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The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj is a decent point & shoot camera with a neat trick up its sleeve: a built in projector.
In the Box
- The camera
- MH-65 charger
- EN-EL12 Battery
- USB cable
- Analog A/V cable
- Remote control
- Software CD
- Manual & Quick Start guide
- Projection stand
In our color accuracy test, we photograph a color chart and analyze how closely the camera captures this wide range of colors. We found that the Nikon did a very decent job here: most of the colors are very close to the originals. The only issues we saw are that some of the reds are a little muted, and the camera seems to be processing the skin colors to look a little more saturated, presumably to try and give you a healthy glow. More on how we test color.
We found that the standard color mode was the most accurate. The Vivid color mode was also fairly accurate, but it boosted the saturation of the colors significantly.
The S1000pj offers 5 different color modes: standard, vivid, black & white, sepia and cyanotype. These modes do what you would expect, with the Cyanotype producing a blue and white that mimics one of the earliest types of photography, without the noxious chemicals.
We found that the S1000pj did well in our noise tests. However, s are definitely not noise-free, and the low noise comes at the cost of a significant amount of loss of detail in the as the camera processes the to remove the noise. More on how we test noise.
Our first test looks at how the amount of noise changes under two lighting situations: with only a minimal amount of light (60 lux), and with as much light as you would get on a sunny day (3000 lux). In both lighting situations, the amount of noise increased as the ISO was increased, but it didn't get particularly significant until we reached ISO 1600. However, we would recommend keeping the ISO as low as possible, because this low noise comes at the price of a lot of processing that removes many of the details.
If we compare the noise levels of the S1000pj with other cameras, we can see that the noise is significantly lower than most.
The S1000pj has an ISO range of 80 to 1600 at full resolution, but you can expand this up to 6400 if you don't mind dropping down to a 3 megapixel resolution. A full auto setting is also available, as well as a fixed range auto which restricts the ISO range to either 80 to 200 or 80 to 400: useful if you are concerned about the noise that the s the camera captures include at higher settings.
NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.
Overall, we were favorably impressed with the sharpness of the s that this camera captured: they had low distortion, were mostly sharp and had little chromatic aberration. The performance was less impressive at the telephoto end of the zoom range, though; here, the edges of the s got a little soft, with edges getting rather blurry and fine details not being well captured. More on how we test resolution.
We found that the distortion in the s captured by the S1000pj was very low: at the wide and telelphoto end of the zoom range, it was barely measurable. The distortion was a little higher in the middle of the zoom range at around 0.5 per cent, but that's not enough to be a problem.
We found that the s that the S1000pj captured had decent sharpness, although there was some noticeable falloff in the sharpness at the edges of the frame across the zoom range. This was most pronounced at the telephoto end of the zoom range.
Chromatic Aberration ()
We also found that the chromatic aberration (the colored fringing caused by the refraction of the lens elements) was most pronounced at the telephoto end of the zoom range, where it was moderately significant. However, it was much less pronounced in the middle and wide end of the zoom range.
Quality & Size Options
The S1000pj offers a range of sizes, from the maximum 12.1 megapixels (4000 by 3000) down to 640 by 480 pixels.
S1000pj includes both optical and electrical stabilization. In the optical mode (which we used for our tests), the camera moves an element of the lens to compensate for hand shake, and we found that this was pretty effective: it make s significantly sharper with our test rig shaking the camera about.
We do not test the electrical image stabilization features of point & shoot cameras, but they work by increasing the shutter speed when movement is detected. More on how we test image stabilization.
The S1000pj captures video at a maximum resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, at 30 frames a second. The videos are saved as AVI files with motion JPEG compression, which can be imported by most video editing programs. Mono sound is recorded from the small microphone on the front of the camera body. We were not overly impressed with the quality of the video that this camera captures. The video was low in resolution, with jerky movement and poor color.
The video that the S1000pj captured had poor color, with colors being overly saturated to make it look better. This was the case with all of the colors that we test. More on how we test video color.
The video that the S1000pj captured also had poor resolution: we found that fine details were not well captured. When these objects moved, the problems got even worse, with fast moving objects turning into a blurry mess. More on how we test video sharpness.
The S1000pj has a good selection of features for playing back still images and videos. As well as the different displays (shown below), you can create slideshows with a few button presses, complete with music and animated effects. There are also 9 favorite image positions which are stored in the cameras internal memory, so they stay if you swap out the memory cards.
You can also zoom in on images up to 10x. All of these features are available when using both the screen on the back of the camera and the built-in projector.
Basic image editing tools are available: you can crop and resize images, as well as applying a number of image enhancement tools, including a skin smoother and D-lighting, which brings out shadow detail.
Direct Print Options
Support is offered for DPOF and PictBridge printing, which allow you to flag images for printing and to connect to a printer directly.
There is no viewfinder on the S1000pj; everything is done through the LCD screen.
