Squeezing a projector into a digital camera would have one time seemed an impossible feat of engineering. Yet that’s just what Nikon has achieved with its 14.1-megapixel S1200pj, updating the S1100pj. A body not much larger than a pack of playing cards features two front openings: one for a camera lens with internally stacked 5x optical zoom mechanism, the other for the projector. The latter is capable of displaying a 640 x 480 pixel image at a modest brightness of 20 lumens, and between 5in and 60in in size. See also Group test: what's the best compact camera?
The projector is simple to use. The further away the camera is placed from the surface it’s projecting onto, the larger the image displayed. Move closer and the projection gets smaller. There’s a manual focus dial on the top plate to ensure the image is as sharp as possible. It’s a bit of fun that will amuse the kids, as well as providing the opportunity for an impromptu slideshow down the pub, but there are other more practical applications. Visit Group test: what's the best digital camera?
The previous-generation model allowed the camera to be hooked up to a laptop to relay the image on the computer’s screen via the projector – useful for a business presentation – now the S1200pj adds the same compatibility with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. See also Nikon Coolpix P500 review
You’ll need a special cable (not supplied) to connect your Apple devices, with a port on the camera’s side for this purpose, alongside AV and USB 2.0 output. The flipside is that the Nikon sacrifices HDMI output in the process, but it could be argued that since it can project an image larger than most TV screens this isn’t an issue.
Nikon’s unique S1200pj offers two ways to view its images, via the 3in back screen or as a projection up to 60in wide
Integral projector aside, this Coolpix is still a decent camera in its own right with picture quality on a par with a £200 point-and-shoot snapshot. However, this one retails for £379.99. To be critical, at maximum 28mm wide-angle setting there’s some loss of focus towards the corners of the frame, even if its 186g weight and solid build enabled us to hold the camera steady enough for sharp results at maximum zoom (equivalent to 140mm in 35mm terms). Despite the fact that you’ll have to pay £150 more than a non-projecting snapper, this is an innovative compact with the requisite wow factor.