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Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell puts the Nikon Coolpix S1200pj, a compact digital camera with a built-in projector, to the test.

| Nikon Coolpix S1200pj in Compact Cameras
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Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Angled
Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Angled

Nikon released the first camera with a projector when they announced the Coolpix S1000pj and have released annual updates with the S1100pj and the S1200pj which we are looking at here. It is available in two colours, pink and black, and carries an RRP of £349.95.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Front
Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Front

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Features

The headline feature on the S1200pj is the built in Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector which can project your photos and videos from the camera, PC or an attached iPhone, iPad and iPhone (compatible cable required). With the software you can project a PowerPoint on a memory card saved as a JPEG. The projector offers bright (up to 20 lumen) VGA quality projections at 5 to 60 inches image size with 200:1 contrast. In dark surroundings the camera has luminous controls and a remote control to make it easy to use.

To take pictures, the camera has a 14 megapixel CCD sensor and 5x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 28 - 140mm. It also has four methods to help reduce blur: Hybrid VR (lens-shift and Electronic Vibration Reduction, ISO up to 6400 and Best Shot Selector which automatically selects the sharpest images from up to 10 sequential shots.

To help you take creative photos the camera has a range of special effects (soft focus, nostalgic sepia) and in-camera filters (cross screen, miniature and fisheye). Other features include smart portrait system, smile timer, blink proof and red-eye fix.

Videos can be recorded in 720p HD with stereo sound, optical zoom and autofocus, with the camera able to show the videos via a HDTV.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Top
Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Top

Key Features

  • Built-in Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector
  • iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch compatible
  • Projects images from a PC or memory card
  • Luminous controls on camera
  • 14 megapixel CCD image sensor
  • 3 inch 460,000-dot LCD monitor
  • 5x optical zoom lens (35mm equivalent: 28-140mm).
  • Hybrid VR (Lens-shift and Electronic Vibration Reduction)
  • ISO 100 - 6400
  • Best Shot Selector (BSS)
  • 720p HD movie recording with stereo sound
  • Special effects
  • In-camera filters
  • Smart portrait system
  • Smile Timer
  • Blink Proof
  • Red-eye Fix
  • EXPEED C2 image processing system
Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Screen
Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Screen

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Handling

The size and weight of the camera is comparable to that of the rugged, tough cameras that we have recently tested, such as the Nikon Coolpix AW100 and Olympus Tough TG-610. Given that the camera comes with an internal optical zoom lens and built-in projector, this is fair enough. To use the projector you simply need to flick down its front cover and the camera automatically switches over. Ideally you need to be in a dark room with a blank wall to display the images and videos on. If you have an iOS device, you can connect this to display videos and image slideshows from it, although this does require the purchase of an extra cable. There is a remote control, also available seperately which controls zoom, volume and allows you to go from picture to picture. To focus the display there is a round dial on the top of the camera. On the bottom of the camera stand which makes it possible to angle the camera upwards at a slight angle.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Digital Camera Review: Projected Image
Projected Image from an iPhone - additional examples can be seen in the EQDB.

On the rear of the camera is a 3 inch LCD screen which has Nikon’s Clear Color Display technology to minimise reflections, even in bright sunlight. The buttons are easy to press and other than the focus dial for the projector, the buttons are typical of those found on compact digital cameras, with a dedicated button for movie recording. The menu systems is well laid out and simple to understand.

The battery has a CIPA rating of 220 shots which will be significantly reduced if you use the projector regularly. If you are likely to be a heavy user of the projector then a spare battery will be handy.

The camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on, is quick to focus, but leaves you waiting for at least five seconds between shots. In continuous shooting mode it is capable of shooting full-sized images at around 0.8 fps.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Battery
Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Battery

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Performance

Images produced by the S1200pj are generally well exposed with good colour production, with decent detail when viewing them at full size, although there is some purple fringing on occasion. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 3cm which is close enough to take a very pleasing macro image.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Lens test images

Noise is very minimal at ISO 80 and ISO 100 but at ISO 200 noise is already appearing quite significantly and even more so at ISO 400. At ISO 800 images are quite soft and ISO 1600 produces images which have lost a lot of their sharpness with plenty of noise. ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 takes images with a limited size of around 3 megapixels and at both settings noise is evident throughout. Despite noise being evident in images throughout the majority of the ISO range, there is very little impact on the quality of the colour reproduction.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj ISO test images

Below are example images taken using some the scene modes available. Sport mode has been used to capture the fast moving wind turbine on a blustery day, with a shutter speed of 1/800 needed to take a sharp image. Landscape mode creates good scenes even on overcast days. Portraits have pleasing skin tones, although there is some red-eye evident.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Sample Photos

Auto white-balance (AWB) does a great job on the majority of occasions which can be seen under our testing studio lighting. Under the incandescent lighting the AWB and incandescent presets take almost identical images, with a slight green cast when using the incandescent preset. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB does fine, with the fluorescent preset actually giving a slight magenta cast in the image.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj White-balance test images

Below are example images using some of the digital filters available. There are also effects which can be added to images after they have been taken, examples of which can be seen in the ePHOTOzine Equipment Database.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Digital filters

Video Mode

Below is an example of a video shot a 720p HD. The camera records with stereo sound and the optical zoom can also be used, an example of which can be found on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S1200pj has an RRP of £349.95. You can still purchase the S1100pj for £229.00, with the S1000pj available in limited places for under £200. There are some other cameras with projectors available, such as the GE PJ1. If you are not looking for a camera with a projector it's unlikely you'll find other features on the camera worth the investment as they are available on other cheaper cameras.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Verdict

This is the third projector camera from Nikon and is still a pretty unique product on the market. The projector works well and is versatile given that it can also be connected to a computer and an iOS device. Image quality is good for a compact but on the downside, it is quite expensive and bulky, so it's likely you'll only want the camera if the projector is the feature which really excites you.

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Pros

Projector works well
Clear and bright screen
ISO up to 6400
Good special effects and in-camera filters

Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Cons

Quite heavy and bulky
Quite expensive
Fairly short battery life
Slow shot-to-shot time


Nikon Coolpix S1200pj Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.9 - f/5.8
35mm equivalent28mm - 140mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels14.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4320
Pixels (H)3240
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1500sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • M
ISO sensitivity80 - 6400
White balance
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shootingNo Data
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeEN-EL12
Battery Life (CIPA rating)220shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap AN-CP19 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 Charging AC Adapter EH-69P UC-E6 (ViewNX 2 CD-ROM and also PC-PJ Transfer & Document-JPEG )Converter CD-ROM)

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