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Author Topic: Specific projector recommendations  (Read 22994 times)
Gellman
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« on: July 18, 2006, 08:00:24 PM »
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Can anyone recommend a specific digital projector for display of still images? What is it about the projector that makes you recommend it? Pros and cons, price, etc.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2006, 10:26:06 PM »
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I have already provided some basic answers to that in your original thread:

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=11553

Cheers,
Bernard
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Ray
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2006, 10:46:46 PM »
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This technology is in a continual state of development. The best forum I've come across for opinions on the latest equipment is the AVS forum. However, that forum is definitely weighted towards movies. For projection of still images, I don't believe the technology is quite there.

The full spec for HDTV and Blu-ray high definition movies is 1920x1080p. This is the technology driving the production of better and cheaper HD monitors and projection screens. A question might be, 'Is 1920x1024 pixels, essentially the equivalent of an image from a 2 megapixel camera, of sufficient resolution on a big projections screen 6 or 8ft wide?'

My personal opinion is, no, it isn't. We have a huge problem here. On the one hand, we have a group of photographers claiming they need a 12mp camera to produce a 20x30" print, and on the other hand a group who thinks 2mp might be sufficient for a 4ftx6ft (or perhaps even 6ftx9ft) projection. The two concepts are just too far apart to make sense.

I think perhaps a compromise might be workable, say an LCD HDTV screen 40" or 50" diagonal meeting the full HD spec of 1920x1080p. Such monitors are beginning to appear on the market. They are needed to get the most out of Blu-ray discs. When the technology matures a bit, I'll be lloking towards buying such a monitor. It is expected that Blu-ray and full spec HDTV monitors will hit the market in Australia in time for Christmas, if not before.

The other issue is of course calibration. Video projectors in the past have been notoriously difficult to calibrate. I've found it impossible to calibrate my Hitachi CP-SX5500 LCOS SXGA 1368x1024P projector. It has a distinct purple cast which might not be noticed by the average person not enthusiatic about photographic matters, but is definitely disturbing to me. I use the projector for the occasional viewing of opera and movies, but projection of photograp stills is a disappointment.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2006, 12:32:34 AM »
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We have a huge problem here. On the one hand, we have a group of photographers claiming they need a 12mp camera to produce a 20x30" print, and on the other hand a group who thinks 2mp might be sufficient for a 4ftx6ft (or perhaps even 6ftx9ft) projection. The two concepts are just too far apart to make sense.
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Ray,

The think is that the expectations for both medium are completely different.

Although I pay extreme attention to the quality of my prints, I just don't think that extreme resolution is very important when I project images using my projector. Sharing images with friends is more the goal here and nobody really cares about resolution besides photographers themselves. What others look at is subject, composition, colors,... all these things that are in fact most important to photography.

This very much meets what I have been saying for sometime about the irrelevance of very high pixel counts in assessing the quality of an image.

Besides, even if pixel peeping were to be part of the discussion, a 12 MP image properlly downscalled to 2 MP WILL be sharper than one taken with a 3MP Canon D30 or Coolpix 990.

Regards,
Bernard
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2006, 02:41:51 AM »
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Although I pay extreme attention to the quality of my prints, I just don't think that extreme resolution is very important when I project images using my projector. Sharing images with friends is more the goal here and nobody really cares about resolution besides photographers themselves. What others look at is subject, composition, colors,... all these things that are in fact most important to photography.
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Bernard,
A fair point. However, if the sharing of images with friends in a non-critical fashion is the purpose, there's no need for an expensive projector that can cost more than an Canon EOS 5D. A reasonably good TV set is all you need. DVD recorders that play jpeg compressed images are now very inexpensive. I have one myself and occasionally compress a series of shots to 800x600 jpegs for a slide show that is more viewable on the TV than having a group of people cluster around a computer monitor. Fortunately, my TV set is an old 4:3 format about 19" in height (but flicker-free 100Hz), so a vertically oriented 35mm image is not ridiculously small. Nevertheless, a 400x600 pixel image about 12.5"x19" in size is not particularly impressive. Nor is a slightly higher resolution vertical image, say 700x1024 pixels on a big projector screen particularly impressive. Again, I have a 4:3 format projector. Many projectors are 16:9 format, or 1366x768, which means a vertically oriented 35mm image is only 768 pixels high. On a big screen that's simply not enough.

