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Best projector or best technology for critical viewing of photographs?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by alanfcross, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. alanfcross

    alanfcross
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    I'm looking into specifications and prices for a PJ for my camera club. It has to present an accurate still picture - good grey-scale, accurate colour and saturation and not too much chicken wire! Fan noise is not a big issue, though we don't want too much noise when viewing AVs. XGA is a minimum. Card and USB slots useful, but might over-limit the choice.
    I think the Canon XEED fits the bill in most aspects, except card inputs and price! We need to be well below 2K.
    We will be pitching it against 35mm transparencies in a Kodak Carousel, and don't want to come off a poor second!
    Before buying this machine we might choose to cut our teeth on a very cheap secondhand machine. Any ideas for a good choice for this application and environment?

    TIA.
     
  2. RTFM

    RTFM
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    I would definitely recommend DLP especially if you ever show B&W pictures as LCDs often show coloured hues on black and white images. You will also get less picture structure and better contrast and black level.
    An NEC LT 170 is within your price bracket and has a 3 yr swap out warranty.

    I think Gary Lightfoot here on the forums has an NEC HT 1000 for sale which would also fit the bill nicely.

    Jeff :rtfm:
     
  3. severnsource

    severnsource
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    If you want to results comparable to good 35mm slides I would forget it!

    The resolution of affordable projectors is way below that of 35mm film and the difference will be very noticeable. I use my Z1 occasionally to show digital images and it's O.K. for uncritical viewing but it doesn't even approach the quality of low end digital cameras. More recent projectors have slightly higher resolutions, but they've still got a long way to go.

    Bill
     
  4. RTFM

    RTFM
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    Interesting Bill, as I have sold a couple of projectors to professional photographers who both say they are getting better images now than they did with their slide projectors. In fact one photographer brought along his slide projector and slides and also had the same images on a disc so we could do a direct shootout.

    There was no comparison, the images from the disc, via the laptop to the Sim2 dlp projector were brighter, sharper with more natural skin tones.

    Jeff :rtfm:
     
  5. severnsource

    severnsource
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    Well, the poor resolution is only one of the ways in which an electronic projector will be worse than a slide projector. The dynamic range of slide film is very much greater than that of any projector affordable by ordinary mortals, and I would stronly suspect that the colour gamut will be smaller as well; it will certainly be different, and, as you said, the grey scale tracking of affordable projectors can be suspect.

    I don't think that the dynamic range and colour gamut limitations are as much of a problem because the images can be tweaked on the computer to produce an acceptable projected image.

    I am afraid that your last statement stretches credulity too far. However good the projector, and assuming that no significant image processing has taken place, the resulting image cannot be better than the original slide.

    At least two conversion processes will have taken place, both of which will incur losses; the slide will have had to be scanned - the scanners dynamic range will probaly be lower than that of the original slide, the colour space will be different and the resolution may not be high enough to recover all the detail from the slide. Obviously the better the scanner the less the losses, but there will always be some degradation. Then the second, and more significant degradation takes place, that of the projector; all the same problems but magnified.

    I can think of a few reasons why your customers may have thought that the Sim2 was better than a slide projector, but the inherent superiority of the DLP projector is not one of them.

    To return to the issue of resolution, a good 35mm camera with good film with a following wind should be able to resolve 80 line pairs per millimetre. This approximates to 4000 x 6000 pixels, way above that of any domestic electronic projector.

    My main computer monitor is a CRT that I run at 2048 x 1536. This gives a good display for my digital camera pictures, but it is still well below the capabilities of 35mm. In order to see all the detail on a half way decent 35mm image I have to zoom in by a factor of 2, so you can only see 1/4 of the image at a time.

    I'm not intending to denigrate electronic projectors. I would rather watch TV on my out of date down market Z1 because the things that it does well outweigh its faults, but it is not up to making a good job of presenting stills, and I can't see any current affordable projector doing much better.

    In a few years I would expect affordable projectors capable of the higher HDTV standard (1920 x 1080) to become available; that would be acceptable for looking at snapshots, but even this falls short of the quality of 35mm film.

    Bill
     
  6. dannyc

    dannyc
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    Alan,

    Can I just introduce myself, I'm a staff photographer at the Guardian and sometime lurker in these forums. I have recently spent a weekend at Canon Amsterdam looking at new products and one of those on show was the XEED. All I can say is that it blew me away! and I have alot of experience with digital projectors. For the money it can't be beat for still pictures. If you want a cheaper alternative then older D-ila technology is the best for photos in my opinion. I currently run a beast of a Panasonic D-ila projector in my living room which has very accurate colour, I also have 3 DLP projectors around the house and whilst they are good, they can't compete on colour accuracy. The other thing to bear in mind is the cost of replacement bulbs which can get expensive, but if you are only doing a meeting a week they should last a long time.

    Whilst I don't think digital looks quite as good as slide, a good digital projector it is essential for digital images. If you are anywhere near London and fancy trying a DLP feel free to drop me a line as I have a couple spare right now.

    hope this helps

    Dan

    PS - my website is www.danchung.co.uk if your curious
     

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