Nikon made CES 2016 worth paying attention to for camera fans

The D5, D500 and KeyMission 360 all made their debut this week.

Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony failed to make waves with their latest camera announcements. For the most part, the manufacturers focused on introducing minimal upgrades to existing point-and-shoots and camcorders at CES 2016, since they're likely saving the best for Photokina, in September. Granted, the Consumer Electronics Show is not known as the place for major camera reveals. Last year, for instance, the biggest products came from Sony in the form of 4K-ready Action Cam and Handycam video shooters, which few were excited about. But thanks to Nikon, the 2016 edition of the tech convention wasn't a complete letdown.

The Japanese manufacturer took to CES to announce three cameras, including two DSLRs and a pocketable device that captures 360-degree footage. The main attraction here is the D5, Nikon's long-awaited flagship and the successor to its highly praised D4. With a 20.8-megapixel full-frame sensor, 153-point autofocus, 4K video and an extended sensitivity ISO of 3,280,000, the D5 is Nikon's most powerful camera to date. The D500, on the other hand, is quite similar to the aforementioned shooter, save for the smaller APS-C sensor and a ridiculously expandable ISO range of up to 1,640,000.

Be prepared to break the bank for either: A mere $6,500 gets you the D5 without a lens while the D500 will cost $2,000. Both are scheduled to release later in March.

Now, the KeyMission 360 is an example of Nikon diving into a whole new space. Although the company was rumored to be debuting an action camera at CES 2016, the said device was expected to be more like a GoPro. Instead, the main feature of Nikon's KeyMission is the ability to shoot 360-degree videos, through an aspherical lens. It can do so at 4K resolution, with integrated electronic image stabilization and a waterproof shell to complement it all -- or at least that's what Nikon promised during its press conference.

There are no pricing or availability details right now, but the KeyMission 360 could end up having a significant effect on the virtual reality market and internet videos, especially with websites like YouTube pushing hard for spherical technology. Up until today, Kodak has been one of the few consumer firms with a 360-degree camera. Unfortunately it's far from being a decent option for people interested in shooting that type of content -- its companion desktop and mobile software are tedious, to say the least.

Still, the timing of Nikon's announcement is interesting, considering Photokina is taking place this year (it happens every two years). That said, the D5 did come exactly three years after the D4 was introduced, so I'm sure fans of the brand aren't upset. As for the KeyMission 360, that was just a nice, unexpected bonus.