Nikon Coolpix S1100pj Review

October 29, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix S1100pj is the world's second camera with an integrated projector, replacing last year's S1000PJ model. The new S1100pj features a 40 percent brighter 14-lumen internal projector complete with a built-in stand. Other improvements include a touch screen interface that allows you to focus and take a picture or video simply by touching the relevant area on the screen, slide show function that plays photos with music, and one-touch HD 720p movie recording with easy projection playback. The 14.1-megapixel Coolpix S1100pj also has a 5x zoom lens with Vibration Reduction and a 3 inch touch-sensitive LCD monitor with 460k dots. The Nikon Coolpix S1100pj is available in black, silver, green and purple priced at $349.95 / €414.00 / £349.99.

Ease of Use

The difference between the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj and a regular compact camera becomes obvious as soon as you take a look at the front of the camera. That's because the S1100pj 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 in 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.

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, encircled by a dial that you use to focus the projector lens manually.

The rest of the S1100pj looks more like a normal compact. The rear panel features a 3-inch touchscreen TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 460k dots, a big improvement on the size and resolution of the S1100pj's screen, plus Movie Record, Shooting Mode and Playback buttons. The camera's speakers, flash indicator and infrared receiver for the supplied ML-L4 remote control unit are also found on the back.

The S1100pj's user interface relies mostly on the 3.5 inch touchscreen, sharing a lot in common with the Coolpix S80 that we recently reviewed. The screen's much-improved resolution of 460,000 dots is fitting for a 3 inch display. In practice, we found the touchscreen control system to be effective in terms of both speed and sensitivity, although we still sometimes found ourselves in a menu we had not wished to enter, while at other times we had to push a "button" repeatedly until it did what we wanted it to do.

The Nikon S1100pj runs on a dedicated Lithium-ion battery, and records images as well as videos on SD / SDHC / SDXC cards. The battery and card share a common compartment, whose door is found on the bottom of the camera. The number of images that can be captured on a single charge is a rather average 220, though the actual figure may vary with the amount of flash and zoom usage.

The rudimentary but still effective built-in stand for projection is a new addition to the S1100pj, tilting the camera back and keeping it stable on a level surface. The tripod socket is located right next to the stand and battery compartment, so changing batteries or cards is not possible while the S1100pj is mounted on a tripod. 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).

The S1100pj's shooting lens is identical to its predecessor's - 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 S1100pj 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.

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Front Rear

The S1100pj 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 four main shooting modes on the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj, accessible via a dedicated button marked with a green camera icon, which include Easy Auto, Auto, Scene, and Smart Portrait. Somewhat confusingly, Auto is the mode that gives you the most control over the shooting process. 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 set the ISO speed manually, which is something you cannot do in the other modes. Functions and features accessible in this mode include the self-timer, flash mode, image quality setting, exposure compensation, touch shooting, macro, drive mode, white balance, and zoom. All of these functions have clearly labelled virtual buttons, which you can operate at a touch of a finger.

The Easy Auto mode is similar to Auto, but with less user control options provided. 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.

In the Smart Portrait mode, 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 S1100pj 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 S1100pj 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.

The Nikon Coolpix S1100pj features an improved 720p HD video mode. The video features are basic: you can turn touch shooting on or off, switch the macro mode on or off, and set the movie quality (720p HD at 30 frames per second, VGA or QVGA at either 30 or 15fps). You cannot manually set white balance, gain or exposure compensation, neither is there an AE lock function. The 5x optical zoom can thankfully be used while filming, an improvement on the S1000pj, but the sound is still mono. The clips are compressed using the Quicktime codec and stored in a MOV container.

The S1100pj allows you to focus and take a picture or video simply by touching the relevant area on the screen. The Touch Shooting "button" brings up a menu with three choices, Touch Shutter, Subject Tracking and Touch AF/AE.

