Let me give it a shot. Disclaimer - I work as a consultant for Panamorph.I have been wanting a 2.35 setup for a long time, but the lenses were simply out of my budget range. Now with the introduction of the CineVista lens the topic appears to be affordable.
That was the idea
I currently have a small 13x12 HT room with an old Mit HC 4000 ceiling mounted at the very back with roughly a 11.5' throw.
I have zoom set to max so I can project a ~116" diagonal 16:9 image.
If I leave the zoom on max to get the largest picture possible how bad is the pincussion effect? I read that the closer throw is, the larger the effect and that zoom also has a negative effect on top?
The 11.5' throw DISTANCE is right within the CineVista's focus range. However, if you want to retain your 116" 16:9 image, your throw RATIO will result in pretty severe pincushion distortion. To get pincushion down to what most people consider to be an acceptable amount, you need to be about 3X the screen height or further back (this is true for just about any anamorphic lens). Your screen is about 57" tall, so 3 x 57" = 171", or 14.25 feet. Unless you can move the projector back further - or would be happy with a smaller screen size - you are going to end up with quite a bit of pincushion. You can compensate for this by either zooming into your black screen surround (quite a bit in this case), or getting a curved screen.
FYI, if you are ok with a smaller image, a screen height of 3.8' (46") would be just about ideal, with the overall dimensions of approximately 46" x 110." That's a pretty big screen, unless, of course, you are sitting way back in the room. If you are about 11' - 12' back, that is actually a really good size.Also the missing CA with the Cinevista is a big concern for me. Has anybody actually used the lens and can give first hand feedback, I cant seem to find treads with feedback from actual users only the handful of reviews on the web. Can you see the effect in movies or only if you put a crosshatch on the screen?
This is harder to answer, because it is a personal call. You might take a look at Josh Zyber's review once he comes out with it here shortly. He has spent quite a bit of time evaluating the CineVista using a projector that does not have the ability to dial out the CA. He already posted about that in another thread:
My own opinion? The average A/V enthusiast would never notice it unless they were shown what to look for. Critical viewers (and include myself among them) will occasionally notice it if a) they go looking for it, and b) there is picture content that has some kind of high contrast grid or series of white vertical lines on screen (such as a cable box or satellite dish menu). Unfortunately, you HC4000 does not allow you to dial out the CA, so it will be there. Some people are bothered just knowing that it is there even if they can't see it.
And then lastly is it even worth going this route instead of investing the money into a new projector, I like the Mit HC4000, but I have not seen in person any of the new $2-$2.5k projectors and what kind of image they throw.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
That I can't answer definitively. There are some LCD models in that price range that would allow you to dial out the CA, but your throw ratio issue remains. In many ways, too, the image from an LCD is not as good as your DLP (motion resolution, ANSI contrast, etc, though if you are rainbow sensitive you might prefer the LCD).
Good luck and I hope this helps!