My recommendation is, wait until you can afford a 1920x1080p display at a minimum size of 42" diagonal before you attempt serious slide shows. In the meantime, use your existing TV or computer monitor with currently available stand-alone DVD recorders that can handle jpeg images.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2006, 04:47:35 AM »
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My recommendation is, wait until you can afford a 1920x1080p display at a minimum size of 42" diagonal before you attempt serious slide shows. In the meantime, use your existing TV or computer monitor with currently available stand-alone DVD recorders that can handle jpeg images.
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Ray,

Agreed, I didn't buy my projector for photo projection usage, more for movies, but once you have one, the sheer size you can reach - even if the definition is indeed low - adds something to the user experience.

Full HD TVs (1920 * 1080p) have become a lot cheaper but are still nowehere near afforable here in Tokyo. The best deal (and best image quality IMHO) is the Toshiba Z1000 37 inch at 230.000 Yen street price... I am almost tempted...

Cheers,
Bernard
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Ray
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2006, 11:18:31 PM »
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Full HD TVs (1920 * 1080p) have become a lot cheaper but are still nowehere near afforable here in Tokyo. The best deal (and best image quality IMHO) is the Toshiba Z1000 37 inch at 230.000 Yen street price... I am almost tempted...
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That seems a good price for a full HDTV, Bernard. That's just A$2,600. 37" is a bit small, though. Here's where the 16:9 ratio becomes a disadvantage for viewing photos that are often cropped to square, 4:3 aspect ratio or remain an uncropped 3:2 ratio presented vertically. A 37" 4:3 TV set would be more useful, as is my Hitachi projector (1368x1024).

One of the latest LCD HDTV displays to arrive in Australia is the 42" Philips 'ambilight full surround', 'Clear LCD' 42PF9831. It has backlights installed at the sides of the screen that change color instantaneously according to the colors on the screen that are being displayed. The 'Clear LCD' technology is supposed to dramatically reduce blur. The specifications are the most impressive I've seen for an LCD display; 3ms response rate and 7000:1 contrast ratio. (That's seven thousand to one). However, response time is usually measured as the time it takes a pixel to go from on to off and back again. I assume that 3ms is the time from on to off, or white to black, so maybe that figure should be 6ms, and the CR 3,500:1, which is still very good for an LCD panel.

The price over here is about 20% more than the price of an EOS 5D. There's one snag, however. It's not full HD but 1368x768. Pity!
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digitaldog
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2006, 08:36:45 AM »
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I just purchased the Optima H31 for movies and presentations and for a unit at $1000, I'm quite happy. You can spend BIG BUCKS on these pups. I'd rather have the money for the i1 Beamer for presentations.
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Andrew Rodney
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2006, 03:56:07 AM »
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I just purchased the Optima H31 for movies and presentations and for a unit at $1000, I'm quite happy. You can spend BIG BUCKS on these pups. I'd rather have the money for the i1 Beamer for presentations.
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Andrew,
I just did a search on the i1 Beamer. It's difficult to buy if you're outside the US and Canada. I see references to it on a Google search within Australia, but no prices. If it's $1,000 in the US and can't be imported directly, it's gonna cost me more than your Optima H31 projector.

I'm doubtful whether I should pay that sort of money to calibrate a projector with a contrast ratio of only 600:1 (Hitachi SX5500).

