Any advice for a CIH newbie? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys,

I think I finally figured out how to fit a CIH setup in my theater by changing the room layout orientation 90 degrees. So for the first time ever I am considering a CIH setup for my JVC RS-1 (which is on its way). I would like to use a Da-Lite High Power, but since it doesn't come in a 2.35:1 AR, I will have to build a frame myself (mine are better than any of the commercial ones anyway ). I started out by reading the CIH FAQ and reading through a few threads here, so I think I am ready to start asking for advice.

If I go with a 139" wide screen (Da-Lite's widest Model C), my projector would have have a 1.6X throw ratio at best (yes, I figured it on a 16:9 screen of the same height, not the 2.35:1 screen). But I have a closet behind my seating, and if I cut a hole in the wall, mounted the projector on a shelf so that just the lens stuck out I could then get 1.8X, which from everything I have read would be a better throw. If I made the screen smaller, that would in itself give me a larger throw ratio, but I would like to keep the image that big if it will work WELL.

Now for lens choices. I know that the RS-1 is not the most expensive PJ in the world, but I figure that I can always keep the lens for each successive projector - Is that correct? If so, then I would not mind spending more money on a lens than I would normally since I don't plan on owning ANY projector for more than one year. So far the contenders seem to be:

Prismasonic H-FE1500
ISCO III
Schneider (I don't know what models)
Panamorph UH380 (I think that's right)

Any others?

It seems as if the ISCO III and perhaps the Schneider (I have zero info on Schneider) would be the most expensive ones, but does the additional price delta buy anything besides a name? My priorities, in order, are:

1. Works WELL at my intended throw ratio
2. Sharpness!!!
3. Free of chromatic abberation
4. Least amount of pincushioning
5. Convenience - Either leave the lens in place or have an EASY way to move it
6. Price - Everything else equal, I want the best value

I may still reduce the screen size slightly (and thus increase the throw ratio) depending on how much light output I measure and track from the RS-1, but for now let's assume that I will be using a screen that big and at that throw ratio.

So what do you guys advise?
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post #2 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 08:40 AM
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You can get the Da-Lite high power Model C as a 2.35 screen. It is just a custom build. Talk to Jason here at AVS. He is quoting several sizes for me right now.

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Jeff

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post #3 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sorel View Post

I would like to use a Da-Lite High Power, but since it doesn't come in a 2.35:1 AR, I will have to build a frame myself (mine are better than any of the commercial ones anyway ).

Did you talk to Tryg? I ordered Da-Lite High 139" wide Power Cinema Contour screen from him. I am on RS1 pre-order and went with this screen based on his thread. Meanwhile, I decided to check out Panasonic AX100U projector because of it's lumens and VERTICAL STRETCH feature that saves me from spending over 1K for a scaler. I have Aussimorphic lens on pre-order. Currently, I am doing Poor Man CIH which Tryg recommended me for RS1 as well. The image with zooming is looking incredible. I wonder how much better it can get with lens.

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Originally Posted by Bob Sorel View Post

I don't plan on owning ANY projector for more than one year. So far the contenders seem to be:

I am somewhat like this with most electronics. So, I decided not to buy expensive lens as I believe it may not be too long before we see 2.35X1 projectors. Try out Poor man's CIH before you jump on lens which I am sure you will eventually.
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post #4 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, guys.

As far as the screen goes, even if the Model C is available in 2.35 the only reason I would buy it would be to cut the material up for my own frame. If I were to buy the raw material from Da-Lite they charge something like double the price of buying the Model C (real nice, heh?), so it is just cheaper to buy the Model C and cut it up myself...What a waste of a perfectly good casing.

I build my own frames from 3/16" thick 1.5 " square tubular aluminum and cover them with black velvet, so it makes for a VERY nice, rock solid screen and costs considerably less than buying one from Da-Lite (or any other manufacturer). Also, if I understand correctly, should I wish to add electric masking to the screen I would need that type of frame to mount the masking to, no?

