Nikon KeyMission 170 Review

January 9, 2017 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Nikon KeyMission 170 is a new action camera, which features 4K UHD video recording, along with a 170 degree field of view lens. The camera is waterproof down to 10 metres (or 40 metres with the optional additional waterproof housing) and shockproof from a height of 2 metres. It is freeze proof down to temperatures of -10 degrees. As well as capturing video footage, you can also capture stills with the camera. As is becoming standard with most Nikon cameras of late, the KeyMission 170 is equipped with Snapbridge bluetooth technology. The camera’s biggest rival is probably the GoPro Hero 5, which is available for around the same price and features a similar design. The Nikon KeyMission 170 costs £329 / $399.

Ease of Use

The Nikon KeyMission 170 uses a classic action camera design, which has been made popular by the likes of GoPro. Indeed, it is very similar in shape and size to the latest GoPro Hero 5.

It’s a very small camera, which easily fits into the palm of your hand. It’s also pretty chunky however, so you may struggle to fit it into a slim jeans pocket, but a coat pocket should be no problem. The design features a rectangular boxy shape for the camera, with a rounded, protruded lens on the front.

The design is pretty simple, with just a few buttons on the Nikon KeyMission 170 which you use to adjust settings. On the top of the camera there’s two shutter release buttons, you can press down either to switch on the camera. On the left hand side there’s the video shutter release, while on the right hand side is the stills shutter release. This is a great way to use the camera for both functions without having to go into a menu to change the setup.

Nikon KeyMission 170
Front of the Nikon KeyMission 170

On the back of the Nikon KeyMission 170 there are three buttons. An OK button, and above it an up button, and below it, a down button. Press the OK button to bring up the camera’s menu options. The menu is divided into four sections - the first option takes you back to the shooting screen, the second option takes you to playback, the third option allows you to change certain settings, while the fourth option switches the camera off altogether.

If you enter the settings area, you navigate around using the up and down keys, and pressing OK when you want to change a setting. You can alter things such as movie setting, date and time and more. Unlike with the GoPro Hero 5, there’s not too much in the way of manual settings and alterations you can make, although there is the option to change exposure compensation and white balance.

Using the menu is easy, but it’s quite cumbersome having to use the up and down keys, and then having to scroll to the top of the menu to go back one step. It would be much easier if the screen was touch sensitive - but with the option to use the buttons for situations when using a touchscreen can be tricky (i.e. underwater).

Nikon KeyMission 170
Rear of the Nikon KeyMission 170

There is a door on the side of the Nikon KeyMission 170, behind which is the charging port, the memory card slot and the battery. The door itself is sealed as the camera is designed to be used underwater - in order to open it you’ll need to push open a latch in a two-step process which should prevent any accidental openings when you don’t want it to.

The battery, unlike the cheaper Nikon KeyMission 80, is removable. That’s good news if you think you’re likely to want to film for longer than the 60 minute battery life that a single charge provides - you can buy a spare battery ready for such problems.

If you switch on the Nikon KeyMission 170 when there’s no Micro SD card inserted, it will beep and a red LED light will flash in the corner to warn you that you won’t be able to record any stills or video - this is good for saving you from accidentally trying to use the camera without any memory inserted.

Nikon KeyMission 170
Top of the Nikon KeyMission 170

The Nikon KeyMission 170 is compatible with the SnapBridge app, which has a special version for the KeyMission 170 and KeyMission 80 cameras. You can download the app for free from the App Store or from the Google Play store.

To get setup with the Nikon KeyMission 170 is easy - you just need to find the appropriate connection settings page in the menu. You’ll find it under the settings square, and then camera settings, and then Network menu. The good news is that once the connection has been made, you won’t need to faff around setting it up again. You can set it up so that images are automatically transferred across to your phone while the connection is maintained - you may want to resize images to 2MP for quicker transfer. If you have a Nikon Image Space Account, you can choose to automatically upload to that as well.

You can also use your phone as a remote control for the camera, but you’ll need to connect via WiFi for that. Again, that’s a relatively straight forward set up, you just need to find the password from the main menu on the KeyMission 170. Once connected, you can take still images or record video, saving straight to the phone (as well as the camera). You can choose to download a resized version of your image (2MP), again for quicker download speeds.

Nikon KeyMission 170
The Nikon KeyMission 170 In-hand

Supplied in the box is a remote control too. You can use this to switch on the Nikon KeyMission 170, record movies and take pictures. There is also a function button which can be customised to a different function depending on what you think you’re likely to want to do often. There is a status lamp on the remote control, so you can see when the camera is recording or taking a picture.

Also supplied in the box is a mount adapter and base, which you can use to attach the camera to a surface - such as a bike handlebar.

Finally, the last accessory supplied in the box (more are available) is the underwater lens protector. You need to remove the standard lens protector which is attached to the camera in the box in order to use the second lens protector.

Image Quality

It’s relatively unlikely that anybody is going to use something like the Nikon KeyMission 170 as their main stills camera. Never the less it can create some nice photos, generally when the light is very good.

As the field of view is the ultra-wide 170 degrees, you have to be happy with your images having a certain stylistic look, but they can be quite fun none-the-less. Colours are well saturated, while there’s a decent amount of detail to be seen.

As soon as the light drops, you shouldn’t expect an amazing performance from the KeyMission 170. Images taken in darker conditions contain a lot of image noise, and image smoothing - you’d only want to use these at very small sizes and if you had nothing else on you to capture the image.

Of course, the main purpose of this camera is to record video. Video is captured well, being nice and smooth and again capturing good details and colours. Sound is reasonably well captured, and although it’s not a camera you’re going to choose because of its sound recording qualities, you can still hear everything that's going on, which is the main purpose of a camera like this.

Full HD video recording is also high quality and nice and smooth, just like 4K video. You may want to consider recording in Full HD if you don’t have any 4K devices to play back your recordings on in order to save space on your memory card and hard drive.

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon KeyMission 170 camera, which were all taken using the 8 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 32 second movie is 240Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 33 second movie is 121Mb in size.

This is a sample Superlapse movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 3 second movie is 13.8Mb in size.

Product Images

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Front of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Side of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Side of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Rear of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Rear of the Nikon KeyMission 170 / Image Displayed

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Rear of the Nikon KeyMission 170 / Turned On

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Rear of the Nikon KeyMission 170 / Main Menu

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Rear of the Nikon KeyMission 170 / Main Menu

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Top of the Nikon KeyMission 170


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Bottom of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Side of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Side of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Front of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Front of the Nikon KeyMission 170

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Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment


With a price point, and design, very similar to the GoPro Hero 5, it’s very clear who Nikon is targeting with the KeyMission 170. 

Unfortunately, although it can produce good images and video, it doesn’t quite have the same number of features as the GoPro, so it seems reasonably unlikely that it will make a huge dent in sales for the action-camera-only company. 

It might be that people will assume that this, being a Nikon, will produce better quality images as its a well-established camera brand. You may also be brand loyal if you already own other Nikon cameras. 

To put it into better context, the GoPro Hero 5 has more video options, more manual options, a better battery life, and a larger, brighter, touch-sensitive screen. You get all of that for just a few pounds more than the Nikon KeyMission 170 - the price is so similar it may as well be the same. 

That’s not to say that the Nikon KeyMission 170 doesn’t have a couple of benefits too. It has SnapBridge which is a very easy and quick way to get your images across to your phone, ready for sharing with the minimum of fuss - getting videos requires a WiFi connection so it’s a little more cumbersome though. It’s also arguably easier to switch between taking stills and videos with this camera than the GoPro, being as the KeyMission 170 has specific buttons for each function. 

Overall, the Nikon KeyMission 170 is a good little action camera, and anybody who buys it for the purpose of capturing action moments (or even just adventures at home), should have a lot of fun with it. If you are particularly tied to the Nikon brand, or you can get this for a good price, it makes sense, otherwise you may be better suited to the GoPro brand. It will be interesting to see if Nikon drops its price to make it a more competitive offering. 

