Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Review

January 18, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj is the world's first camera with an integrated projector. A supplied remote control allows you to wirelessly operate both the projector and usual camera functions, and a simple projection stand is supplied for optimal viewing. The more conventional features include a 12-megapixel sensor, a 5x zoom lens with Vibration Reduction and a 2.7” wide viewing-angle TFT LCD monitor. The camera also features Nikon’s Scene Auto Selector, Subject Tracking and Smile Timer technologies as well as face recognition and a blink-proof mode. The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj is available in black or silver for $429.95 / £399.99 / €485.00.

Ease of Use

The difference between the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj and a regular compact becomes obvious as soon as you take a look at the camera’s front plate. That’s because the Nikon has not one, but two lenses – one for taking photos, and another one for projecting them onto a plain wall or canvas. The former is near the top-right corner when viewed front on, shielded by a sliding lens cover when the camera is turned off. The latter is in a more central position below the slimline flash unit. Below the projector lens you find four small holes for the built-in microphone.

 On the top plate, there is a large shutter release surrounded by the zoom rocker, a small and recessed power button and two other controls not normally found on a camera. One of them is a button that activates the integrated projector, while the other one is a slider that you use to focus the projector lens manually.

The rest of the camera looks like a normal compact. The rear panel features a 2.7” TFT LCD screen with a resolution of approximately 230,000 dots, plus a Shooting Mode, a Playback, a Menu and a Delete button as well as a standard four-way pad with centred OK button. The flash mode, exposure compensation, macro and self-timer functions are mapped onto the Up, Right, Down and Left buttons, respectively. These controls are all quite small – we thought the engineers should have been able to make somewhat better use of the – admittedly limited – space available. The camera’s speakers, flash indicator and infrared receiver for the supplied ML-L4 remote control unit are also found in the back.

The Nikon S1000pj runs on a dedicated Lithium-ion battery, and records images as well as videos on SD / SDHC cards. SDXC media are not supported. Battery and card share a common compartment, whose door is found on the bottom of the camera. The tripod socket is located right next to the compartment door, so changing batteries or cards is not possible while the S1000pj is mounted on a tripod. On the other side of the battery/card compartment door is a connector for the optional AC adapter. The only other connection port is the A/V / USB terminal, which is found on the right-hand side of the camera (if viewed from the back).

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Front Rear

The taking lens is a 5x zoom of the internally stacked variety, so it does not extend upon power-up or zooming. In 35mm equivalency, it spans focal lengths ranging from 28mm to 140mm. Aperture-wise it is not particularly fast; its brightness being f/3.9 at the wide end and f/5.8 at full telephoto. Like most small-sensor digicams, the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj lacks an iris diaphragm. In very strong daylight it employs a built-in neutral density filter to avoid overexposure, but this obviously has no effect on depth of field, as the physical size of the aperture does not change.

The S1000pj has Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) feature on board to prevent blurring from camera shake. You won’t notice anything unusual except you can take sharp photos at shutter speeds that are critically slow for the focal length used. Note that Nikon recommends to turn off the VR function when the camera is mounted on a tripod.

There are five shooting modes on offer, accessible via a dedicated button marked with a green camera icon. These include Auto, Scene, Smart Portrait, Subject Tracking and Movie. Somewhat confusingly – though in line with some of Nikon’s other compacts –, Auto is the mode that gives you the most control over the shooting process. No, you don’t get to set shutter speed or aperture directly – the latter would be impossible given the lack of a diaphragm anyway – but you can at least set the ISO speed manually. Other functions accessible in this mode include the flash mode, exposure compensation, macro mode, self-timer, resolution and image quality, white balance, drive mode, colour options and AF area selection.

The options for the latter include face priority, auto and manual. In the default face priority AF mode, the camera tries to find a human face within the frame and focuses on it if it detects one. If no face is detected, the camera defaults to auto area selection, meaning it will try to focus on the subject closest to the camera. If manual AF area selection is enabled, you can choose the AF point yourself from 99 available positions via the four-way buttons after hitting OK. To use these buttons for setting the flash mode, exposure compensation, macro mode or the self-timer, press OK again. Another thing you can have in Auto mode but not in the other shooting modes is a framing grid. This aids you in composition and can help you with keeping your verticals vertical and your horizon horizontal.

