Nikon's new Coolpix S1000pj has a unique feature we haven't seen before in a camera: a built-in projector for playing back photos and videos.
The Coolpix S1000pj also comes with a 12-megapixel sensor, a 5X optical Nikkor zoom lens (28mm to 240mm), a 2.7-inch-diagonal LCD, and ISO levels of up to 3200 at full resolution (as well as ISO 6400 at a three-megapixel resolution).The miniature projector (on the front and center of the camera) has a 10-inch to 6.5-foot throw range, standard-definition VGA resolution, and a brightness rating of 10 lumens.
In some brief hands-on time with the S1000pj, the projector worked well in a dimly-lit room, and images were sharp when projected on a blank white surface about a foot away from the camera. The projector still produced visible images when projected onto a wall about 10 feet away, but they were (understandably) much less sharp and bright.
The S1000pj's projector was designed by Nikon, and most mini projectors (such as the Optoma Pico Pocket Projector) fall within the same brightness and throw-distance ranges; most office and home-theater projectors fall in the much brighter, 1000-plus lumen range. With that in mind, you shouldn't expect to host many drive-in movies with the S1000pj, but it could be the source of some nice party tricks (not to mention projecting virtual "Kick Me" signs on peoples' backs).
Three other 12-megapixel Coolpix cameras were part of today's announcement, and all will be available in September. The highest-end model of the other three is the slim, touchscreen-capable Nikon Coolpix S70 ($400).
The S70 features a bright, whopping 3.5-inch-diagonal OLED screen and no physical controls other than the shutter button. The touchscreen supports gestures such as finger swipes and pinching during photo playback, as well as a "Touch Shutter" feature that snaps a photo once you tap the screen. Besides having a dual image-stabilization system and a 5X optical Nikkor zoom lens (28mm to 240mm), the S70 shoots 720p HD video at 30 frames per second.