Do you happen to know if the i1 Beamer can be used with a 64 bit system? I've just bought an Eye One Display 2 to calibrate my 64 bit system and wonder if I've screwed up again. Perhaps I could have bought the more expensive product and calibrated both my projector and monitor.

BTW, the Optima H31 has an impressive contrast ratio but is a bit low on the ANSI lumens. After calibration, instead of 850 lumens, is it not likely to be closer to 500 ANSI lumens? Sounds like you'll have to sit in a completely dark room to get the most out of that projector   . The native resolution of 854x480 pixels seems a bit inadequate. Okay for standard definition NTSC but not good enough for the 576 line PAL system or viewing vertically oriented images of 35mm aspect ratio. An image that's just 320x480 pixels is hardly greater resolution than a thumbnail in Bridge.

Glad the projector's got a color wheel that spins at 4x. That should prevent headaches when viewing   .
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digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2006, 09:35:45 AM »
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Andrew,
I just did a search on the i1 Beamer. It's difficult to buy if you're outside the US and Canada. I see references to it on a Google search within Australia, but no prices. If it's $1,000 in the US and can't be imported directly, it's gonna cost me more than your Optima H31 projector.

Well I use this product to do all kinds of other calibration tasks (displays, build ICC output profiles etc).

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I'm doubtful whether I should pay that sort of money to calibrate a projector with a contrast ratio of only 600:1 (Hitachi SX5500).

I don't see how the contrast ratio has anything to do with getting accurate color.

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Do you happen to know if the i1 Beamer can be used with a 64 bit system? I've just bought an Eye One Display 2 to calibrate my 64 bit system and wonder if I've screwed up again. Perhaps I could have bought the more expensive product and calibrated both my projector and monitor.

Don't know (I'm running on a Mac).

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BTW, the Optima H31 has an impressive contrast ratio but is a bit low on the ANSI lumens. After calibration, instead of 850 lumens, is it not likely to be closer to 500 ANSI lumens?

Actually I find in a dim or dark room, I don't even have to use the higher of the two settings to get very good visibility. I was concerned with the ratings until I started to read both pro review and end user reviews who all said to forget the spec's, the unit pumps out the light. I concur.

In my office, I have several large windows but I have room darkening shades. So theres no issue showing movies or presentations anytime day or night. The Optima Gray Wolf screen I got DOES help with contrast (the blacks are much better). So I'd recommend a screen although the "white wall" works (just not as well).
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Andrew Rodney
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Julian Love
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2006, 10:12:38 AM »
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We have a huge problem here. On the one hand, we have a group of photographers claiming they need a 12mp camera to produce a 20x30" print, and on the other hand a group who thinks 2mp might be sufficient for a 4ftx6ft (or perhaps even 6ftx9ft) projection. The two concepts are just too far apart to make sense.
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We used to have no problem with this in the film days. Like many others I used to project my 35mm slides. While only good for a 12"x18" print, they still looked great at 4'x6' feet on a projection screen. Why? Because while the print is viewed close up, the projection is viewed from a few meters away. It is the same for digital.

Julian
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Ray
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2006, 07:25:39 PM »
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We used to have no problem with this in the film days. Like many others I used to project my 35mm slides. While only good for a 12"x18" print, they still looked great at 4'x6' feet on a projection screen. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71476\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If you were to get your 35mm slides drum scanned at 10,000 dpi, I think you'd find they would be good for prints a lot bigger than 8x12. Michael's review of the 6mp Canopn D60 claimed it was as detailed as 35mm film up to A3 size but at A3+ and greater, 35mm film surpasses 6mp.

Your point about images viewed from a distance not needing as high a resolution is a valid one, but we're going a little bit overboard here using Andrew's Optima H31 as a slide projector. We're not talking about a 4'x6' 6mp image, or a 3mp image or even a 1mp image. We're talking about 0.4mp at best (image horizontal) and just 154k pixels for a vertical 2:3 aspect ratio image.

