The Nikon Coolpix S1100pj is the successor to the Coolpix S1000pj, the world's first compact camera to incorporate a projector. If you want to share your photos without uploading them to a website, it could be just the ticket. This 14.1-megapixel camera also has a 5x optical zoom and a touchscreen. It costs around £300, which is expensive, but this camera's photo-presentation capabilities are unusual.
The S1100pj is available in black or green versions, and will fit snugly in your pocket or purse. Made of metal and plastic, its construction is of the usual high standard we've come to expect from Nikon.
The S1100pj aims to improve on its forebear in a couple of respects. Its resolution is 2 megapixels higher, for a start. At around 14 lumens, the projector is also about 40 per cent brighter than the model on its predecessor, according to Nikon. This enables better projected-image visibility in non-blacked-out conditions, but the darker the room, the clearer the image will be. In daylight, our projected images merely looked like ghostly apparitions.
It's also worth bearing in mind that, although the camera can shoot 14-megapixel images, the projection resolution is a standard-definition 640x480 pixels, so shots inevitably won't appear as sharp as they do on the camera's back-mounted LCD touchscreen.
When displaying images, the image gets larger the further you are from the surface onto which it's projected. Projected images can range in size from 5 inches to 47 inches, according to Nikon. The larger the image is, the less distinct it will appear. All the time you're projecting an image, you'll need to tweak focus via the wheel on top of the camera. It's an easy and quick process, though.
Touch and go
The large, 3-inch touchscreen has a high resolution of 460,000 pixels. Turn the camera on its side when reviewing images and the display flips 90 degrees. This is also the case when projecting pictures.
Shooting options are presented on the touchscreen only, rather than via a physical mode dial. This keeps the camera slim, while also allowing room for a projector focus dial on the top plate, snuggled next to a recessed power button and a large shutter-release button, encircled by a lever for operating the zoom.
Give the lever a nudge and the S1100pj powers through its broader-than-average 28-140mm (35mm-equivalent) focal range in just under 2 seconds. Press the recessed power button on the top plate and you can be up and shooting in 2 seconds.
The S1100pj has a physical button marked 'scene' that offers access not just to 17 scene modes but also to brain-free auto-shooting options. On the camera's back, there's a dedicated button for recording 720p videos too. The optical zoom is folded, so at no point does it protrude from the body.
The S1100pj offers no fewer than five methods of reducing blur, including Nikon's lens-shifting Vibration Reduction mechanism. You'll probably still encounter the effects of camera shake occasionally, though, as there's no proper handgrip.
Do the business
The S1100pj might come in useful for business purposes, therefore, as well as showing photo slideshows to your neighbours. Nikon even suggests you save PowerPoint presentations as JPEG files and project them that way.
Using the on-board paint function, 'handwritten' annotations can be added to your images without needing to go near a computer. All we could manage were childish-looking scribbles, though. Similarly, on-board animations, background music and funky transitional effects can be used with slideshow presentations. You can even give images star ratings to help when searching for individual shots.
For those who want to creatively enhance their photos, the S1100pj affords some limited in-camera editing capability, such as softening a background or introducing a perspective-warping fisheye effect.
We found the camera's images to be both colourful and well-exposed. The images displayed on the screen are a good match for how they appear when downloaded to your desktop or projected. If we've a grumble, it's that there's some loss of focus towards the edges of the frame when shooting at the maximum 28mm-equivalent wide-angle setting, and resolution also drops to three megapixels if you attempt to shoot at the ISO 3,200 or ISO 6,400 settings.
Nikon deserves credit for pursuing an appealing idea with the Coolpix S1100pj. It feels like a niche product, but it works perfectly well as an ordinary, if pricey, snapshot camera too. If Nikon can deliver 3D-projection capability with its third-generation model, then the concept could really take off.
If you're not bothered about the camera's projection capability, much of its other functionality is included in the more modest, £140 Coolpix S5100.
Edited by Charles Kloet