The camera also has sixteen pre-programmed scene modes as well as a Scene Auto Selector. The scene modes on offer include Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Backlight and Panorama Assist. The accessibility and behaviour of the various shooting functions (such as flash mode or autofocus area selection) depends on which shooting mode you are in. By enabling the Scene Auto Selector, you entrust the camera with picking the right scene mode at its own discretion. In this case, it can only  choose from Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Close-Up and Backlight.

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Nikon Coolpix S1000pj


In the shooting mode called Smart Portrait, the face priority and smile timer functions are activated. In other words, the camera hunts for human faces, keeps track of them, and if it detects a smile, it even fires off the shutter for you. The S1000pj can detect up to three faces, but it will always focus on the one closest to the centre of the frame and will only take a shot if a smile appears on that particular face. You have no way of telling the camera to focus on and monitor a different face within the frame. You can, however, take a picture any time you want to, by pressing the shutter release button as normal.

In Smart Portrait Mode, you can also have the camera digitally soften the skin of people automatically after capture. The level of skin softening can be specified by the user. The default is Normal, with a High and a Low option also available. Skin softening can also be turned off. Furthermore, the S1000pj has a blink-proof mode, in which two shots are taken in rapid succession, and if the subject's eyes happen to be closed in one of them, the camera discards that photo, while keeping the other one. The flash is disabled in blink-proof mode, as it cannot recycle fast enough.

Although as we have seen the Coolpix S1000pj has a Sports scene mode available, the photographer can also opt for a shooting mode called Subject Tracking when photographing subjects in motion. In this mode, the user is required to first align the subject with the AF area indicator in the middle of the frame, then press OK to tell the camera to track that subject as it moves around. During subject tracking, the camera focuses continuously and you can therefore hear the focus motor doing its job. Somewhat surprisingly, a half-press of the shutter release button still causes the camera to refocus. Once focus is locked via the half-press, the camera stops tracking the subject, so you need to depress the shutter release fully as quickly as possible to avoid the subject moving out of focus. In other words, while the concept of the Subject Tracking mode is good, the implementation is not without faults.

The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj has a rather basic movie mode. Resolution can be either VGA (640x480 pixels) or QVGA (320x240 pixels), while the frame rate can be either 30fps or 15fps. No form of HD movie recording is on offer. The optical zoom and exposure compensation are disabled while filming. Up to 2x digital zoom is available, and macro mode can be enabled or disabled before recording a clip. Focusing occurs at the beginning of the clip, after which focus remains locked until the end of recording. A single take cannot be longer than 25 minutes.

Once you've captured a photo or a movie clip, you can enter Playback mode via its dedicated button. The user can choose from a number of viewing modes, including full frame, magnified view, and index views of 4, 9 or 16 thumbnails. A calendar display is also available. In Auto Sort mode, pictures can be viewed according to the type of scene they depict in the camera's judgement. Alternatively, you can assign images to albums manually.

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Your photos can also be retouched in camera after capture, though the options are limited to a quick contrast and saturation boost, post-capture D-lighting (lightening of deep shadows), skin softening and image downsizing, as well as a few combinations of the above. Surprisingly, there is no post-capture red-eye removal function, so if you have forgotten to set the flash mode to red-eye reduction when taking the shot, you can only remove it once you have transferred the photo to a computer. You can go back from Playback to Record mode at any time by pressing either the Shooting Mode button or the shutter release.

So far the S1000pj sounds like a run-of-the-mill compact – but let us not forget that one big trick it has up its sleeve: the integrated projector! As mentioned earlier, you activate the projector by pressing its dedicated button on the top left of the camera. Then you move the device closer to, or further from, the wall or canvas in order to achieve the desired image size. Finally, adjust focus using the slider on the top of the camera. The throw distance can be set from 26cm to 2m, while the longer dimension of the projected picture can vary between ~13cm and 1m. The apparent brightness and contrast of the image obviously depends a lot on the ambient light and the distance between the camera and the wall/canvas.