I'm doubtful that anyone reading this site regularly makes 4'x6' blow-ups from a 1mp camera cropped to 0.4mp and even 0.154mp. But you never know   .
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Ray
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2006, 08:10:01 PM »
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I don't see how the contrast ratio has anything to do with getting accurate color.
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That's true. I didn't explain my reasoning. A 600:1 CR is a bit on the low side. Projectors with such specs are now obsolete. The second hand value would be less than the cost of an i1 Beamer and the i1 Beamer would not be needed to calibrate a future 1920x1080p 42" or 50" display since I already have a Eye One Dispay2 colorimeter. With Blu-ray on the way, it's more than likely I'll be getting a display that meets the full HD spec when prices settle down.

However, if the i1 Beamer were part of a larger package that enabled me to make my own output profiles, the purchase might make more sense, but that would also increase the cost, which sorts of puts me off   .
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digitaldog
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2006, 09:19:58 AM »
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As for the Beamer and the EyeOne Dispaly, the later can't calibrate a projector. And if you're running any projector through the computer you'll probably want to calibrate it (one you buy today or in the future) unless it comes with some internal colorimeter or Spectrophotometer. That may happen some day but boy, it's going to add to the cost big time.
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Andrew Rodney
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jani
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2006, 07:42:47 PM »
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I know I'm a bit late in the discussion, but the projection market is developing, too, albeit slowly.

In mid 2004, Sony announced their first 4k LCD panel for digital cinema projectors.

This technology is now available in production units, but they cost money (the lower end model cost upwards of USD 65,000 in January this year, according to a forum post on C|Net).

If you want professional presentations with high quality, there appears to be no competition at cheaper prices. Now who thinks their 1Ds MkII was expensive?  
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Jan
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2006, 09:34:31 PM »
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If you want professional presentations with high quality, there appears to be no competition at cheaper prices. Now who thinks their 1Ds MkII was expensive? 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73374\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

One wonders about these pricing strategies. I assume that the high price of the latest technology is set at a level which provides protection to the lower priced, inferior product which is still being manufactured. There's no incentive for a company to completely wipe out its lower end product sales and effectively scrap its manufacturing processes for the lower end product, by making the latest and best affordable.

If they did make the latest and best affordable, they would increase sales enormously, but at the loss of profit revenue from the inferior products.

This is basically an economic juggling process for the manufacturer. If Canon dropped the price of its 5D to the level of the 30D, it would be the death knoll for the 30D. Would Canon make up the loss of revenue from the discontinuation of the 30D through increased sales of the 5D? Who knows!
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AJSJones
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« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2006, 07:35:04 PM »
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Just discovered this forum - must have not read the memo  

This collects a number of fora and much of the discussion is around gray-scale tracking when the issue of color fidelity comes up.  The gurus certainly are as knowledgeable and skilled in tweaking their projectors as our digital printmakers are at their skills.  Thus, it is possible to anticipate good colors and image quality from a well set-up PJ.  Then one would build a profile and be off to the races.

The prices are really coming down so there are several 1920x1080 PJ's under $4k that have good enough brightness (500-900 lumens - AFTER calibration) to more than compete with your average slide projector.  They are not particularly lightweight compared to some of the portable business units, but they are certainly transportable (Sony VPL-VW50, "Pearl" is 24 lb or so) for giving lectures etc.  (No way you'd think of moving a 62" box rear projector around, but they use similar technology)

The individual pixels are not visible until one approaches a couple of feet, depending on the technology, but they resolve each one.   Movies are typically viewed from ~ 1.5x - 2x screen width.  I'm seriously planning to buy a Sony Pearl for my new home theater and fully expect my images to jump off the screen!
Here is an example of a comparison of two new projectors, one LCoS (Sony calls it SXRD) and one DLP, and the kind of discussions .  There are obvious parallels in the parameters discussed to those in printing images where IQ is under close scrutiny : brightness, contrast, shadow detail, black level, smoothness (tonality) color banding, gamut etc etc.

