The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj ingeniously crams a camera and a projector into one portable, compact body. But is it any good? The What Digital Camera Nikon S1000pj review…
Performance, Image Quality & Value
Nikon S1000pj review – Performance
In use the Coolpix S1000pj is akin to many other Nikon compacts, providing point-and-shoot simplicity. The power up is perhaps a tad slow and upon taking images there’s a very brief screen blackout that slightly removes you from the process of shooting.
The 2.7in LCD on the back actually feels a tiny bit small by today’s standards, and there’s a visible noise in low light that grains across the screen in real time which can be a touch distracting.
The S1000pj offers a macro mode as close as 3cms to subject, but when left with the ‘macro on’ option – which is easily done – the camera will refuse to focus on far away subjects. Less astute users may fail to notice this and end up with a batch of soft images if not careful when shooting.
Whilst there is an array of scene modes, there is a notable lack of any manual control or focus. Admittedly this isn’t common in compact cameras until – like is the case here – the cost rises. At £400 it’s clear the S1000pj has a premium for carrying the projector in tow. Whilst that’s more than fair to a point, some more extensive and advanced controls would certainly have been nice to see too.
The projector itself is certainly a clever idea. It’s incredibly easy to activate with a single button and even comes with a little remote control to flick between slides or even use as a remote for your shooting. It’s very responsive and a great quirk to find in the box. When using the projector its low brightness (max 10 lumens when close to subject) over distance may be a limitation, and yet in low light the image is certainly clear. However, Nikon may have missed a slight trick here – the camera can only read jpegs, not basic text documents, PDFs or the like, so the product doesn’t have the broad scope of a projector wired up to a computer. Admittedly those two are different beasts, and this is a camera, not a computer – but the vision of the future could be a different tale. However you can watch movies shot with the camera, which is very cool. Very much one for photographers looking for new ways to share their images in a different context, though it’s worth noting that the projector is very juice-hungry: The quoted ‘hour’ it can operate for felt exaggerated in this test – it drained the camera from a full charge (3/3) down to one (1/3) bars of battery inside a shorter period of time.
Other top features include the responsive vibration reduction and subject tracking. The latter compliments other tracking modes, including a manual one where it’s possible to click a cursor around the screen to act as the point of focus.
Nikon S1000pj review – Image Quality
The ISO 3200-6400 options are limited to 3MP maximum, which, with the significant noise, renders them of little use. ISO 80-1600 however is reasonable – better than a number of previous Nikon compacts. There is notable colour noise that begins to creep in around and above ISO 800 however which can be a nuisance.
The S1000pj’s lens isn’t overly sharp, but reasonable for a compact camera. The main issue is the slight falloff – notably vignetting at the 28mm point. The light doesn’t successfully cover the full image frame when shooting wide-angle, likely given the limited space the optics are provided with, so it’s not necessarily a surprise but still rather disappointing.
Tonally images are generally flat, though this neutrality is good to work with. White balance stays consistent when shifting between ISO settings, though images on the camera’s screen sometimes appear a little cold or blue, but then render themselves fine in the final images.
Nikon S1000pj review – Value For Money
What would you pay for a projector rolled into a camera? The £400 asking price for the S1000pj is hardly lean, but then this is new, innovative technology and for that you’ll need to pay top dollar for it. After some time in the market its price will likely drop and, above all, it’s actually quite up-front for Nikon to get such an unusual, exciting product to market. What’s probably most frustrating is the limitations of the compact camera itself and, really, this should be a camera first and foremost. It’s not an unreachable price point, but it is quite a big ask.