The screen on the back of the S1000pj is a 2.7-inch screen with a resolution of 230k pixels. That's a decent size, but the resolution is a little on the low side, which gives s a slightly grainy look. It is, however, generally adequate and looks good in everything but direct sunlight.
The small flash is located just to the right of the lens, just above the cover of the projector. We found that this flash was very low powered: in total darkness, it only illuminated out to about 6 or 7 feet. That makes it good enough for shooting a flash portrait, but not for capturing animals at the watering hole. This placement of the flash also meant that there was a tendency towards s showing red-eye. The camera tries to deal with this with a red-eye flash mode which uses two short pre-flashes, which works reasonably well.
The S1000pj has a 5x zoom lens built into the camera body: the lens does not protrude from the camera body at all during use. This has a decent zoom range, going from 5mm to 25mm, which is equivalent to a 28mm to 1400m zoom on a 35mm film camera.That provides both a very decent wide angle and enough of a zoom to get in close to the action.
The aperture range of this zoom lens is limited, though: the widest aperture is f/3.9 at the wide zoom setting and f/5.8 at the telephoto end. Below are examples of 3 points on the zoom range.
The S1000pj is powered by a small Lithium Ion battery; the EN-EL12. This holds about 1050 mAh of charge, which is on the low side. Nikon claims a battery life of about 220 shots, and that seems about right; we were able to shoot for a couple of days before the battery ran out of juice. The projector does seem to use a lot of charge, though; running this ran through the battery at a much faster rate than using the screen.
s and video taken by the S1000pj are stored on an SDHC or SD Card that fits into a slot above the battery. A 4 GB SDHC card (which costs about $25) will hold over 8000 s or about 11 minutes of video at the highest resolution and quality setting.
Jacks, Ports & Plugs
The S1000pj connects to the outside world through a single port on the side of the camera body, under a small plastic cover. This port provides for a USB connection (with the included cable) or an analog video output through the included composite video and audio output cable. No option is provided for digital video output from this camera.
The projector is built into the front of the camera and is activated by the button on the left of the top. The slider next to this provides the focus control; the projector can be focused down to a distance of about 12 inches, which produces an about 4 inches across. The LED light source that drives the projector produces about 10 lumens of brightness, which means it is not bright; it is invisible in daylight. To be able to see the properly, you need to be in a darkened room with light colored walls. This means it would work fine at a party or in a restaurant, but not at the beach or in the office. The distance that you project the also makes a difference: the longer the distance, the dimmer the is.
The is also rather low in resolution: at 640 by 480 pixels, the images are significantly grainier than the screen. Both still images and video can be projected, though, and these have decent contrast if they are not projected too far and the surface is white.
To show the projector in action, we took a number of photos in different lighting conditions. In all of the photos below, the projector is projecting onto a white wall from a distance of 4 feet.
As you can see from these examples, the projected image looks good in a dark room, but quickly gets pale and wan with any sort of light. The second image was taken with a single light source in the room, so it's about what you would expect in a darkened restaurant or at a party for goths or vampires. The last photo was taken with typical office light sources on, and the image is barely visible.
Although the projector is limited, it is kind of fun. When I was testing the camera and someone asked me a question about my dog in a restaurant, I was able to pull the camera out and project a couple of photos and a video I had taken that afternoon onto the tablecloth. As long as the room is dark, it can project an image out to several feet that can be clearly seen. Just don't expect it to work in anything but dim light.
The S1000pj includes a lot of scene modes, accessed by pressing the scene button on the back of the camera. For fully automatic use, there is a full auto mode, a smart portrait mode and a subject tracking mode. The smart portrait mode uses both face tracking and smile detection to try and take a photo when the subject is smiling. This is unusual in that it allows you to decide which face is the trigger: useful if you have kids and want to get them smiling, but aren't too worried about the grandparents. you can also add skin smoothing and other processing, as well as blink detection, which flags up a warning of a subject was blinking when the shot was taken.
The subject tracking mode is also useful for children. In this mode, you select a subject to focus on, and the camera attempts to keep that object in focus as it moves around the frame. We found that this had only limited success: the camera wasn't able to track fast-moving objects such as animals and small children. But it worked well with older children and other less animated objects.
Missing from this camera is any sort of manual mode; there is no way to set the shutter speed or aperture directly.
Auto Mode Features
Focus - The S1000pj offers four focus modes: face detection, auto, manual and center. It defaults to the face detection mode. We found that the focus was a little slow to snap into place: it often took a couple of seconds to snap into place. A red LED on the left side of the front of the camera works as an AF illuminator in low light.
Exposure - The S1000pj offers exposure compensation of up to 2 stops up or down, in 1/3 of a stop steps. It does not offer exposure bracketing, though.
Metering - The S1000pj offers no metering modes: you cannot set it to use spot, center weighted or other modes of metering. The only option you get to control metering is to choose a scene mode that meters the scene correctly.
