The control layout is fairly typical for a simple auto-only compact camera, with a small but well labelled D-pad, four buttons and a rotary zoom control. Shooting mode selection accessed is by pressing the green shooting button. In terms of photographic capabilities the S1000pj is strictly point-and-shoot, but it does have some sophisticated automatic features. It has five main shooting modes consisting of full auto, a scene mode with 17 scene programs including auto scene selection, Smart Portrait mode with face detection, blink detection, skin softening and smile timer, a subject tracking AF mode and video recording mode. Video quality is 640 x 480 resolution at 30fps with mono audio and digital-only zoom.
There are already a number of stand-alone LED-powered pocket projectors available, but rather than shoe-horn an existing third-party design into their camera Nikon has instead come up with its own projector technology. The projector itself is located vertically in the centre of the camera and looks out periscope-style via the extra lens just below the flash. It is illuminated by a powerful white LED, with the VGA-quality image generated by a reflective LCD panel.
We’ve seen some stand-alone pico-projectors before, and we’ve not been particularly impressed by their performance. I will readily admit to being no expert regarding projectors, but as far as I’ve been able to determine the S1000pj’s 10-lumen brightness is a bit feeble compared to the better stand-alone units, but is brighter than some. In practical terms like any projector it is better in a darkened room, but it is bright enough to shine a clearly visible image on a wall under normal domestic lighting. The projected image is the size of A4 paper at 60cm distance or the width of a door at 2m. Using a proper reflective-surface projection screen the image is quite watchable at 2.5m, however shining on a painted wall even in complete darkness it’s at its best at distances of less than 1.5m.
The camera is supplied with a small angled stand and an infrared remote control, so it is possible to use it for little table-top slide shows, complete with a choice of frame transitions, adjustable frame interval and even background music. The projector does drain the battery though, and herein lies a slight handicap. Overseas versions of the S1000pj come with a mains adaptor that has a USB 12V output, so the camera can be powered while still running, but the UK version just comes with the standard Nikon battery charger, which can only charge the battery out of the camera. As far as I am aware the mains adaptor is not available in the UK.
Despite this hitch I have to say I’m more impressed with the performance of the projector than I expected to be, and there’s no doubt that it you have a projection screen the image isn’t at all bad. As projectors go however however it’s not that sophisticated. It has to be focused manually using a rather clumsy slider on the top panel, and also has no skew correction, so you have to hold the camera perpendicular to the screen to avoid distortion.