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj Nikon Coolpix S1100pj


Touch Shutter means that touching the screen at any given point of the frame will result in the camera's focusing on that point and immediately snapping a picture upon achieving focus. This is quite a fast way of snapping a photo - while focusing speeds are not SLR class, the fact that you can pick a focus point by simply touching the desired part of the frame, and then not have to even touch the shutter release to initiate autofocus and image capture means that the entire picture taking process may actually take less time than with an SLR. On the flip side, enabling this function may cause you to take a few photos involuntarily.

By contrast, Touch AF/AE is simply AF point selection by touch, which still requires you to press the shutter release to actually take a shot. This was the setting I ended up using most of the time. Finally, Subject Tracking lets you pick a subject by touch, and allows the camera to follow that subject if it moves within the frame. This feature works best when the selected subject is - or has - a human face.

You can access the Setup menu by pressing the icon at the bottom of the touch-screen and then selecting the spanner icon. This is where you can turn off Vibration Reduction when shooting from a tripod, set the date and time, mute or enable all electronic sounds, switch off the digital zoom function, format the memory card, and access a few less important or rarely used features.

While the S1100pj's gesture and multi-touch support come into play in some of the shooting modes too, where exposure compensation, colour temperature or saturation can be set using a sweeping gesture, depending on the selected shooting mode, it is in playback where they can really be exploited. Going from one image to the next is done by way of a sweep of a finger, while you can zoom in and out of a photo by pinching. Apple iPhone users will be familiar with this, but it has to be noted that none of these effects is as immediate or fluid as on an iPhone, for example. The Nikon S1100pj has an orientation sensor, and can rotate the images and icons based on how you are holding the camera.

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. Quite surprisingly, the camera does not display any meaningful exposure data along with the photo you are viewing; nor does it provide a histogram to judge exposure (there is no live histogram in record mode, either).

On the other hand, there are quite a few post-capture image modification / retouching functions, including D-lighting, stretching, perspective control, six creative effects - Color, Soft, Selective Color, Cross Screen, Fisheye and Miniature - plus Glamor Retouch, which applies adjustments only to faces in an image. You can also decorate your photos with hearts, stars and other shapes, add a frame, draw and paint over the top, view a slideshow with music, insert a date stamp, rate your images out of five, downsize them for Web resolution or add a voice memo.

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

So far the S1100pj sounds like a pretty run-of-the-mill compact – but let us not forget that it has one big trick 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 S1100pj closer to, or further from, the wall or canvas in order to achieve the desired image size. Finally, adjust focus using the circular dial on the top of the camera.

The throw distance can be set from 26cm to 2.4m, while the longer dimension of the projected picture can vary between 5 and 47 inches. 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 14-megapixel camera that projects a 0.3-megapixel image. That said we didn't notice any obvious pixelation, but it was clear that the image quality from the S1100pj's integrated digital projector is no match for a classic 35mm slide. Not only is its resolution lower but the projected image is also less bright and the colours are less vibrant too, although the 14-lumen internal projector is a marked improvement on the original S1000pj model.

Nikon have also added the ability to project any data that is stored on a PC and being viewed on the computer screen via its USB connector, instantly making the S1100pj viable as a relatively inexpensive and portable device for business users - a clever move on their part which should widen this camera's user base.

Although the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj has a small built-in projector stand, it's a much better idea to mount it on a tripod instead when possible. That's because pictures are projected at a slight upward angle when the stand is deployed, which causes a keystoning effect. It is also recommended to use the supplied remote control unit when using the S1100pj as a projector. 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 is therefore a good idea for extended use.

The camera comes with a comprehensive manual that is also downloadable as a PDF from the Nikon website. It is quite thorough and very well cross-referenced. Nikon 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.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14 megapixel High JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix S1100pj produced images of above average quality during the review period. The 1/2.33 inch, 14 megapixel sensor used in the S1100pj suffers from noisy images even at the relatively slow speed of ISO 200. ISO 400 exhibits quite visible noise and colour desaturation, and ISO 800 is even noisier, although still usable for small prints. ISO 1600 is best avoided altogether, while the fastest settings of ISO 3200 and 6400 are reduced to just 3 megapixels.

