By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
There was a time when sharing photos meant gathering around a slide projector and seeing blown-up versions of pictures appear on a screen. There was a certain elegance in the storytelling qualities of a proper slideshow. This is something Nikon seems to want to bring back with their S1200pj camera/projector combo.
This has been replaced by HDTV screens, the Internet and to an extent by smartphons and tablets. Nikon's innovative S1200pj aims to bring back the classic way to share photos with a digital camera that bundles its own pico projector.
Not only does the Nikon S1200pj ($430) have a built in projector that can project photos and movies onto any flat surface up to 60 inches diagonally.
It is also compatible with iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the S1200pj can project images, movies and web content from these devices.
This is really a device designed around convenience, the all metal body is surprisingly lightweight yet reassuringly solid.
It incorporates a small tilting stand so the procjector can be better angled to play back images and video and the button layou and operation is well designed and easy to figure out.
As a camera, the CoolPix S1200pj offers 14 megapixels with 5x zoom plus the ability to shoot 720p HD video. It even has its own dedicated video button which is convenient and useful. In terms of functionality the S1200pj is similar to most of the other CoolPix cameras with a variety of scene modes, effects and the usual bevy of in camera filters to enable various styles of photography.
It should be quite adept at capturing most snapshot situations and even turning out artistic shots. The camera's price of $430 is about the same as some of the Pico projectors that don't take photos but only work as projectors.
Below is a sampling of random unedited photos taken with the CoolPix S1200pj.
Photo quality was generally okay although we would have liked more contrast and saturation out of the box, some images had a tendency to be washed out.
This product is geared towards users who want the power to be able to share their photos instantly without needing to jump through hoops. In terms of speed and ease of use, the S1200pj can get a slideshow going within a few seconds and that includes sizing and fine tuning the picture.
iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users also get the added bonus of having a device that can project content from the device to a wall. In a sufficiently dark room, it all works quite well and creates a new way to interact with this information.
Nikon's innovation in this area is impressive, that a first generation hybrid product like this works so well is in itself a success. The projector function does use up the battery ( Nikon says it should be good for an hour of use on a full charge) and we're not sure you can replace the bulb once it burns out.
The Nikon CoolPix S1200pj camera is ideal for families or users who want the convenience of taking photos and 720p HD video and the ability to project it on any surface. It also doubles as a great peripheral for iOS devices and we discovered that it makes for an interesting (and expensive) cat toy for cat owner's whose wards love to chase light.
It will be interesting to see if Nikon will include the projector feature in its upcoming products. There is nothing quite like this in the market today.
Rating 4 out of 5