Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Performance, Timings, and Image Quality

March 23, 2010 by Allison Johnson Reads (2,668)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 6
    • Features
    • 7
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 6.50
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

The Coolpix S1000pj performed as well as most other similarly-sized compact point-and-shoots. While on the heavy side, it never weighed my purse down. Style is prioritized over ergonomics, which seems right for the S1000pj’s intended audience. Overall, the S1000pj is easy to use, like many other Coolpix cameras I’ve handled.

The biggest catch-22 I encountered was bringing the camera to a party or bar, the natural habitat for the S1000pj. While images in broad daylight were sharp and color accurate, I had much more trouble getting clear images in dim places without flash. That’s not surprising for this class of camera – I wouldn’t expect any point-and-shoot to get a clear image in near-dark – but it is something to consider since the S1000pj is very much a “party camera.”

The projector performance was better than I expected. The darker the room, the better the projected image looked, and projecting onto a white surface is best. Even in our office, with the lights turned off and a few window shades open, the projected images still looked good. Near-dark or completely dark is best, but you’re still able to see basic forms and colors of images even if you can’t kill the lights in your makeshift theater. Nikon lists the projector can be used as close as 10 inches from a wall or as far as six and a half feet. Take a look at our video walkthrough to see the projector in action.

Shooting Performance
The Coolpix S1000pj is a good performer in terms of speed. It came in on top of the pack in our shutter lag test. AF acquisition in the studio test was a good 0.43 seconds. In the field, the camera felt reasonably fast. In dim light, AF acquisition slowed slightly, approaching a second in most difficult conditions. The S1000pj captured four images at about 1.0 fps before the camera paused to clear the buffer. That’s not bad for a pocket point-and-shoot that isn’t exactly built for speed.

Shutter Lag

Camera Time (seconds)
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj 0.01
Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS 0.02
Sony Cyber-shot S2100 0.02
Olympus Stylus 7010 0.03

AF Acquisition

Camera Time (seconds)
Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS 0.43
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj 0.43
Olympus Stylus 7010 0.45
Sony Cyber-shot S2100 0.68

Continuous Shooting

Camera Frames Framerate*
Olympus Stylus 7010 2 1.7 fps
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj 4 1.0 fps
Sony Cyber-shot S2100 1.0 fps
Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS 0.9 fps

*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” denote the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.

Staying mostly within center auto focus mode, I rarely had a problem finding focus even in relatively dark conditions. Nikon equipped the S1000pj with image stabilization in spades – namely, their 5-way Vibration Reduction system. A key part of the system is optical image stabilization. I got clear, usable images at shutter speeds at around 1/10 second. As you’d expect, anything slower was too much for the optical stabilization system to overcome. Enacting the “Hybrid” stabilization applies a combination of optical stabilization and digital processing techniques. It’s hard to say how effective the technique was; it seemed to clear up some fine detail in a few test shots, but the images were still (as Nikon admits is possible) somewhat grainy.

Flash range is listed at 1 to 11 feet at wide angle, and 1 to 8 feet telephoto. That measured up to my own findings. The flash recharged and was ready to fire after a full discharge in seconds.

The rechargeable Lithium-ion battery used by the S1000pj is rated to about 220 shots. That number was right on par with my images. Although, I used the flash sparingly and projected images for a minute or two at a time. Heavier use of flash and projector would drain the battery quicker.

Lens Performance
For a small lens tucked into the corner, the S1000pj’s optics do a nice job. Details at the center of the frame are sharp. Moving toward the corners of the image below, you’ll see some noticeable softening. Chromatic aberration seems to be under control at the center of images too, although it becomes apparent in high contrast areas near the image’s edges.

Nikon S1000pj Test Shot

The S1000pj carries a 5x optical zoom lens with an equivalent range of 28-140mm – a nice wide angle. Maximum aperture ranges from f/3.9 at wide angle to f/5.8 at telephoto.

Barrel distortion (lines bowing outward in an image) seems to be well-controlled at wide angle. There wasn’t evidence of pincushion distortion (lines bowing inward) at telephoto either.

Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
Wide angle
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot

Video Quality
The Coolpix S1000pj records video in standard 640 x 480 definition. The video I recorded in mid-day sunlight of passing cars is acceptable, although grainier than I would have liked. Shooting video of a train with the sun setting to the right proved more challenging. Glare that reflected from the hood of a car threw a nasty blue vertical line across the image, and the video was once again grainy.

Don’t count on the S1000pj for recording high-quality video of vacations or other events. It’s a shame that it’s not stronger since the S1000pj is designed to project recorded video.

Image Quality
Exposure was somewhat inconsistent under mixed lighting, but for the most part, the S1000pj’s evaluative-only metering worked well. The LCD offers a full-time live view as the camera calculates exposure and chooses a white balance setting. As long as ISO sensitivity is kept to 200 or below, fine details are recorded nicely. Options to manually set color, saturation, or sharpness are absent, although you’ll find a “vivid” processing mode along with black and white, cyanotype, and sepia under the shooting menu.

Nikon S1000pj Test Shot

When dark situations demanded use of flash, the S1000pj’s unit worked successfully. Skin tones looked natural and weren’t washed out. Flash modes include an automatic red eye reduction setting. That’s the mode used automatically by the “party/indoor” scene setting, which I found useful in places like a dark concert hall.

Colors were generally reproduced faithfully. Cloudy skies and mixed lighting sometimes flattened out colors, especially reds, although I don’t think it will be enough to bother most users.

Auto white balance performed well indoors and outdoors, although it produced a very orange look to scenes with tungsten lighting. The S1000pj offers several white balance modes including a manual mode.

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Auto White Balance, 3200k incandescent light

Before looking at our studio samples, I expected to see plenty of noise at close inspection from ISO 400 and above. The studio results backed me up. Though the reduced thumbnail images look good through ISO 400, pixel peepers will find noise and evidence of noise-reduction in the 100% crops.

Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 80
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 80, 100% crop
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 100
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 100, 100% crop
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 200
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 200, 100% crop
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 400
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 400, 100% crop
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 800
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 800, 100% crop
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 1600
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
ISO 1600, 100% crop

Shots at ISO 800 and 1600 look smoothed-over and colors have been somewhat flattened. The camera’s noise-reduction system seems to be at work as early as ISO 200. Relying on the full range of ISO settings in auto ISO mode will result in grainy, smoothed-over images indoors and in poor lighting. Nikon does provide two fixed-range ISO settings, ISO 80-200 and ISO 80-400, to address the problem The camera has an ISO 3200 setting at a reduced 3 megapixel resolution.

Additional Sample Images

Nikon S1000pj Test Shot Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot Nikon S1000pj Test Shot
Nikon S1000pj Test Shot Nikon S1000pj Test Shot



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