Like any item of fashionable personal electronics, digital cameras are subjects to fads and trends. Over the past few years we've seen innovations such as face detection, wide-angle zoom lenses, mechanical image stabilisation and more recently 720p HD video recording sweep through the market, to the point where it's almost impossible to find a camera that doesn't have at least one of those features. Manufacturers are always looking for the “next big thing”, because the first one to hit the market with a new trend stands to make a lot of profit as the fashion-conscious public snap them up.
Nikon just might have hit on the next must-have fashion in digital cameras with the launch of the CoolPix S1000pj, the first digital camera to be equipped with a built-in projector, capable of showing captured images and video on a screen, a wall or any other convenient flat surface. There's no question that it's a clever idea, because it overcomes one limitation of digital cameras, that of sharing your pictures with more than one person at a time. The only question is whether or not Nikon's implementation works well enough to succeed, or whether it's just a gimmick.
Before we come to the projector though, let's take a look at the S1000pj as a camera. Its basic specification is identical to its stablemate the CoolPix S70, which was launched at the same time. It has a 12.1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor, a vertically mounted internal 5x zoom lens with a 28mm wide-angle and optical image stabilisation, and a 2.7-inch LCD monitor with a resolution of 230k dots. The body is solidly made, mostly of aluminium with some plastic trim, and despite having to make room for the projector alongside all the usual internal components it is surprisingly slim, measuring 99.5 x 62.5 x 23mm, no bigger than a typical pocket compact camera. Unsurprisingly though it is quite heavy for its size, weighing a hefty 178g including battery and memory card. This is one for the coat pocket, not the shirt pocket.