Thursday, March 1, 2007
Digital Projectors For Photographers
Show off your images using the latest in projection technology
Mitsubishi PK20 Pocket Projector
We may still call our multimedia productions "slideshows," but there’s no way anyone will ever confuse one of today’s digital projectors with the slide projectors of yesteryear. Compared to their analog ancestors, they’re quieter, brighter and more versatile—they’re also more expensive, so here’s what you need to know to prepare for your foray into the world of digital projectors.
There are three main types of digital projectors based on how the image is formed and projected. Two use a reflected-light system, the other uses transmitted light.
DLP and LCD projectors have been competing against each other for years, so which technology is superior? As with all competing standards, each has advantages and disadvantages. Bottom line: Proponents of both technologies have been striving to overcome every shortcoming, so a generic comparison is futile—each continues to improve. Not all brands of LCD or DLP projectors perform the same; the differences are subjective. If possible, evaluate the image that’s projected by the projector of your choice under typical conditions before you buy.
Native resolution refers to the actual physical pixel count. A projector that provides SVGA resolution has 480,000 usable pixels arranged in an array that measures 800 x 600. Maximum resolution indicates the highest resolution a projector can provide. To achieve maximum resolution greater than native resolution, the image is electronically compressed. This compression can have a detrimental effect on image quality; the degree depends on the machine. It’s something you must judge for yourself.
Epson PowerLite 76c
The larger the projected image or the closer you (and your audience) are to the screen, the more resolution you need. A question often arises as to how this compares to 35mm projectors, but unfortunately, a direct comparison isn't simple because brightness has a strong impact on how people react to the images. In some presentations in which both a 35mm projector and a digital projector were used, we noticed attendees preferred the digital projection because of the brightness.
This specification indicates the projector’s dynamic range, but be careful. There are two ways to measure the contrast ratio. The so-called full on/off method measures the ratio of light output between an all-white (full-on) image and an all-black (full-off) image. This yields a higher number than the ANSI method and therefore is used by most manufacturers. For DLP projectors, look for a contrast ratio of about 2000:1. For LCDs, 300:1 to 500:1 is standard—higher is better.
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