As far as 2.35:1 projectors are concerned, I really don't know if and when they will be made and how many companies will jump on the bandwagon, so for the foreseeable future I think it is a safe bet that 16:9 will be around for quite a long time, and as such the anamorphic lens should have a long life as well. I know it is a risk and probably a poor investment, but everything in this hobby suffers from severe depreciation...
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post #5 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 09:59 AM
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Ah that explains it. I missed the part where you would be making your own frame. You just want the material.

The lens, just like the screen, will probably be one of the few HT purchases that will last a very long time before it needs to be replaced. I agree that 2.35 native projectors are a long way off..if ever.

Laters,
Jeff

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post #6 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 11:38 AM
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I own a UH380/M380 so take that into consideration as you read my recommendation. Your throw of 1.8 is relatively short as anamorphic setups go, and this will place a limit on the performance you can expect to achieve, especially geometric distortions. As the image is expanding fast (short throw) as it progresses through whatever lens you buy you will have to pay close attention to keeping the image centered as it both enters and leaves the lens. It also means the physical size of the lens is important, the so-called aperture size. Looking at the pics of the RS1, it appears the lens is not recessed, so you should be able to place the lens snugly almost against the pj. I think this leaves all the lenses you are considering still in the game. I have the UH380 and get virtually perfect performance to my eyes and test patterns. However, I am using a long throw of 2.8, and this helps me considerably. Panamorph says the UH380 is for "16:9 throw ratios above 1.6 and projector beams up to 3.1" square". You meet both of these but are relatively close to the throw limit, and because of this (as well as your well-known search for perfection) I will restrain myself and not absolutely recommend the UH380. You may want to go for the ISCOIII because of the adjustment ring that will allow you to minimize astigmatism for your throw ratio. Of course, it's the most expensive one. However, as others have pointed out, this purchase could last for many years, making it easier to justify going for the top.
I don't know anything about the Schneider, but I expect to be helping a fellow AVS'er install one in the next couple of weeks. I'll certainly have an opinion after that experience.
So here is my recommendation. I would press Shawn Kelly as to how the UH380 would perform at your throw ratio. If you get a satisfactory response I would buy the UH380/M380 combo on approval. If you like it, keep it. If you don't, return it and get the ISCOIII. However, keep the M380 as it is an outstanding motorized sled and will work with the ISCOIII per other posts on this forum. I am a purist and don't want any unnecessary glass between my projector and screen, so I don't like leaving a lens in place when watching non-2.35 material.
I would love to see an in-depth review of these anamorphic lenses. Such a review is long overdue, and would show some enlightening stuff that is not talked about yet on this forum. Certainly geometric distortion, non-linear stretching, and CA would be examined, but also other items. Another important issue is color shifting by these lenses. You might have your pj perfectly calibrated to d65 without the anamorphic lens, but will you with the lens in place? I happen to have tested my UH380 and know the color shift is very, very small. I also know they have paid close attention to the lens coatings for this reason among others. It will take a very particular individual to notice these things, but in my opinion you are one who will tax these lenses to their limit. I do not know how the other lenses perform in this regard, and I think you'd have a hard time finding out.
I'll stop rambling on.
To review, I recommend taking a shot on the lower priced UH380/M380 with return privileges, and if not satisfied, return the lens for the ISCOIII while keeping the M380 sled. Just my opinion, of course.
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post #7 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info, Citation! The UH380 will remain on my short list...

After doing some careful measuring and planning, it looks like the ideal screen size will be 131.6" X 56" (I have low ceiling, so the height became the final determining factor), so my throw ratio if I build the PJ into the wall will be 1.88X - not as good as I had hoped for an anamorphic lens, but it will help with brightness.
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 04:22 PM
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Hi Bob,

I take it that you have the scaler situation tied up (your going to need one). 1.6 is at the short end of the throw ratio, 1.88 is better. I have the UH380/M380 combo at a throw ratio of 2.2 and there is some very minor pincushion on my setup, but not enough for me to be bothered in any way by it. I thought long and hard about getting an Isco III, and decided that the UH380/M380 was too good a deal for me to pass up. I had the Prismasonic 1200 before the UH380, and have zero regrets about changing lenses. I think you are going to find it impossible to get a comparison of these lenses. As far as I know, no one has had both an Isco III and a UH380 and done a comparison (or if they have, they are keeping quiet about it).
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post #9 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by usualsuspects View Post

I had the Prismasonic 1200 before the UH380, and have zero regrets about changing lenses.

