nikon keymission 360

Action cameras have improved ways you'd expect over the years: greater durability, sharper footage, and improved stabilization. But aside from differences in design, the devices you see strewn across the market are, more or less, the same. Same functionality, and same end result; it really just comes down to mind share that determines whether or not you're a contender.

The KeyMission 360 features an image sensor and lens combination on two opposite sides of the camera, and images from each are combined in-camera to create a single realistic, high-definition, 360° image.

That's what makes Nikon's new entrant into the action camera market that much more intriguing. Announced at CES on Tuesday, the KeyMission 360 looks like a more rugged GroPro Session, but what sets Nikon's camera apart is its ability to shoot 360 degree video—and in 4K no less. What makes the 360-degree video possible is the KeyMission's image sensor and lens combination on two opposite sides of the camera. 

"For the action category specifically, 360-degree video offers a way for Nikon to open and explore new opportunities for the action segment along many vectors, from content ownership to the development of unique visual narrative in a highly competitive space," Nikon said about the KeyMission 360.

Watching extreme sports through the lens of a GoPro will never get old. But imagine what these epic skydives and descents down snowy mountains will look like through 360-degree video. When something like the KeyMission 360 hits the market, not only will there be more user-created content, but it means any old schlub with a desire to shoot a movie can do so in 360-degrees.

Pretty unexpected coming from a company traditionally associated with DSLRs. Even if Nikon's action cam doesn't become the belle of the ball when it's released this spring, it's at least trying something different.