Nikon released the world's first digital camera with a built-in projector in September 2009. The Coolpix S1000pj offered an easy, retro-tuned way to share photos and video clips with your nearest and dearest, although the tech came at a cost. Its original £399 price tag and uninspiring performance dulled its potential appeal.
Nikon has shown faith in this niche market though, and 2011 sees the launch of the Nikon Coolpix S1200pj, Nikon's third compact camera to feature an incorporated projector. The £399 price remains the same, but the tech has developed a little.
The headline improvements that this new Nikon compact brings to the Coolpix projector range are a brighter, higher contrast projected image and compatibility with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Using an additional dock connector cable, you can project pictures and movies stored on your Apple device or stream content from YouTube onto your living room wall - all in 640 x 480 VGA-o-vision.
On paper, a comparison between the Nikon Coolpix S1200pj and last year's Coolpix S1100pj projector camera upgrade throws up plenty of like-for-like specifications. As with its predecessor, the S1200pj offers a 14.1MP 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor, a 5-25mm 5x optical zoom lens (giving a 35mm equivalent focal length of 28-140mm) and 30fps 720p HD video shooting. Fairly standard stuff, then.
However, the Nikon Coolpix S1200pj projector gets a 6 lumens improvement in brightness, taking it up to a level of 20 lumens. To put that loosely in context, the iPhone 4's LED is estimated at around 10 lumens (close to the original Coolpix S1000pj's output). This brightness boost means that the projected image can be seen in conditions where there's some ambient light. Not a brightly lit room by any means, though.
You'll still need your lights turned down romantically low - preferably off - if you want to place the camera 3 metres from a surface and get a watchable top-end display size of 60 inches (the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj maxed out at 47 inches).
Other slight Coolpix S1200pj functionality enhancements include a nudge in internal memory (approximately 94MB, the equivalent to 14 shots) for those desperate moments when your card fills up - and a new pet portrait scene mode.