As we increasingly use handheld devices as the primary way to share photos and videos, the inevitable conflict arises: how do you keep the device stylishly compact while including a display big enough for the whole gang to huddle around? Nikon's the first--although likely not the last--to address the problem by integrating a tiny projector into its Coolpix S1000pj so that you can display your photos up to 40 inches tall on any surface.
The LCOS projector is rated for up to 10 lumens (brightness), with contrast ratio of 30:1 and a throw of about 10 inches to 6.5 feet in VGA resolution to project an image between 5 and 40 inches high. According to Nikon, the battery will last approximately an hour of continuous projection. It will ship with a stand and a wireless remote.
The camera itself is the typical Nikon point-and-shoot fare. The internal 5x zoom lens covers a 28-140mm-equivalent focal range, but with a maximum aperture of f3.9-5.8, it's awfully slow. It incorporates the standard features rolling out in its siblings, including the 12-megapixel sensor and 2.7-inch 230,000-dot LCD. Like the other cameras announced out this week, it adds motion detection--automatically sensing movement and bumping up ISO sensitivity and shutter speed to freeze action--to its bag of image-stabilization tricks. Keep in mind that almost universally in point-and-shoot cameras, levels above ISO 400 (and sometimes even ISO 200) deliver really noisy photos, which makes a lot of the high ISO-dependent features moot.
The microprojector technology has been around for a couple of years, and the idea of putting then in phones is the most commonly bandied-about application, though cameras seem a natural choice as well. The S1000pj, slated to ship in mid-November, will be priced at $429--that's pretty steep for an otherwise standard snapshooter. But you can't deny the attraction of an easier way to display your photos than connecting to a TV or squinting at a relatively small LCD. Or can you? Cast your vote in our poll.