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 3.5


Inside the box:

- Camera
- 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

Dimensions (W × H × D)

Approx. 66.4 × 46.8 × 42.7 mm (2.7 x 1.9 x 1.7 in.) (including lens protector, excluding projections)

Operating environment

Temperature 3
-10˚C to +40˚C (14˚F to 104˚F) (for land use), 0˚C to 40˚C (32˚F to 104˚F) (for underwater use)
85% or less (no condensation)

Dustproof performance

JIS/IEC protection class 6 (IP6X) equivalent (under our testing conditions)


Communication protocols
Bluetooth Specification Version 4.1


Approx. 134.5 g (4.8 oz.) (including battery, memory card, and lens protector)

Waterproof performance

JIS/IEC protection class 8 (IPX8) equivalent (under our testing conditions)
Capacity to record images and movies underwater up to a depth of 10 m (33 ft) and for 60 minutes

Shockproof performance

Cleared our testing conditions4 compliant with MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock

Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN)

IEEE 802.11b/g (standard wireless LAN protocol)
Operating frequency
2412–2462 MHz (1–11 channels)
Open system, WPA2-PSK

Number of effective pixels

8.3 million

Image size (pixels)

8M (3840 x 2160)


Focal length
2.4 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 15 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
7 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view
170 degrees

Vibration reduction

Electronic VR (movies)


Fixed focus
Focus range
Approx. 40 cm (1 ft 4 in.) to ∞ (distance measured from center of front surface of lens)

ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity)

ISO 100 to 1600


USB connector
Micro-USB connector (Do not use any USB cable other than the included UC-E21 USB Cable.), Hi-Speed USB
HDMI output connector
HDMI micro connector (Type D)

Power sources

One EN-EL12 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (included) EH-62F AC Adapter (available separately)

Charging time

Approx. 3 h (when using EH-73P/EH-73PCH Charging AC Adapter and when no charge remains)

Image sensor

1/2.3-in. type CMOS; approx. 12.71 million total pixels


microSD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
File system
DCF and Exif 2.3 compliant
File formats
Still images: JPEG
Movies: MP4 (Video: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Audio: AAC stereo)

Resolution/frame rate (movie options)

• When NTSC/PAL is set to NTSC 2160/30p, 1080/30p, 1080/60p
• When NTSC/PAL is set to PAL, 2160/25p, 1080/25p, 1080/50p


3.7 cm (1.5-in.), approx. 345k-dot, TFT LCD
Frame coverage (shooting mode)
Approx. 97% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)
Frame coverage (playback mode)
Approx. 99% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)


CMOS electronic shutter
1/16000 to 1/2 s


Can be selected from 10 s and 2 s


Metering mode
Exposure control
Programmed auto exposure and exposure compensation (–2.0 – +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)

Supported languages

Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish

Battery life 1

Still images
Approx. 250 shots when using EN-EL12
Movie recording (actual battery life for recording) 2
Approx. 60 min when using EN-EL12

Tripod socket

1/4 (ISO 1222)

Unless otherwise stated, all figures assume a fully-charged battery and an ambient temperature of 23 ±3°C (73.4±5.4°F) as specified by the Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA). JIS/IEC protection class 8 (IPX8) equivalent (under our testing conditions) Capacity to record images and movies underwater up to a depth of 10 m (33 ft) and for 60 minutes

1. Battery life does not reflect the use of SnapBridge and may vary with the conditions of use, including temperature, the interval between shots, and the length of time that menus and images are displayed.

2. The remaining movie recording time (the amount of time that can be recorded for an individual movie) displayed at the top of the shooting screen depends on the remaining amount of space on the memory card. Recording may end before this limit is reached if the camera temperature becomes elevated.

3. When the battery temperature is 0°C (32°F) or lower, movies with the size/frame rate set to 2160/30p (4K UHD) or 2160/25p (4K UHD) cannot be recorded.
• If the battery temperature is 0°C (32°F) or lower before you start recording, the size/frame rate of the movie switches to 1080/30p or 1080/25p.
• If the size/frame rate of the movie is set to 2160/30p or 2160/25p and the battery temperature drops to 0°C (32°F) or lower while recording, the camera stops recording and automatically turns off. The recorded movie is saved.

4. Dropped from a height of 200 cm (6 ft 6 in.) onto a surface of 5 cm (2 in.) thick plywood (changes in appearance, such as paint peeling off and deformation of the drop shock portion and waterproof performance are not subject to the test). These tests do not guarantee that the camera will be free from damage or trouble under all conditions.

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