I did exactly the same thing. Small world, isn't it?
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post #10 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 04:52 PM
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Is it a small world, or is it a wide world?
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post #11 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I take it that you have the scaler situation tied up (your going to need one).

Yup...I have a Crystalio 2...all set...
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1.6 is at the short end of the throw ratio, 1.88 is better.

I've decided to cut the hole in the wall...The final TR is 1.88.
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As far as I know, no one has had both an Isco III and a UH380 and done a comparison (or if they have, they are keeping quiet about it).

Maybe Alan Gouger?
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post #12 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 05:27 PM
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Bob,

How far away are you sitting?
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post #13 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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How far away are you sitting?

About 1 foot in front of the projector. Basically the projector will be in the wall about a foot above head level (in order to realize maximum gain from the HP) and I will be sitting in a recliner which will be against the wall when reclined...
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post #14 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 06:40 PM
 
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Small world, isn't it?

But, I wouldn't wanna paint it.
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post #15 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 08:02 PM
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Bob welcome to the nutty world of constant height, I just took delivery of the Isco III, its a monster lens, my Dalite highpower 58 x 128 cinema contour is being built this week and im making arrangements for it to be delivered by friday for a saturday delivery, one of the reasons I bought the ISCO III is that its the last lens I will ever buy and since Im in a relatively theater room, my throw is not long at all 151" from the screen and with ISCOIII in front adds about another 6 inches but the ISCO III looks like it can handle it which is one of the reasons I went for it, it can work for short throws, ultimately you will have to make your decision based on what you can afford, welcome to the club and good luck
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post #16 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by funlvr1965 View Post

my Dalite highpower 58 x 128 cinema contour is being built this week.........

I certainly hope you made a typo on that screen size as with those dimensions it's a 2.2 ratio, not 2.35.
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post #17 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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one of the reasons I bought the ISCO III is that its the last lens I will ever buy

I agree. After talking to quite a few people today I have decided to buy the ISCO III as well. Since it will be something that I keep from one projector to the next, I figure that I will just buy the best right off the bat and be done with it. I am sure that the other lenses are all excellent, but the consensus seems to be that the ISCO is the best, though not necessarily the best bang for the buck.

So I'll be talking to Jason tomorrow about getting an ISCO III and a 139"X59" Da-Lite HP Model C. Since I can just hang that screen temporarily and it is the absolute largest screen I could possibly fit (maybe too big), it will give me a chance to play with different image sizes before I cut it up and mount it in my own frame.

With the RS-1 coming in in the next week or so and going to a CIH setup, there will be some major upgrading going on in my theater....
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post #18 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 08:40 PM
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Bob,

Since I'm considering the same combo - ISCO 3/JVC - I'd be very curious as to your experience. Especially as to whether you find any reduction in sharpness when adding the ISCO lens to the mix.

Thanks,
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post #19 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Rich, since I have to completely redo my theater for this change (turning the whole thing 90 degrees), it could take me a month or longer to get the job done, but I will be sure to post my results once the job is completed and I have a chance to do a thorough evaluation. The key here will be to play with the screen size, which in turn affects throw ratio and ftLs coming off of the screen, that will produce the best tradeoff between image size and brightness over the longest period of time (as the lamp loses brightness). This should be fun!
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post #20 of 22 Old 02-26-2007, 09:46 PM
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Cool. I'm trying to figure out how my jump into CIH is going to work too. Yikes. Life was easier when all I had to do was switch on my plasma :-)
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post #21 of 22 Old 02-27-2007, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation4444 View Post

I certainly hope you made a typo on that screen size as with those dimensions it's a 2.2 ratio, not 2.35.

typo indeed I meant the frame size is 55 x 121 viewable image is 49 x 115 = 125" diagonal 2.35
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post #22 of 22 Old 02-27-2007, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Sorel View Post

After talking to quite a few people today I have decided to buy the ISCO III as well.

A good choice for you. I wish you lived closer to GA so we could have an ISCOIII/UH380 shootout. Short throw 1080p at your place; long throw 720p at my place. I would love to see a objective comparison of these two lenses.

Bob
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