Novelty gadgets rarely leave a good impression especially if no other manufacturer picks up the trend. They're often dismissed by the tech world as a feeble attempt to create a new market. Fortunately for the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj, it left a mark in our geeky minds that will make us remember it forever.
First off, let us say that even without the projector, the Coolpix is already a solid camera. It's bulkier and heftier than the usual compact cam, but it's very easy to use. There's no Manual mode, and there are only a handful of buttons on the back panel; it's definitely a point-and-shoot camera at its purest.
Picture quality is very impressive, and you'll really see the benefit of having a high ISO rating. Even indoors and with nothing but home fluorescent bulbs lighting the scene, the S1000pj performs very well. Shutter lag is kept to a minimum, allowing you to take spur-of-the-moment photos and actually capture the moment as it happens.
The cam's killer feature is, of course, the built-in projector. You'll be surprised and happy to know that it works as well as advertised and that it's not at all complicated to use – you need only to press 1 button to turn it on.
Images and videos are best viewed in the dark while the unit is placed on a tripod since holding the camera still with your bare hands proves to be quite a challenge. You'll also need a flat, white surface to get the best results, otherwise it will be tough to get the sharpest image using the focusing bar.
Projection sizes range from as little as 3 inches to as large as 50 inches, although picture and video quality start to suffer at around 20 inches. And even at full blast, the built-in speaker is nowhere near loud enough to fill a 10-square meter bedroom. It's best left for nighttime viewing when most of Metro Manila is asleep.
Battery life doesn't seem to suffer much as we were able to take around 100 shots in addition to gratuitous sharing/showing off of photos to friends and even random strangers.
The P29,999 price tag is pretty steep for a point-and-shoot that doesn't have that much features, but we'll be honest when we say that the S1000pj is, in some ways, more enjoyable to use than a super-zoom or even a DSLR. Plus, kids and technophobes could get the hang of it in no time at all.
Click here to see the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj in the Buyer's Guide.