How much fun can you have with a tiny 6cm wide 360 camera?
Incredibly, this little box of tricks can dive to 30m without any kind of housing. On opening the box and inspecting it I was slightly nervous about getting it wet, but after several dives it’s still working perfectly.
It is of course built to withstand the elements – not only can it cope with diving to 30m, but it can also film happily at temperatures of -10 degrees C and is shockproof to 2m.
The controls are really simple, just two buttons to turn on and off and to start the video, so no issues fiddling with tiny controls if you’re wearing thick neoprene gloves in the UK. The camera does has Wi-Fi capability and if you download the free SnapBridge App to your smart device and pair it to the camera you can upload photos immediately to Facebook or YouTube, which are currently the only platforms that support 360 images and video. Pairing can be a little fiddly at first but if you struggle I strongly recommend watching the ‘Corey Rich’ videos on YouTube as they are incredibly easy to follow. You can also access the cameras settings and shoot from your phone and this gives you a live preview, rather than shooting blind, but obviously this facility is not available when the camera is underwater.
The KeyMission is supplied with two lenses, the regular lens that is waterproof to 20m and the flat underwater lens that is waterproof to 30m and corrects refraction, focusing better underwater, the downside of this is that you get a black band on the stich line. I did find that both lenses struggled when there was contrasting light, for example, when swimming from the surface into darker water, one lens will be taking in the light from the sky, whereas the other is pointing in the darker depths and this results in a much more obvious join. I found the footage to be reasonably sharp, not really the quality of ‘Blue Planet’ but definitely watchable and let’s face it 360 technology is cutting edge and I’m sure it will improve with time, but it’s fresh and fun to use.
You can download the free KeyMission 360/170 Utility that allows you to view your photos and videos and do some basic editing including trimming, changing the camera settings and adding background tracks to your movie. Unfortunately you cannot yet join together two clips although it is an upgrade that Nikon are considering for the future.
If you are taking the camera diving I would recommend the KeyMission Handy Grip for easy usage, this also has a lanyard to prevent you loosing it. You don’t need to worry about getting your buddies to model – it will capture everything!
Written for DIVE magazine.