The KeyMission action video cameras, which Nikon announced in early 2016, showed a lot of promise. With its rugged design for action geeks, and a juxtaposed fisheye lenses, the Key Mission 360 cameras had the potential to make a much needed splash in a rapidly over competitive market. But after only a little more than two years, Nikon looks like it’s getting out of the game permanently.
That sad fact about the KeyMission 360 video camera line was that they were very well constructed, but poorly marketed. First, the name of the camera was simply nonsensical. As if Nikon was trying to evoke some sort of special operations feel for a virtual reality camera. But the real market was for action camera geeks who had already bought more than one GoPro. The market is so saturated that even GoPro is struggling with their own sales, in spite of a very good launch for the Fusion 360 camera.
Then there was the product delay. After announcing the camera in January of 2016, the product’s shipping date delayed more than once, which doesn’t bode well for camera sales. In the fall of 2016, at Photokina, new versions of the camera were made official, and the line was finally ready to ship. Soon after, however, those who did buy the camera complained that the dynamic range was poor and the overall quality of the video footage was equally as lackluster, and the reviews indicated as such.
In the end, with a high price tag and disappointing performance, the handwriting was one the wall. This week, Nikon Japan put up an indication that the Key Mission line would be listed as “old product” and would be discontinued. And although the KeyMission is still listed as for sale in the UK, it is deeply discounted, indicating that Nikon is just trying to clear out old stock. Then again, in the US, B&H and Adorama list them as being in stock and without any discounts. Which, I admit is a bit of a mixed message.
Could discontinuing the older line be an indication that Nikon is going to announce a second generation Key Mission camera by Photokina this fall? Well, I suppose so, but there hasn’t been any rumors about a new generation on the rumor sites, and again, all the cameras are either out of stock and listed as discontinued, or being cleared out.
I think more likely, since the indication comes fresh after Nikon announced the discontinuing of the N1 mirrorless cameras, so clearly, Nikon is simplifying their product lines. And that could be good news. With talk that the camera company is going to be shifting focus to full frame mirrorless cameras with two models in 2019, closing down lines in order to devote talent and resources to the new initiative is a positive step.