The Coolpix S1100pj dealt fairly well with chromatic aberrations, with some purple fringing effects appearing mostly in high contrast situations. The flash worked fairly well indoors, with a little red-eye and adequate exposure, except in the corners of the frame at the wide-angle setting. The night photograph was poor, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds not allowing you to capture enough light.

Macro performance is very good, only allowing you to focus as close as 3cms away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. Anti-shake is a feature that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range.


At full resolution, there are 8 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj.  Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting. Note that ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 are only available at a reduced resolution of 3 megapixels.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 320 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix S1100pj'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)


File Quality

There are two JPEG quality settings available at full resolution, Normal and High. On the camera, the latter is denoted with an asterisk next to the megapixel count. The Coolpix S1100pj doesn't shoot RAW. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options.

14M High (100% Crop) 14M Normal (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

For a camera with an internally stacked zoom, the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj 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 S1100pj has a very good 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 S1100pj 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 80. We have included a 100% crop to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

Vibration Reduction is Nikon's name for anti-shake, which in the Coolpix S1100pj works via a sensor-shift mechanism. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/3rd / 28mm
0.7 sec / 140mm

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj camera, which were all taken using the 14 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 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 12 second movie is 14.2Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Front of the Camera / Lens Opened

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Front of the Camera / Projector On

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Rear of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Rear of the Camera / Touchscreen


Nikon Coolpix S1100pj

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Rear of the Camera / Projector On
Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Top of the Camera
Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Bottom of the Camera
Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Side of the Camera
Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Side of the Camera
Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Front of the Camera
Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Front of the Camera
Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Memory Card Slot
Nikon Coolpix S1100pj
Battery Compartment


The S1100pj is the second digital camera with an integrated projector from Nikon and is a more refined version of last year's model, adding a brighter projector with a built-in stand, touch-screen interface and 720p HD movies. The continued lack of competition and new ability to project any computer file in addition to video and still images from the camera should widen the S1100pj's appeal further to include the business user.

The new projector unit is quite a big improvement on the S1100pj's predecessor, being brighter and therefore offering a greater range, although its continued modest VGA resolution and rather dull colours still can't compete with a traditional 35mm slide projector. As a pocketable device that can instantly project stills, movies and any file on your PC, though, the S1100pj is a relatively inexpensive and straight-forward way to share your creativity and work with family and colleagues alike.

The implementation of Nikon's effective touch-sensitive interface and innovative features such as the Touch Shutter that lets you focus on your subject and take a picture very quickly make perfect sense, with the ability to use the supplied remote control for slideshow presentations making operation of the S1100pj either hands-on or off.

The inevitable increase in the megapixel count to 14 doesn't detract from the S1100pj's image quality, but it doesn't raise it above average either. Noise at slow ISO speeds, light fall-off and inconsistent sharpness at the edge of the frame, and a poor night mode contribute to merely adequate photographs. Video performance is better thanks primarily to increase in resolution to 720p, the ability to use the optical zoom during recording and the more economical MOV format, although the video features on offer are still somewhat basic.

Considered as just a digital camera, the S1100pj doesn't offer anything out of the ordinary, with so-so image quality, no proper manual control over exposure or focusing, average video mode and a high price tag. Being able to show-off your photos, videos and work to an audience in a way that you can't with other digicams, however, instantly elevates the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj above the competition, for both casual and business users alike.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 3.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj.

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj is the World's first and currently only digital camera to have a built-in projector, perfect for sharing your photos and videos quickly and easily with friends and family. In addition to this ground-breaking feature, the S1000pj also offers 12 megapixels, a 5x zoom with 28mm wide-angle setting, and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. True innovation comes at a price though, with the Nikon S1000pj retailing for an eye-watering $429.95 / £399.99 / €485.00. Zoltan Arva-Toth discovers if the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj really can re-create the excitement of those old 35mm slide-shows in our in-depth review.

