Nikon Camera Is First To Project Images on Flat Surfaces
You take lots of photos and movies during your vacation trip, and each night in the hotel room you project them on the wall for your family -- from the same camera. That's the scenario that Nikon envisions with its announcement Tuesday of the first compact camera with a built-in projector.
Bedtime Story Companion?
The COOLPIX S1000pj can project photos or videos on any flat surface of up to 40 inches. Photos can be shown one by one, or as a slide show with music and effects. A projector stand and remote control are included.
Among other uses, Nikon suggests that parents use the new camera "to display photos of their own artworks or other images on the ceiling to complement bedtime stories they tell their children."
Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, suggested that there might also be some business uses for this kind of device, such as projecting images for a family or for agents after a day of scouting real estate.
"It's not necessarily a mainstream product," he said, but it could be useful when a monitor is otherwise not available, such as on a camping trip.
Greengart said it's "highly unlikely" that such micro-projectors will show up in many devices, although he noted that he has seen prototypes of similar projectors in camera phones. "The downside there," he said, "is battery life," especially since draining your phone to project pictures could leave you without your communications device.
Micro-Projectors at CES
Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for consumer technology at NPD Group, said he saw at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show "a number" of devices that integrated micro-projectors. "It's become a way to move beyond the limitations of finding an LCD monitor," he said.
Cameras are a good device for this add-on, he said, because the picture taker is "continually sharing photos with small groups," but he pointed out that it will add some cost and bulk to the device, at least in the near term.
The COOLPIX S1000pj, available in black or "warm silver," features a 5x zoom NIKKOR lens with 28mm wide-angle coverage and macro shooting as close as 1.2 inches. With its EXPEED digital image processing, Nikon said the camera has an "effective" resolution of 12.1 megapixels.
The camera is packed with the kind of features that can help reduce the embarrassment of others seeing your badly captured face projected on a hotel room wall.
An Electronic VR image stabilization system helps to produce images without blur, and motion detection controls shutter speed and ISO setting automatically to compensate for movement. A Best Shot Selector feature shoots a sequence of frames and saves the one with the sharpest focus.
A "face-priority" feature adjusts focus and exposure for up to a dozen faces, and a "skin softening" function adjusts smoothness. A Smile Timer clicks the shutter automatically when the face smiles, and a Blink Proof function takes two images, but only saves the one where the eyes are their widest open.
In case someone accidentally blinked, Blink Warning will issue an alert, and the in-camera red-eye fix corrects the vampire eyes that a flash can sometimes produce.