Nikon has been trying to revolutionize cameras by adding built-in projectors for the better part of the last three years. They had introduced the S1000pj, back in 2009 and the S1100pj, roughly a year later. Call it quirky, call it a marketing gimmick, basically call it anything you like, but the brand is at it, once again; with the third iteration of their cameras with built-in projectors with the launch of the S1200pj.
Bundled up lanyard that can be slotted through the eyelet
The camera boasts of some interesting features, such as the ability to record videos at 720p, maximum brightness of the lens at 20 lumens, the ability to output content from an iOS device, among other features. Read on to know if this camera is worth your buck.
Design and Build Quality
When it comes to looks, Nikon is no slouch and just like most of their cameras in the past, the S1200pj is a looker. The camera is available in two colour options, black and hot pink. The one we received in our lab was the black option and it is a very classy looking camera. Being minimal is always a good thing and the face of the camera features nothing, but the lens, which is neatly covered by a lens cover, sliding flap that covers the lamp and the LED flash. Nikon has adorned the camera with a matte finish, which helps in reducing residue occurring from fingerprints.
Large screen at the back
Nikon have kept the same minimalistic design at the back and all it features are a large 3-inch display, 4-way navigational pad, a scene button, playback key, menu, trash and a designated button for video recording. The camera is without any mode dial button. The top of the S1200pj features the projector focus wheel, power button, shutter release button and the zoom rocker. Connectivity options are located at the side in a bay, and these include a USB port for audio or video output and a projector input connector. The battery bay located underneath the camera can house the memory card as well. The flaps for both the bays are quite sturdy. Like with most projectors, this camera too features a stand that allows the camera to be tilted. This helps in placing the camera on a surface without worrying about it falling over.
This camera is fairly larger than most compact, point and shoot cameras and it features more on the size of travel compacts. The build quality of it is really good and it can definitely withstand a few accidental falls.
The main feature of this camera is undoubtedly its projection capabilities. There are very few ultra portable devices in the market that have this feature and for the brand to introduce it on a camera, allows one to share their special moments without having to connect it to a PC or TV. The S1200pj is devoid of an HDMI connector and instead photos and content can be projected through the camera from an iOS device by merely attaching it with a USB cable. However, this cable does not come bundled with the camera and one has to purchase it separately.
Projector focus wheel located at the top
Nikon has added approximately 40 percent more brightness by raising it from 14 lumens in the S1100 to 20 lumens. We can expect more brightness levels with the increase in lumens. Nikon states that the camera projector can display videos or photos up to a size of 60-inches diagonally. This is the resolution of many high-end televisions available in the market. Moving on to the other features of this camera, the S1200pj comes with a 14.1 megapixel CCD sensor with the size being 1/2.3-inches. This is a fairly common sensor size for compact point and shoot cameras. It features an optical zoom of 5x and uses the NIKKOR glass lens.
Image stabilization is taken care of by a combination of the Lens-shift stabilizer as well as electronic VR. With these image stabilization features, one can expect a reduced amount of blur in their shots. The interface of the camera is extremely easy to use. All one has to do is press the scene button on the rear and then they are greeted with the list of various modes. These modes, include easy auto, auto, scene presets, soft focus and smart portrait. Navigating through the interface is simple and even if one is using a digital camera for the first time, they will learn to operate it within a matter of minutes. The ISO of this camera ranges from 80 – 6400, which means that shooting is possible in most lighting conditions.
Large screen at the back
The S1200pj can record videos in HD 720p at 30fps. This is a fairly common trait of most cameras available in the market. The recording format for videos is H.264 and it is playable on many video players such as Windows Media Player, VLC, etc. The memory cards supported with this camera are SD, SDHC and SDXC. These type of cards are easily available in the market and available in a variety of capacities.
The performance of the camera was tested on a number of factors which includes the handling ability, image quality, video recording capabilities, projection capabilities as well as others. Beginning with the performance bit, the camera is larger than most compact point and shoots available in the market, but one can handle it easily with a right hand as there is a grip on the back of the camera.
Using the projector, the smallest it can output is 5-inches and the maximum size is 60-inches. The quality is not so good when the room has ambient lighting, but the performance really goes high when the room is devoid of any light. One can make out a lot of detail in the projected image and we had no problems with the output, whatsoever.
ISO sensitivity test
ISO Sensitivity Test
During our ISO sensitivity test, the noise levels at ISO 80 is nil. At ISO 200, there is a slight noise noticed, but it is negligible and will not affect shots when the camera is set to this setting. At ISO 1600 onwards, the noise levels are very high and images shot with ISO faster than this are unusable unless the area is dark.
The camera handles sunlight pretty well allowing one to capture fairly decent images, even when facing the sun. Image quality in outdoor shots is good and there was a minimum amount of colour fringing noticed. An issue noticed with this camera is during zoom and when the zoom is set to maximum, colours appear desaturated. However, this was not consistent and in some occasions the camera’s zoom worked well with a lot of detail being noticed. When we shot images indoors, there was a minimum amount of grain, which was a good thing. Indoor shots captured really well, overall. The flash of the camera is pretty powerful and it can light up an area of approximately 12-feet. The camera handles 720p HD video recording pretty well and we faced no issues whatsoever. Playback of the file was smooth as well, the file size is average as well with it being around 41 MB for a 30 second video. Nikon bundles a 1050mAh battery with this camera and the brand rates it at approximately 220 shots.
Slightly larger than most compact cameras
The Nikon S1200pj is available in India at a street price of Rs.13,300. If a person is looking out for a camera with manual or semi manual settings then this is not the option for them. This camera has really good features and is basically designed for someone who wants to portray their images conveniently without wanting to sync it to a PC or a TV. This can be a great way of showing off images to large audiences at the drop of a hat merely by turning off the lights and flashing the lamp on to a wall. Additionally, if one has an iOS device, they can attach the cable and watch content on a larger surface as opposed to the smaller screen of the device.
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