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj from around the web. »

You might think a digital camera with a built-in projector is merely a novelty, but if you get the chance to play with the Nikon COOLPIX S1100pj you will realise just how great it can be to share photos by shining them on to a wall or your friend's overly large forehead.
Read the full review »


Effective pixels 14.1 megapixels
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. RGB CCD, 14.48 total megapixels
Lens Optical 5x zoom, NIKKOR lens
Focal length 5.0-25.0mm (35mm format equivalent to 28-140mm)
Aperture f/3.9-5.8
Lens construction 13 elements in 9 groups
Digital zoom Maximum 4x (35mm format equivalent to approx. 560mm)
Focus range (from lens) Approx. 30cm (1 ft.) to infinity (at wide-angle setting), approx. 50cm (1 ft. 8 in.) to infinity (at telephoto setting) Macro mode: Approx. 3 cm (1.2 in.) to infinity (at wider setting than ? mark position)
Vibration Reduction (VR) Lens-shift type + electronic type
Other blur-reduction functions Motion Detection (conventional type), BSS (Best Shot Selector)
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 80,100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (pixel addition), 6400 (pixel addition), Auto (ISO 80 to 800), Fixed range auto (ISO 80 to 200, ISO 80 to 400)
LCD monitor 7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 460k-dot, TFT LCD monitor (HVGA) [resistive touch panel] with Clear Color Display and brightness adjustment
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 79 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card* *Not compatible with Multi Media Card (MMC)
Face-priority AF/ max. number of faces to be detected 12, Face priority, Face-priority AE, Face Zoom-in
Skin Softening During shooting/playback
Smile Timer Up to three smiling faces can be detected, can be switched on/off
Blink Proof Takes two sequential shots, can be switched on/off
Blink Warning Can be switched on/off
In-Camera Red-Eye Fix Automatically corrects red eye digitally, no pre-flashes
Subject Tracking* Auto Lock-on /AF activation/Tracking Restart not available *Tracks a touched subject automatically
Scene modes 17 scene modes (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Copy, Backlight, Panorama assist). Draw option is not available.
Scene Auto Selector 6 scene modes + Auto mode (Portrait, Landscape, Night portrait, Night landscape, Close-up, Backlight)
Movie HD 720p: 1,280 x 720/30 fps, VGA ?: 640 x 480/30 fps, VGA: 640 x 480/15 fps, QVGA?: 320 x 240/30 fps, QVGA: 320 x 240/15 fps
D-Lighting Yes
Color Options 5 Color Options (Standard color, Vivid color, Black-and-white, Sepia, Cyanotype)
Quick Retouch Yes
Slideshow with music Built-in; Music: 3 kinds, Image effects: 4 kinds
File-sorting functions Rating function, Auto Sort mode, Favorite Pictures playback, List by date mode
Interface/Direct print compatibility Hi-Speed USB/PictBridge
Supported languages 24 languages (products for Japan feature Japanese/English only)
Projector Single light/single plate system Brightness: Up to 14 lumens*, image size: 5 to 47 in., throw distance: approx. 0.26 to 2.4 m, endurance (battery life): approx. 1 hour with EN-EL12, resolution (output): VGA equivalent *Average value at shipment; based on JIS 6911 (Method of notation for data projector 2003); measurement and measuring conditions are based on Appendix 2
Power sources Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (1050 mAh), AC Adapter EH-62F (option)
Number of shots per charge (battery life)* Approx. 220 frames with EN-EL12 Based on CIPA Standards for measuring life of batteries
Dimensions (width x height x depth) Approx. 100.8 x 62.7 x 24.1 mm/4.0 x 2.5 x 1.0 in. (excluding projections)
Weight* Approx. 180 g/6.4 oz. (including battery and SD memory card) approx. 155 g/5.5 oz. (camera body only) *Based on CIPA Guidelines, DCG-005-2009

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