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Author Topic: projecting sharp images  (Read 12723 times)
John Camp
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« on: December 24, 2006, 12:25:49 PM »
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I need to project very sharp images of  digital photographs over short distances (~ten feet/3m) onto an opaque surface, like a wall. A digital projector doesn't do it for me. I've thought of going back to slides, and have done that to some extent, but I also want the Photoshop capability. There are two possibilities, both somewhat expensive, so I ask for opinions here. Would I get the best short range sharpness if I:

1. Did the photoshop work, got the best possible print, then rephotographed the print with slide film and had the slides processed and then projected them; or

2. Got a high-quality print and then projected it with a high-quality opaque projector?

The problem with the slides is that it takes a lot of time, not only to carefully rephotogaph everything, but then to get the processing done. It's not just something I can do in place -- from Photoshop to projection could take a couple of days.

The problem with the opaque projector (I have a very cheap one from an art store) is that the lens is so crappy and the light so dim that you can barely make out what you're looking at. However, B&H sells an opaque projector for a bit less than a thousand dollars and claim that it's a good one (Buhl.) Anybody had experience with *good* opaque projectors?

There is a third possibility, which is Lasergraphics film recorders, which transfers photographs to slide film with a 4000-line scan. But they are too expensive -- $4500 for a new inexpensive one. Those for sale on e-bay I don't trust, because if you look around, you find that Lasergraphics has warranty programs that cost $600 a year. This suggests to me that the machines break, and most of the machines on e-bay are old and used.

Any suggestions?

JC
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2006, 12:55:47 PM »
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Or edit your files and have them converted to film transparencies by a professional service.
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Ed Dubois
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2006, 01:47:45 PM »
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I've read that the Canon Realis SX50 digital projector was designed for high res projection for use with technical and engineering drawings and the like. I've seen one of these in action once with photographs and was impressed. Also, they're pretty popular with the home theatre crowd. I wonder if that would do the job for you. Here's a link to a review http://www.projectorreviews.com/Manufactur.../SX50/index.asp
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John Camp
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2006, 02:26:54 PM »
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Ed,

Thanks for the tip. This might be what I'm looking for, and the price is coming down -- now $3300 through an Amazon reseller...

JC
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bjanes
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2006, 02:36:13 PM »
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Quote
I need to project very sharp images of  digital photographs over short distances (~ten feet/3m) onto an opaque surface, like a wall. A digital projector doesn't do it for me. I've thought of going back to slides, and have done that to some extent, but I also want the Photoshop capability. There are two possibilities, both somewhat expensive, so I ask for opinions here. Would I get the best short range sharpness if I:

1. Did the photoshop work, got the best possible print, then rephotographed the print with slide film and had the slides processed and then projected them; or

2. Got a high-quality print and then projected it with a high-quality opaque projector?

JC
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=92186\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

IMHO, using a print as an intermediate is not a good idea, since even the best prints have a contrast ratio of 100:1 at most, whereas a slide or high bit digital image can have quite a bit higher ratio. The Canon projector referenced in an adjacent post claims a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The gamut of modern digital cameras is also wider than that of a silver halide color print as can be demonstrated in the gamut views on Drycreek.com.

Bill
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sposch
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2007, 01:00:08 PM »
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Is the projected image for viewing by an audience or another purpose? Knowing what your ultimate goal is would help us come up with suggestions.

Steve.
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eitanwaks
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2007, 11:08:51 AM »
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I'm very interested in film recorders.  Does anyone have any experience with these?  If so, I would very much like to hear about it.

Thanks,
Eitan Waks

PS I'm not trying to hijack this thread.  I think the information would help the original poster as well.
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John Camp
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2007, 04:56:55 PM »
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I'm very interested in film recorders.  Does anyone have any experience with these?  If so, I would very much like to hear about it.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=94548\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I did some reading about Lasergraphics film recorders when I was trying to figure out what to do, and they're tempting -- but I have the feeling that they may be more trouble than they're worth. They seem to be used a lot by academics who are putting together slide shows, so you see comments about them by college users. I got the impression that they can be a little touchy -- people talking about getting training to use them, about repairs, etc. And as I noted above, the warranty costs a lot, which hints that there may be reason to worry about them. Anyway, the best price I could find was $4,500.

It was also suggested on this thread that that I should look for a photo service that outputs slides from digital files. I did find one, but the person on the phone didn't have details, and suggested that I'd have to talk to the lab guy who was in a different building. I just haven't driven into town to do that, especially since I took somebody else's suggestion, and bought a Canon Realis SX50, which, if God and UPS are on my side, should be delivered tomorrow morning. I'll leave a note here about how that works out...

In any case, I suspect you could get digital files output to slides in most larger cities, but it would have to be a city of unusual size, or perhaps one with a large university in it. Film recorders haven't been much in demand since the rise of PowerPoint.

JC
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John Camp
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2007, 03:10:14 PM »
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I got a Canon Realis SX50 yesterday and today plugged it in and took a look. The projected pictures are notably sharper that then best I could get from my Epson Powerlite 53C. However, it seems to me that the biggest visible improvement tends to be in things like type faces and linear work, rather than in photographs -- although the photographs are also notably sharper. (I think this is because the higher res cleans up edges, and that's simply more apparent in linear stuff than in more confusing things like mass foliage.)

In any case, this is good enough for me. Now, I have to make the photographs sharper. After projecting an image, I got close and thought, Hmm, that looks more like softness in the photo than in the projection. I went back and looked at the print, and it *could* have been sharper. In any case, I'm satisifed for now.

For anyone interested, the machine comes in a nice nylon carry pack with a remote, cables, etc., and one of the best fast-setup cards I've ever seen. And it's not *that* much bigger than the Powerlite. Typical price around the net is about $4300, but I looked on e-bay, found a high-rated place that was selling them "buy it now" for just under $3000 (just over, with shipping), and so got it for $3,000. Service was good; got it in less than a week, well-packaged. (I have nothing to do with this company, have never used it before, yadayada.) Definitely kicks up your projections a step; does get pretty hot and relatively quickly. Maybe that's why there's a fire sale...8-)

JC
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