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Nikon KeyMission 80 Review

We review the new Nikon KeyMission 80, Nikon's compact wearable action camera.

| Nikon KeyMission 80 in Action Cameras
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Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 (2)

The Nikon KeyMission 80 is Nikon's wearable action camera. There are two cameras built-in, a main 12-megapixel camera with image stabilisation, and a 5 megapixel Selfie camera on the rear. There's a 1.75inch touch-screen, and the camera is waterproof to 1m, as well as being shockproof. 

Nikon KeyMission 80 Features

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 (4)

The Nikon KeyMission 80 is compact and lightweight, weighing only 74g, which makes it easy to put in your pocket and take it with you where-ever you go. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to make it easy to send images to your smartphone. There aren't very many controls on the camera, which makes it easy to use, with a switch on the side letting you switch between photo and video modes. 

Waterproof to 1m, shockproof from a height of 1.5m, dustproof, and freezeproof, the KeyMission 80 comes with a clip to let you attach the camera onto a strap or belt, so that you can wear the camera. 

There's a 1.75inch touch-screen on the back. An LED light is used as a focus assist LED, and can be switched on or off for use as a flash or video light. 

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

You can shoot panoramic images, as well as HDR images, plus switch between the main 12-megapixel camera, or the rear 5mp selfie camera, so you can capture yourself in a scene or video yourself on location. Both cameras record FullHD video, with stereo sound. 

The camera is available in black or silver and tan, takes MicroSD memory cards, and has a non-removable rechargeable lithium-ion battery. 

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 (5)

Key Features

  • 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3inch CMOS sensor
  • 4.5mm, f/2.0 lens, equivalent to 25mm
  • Vibration Reduction (Lens shift) Image Stabilisation
  • 5-megapixel secondary camera, f/2.2, 25mm equivalent, fixed focus
  • 1.75inch touch-screen
  • Waterproof to 1m, Shockproof from 1.5m, Dustproof
  • FullHD Video with stereo sound
  • ISO100 to ISO1600
  • 10cm macro focus (main camera)
  • HDR and panoramic shooting
  • Available in Black or Silver/Tan

Nikon KeyMission 80 Handling

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 (1)

The camera has a mostly plastic camera body with metal strap loops. There's a textured area, and on the silver/tan camera, this has a leather effect helping with grip. The compact size, and lack of optical zoom reminds me of some of the earlier digital cameras, such as the Casio Exilim S1, S2, and S3, with an ultra slim and compact camera body. The camera feels well-built, but the plastic on the silver version doesn't feel very premium. The black version of the camera looks and feels a little bit more rugged, with a textured finish on the plastic.

The large shutter release button is on the back and is used to switch the camera on. It is not a two-stage shutter release button, and the camera takes a photo when you press the button. If you want to pre-focus the camera you need to press the touch screen - this will focus the camera on the centre of the frame and also lock exposure, as well as focus.

Despite the looks of the camera, you can't use the camera as a dictaphone. Depending on how you hold the camera, care needs to be taken to ensure you don't get your finger(s) in the shot. 

The camera doesn't feature a tripod socket, and an optional adapter is available for £24, which will then make the camera compatible with the Nikon KeyMission attachments and mounts. 

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 Screen Size Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 Menus Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 Shooting Options
Screen Size (Video mode) Menus Shooting Options

There are a number of modes and options that come up when you press the menu button including: Photo, Playback, Route Logging (must be used in mount), Scene (Easy panorama, or HDR), Setup, and Off. Off can only be accessed in photo shooting modes but can't be accessed in playback. 

The menus on the camera are fairly straightforward to use, and as there aren't very many options, it won't take long to get used to the camera. Once you've switched to HDR mode, you need to go into the menus and press the Photo button to get out of the HDR mode. 

The screen size is quite small, at 1.75inches, and the image shown of what the camera sees, is even smaller, at roughly 1.2inches or 3cm (diagonally 16:9 video mode) or 1.3inches / 3.3cm in photo (4:3 mode). Unfortunately, you can't make this bigger by turning the camera on its side. 

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 Silver
Nikon KeyMission 80 Silver

The Nikon KeyMission 80 uses the Nikon SnapBridge app, available for Android and iOS devices. (The KeyMission 170 and 360 use a special version of SnapBridge called SnapBridge 360/170). If you have an Android phone with NFC you can set up the connection by touching the devices together. Once connected you can sync the date and time with the smartphone, as well as set it to automatically download images (over Bluetooth). You can also shoot remotely with the camera and smartphone, although this will switch the connection over to a Wi-Fi connection. We tested this with an Android smartphone, and this all worked relatively smoothly. In the remote photography part of the app, there is very limited control over the camera, for example, you can't start recording a video, even with the camera switch in the video position. You also can't switch between the front and rear cameras. 

Care needs to be taken when using the Bluetooth connectivity, as the camera will continue to download images even if you've switched it off. This can drain the battery more quickly than expected, as well as drain the battery in your smartphone. 

Nikon KeyMission 80 Review: Nikon KeyMission 80 (6)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 220 shots according to Nikon test results, which is reasonable for a compact camera. Video recording time is approximately 40 minutes. Battery life will be shorter if you've connected the camera to your smartphone. 

Speed - Focus can seem a little slow at times, but the rest of the time the camera is quick to respond to controls, and the touch-screen works well. 