Aperture - The 5X zoom lens built into this camera has an extremely limited aperture range: f/3.9 to f/5.5. That means it can't open the aperture up to gather more light, or stop it down to increase the depth of focus in an image.
Shutter Speed - The shutter speed range of the S1000pj is also limited: it can go from 1/1500 down to 2 seconds in program mode, and out to 4 seconds in the fireworks scene mode.
Self Timer - Two options are available for the self timer: a 10 second and a 2 second delay. In addition, the smile detection focus mode does allow you to automatically take a photo when the chosen subject is smiling.
There are also 17 scene modes available, which include the usual suspects: portrait landscape, snow, party, etc. There is also an automatic scene mode option that automatically chooses the scene mode based on what the camera detects.
The S1000pj offers a few different color modes that allow you to change the colors in an image. Examples of all of them are shown below.
There are the common white balance options: you can leave it on auto or set it to any of 5 presets (including one for flash). Unusually for a point and shoot camera, there is also a mode called preset manual, where you measure the white balance from a white object in the frame.
The S100pj has a couple of tricks up its sleeve when taking several shots together: as well as the standard continuous shooting mode, it offers a mode called BSS (Best Shot Selector), which takes up to 10 shots, but only saves the sharpest single shot. It also offers a mode called Multi 16, which takes 16 smaller shots and composites them together into a single .
Shot to Shot ()
We found the continuous mode of the S100pj to be very slow; we measured it at 0.77 frames a second. It could also only manage a short burst of 4 frames at this speed: subsequent s were shot at a much slower rate as the camera had to pause and write the s out to memory.
The S1000pj fits into the hand well, with a series of small bumps on the back of the camera body that give a firmer grip for the thumb. There is nothing on the front of the body for the fingertips to hold onto, though, so we would recommend use of the wrist strap for ensuring you don't loose your hold.
Buttons & Dials
The shutter and zoom controls of this camera are located on the top of the body, and they both fall naturally under the index finger. We did find that using the zoom control meant loosening the already slightly loose grip on the camera, though.
The other controls are on the back of the camera, and are well placed and laid out for easy access. The controls for the projector are on the top of the body, though, so you will need both hands to use this feature. But you'll need both hands to hold it steady anyway, and the controls are easy to access if you put the camera on a desk or tabletop and project onto a wall.
If you've used a Nikon point-and-shoot in recent years, you won't be surprised by the menu system. It's logically organized, but menu sections run multiple pages in length, so scrolling down to find the option you want to change can be tedious. We prefer the approach of Canon cameras, which put frequently changed options such as ISO setting in a quick access menu.
Manual & Learning
A printed manual is supplied with the camera which covers the basics of using the camera in a decent amount of detail. a Quick Start guide is also included, which focuses on getting up and running with the camera. Both are adequate, but don't explain the more complex features of the camera in any great depth. The manual can be downloaded here.
Samsung TL225 Comparison
In our performance tests, we found that the Sony was the better performer overall, with better color accuracy, resolution and a far superior video mode.The Nikon had lower noise, though, and wasn't that far behind on the other tests.
Both cameras have similar specifications: they both shoot 12-megapixel s and offer a similar telephoto length. The Nikon has the slightly wider end of the zoom range: it goes down to the equivalent of a 28mm lens, while the Sony only offers a 35mm length. The Sony does have a much superior screen, though; it is bigger and much, much sharper. But the Sony does not have a projector.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 Comparison
In our performance tests, the Nikon was the top performer, with higher scores for color, resolution and stabilization. The Nikon did have lower noise, though. Both cameras produced disappointing video, though. Although the Samsung does capture video at a higher resolution than the Nikon, we didn't find it to be much sharper or have much better color.
The Samsung has the advantage of a better list of specifications: it has a bigger screen and has the small front screen for shooting self-portraits. Both cameras are similar in other ways, though: they capture s at a similar resolution and have a similar zoom range (although the Samsung goes slightly wider and has a slightly shorter telephoto end of the zoom range).
In the end, the decision between these two cameras comes down to which would be most useful: the projector of the Nikon, or the dual screens of the Samsung, one of which is large and extremely clear.
In our performance tests, the two cameras were pretty evenly matched; the Panasonic had superior color and image stabilization, but the Nikon had lower noise and
The Panasonic has the advantage in the range of features it offers: it has a much longer zoom lens (12x, against the 5x of the Nikon), a bigger screen and is easier to control and shoot with. What it doesn't have is a projector, and that might be a deciding factor for those who want the coolest toys in town. But for those who want the best photos, the Panasonic is the better pick.
The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj is a decent point & shoot camera with a neat trick up its sleeve: a built in projector. And it's a good trick; the projector provides a whole new way to show off your photos.
There are a few caveats, though; the projector is not especially bright, and the camera has a smaller zoom range than some of its competitors. If you don't need the projector, you'd be better off with a camera that has a wider range of features. But if the projector sounds like a useful feature,the S1000pj combines a decent point & shoot camera with a projector in a small, convenient package.