Nikon Canada recently provided me with a Coolpix S1200pj to check out its features, particularly great for a Mac user (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch compatible) who embraces social media. Since I fall into both those categories, let me start by saying that this is a feature-rich point and shoot with 5x wide optical zoom and 14.1 megapixels.
It’s part of Nikon’s new S-Series that also includes the S8200, S6200, and S100.
The key selling point of this model is the projector. Users can stream live video from an iPhone, computer, iPad or iPod Touch (over wifi or 3G) and project it onto a wall. The optimal distance is 26 cm (10 in.) to 3.1 m (10 ft).
Using an additional dock connector cable, you can project pictures and movies stored on your Apple device or stream content from YouTube onto any surface in 640 x 480 VGA format. I was sent a Belkin cable to do that very thing.
The cool factor is definitely there, but I wouldn’t count on watching a full length movie with the S1200pj. First off, the camera does heat up when using the projector, and the manual strongly recommends letting the projector cool down before using the camera again. The S1200pj’s battery is rated for up to one hour in projector mode, typical for a battery-powered pocket projector. The built-in speaker is adequate.
There’s a little stand that pops out so that the projected picture won’t be obstructed by the surface on which the camera is placed. This tilts the camera slightly, creating a keystone effect. On a side note, there’s a remote control (available separately) that can be pointed at the infrared receiver (within five metres). As well, the design incorporates illuminated buttons for quick and easy control in the dark.
If you like having a still image to serve as a “front page” for your videos, set the Photo info option in Monitor settings (in the setup menu) to Movie frame+auto info. A frame indicating the area captured in the recorded movie will be displayed before recording starts.
This is Nikon’s third compact camera to incorporate an internal projector.
Here are a few features of the S1200pj that top my list:
– Built-in cropping feature
– Self-timer can be used in either 10 or 2 second increments (the latter helping to avoid camera shake)
– Image size settings also include VGA (full-screen display on a tv; 4:3 aspect ratio, with compression ratio 1:8), or 16:9 (for 16:9 aspect ratio photos; same compression ratio as with VGA size).
– Print images without a computer (provided you have a PictBridge-compatible printer)
– Fun settings are a worth a try: Food mode, Blink proof, Smile timer, Pet portrait, Glamour retouch (for softening skin, etc.)
– Face detection mode can detect several faces at once, allowing the camera to focus on those points specifically
– Image mode setting options: number followed by a “M” in a black box shows approximate image size of the photo that will be taken at that particular size
– Filter effects include colour options, soft, selective colour, cross screen, fisheye, and miniature effect
– You can determine how the camera sets the focus (autofocus), whether in Face priority (default), Auto, Manual, Center, or Subject tracking
– Onboard music and graphics for creating multimedia slideshows of photos and videos
The S1200pj’s basic operational mode is Auto. If your lighting conditions change while using Auto mode, the letters ‘ISO’ will display with an outline to show that its sensitivity has been raised. The following options are available in Auto mode:
Image quality (default is 4320 x 3240)
White balance (Make sure to set flash to Off when white balance is set to any setting other than Auto and Flash)
Continuous (single, continuous, where up to 19 shots can be taken at a rate of 0.8 frames per second when image mode is set to 4320 x 3240, or multi-shot 16)
I always test a point and shoot camera for low-light and macro capabilities. Outdoor shots and macro worked quite well, however indoors in low light created too much noise in some cases. I started to notice a disintegration in quality starting at 600 ISO. With the right lighting, I did get a good shot as in the photo below, but the backlit shelf helped a lot.
You can get as close as 3 cm from your subject in Macro mode. I found this a pretty impressive distance for a point and shoot. As well, the colour was accurate.
Using the multi selector dial, several effects can be applied to photos in playback mode. I tried soft, selective colour, D-lighting, and Cyanotype for this photo of the boats docked at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.
The camera is pretty intuitive, but then again, if you’ve used point and shoot cameras (and/or are familiar with the Nikon interface) this one shouldn’t be too confusing to start using right away.
Panorama-assisted photos can be made with the S1200pj, later joined using Panorama Maker 5 (on the included ViewNX 2 installer CD) software. Although I use other image editing software, Nikon’s ViewNX2 is Mac OSX (10.5.8, 10.6.7) and Windows 7, Vista, and XP compatible.
Easy to use
Good macro results
Projection in your pocket; using the Belkin cable, you can live-stream video from Youtube as well as play videos from a computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
Low lighting (esp. in combination with zoom) is OK at best
Charging done by plugging cable (with small, very delicate connector). Would prefer to see a separate charger for the battery
Fully recharging the battery takes several hours
The S1200pj retails in Canada for $399.95. More test photos can be found here.
Disclaimer for review: I was loaned the camera for the purpose of this review only.