Nikon KeyMission 80 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 80 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - It's possible to take good pictures when using the main 12mp camera. Images have good colour with saturated blues and reds. Occasionally focus failed, particularly when trying to take close up photos. The LED can't be used as a flash, but instead can be switched on and off manually by holding the Menu button. It is also used as a focus assist LED in low-light. 

Exposure is reliable. When shooting in the HDR scene mode, the camera will record both the original image as well as the HDR image. The HDR image shows more dynamic range, but does look quite artificial. Detail is fairly good, although images are softer towards the top and bottom corners on the right-hand side. There is minimal purple fringing or vignetting. 

When taking 5mp selfies with the rear camera you need to ensure there is good light, as this also doesn't feature a flash. Picture in picture is not possible. There are three colour options: Standard, Vivid, and Monochrome.  There are no ISO settings available, with the camera setting this automatically. White balance options are available, but unfortunately there are no underwater white balance modes.

The panoramic mode automatically stitches the image together while you're taking it. Results are reasonable, with an image that is just over 1000 pixels high. 


Video - The camera records full HD video with stereo sound. Image stabilisation helps keep video more stable, but can't fully compensate for movement like walking or running. Video quality is average, with FullHD videos recorded at 18mbps from the main camera, or 15mbps from the selfie camera. You can switch between NTSC and PAL modes and this will switch the video mode between 30 and 25fps. A red LED is shown on the front of the camera when recording video, and you can use the LED light for video recording if you hold the Menu button down. Additional videos can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel

There are no high-speed video options, however, there are options for wind noise reduction, as well as hybrid image stabilisation (electronic and optical combined). We tried to record an underwater video in a fish tank, but were faced with two problems, the first being that the camera would often fall over, and the second problem was that the camera struggled to focus correctly.

Value For Money

The Nikon KeyMission 80 is available for £249, this makes the camera seem quite expensive, but it is also quite unique in offering two cameras in a compact, waterproof body.

Alternative waterproof compact cameras start at around £130 for the Fujifilm FinePix XP90, or an action camera, such as the GoPro Session 5 is £249, or the original Session is £149. Trying to find a digital camera with both a front and rear camera is quite tricky, with the most common dual camera being a dashcam (these start at around £50). You could look at a dual 360 camera, such as the Nikon KeyMission 360 (£419). 

Other "Lifelogging" cameras include the Narrative Clip 2 (£150), YoCam (£145, Waterproof), MeCamHD ($99), and iON SnapCam (£110). Previous cameras, no longer available including the first life camera, the OMG Life Autographer (company ceased trading, October 2016), and the EE Capture Cam (no longer available).

Have a look at more waterproof cameras in our Top 10 Waterproof / Tough Cameras, or have a look at the Top 10 Action and 360 / VR Cameras. You'll also need to buy a 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 80 Verdict

The Nikon KeyMission 80 looks like a life camera, and features timelapse, and a logging mode (which works with the provided mount), and is designed to be an always with you camera, capable of surviving harsh treatment or adverse weather. The main camera can deliver pleasing looking images, and image stabilisation helps here, whilst also improving videos recorded with the camera.

There are a few niggles, including high compression on video which degrades video quality, and the screen is small as well. It would also be nice if the tripod adapter was provided so that it was compatible with Nikon's action camera mounts, and tripods. Additional scene modes would be good, including an underwater and macro mode, and it would be particularly useful if you could use the SnapBridge app to start and stop video recording.

In terms of price, it is difficult to find another camera quite like this, however, if you go for a traditional waterproof camera (which you can also use as an Action camera by the way) then you can easily pick up a camera for around half the price. The 5mp selfie camera on the Nikon KeyMission 80 is of limited use, as the quality is poor, and you may as well use the main camera, which also has an LED light. The low-light performance of the camera isn't great, unless you want to switch the LED light on. 

The small size means it's the kind of camera you can take anywhere and forget you even have it with you. It's also easy to use, and you don't have to worry about dropping it, like you would with a smartphone. 

Nikon KeyMission 80 Pros

  • Ultra-compact digital camera
  • 12 megapixel sensor
  • Optical image stabilisation (main camera)
  • Wi-Fi / NFC / Bluetooth
  • Touch-screen

Nikon KeyMission 80 Cons

  • Price seems high
  • No tripod socket (adapter is optional extra)
  • Small screen for viewing / taking photos
  • Only two scene modes
  • No high-speed / slow-motion video options
  • Can't start video recording remotely - Limited control of the camera in SnapBridge

Overall Verdict


Nikon KeyMission 80 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2
35mm equivalent25mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
Pixels12.4Mp (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
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor1.75in
Screen resolution230k dot
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus10cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/6250sec
Shutter speeds longest1sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
    • Multi Pattern
    ISO sensitivity100 - 1600
    White balance
    • Auto
    • Outdoors/Daylight
    • Cloudy
    • Incandescent
    • Fluorescent
    Exposure Comp+/-2
    Shooting Options
    Continuous shootingNo Data
    Movie modeYes
    Video Resolution
    • 1920x1080 FullHD
    Video FPS30, 25fps
    Stereo SoundYes
    Optical Zoom with VideoNo
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationYes
    USBUSB 2
    Card Type
    • Micro SD
    • Micro SDHC
    File Type
    • JPG
    Power Source
    Battery TypeInternal
    Battery Life (CIPA rating)220shots
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsCamera, Charging AC Adapter EH-73P, USB Cable UC-E21, Camera Holder AA-4, Documentation

    View Full Product Details


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