The output resolution is only 640x480 pixels – so you have a 12-megapixel camera that projects a 0.3-megapixel image! That said I did not notice any obvious pixelation, but it was clear that the image quality from the S1000pj's integrated digital projector is no match for a classic 35mm slide. Not only is its resolution much lower but the projected image is also a lot less bright and the colours are far less vibrant too. Viewing a movie clip is a totally different experience though: the low resolution and the faded colours lend a decidedly retro feel to the show – it's as if you were watching an amateur film shot on a Super 8 camera in the seventies! Quite addictive I would say.

Although the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj ships with a small projector stand, it's a much better idea to mount it on a tripod instead, if / when possible. That's because pictures are projected at a slight upward angle when the camera is placed on the stand, which causes a keystoning effect. It is also recommended to use the supplied remote control unit when using the S1000pj as a projector. It will make your job a lot easier. Finally, be reminded that the projector is rather power-hungry – it will deplete a freshly charged battery in about an hour. Purchasing the separately sold AC adapter might therefore be a good idea.

The camera comes with a 172-page manual that is also downloadable as a PDF from the Nikon USA website. It is quite thorough and very well cross-referenced. Nikon also supplies a Software Suite CD that includes Nikon Transfer, Nikon View NX and Panorama Maker. The first two are standard Nikon camera / imaging applications, while the latter is used to stitch together images shot in the Panorama Assist scene mode.

In summary the Nikon S1000pj is a pretty average digital compact camera with a twist that makes it an interesting and so far unique proposition in a very crowded marketplace.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12.1 megapixel High JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

During the review period, the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj produced images of average quality. Centre sharpness was generally high, but the corners tended to be noticeably worse. Colours on the whole were true to life, although reds sometimes took on an orange hue. The 5x lens suffers from a bit of vignetting, especially at the wide end. This phenomenon is aggravated by the use of the flash, which does not have enough coverage to evenly illuminate the scene in a wide-angle shot. ISO performance was far from stellar, with the effects of noise reduction being noticeable even at base ISO, and getting progressively worse higher up the sensitivity ladder. On a more positive note, the S1000pj’s macro performance was very good.


At full resolution, there are 6 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj.  Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting between ISO 80 and ISO 1600. (There are two more settings, ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, but they are only available at reduced resolution.)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj's 5x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:




Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can't change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

For a camera with an internally stacked zoom, the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj handled chromatic aberrations well. Here are a couple of 100% crops that show what you can expect in the worst case.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj has an excellent macro mode. The minimum focus distance is 3cm, and optimum results are achieved with the lens zoomed in a little. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject. The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj are Auto, Flash On, Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Off. These shots of a white ceiling were taken at a subject distance of 1.5m. It is obvious that the flash struggles to evenly illuminate the entire subject at the wide end of the zoom range, but the flash coverage issue is much less severe at the maximum telephoto setting. In the photos taken without flash, we can also see a bit of light fall-off in the corners.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. The flash has a red-eye reduction setting, though in this test there was not much of a redeye effect to begin with.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The slowest shutter speed of the Nikon Coolpix S100pj is 4 seconds in the Fireworks show scene mode, and even less in the other shooting modes, which is disappointing news if you are seriously interested in night photography. The following example was taken at a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 400. We have included a 100% crop to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj camera, which were all taken using the 12.1 megapixel High JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 640x480 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 10 second movie is 10.8Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Front of the Camera / Lens Opened

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Rear of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Top of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Bottom of the Camera


Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Battery Compartment
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Battery Compartment
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Memory Card Slot
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Memory Card Slot


The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj caused quite a stir when it was announced. We are used to more and more features being crammed into digital cameras, but an integrated projector was something truly novel. And, while we are sure that the future will bring more cameras sporting this “accessory”, it has been successful in making the Nikon S1000pj completely unique in the current digicam market. In use, the projector does not really disappoint, although its modest VGA resolution and dull colours mean it's no match for a traditional slide show created using a good old 35mm slide projector. Its ability to project movie clips as well as stills has, however, been a big hit with us, and made us fans at once.

