Stewart Firehawk G3 vs. Carada Brilliant White - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-31-2011, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been a long time reader but never posted or signed up until today. I am looking for thoughts on my dilemma because I can't make up my mind (which usually is not an issue).

I have a chance to pick up a brand new 110 inch Firehawk G3 Velux Deluxe frame for $1350. Long story as to why I can get it for this price but it is new and a legit deal. I also have a chance to pick up a used but great condition (I saw it) 110 inch Carada Criterion Brilliant White for $350.

My projector is an Sanyo Z4 but I will be upgrading in the next year or so, therefore, whatever I get likely today is not a black level issue so I don't need the Firehawk for that reason.

The room will be painted a darker color with blackout curtains. I also have the ability to control lighting. Therefore, one would think the white would be perfect due to the room conditions and also the cheaper price.

The dilemma. Well, I like to entertain and have lights on and windows slightly open. I have a bar and pool table behind the theater seating area (about 30 feet from the screen) with two windows. I like to have them open a bit to have light in. In the evening, I like to have lights on in that area and those lights are not recessed like in the theater. They are your normal lights that emit light in all directions. We like to have the projector on when shooting pool and hanging out. Therefore, it is split between probably 50/50 of having lights on and watching sports, general TV vs. lights off and enjoying all a projector has to offer. The Firehawk would help in the entertaining but the Carada Brilliant White would probably be better with the lights off (at least that is what I am thinking). Last, since the lights are coming from behind the projecter, the same as the projector beam, it is my understanding the Firehawk would not do as well with that light than if I had a light to either side of the screen. Therefore, maybe the Firehawk won't work well in my application.

Please let me know what you would buy or any thoughts you have. Thanks.
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-01-2011, 04:15 AM
 
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Firehawk for your viewing conditions, even with not perfect lighting it will still do a better job than a white based screen.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-01-2011, 05:32 AM
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Always get a sample before buying a screen.

I would look at a Black Diamond screen if you want better ambient light performance. All screens with strong gain characteristics like a Firehawk and the Black Diamond will negatively impact the image if it is bright enough and you control room reflections.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-01-2011, 07:36 AM
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I have samples. I have owned a Carada before also (a much smaller screen though). It is so tough to tell on the samples as far as I am concerned.

BobL - are you saying the Firehawk will be better than the Carada not only with the lights on but also with the lights off?
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-01-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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No I am saying with the lights on. It is a good all around screen and you have mixed conditions. It will still look good with the lights off. I haven't comapred the Carada BW directly to the FH but compared to the Stewart ST130 I preferred the 130. But $350 is a heck of a deal.

We have had both a Firehawk and BDII side by side and I prefer the Firehawk but it can depend the angle the light is coming from. One rejects it better from sides and one better from above, can't remember which off the top of my head. The FH was smoother with less artifact when observed close, at normal seating distances its probably splitting hairs.

Samples are tough to tell, I prefer full screens which we just had a good shoout in Jan. to do some of that. A tiny difference in samples can definitely be a bigger difference with a full screen, so keep that in mind.
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-01-2011, 10:08 AM
 
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I've also had them side by side and also prefer the Firehawk but for more personal reasons. The BD screen was a little better with ambient light but my ambient light i was able to control and was artificial. The firehawk gives a better uniform image with less problems.

If I remember correctly, the Firehawk is better at controlling ambient light from the sides and the BD is better from above.

So what I can say from my shoot out is if you have a ton of ambient light that you can't control, go with BD, if you have ambient light that you can direct away from the screen, go with Firehawk.

note that this is just my personal opinion.

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post #7 of 12 Old 04-12-2011, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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OK. I got a Studiotek sample now also. While I love it (with the lights off) the Firehawk does help with lights on. Now, lights on viewing is more sports oriented (where brightness matters more as it is not typically dark and contrast doesn't matter as much). The Studiotek is brighter than the Firehawk and clearly brighter than the Carada (not sure how that can be as they are rated 1.3 and 1.4 respectively so it seems Carada may be exaggerating their gain a bit). It seems the consensus on here is that the Studiotek is great but since my room is somewhat multipurpose, the Firehawk is the best way to go. I do like the extra brightness bunch of this Studiotek though. Anyone have any other thoughts?
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-12-2011, 07:21 AM
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I've owned a Carada BW 110" for several years now and I'm quite happy with it .. your choices have such a wide range of price and it's difficult to really compare without knowing what PJ you may be looking at for your mentioned upgrade ..

I'm going to take a bit of an opposite opinion than some on your thread .. I'd go with the Carada and save some money .. no screen is going to look it's best using ambient light as you've described .. and under dark conditions, IMO, I doubt if you could pick the Carada over the Firehawk

Gain is really more of a legacy from the days when PJ's were dim .. I just don't see it as much of an issue with current models and those from the last few years ..

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post #9 of 12 Old 04-12-2011, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken2011 View Post

The Studiotek is brighter than the Firehawk and clearly brighter than the Carada (not sure how that can be as they are rated 1.3 and 1.4 respectively so it seems Carada may be exaggerating their gain a bit).

I have owned both a Carada BW and a Studiotek 130. The 130 is MUCH brigther than the BW. UMR (who posted above) and others have tested the BW as basically unity gain. I don't think I have seen any independent testing of the BW that shows anything other than (more or less) unity gain. The 130 is pretty much rated accurately according to UMR and others who have tested. I love my Studiotek which I got used. The BW is a very nice screen, I owned one for about 6 years or so but it is not a 1.4 gain screen. Never seen or owned a Firehawk so I cannot comment on it.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-12-2011, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

...

Gain is really more of a legacy from the days when PJ's were dim .. I just don't see it as much of an issue with current models and those from the last few years ..

It is less of an issue, but people trying to use larger screens, extend lamp life or moderate less than ideal room conditions should consider a screen with gain. This is not saying a gain screen does not bring negatives with it or that all gain screens are similar in performance.
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-12-2011, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umr View Post

It is less of an issue, but people trying to use larger screens, extend lamp life or moderate less than ideal room conditions should consider a screen with gain. This is not saying a gain screen does not bring negatives with it or that all gain screens are similar in performance.

I agree .. there are still some valid reasons for a higher gain ..

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post #12 of 12 Old 04-12-2011, 10:29 PM
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Ken2011,

For the type of use you describe, if it's between the Carada BW and the Firehawk, the Firehawk is a no-brainer. It's simply made to combat ambient light, and light reflections in a way the Carada BW is not. The Carada will definitely wash out more, for sure, with some light in the room.

As for lights out viewing, for the same reasons the Carada will suffer more in ambient light, it will also produce a more even image from most seats in the house than the Firehawk. In other words, no real hotspotting to the image. And to my eyes significantly less screen artifacts (sparklies over the image).

BUT...that's not to say the Firehawk would look "bad" in the dark. If your room isn't well treated, that is if you don't have dark colored ceiling/walls/floors etc, the firehawk's better off-axis light rejection will preserve some more contrast than the Carada and may, at least in terms of contrast, look "better" than the Carada even with the lights out.

If it were strictly for dark room viewing there would be things to recommend either the Carada or the Firehawk. But given you want a lot of viewing with some ambient light, there's no question the Firehawk is the more suitable screen for such double-duty.

Also excellent for the same reasons is the Black Diamond 1.4 gain screen...quite comparable to the Firehawk. And, like the Firehawk, pretty pricey.
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