sensor. However, for video use, the Nikon KeyMission 170 is a good choice, being compact and easy to use, with good 4K video, and stable FullHD video (using electronic image stabilisation). Colour is good, and if you want an action camera that's also compatible with standard photography gear, then the Nikon KeyMission 170 certainly fits, thanks to a tripod socket underneath.

Nikon KeyMission 170 Pros

  • Very compact
  • Easy to take photos / videos
  • Standard tripod socket
  • Remote control included
  • Lower price than most of the competition
  • 4K video quality is good
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth

Nikon KeyMission 170 Cons

  • Tripod socket position
  • Electronic stabilisation is only available for FullHD
  • Not many controls (app gives more options for video)
  • Low-light performance could be better
  • SnapBridge Software needs improvement

Overall Verdict


Nikon KeyMission 170 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8
35mm equivalent15mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
Pixels12.7Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)No Data
Pixels (H)No Data
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor1.5in
Screen resolution345k-dot
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus40cm
Focusing modes
  • Fixed
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/16000sec
Shutter speeds longest1/2sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
      ISO sensitivity100 - 1600
      White balance
      • Auto
      • Outdoors/Daylight
      • Cloudy
      • Incandescent
      • Fluorescent
      • Underwater
      Exposure Comp+/-2
      Shooting Options
      Continuous shooting5fps
      Movie modeYes
      Video Resolution
      • 4K
      • 1920x1080 FullHD
      • 1280x720 HD 720p
      Video FPS4K 30/25fps, FullHD 60/50, 30/25fps (NTSC/PAL)
      Stereo SoundYes
      Optical Zoom with VideoNo
      Other Features
      Image StabilisationNo Data
      USBUSB 2
      Card Type
      • Micro SD
      • Micro SDHC
      File Type
      • JPG
      Power Source
      Battery TypeLithium-ion EN-EL12
      Battery Life (CIPA rating)250shots
      Box Contents
      Box ContentsCamera, Charging AC Adapter EH-73P, Rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL12, USB Cable UC-E21, Base Adapter AA-1B, Lens Protector AA-14B, Underwater Lens Protector AA-15B, Remote Control ML-L6, Flat Base Mount AA-2, Curved Base Mount AA-3, Documentation

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