If the concept of a built-in projector doesn't take your fancy at all, the Coolpix S1000pj becomes much less of an irresistible proposition. Discounting that one big trick, it is a fairly average point-and-shoot camera with so-so image quality, mostly undersized buttons, no proper manual control over exposure or focusing, and a rather disappointing video mode. Having a 28mm equivalent wide angle lens is a nice touch, though a lot less of a rarity than it used to be.

So to round it off, if the idea of being able to show your photos and videos to an audience in a way you can't with other currently available digicams, the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj will definitely be to your liking. If you simply want a versatile compact camera with good image quality, there are better alternatives around.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj from around the web. »

A digital camera with a built-in projector? Someone at Nikon's been thinking so far outside the box that they don't even know where the box is anymore. The 12.1-megapixel Coolpix S1000pj might be just the ticket for business types looking to give presentations, old-fashioned slideshow fans and anyone else with about £350 to spare.
Read the full review » »

The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj is the world's first point-and-shoot digital camera with a unique built-in projector. It is a handsome ultra compact digital camera that easily slips into a Jeans pocket or a small fashion purse. Handling is good and the controls and menu are intuitive to use. It produces average to good image quality and, as is common with point-and-shoot cameras, higher ISOs are visibly noisy.
Read the full review » »

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.
Read the full review »


Effective pixels

12.1 million

Image sensor

1/2.3-in. CCD; total pixels: approx. 12.39 million


5x zoom NIKKOR; 5.0-25.0mm (equivalent with 35mm [135] format picture angle: 28-140mm); f/3.9-5.8; Digital zoom: up to 4x (35mm [135] format picture angle: 560mm)

Focus range (from lens)

30cm (1 ft.) to infinity (∞), Macro mode: 3cm (1.2 in.) to infinity (∞)


2.7-in., approx. 230k-dot, TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating

Storage media

Internal memory (approx. 36 MB), SD/SDHC memory cards*

* Not compatible with Multi Media Cards (MMC).

Image size (pixels)

4000 x 3000 (High: 4000?/Normal: 4000), 3264 x 2448 (Normal: 3264), 2592 x 1944 (Normal: 2592), 2048 x 1536 (Normal: 2048), 1024 x 768 (PC: 1024), 640 x 480 (TV: 640), 3968 x 2232 (16:9: 3968)

Vibration Reduction (VR)

Combination lens-shift and electronic VR

ISO sensitivity

ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200*, 6400*, Auto (auto gain ISO 80-800), Fixed range auto (ISO 80-200, 80-400)

* ISO 3200 and 6400 are available only for image sizes of 3M (2048 x 1536) or smaller


Hi-Speed USB

Power sources

Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (supplied), AC Adapter EH-62F (optional)

Battery life

Approx. 220 shots with EN-EL12 battery

Dimensions (WxHxD)

Approx. 99.5 x 62.5 x 23 mm (4 x 2.5 x 0.9 in.) excluding projections


Approx. 155 g (5.5 oz.) without battery and SD/SDHC memory card

Supplied accessories*

Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Battery Charger MH-65, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP14, Strap AN-CP19, Projector Stand ET-2, Remote Control ML-L4, Software Suite CD-ROM

* Supplied accessories may differ by country or area.

Optional accessories

AC Adapter EH-62F


Brightness* : up to 10 lumens; Image size : 5 to 40 in.; Throw distance : approx. 26cm to 2m (10 in. to 6 ft. 6 in.); Endurance (battery life)** : approx. 1 hour ; Resolution (output) : VGA equivalent

* Measurement, measuring conditions and method of notation all comply with ISO 21118.

** Based on continuous use of a fully-charged EN-EL12 battery at 25°C/77°F

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