In what seems like an obvious merging of technologies now that it’s happened Nikon has announced the world’s first compact digital camera to feature a built-in projector. The COOLPIX S1000pj is a 12.1 megapixel camera that could see an end to people elbowing each other out of the way to get a glimpse of themselves in the latest happy snap on a camera’s small LCD display.

The S1000pj’s projector can project a still or video image ranging in size from 5 to 40-inches onto a screen or wall from 10-inches to 6-feet 6-inches away. The images are projected at VGA resolution with a brightness of up to 10 lumens. Sure, it’s not enough to challenge the local multiplex, but should ensure early adopters are the hit of the party for a while at least.

Of course, the inclusion of a projector would mean little if the camera element of the equation was found lacking, but Nikon have managed to deliver an attractive little unit that hasn’t shed any features at the expense of fitting in the projector.

The specs include the aforementioned 12.1-megapixel resolution, high ISO 6400 sensitivity, 5-way Vibration Reduction image stabilization system, four movie modes with sound, and 36MB internal memory expandable via SD/SDHC memory card. Plus, for those not wanting to display their latest shots for all and sundry, there’s a 2.7-inch wide angle LCD display, which is obviously also handy for previewing shots.

The 5x wide-angle NIKKOR zoom lens provides 28mm wide-angle coverage and macro shooting ability from as close as 1.2-inches, while a Skin Softening function detects and analyzes a framed subject's skin, and then adjusts smoothness to produce enhanced results – something I’d like to test out on Robert Redford.

The S1000pj’s Smile Timer function automatically releases the shutter when the subject smiles, while its Blink Proof function shoots two sequential frames, then saves the one in which the subject's eyes are widest open. Anyone blinking in a shot will also set off the Blink Warning alert, while In-Camera Red-Eye Fix automatically corrects any perceived red-eye effect before saving the image to memory.

All this and a projector too in a unit that is comparable in size to current consumer digital cameras, measuring approximately 4 x 2.5 x 0.9 inches and weighing around 5.5 oz.

The S1000pj will be available in black or silver and will come with a remote control and projector stand. The rechargeable Li-ion battery should provide enough power for around 220 shots or around an hour of projected entertainment.

The Nikon S1000pj is due for release in September for the RRP of USD$429.95 or EUR€300.