Digital projectors have had a bad rap coming rom the early crummy business units.  They deserve pretty serious consideration now the price has come within reach as digital image viewing systems (and you get a free 1920x1080 monitor and home cinema projector with them).

One last comment about resolution.  The pixels on the projectors are like Foveon sensor sites - yes they are x3 or RGB pixels.  If we, as a reasonable approximation, take a Bayer array  to have half the resolution of a "true" RGB array, then these projectors are putting up 4.1 MP using the term MP as it is used in digital cameras. (Or 6.2 MP if a pixel is a dot of light  )

Can't wait for the new home theater...

Andy
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Ray
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« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2006, 01:50:23 AM »
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One last comment about resolution.  The pixels on the projectors are like Foveon sensor sites - yes they are x3 or RGB pixels.  If we, as a reasonable approximation, take a Bayer array  to have half the resolution of a "true" RGB array, then these projectors are putting up 4.1 MP using the term MP as it is used in digital cameras. (Or 6.2 MP if a pixel is a dot of light  )

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=80768\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Wishful thinking, Andy   . As far as I know, all monitors are true RGB devices with an equal number of each red, green and blue elements. Once the Bayer type image has been demosaiced and interpolated, you've also got an equal number of R,G & B elements. It's just that they've been degraded in the process. Displaying the image on a true RGB device cannot undo the damage that has been done.

The highest resolution projector that's going to be main stream, 1920x1080p, still only produces a 2 megapixel (or 6 megabyte) image. If such projectors were available and affordable 6 or 7 years ago, then owners of the 3mp Nikon D1 and Canon D30 might have been ecstatic. They would be sacrificing only a relatively small proportion of the image's resolution on projection.

The increase in projector resolution is very much lagging behind the increase in digicam resolution for the obvious season they are used mostly for low resolution movies and TV broadcasts. Even HD Bluray movies are low resolution compared to the average digicam.
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AJSJones
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2006, 02:54:05 PM »
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Wishful thinking, Andy   . As far as I know, all monitors are true RGB devices with an equal number of each red, green and blue elements. Once the Bayer type image has been demosaiced and interpolated, you've also got an equal number of R,G & B elements. It's just that they've been degraded in the process. Displaying the image on a true RGB device cannot undo the damage that has been done.

The highest resolution projector that's going to be main stream, 1920x1080p, still only produces a 2 megapixel (or 6 megabyte) image. If such projectors were available and affordable 6 or 7 years ago, then owners of the 3mp Nikon D1 and Canon D30 might have been ecstatic. They would be sacrificing only a relatively small proportion of the image's resolution on projection.

The increase in projector resolution is very much lagging behind the increase in digicam resolution for the obvious season they are used mostly for low resolution movies and TV broadcasts. Even HD Bluray movies are low resolution compared to the average digicam.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=80956\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yup, You got me, sorta, with my tongue slightly in my cheek!  "then these projectors are putting up 4.1 MP using the term MP as it is used in digital cameras. " I was actually poking a little fun at the "claim" of digital cameras in terms of what really constitutes a pixel.  When color monitors arrived on the computer scene they were still 640x480 although they could "legitimately" have been called 1920x1440  based on the number of "picture elements"  Digital camera manufacturers wanted big numbers from the get-go.  I was pretty ecstatic, however, when I put up a D30 image on my 100" CRT HDTV in 2001  

Perhaps a bit clearer would have been "These projectors are putting up, with 2.1 RGB MP, the amount of information collected by a 4.1 MP Bayer array camera"

Sad but true about the displays lagging behind the sensors - but fire up the "Ken Burns" effect and the whole image is accessible and pixel peeping on a grand scale is available     Don't forget, however, that while the digicams may have lotsa MP, the image is often viewed where a significant fraction of the available resolution has been discarded...

Andy
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