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Our friends over at just couldn’t keep their screwdrivers and spudgers off of the new Coolpix S1000pj, the digital camera with a built-in video projector. They just had to find out how Nikon fit all that bleeding-edge tech into that tiny camera case.

Here’s some of what they discovered in their testing and teardown:

* A room has to be quite dark to view the projector’s image properly. We expected as much given the size of the projector, but the image quality is mediocre at best. Anything that’s projected looks like it was shot in the ’70s.

* Surprisingly, both the front and rear outer cases are machined out of aluminum. It’s quite a solid camera.

* The speaker pumps out some pretty solid sound when the camera is in projector mode.

* Like most compact digital cameras with no externally telescopic lenses, the S1000pj’s internal zoom lenses move perpendicular to the front face.

* Light has to travel through at least four glass lenses until it shines on the CCD sensor. What a journey!

* Disassembling this camera is not for the faint of heart — Nikon definitely did not intend this device to be user serviceable. We had to de-solder a bunch of components including the camera cover actuator, projector LED, and flash bulb.

* Light for projecting images is supplied by a very powerful LED that even has its own heat sink to conduct heat to the aluminum front panel.

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Teardown

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.

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