Nikon has announced the new COOLPIX S1100pj–an update to the S1000pj, which was the first compact digital camera to boast a built-in projector. If you recall, we reviewed the first generation camera at the beginning of the year, and quite liked it. Upgrades with the 14.1MP S1100pj include: a 40% increase in projector brightness (14 lumens), a 3-inch touchscreen LCD and the ability to connect the device via USB to project images from a computer. The look of the new generation camera seems to be a lot less sleek and more aimed at maybe seeming like professional equipment—there are knobs and dials where once there was only brushed metal and flat surface. The projector on the front is also much more prominent (helped along by the fact that PROJECTOR is written across it). The COOLPIX S1100pj will be available for $349.95 in September. Read more from Nikon below.
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Text and Photos by Allison Gibson
The Nikon COOLPIX S1000pj’s built-in projector seemed like a gimmick at first, but after using it, I found that the feature quickly moved beyond the realm of “party trick” into that of functionality. Boasting a 12.1-megapixel CCD sensor, a 5x optical zoom 5-25mm f/1:3.9-5.8 Nikkor lens, and an ISO range from 80-6400, the COOLPIX S1000pj fares well against competitors in its category specs-wise. The compact Nikon camera feels sturdier in-hand than many other point-and-shoots, and looks more professional with its gunmetal black finish and bright 2.7-inch LCD.
The compact COOLPIX S1000pj is an impressive image taker for its class. This point-and-shoot camera doesn’t offer Manual shooting mode—or even Aperture or Shutter Priorities—but its Auto and Scene selections do tend to make the right setting choices for capturing crisp, vivid shots. The shooting modes offered are: Auto, Smart Portrait and Subject Tracking, as well as a solid lineup of Scene modes, including: Scene auto selector, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach/snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Copy, Backlight and Panorama assist. It also shoots movies with sound (640 x 480 at 30fps). Capture is to 36MB internal memory or an SD/SDHC card.
The COOLPIX S1000pj also boasts a generous ISO range, though the numbers may impress more than the results. I was prepared for the worst when I set out to shoot at ISO 6400, but was actually impressed with the results once I did. Not surprisingly, there is a good amount of noise, but much less than I expected, and the images retained better detail than I expected as well. Still though, you probably don’t want to venture above ISO 800 to be safe. But being as this is a point-and-shoot camera, it is really meant to make taking pictures as simple as possible, and the Scene mode options listed above do the work for you quite well—even the modes meant for low-light shooting.
One seemingly insignificant feature of this camera that made me happy was the fact that whatever flash mode you set it to stays set even after you turn the camera off. Too often with point-and-shoot cameras, you turn the Auto flash mode off and then next time you go to take a shot, the flash is back on again by default, forcing you to take the step to turn it off again before each shot.
Projecting Your Pictures
The stand-out feature of the Nikon COOLPIX S1000pj—and most definitely the reason for the $430.00 price tag—is the built-in projector, which allows you to display your photos and videos directly from the camera (via internal memory or SD/SDHC card) onto a blank wall or projector screen. The camera comes bundled with two small, plastic projector stands, but I found them to be unnecessary, as setting the camera on any flat surface works. I even projected images stably onto a brick wall in downtown Los Angeles while holding the camera in my hand. There is a sliding focus adjustor on top of the camera to make sure the projections are sharp. You can set the camera to project a slideshow of all of your images, or just share one, and there is a remote control so that you can step away and control the projector from elsewhere.
The projector has up to 10 lumens of brightness, and its throw distance is 10-inches to 6-feet 6-inches. According to Nikon the battery endurance when running the projector is approximately one hour (on a fully charged battery).
Handling The Camera
The COOLPIX S1000pj is compact and thin enough to fit in a pocket, but it feels sturdy compared to the plasticky lightness—okay, cheapness—of many small point-and-shoot cameras. At 5.5 ounces, it is actually heavier than most others, and the brushed metal surface of the face-plate adds a stylish sophistication to the look of it. I supposed if you’re going to have Ashton Kutcher hold one in ads, it had better look good.
As is almost always the case with point-and-shoots, the S1000pj lacks an optical viewfinder, but the 2.7-inch LCD with anti-reflection coating is bright and clear. The small selection of buttons to the right of the LCD are what you’d expect: the camera button for switching between shooting modes, playback, menu, delete and the four-way control for flash, exposure compensation, macro mode and self-timer. The projector button is conveniently located on top of the camera, right next to the focus slider, on/off button and shutter release. The digital menu is easily navigable and zooming in and out with the toggle on top of the camera is smooth.
It’s Really All About That Projector
Though the COOLPIX S1000pj does have many of the features one would want in a stylish and slightly more advanced point-and-shoot camera, the feature that really sets it apart is the built-in mini projector. This feature is admittedly impressive, and useful, and I imagine we will see it become more common in the near future (Sony is reported to be working on it, according to Photo Rumors). However, you would have to decide whether it’s worth the approximately $150.00 more you’ll likely be paying for it since cameras with similar specs and no projector can be found for well under $300.00, even by Nikon.
Nikon COOLPIX S1000pj
- 4”W x 2.5”H x 0.9”D; 5.5 oz.
- Image Sensor:
- Still Recording Format:
- SD/SDHC, 36MB internal
- 2.7-inch LCD (230,000 pixels)
- Video Recording Mode:
- 640×480 (30fps) in .AVI format
- Projector Image Size:
- 50 to 40-inches
- Projector Throw Distance:
- Approximately 10-inches to 6-feet 6-inches
- Power Source:
- Nikon EN-EL12 Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery