Epson 3020 Sharpness (or lack thereof) - Am I expecting too much? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Morning,

I was going to put this in the "official" 3020 thread - but it's so long with so many angles - I thought it better to try here.

Long story short - after a long frustrating month dealing with a very poorly mounted 3020 - I finally took delivery on a much better suited extension column for my Peerless UNV mount and moved my screen into a proper plain with the projector.

Currently the start of the my viewable screen area is exactly 13 inches from the ceiling while the lens center of the Epson now sits at around 15 inches - so I am still "out" by an "ideal" 2 inches - but I am not sure that I can get a 5 inch pipe for this Peerless mount?

That said - I reset the Epson to factory standard and spent yesterday afternoon "squaring" everything up. I was finally able to project a perfectly square image on my Elite Screens 92 inch (cinegray) without having to adjust anything but a tiny bit of pitch and yaw. Then I spent about and hour viewing many different sources...

Overall - from where I was (4 weeks ago) to now - it's like night and day. I haven't even started to calibrate but the projector is already looking fab...but my real question is the clarity and sharpness of the image onscreen. I tested with the Spears and Munsil and several very well done BluRay sources and I am still unsure if what I am seeing is what I should be seeing or have I got one of those 3020s with focus issues.

Given that my only true baseline of what an HD image should look like (to my eyes) is my TVs - but what exactly should the end result be - if this PJ is set up as good as can be? Should the sharpness be equal to or better than a BR displayed on my Samsung TV? Should it be "different" but still excellent simply due to the technology in play?

One thing I did yesterday was put up several blurays of well done animated movies like Despicable Me or Puss N Boots - and while the picture is getting there (I haven't calibrated at all yet) - something is still bothering me about the sharpness that I keep thinking I should be seeing...

Anyone else feel the same? Anything that I should be doing - but am not - to ensure I have the best sharpness settings (and yes - I have moved the focus ring smile.gif

I just want to make sure I haven't got one of the lemon 3020s that had focus issues (what exactly were those "issues"?) and if so - I want to get Epson on the case quickly.

Cheers!

VP
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 08:32 AM
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It's really impossible to say if you have focus issues or not without having a baseline to compare against. In my experience, projectors should be sharp edge to edge.

Now, you did mention that you squared the image up, but you have the projector tilted some...

Does this mean that you have used some digital keystone correction? If so, then this will soften the image as you are no longer projecting a rectangle, but a trapezoid, throwing away pixels, and significantly impacting the image. Some projectors handle this better than others, but in all cases, you are no longer projecting a true 1080p image.

The Peerless mount should be using standard 1.5" threaded pipe - this pipe is available at Lowes, couplers, extension pipes, etc. are all available at Lowes. You can buy a length of pipe and have it cut to the exact length you need it as, or just couple a few pieces together to get exactly what you need for a fraction of the cost of buying a pre-made pipe from the manufacturer.

Anyway, to test out if keystoning is affecting your image, then turn it off and square the projector to the screen as best as possible and see how it looks.

LCD projectors because of their 3 panel design often have some alignment issues which can impact image sharpness. Single chip DLP generally is the sharpest image out there, but some projectors have alignment tools which allow panels to be tweaked for best alignment and focus.

Not sure what else to offer without seeing the projector myself.

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post #3 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

Does this mean that you have used some digital keystone correction? If so, then this will soften the image as you are no longer projecting a rectangle, but a trapezoid, throwing away pixels, and significantly impacting the image. Some projectors handle this better than others, but in all cases, you are no longer projecting a true 1080p image.

No keystone whatsoever. That is what started this mess a month ago smile.gif My installer stuck the 3020 on a 12 inch pipe and then processed to keystone the crap out it - without realizing the implications. So - now - no keystone whatsoever. No trapezoids, no weirdness - actually no issues with projecting a "square" image whatsoever. I spent about 45 minutes pacing the screen with the Epson pattern up and actually measured the edge distances and any other area that I could with a ruler to ensure the viewable area was perfectly square as I could get it whilst using zero "correction" whatsoever - outside of maybe a degree of tilt up/down and very slight straightening L/R (all done via the pitch and yaw controls on the Peerless).
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The Peerless mount should be using standard 1.5" threaded pipe - this pipe is available at Lowes, couplers, extension pipes, etc. are all available at Lowes. You can buy a length of pipe and have it cut to the exact length you need it as, or just couple a few pieces together to get exactly what you need for a fraction of the cost of buying a pre-made pipe from the manufacturer.

Well - I am dealing with HVAC bulkhead that runs across the midpoint of the room and drops exactly 12 inches from the ceiling. My screen area "starts" at exactly 13 inches from the ceiling...so to be ideal (and exact) - I would need to ensure that the 3020 lens (when suspended) clears the edge of this bulkhead by exactly one inch. Currently - it's about 2.5 inches below the edge.

And - this mount requires threads on both ends to work. If I could somehow determine the exact length of pipe that I need - will Lowes cut me a pipe and then thread both ends for me - I am thinking no...or maybe yes?

Cheers,

VP
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 01:04 PM
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Since this projector has no lens shift adjustment you really need to have it mounted at the one and only correct position. The projector should not be tilted otherwise there will geometry and/or focus issues. Electronic keystone should never be used for a home theater application as it will degrade the projected image. You may need to get at longer extension pipe cut down to your ideal length or perhaps Peerless offers an adjustable length pipe (I know that Chief and some other projector mount manufacturers offer these). If you have good focus the individual pixels should be clearly seen when viewing very close (e.g., 1 ft.) to the screen and they should be clearly visible over the entire screen.

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post #5 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vocalpoint View Post

No keystone whatsoever. That is what started this mess a month ago smile.gif My installer stuck the 3020 on a 12 inch pipe and then processed to keystone the crap out it - without realizing the implications. So - now - no keystone whatsoever. No trapezoids, no weirdness - actually no issues with projecting a "square" image whatsoever. I spent about 45 minutes pacing the screen with the Epson pattern up and actually measured the edge distances and any other area that I could with a ruler to ensure the viewable area was perfectly square as I could get it whilst using zero "correction" whatsoever - outside of maybe a degree of tilt up/down and very slight straightening L/R (all done via the pitch and yaw controls on the Peerless).
Well - I am dealing with HVAC bulkhead that runs across the midpoint of the room and drops exactly 12 inches from the ceiling. My screen area "starts" at exactly 13 inches from the ceiling...so to be ideal (and exact) - I would need to ensure that the 3020 lens (when suspended) clears the edge of this bulkhead by exactly one inch. Currently - it's about 2.5 inches below the edge.

And - this mount requires threads on both ends to work. If I could somehow determine the exact length of pipe that I need - will Lowes cut me a pipe and then thread both ends for me - I am thinking no...or maybe yes?

Cheers,

VP

Lowes or HD or Mom and Pop hardware will cut pipe and thread to any length you want.
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
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And - this mount requires threads on both ends to work. If I could somehow determine the exact length of pipe that I need - will Lowes cut me a pipe and then thread both ends for me - I am thinking no...or maybe yes?
This is the 'normal' type of pipe. They will cut it to length and thread both ends. It's a really nice tool they use to do this, and works very well.

I typically buy some flat black spray paint and paint the pipe after I buy and dry fit it. I also get the actual ceiling mount flange from Lowes.

Home Depot, when I went in recently, did not carry or stock 1.5" pipe, just 1", so they didn't have what was necessary.

Still feel like you should see if there is anyone local to you that you can go and look at their projector. Check Best Buy (Magnolia) and see their setup and use your disc to check sharpness. They may be slow and kind and help you out with your testing.

I've always been a fan of Epson models, but am not sure how good the 3020 looks.

Glad you aren't using keystone! Make sure those numbers are perfectly zeroed out.

All else being the same, you can call Epson and start asking them some questions. You should be able to see good pixel structure on the screen when you are close to the wall with clear definition around each pixel when in focus. This should be top to bottom and edge to edge sharp.

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post #7 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tburns6 View Post

Lowes or HD or Mom and Pop hardware will cut pipe and thread to any length you want.

Good to know. I have the 12 inch pipe that was in prior - so I suppose next steps are to get that cut down to the right length and threaded up....

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post #8 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Still feel like you should see if there is anyone local to you that you can go and look at their projector. Check Best Buy (Magnolia) and see their setup and use your disc to check sharpness. They may be slow and kind and help you out with your testing.

There are a number of vendors that have this model...so that's always an option plan.
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All else being the same, you can call Epson and start asking them some questions. You should be able to see good pixel structure on the screen when you are close to the wall with clear definition around each pixel when in focus. This should be top to bottom and edge to edge sharp.

Well - I am seeing some very nice repro right now - I guess I just keep wondering if I am expecting wayyyy to much or if what I am seeing is exactly what I should be seeing. I mean - this projector is not that difficult to set up.

I will live with it for now but need to get out the math to determine exactly how long to cut and thread this other pipe in order to get my lens where it needs to be.

Q: Can anyone clarify this for me - because I keep reading different things on where the lens should be when in it's "one and only position". Is it the actual "top" of the lens (rounded portion where it exits the housing) to be exactly 13 inches from ceiling? (To match exactly where my screen drop changes from black to "viewable" = 13 inches).

Or is it the dead center of the lens itself - to be exactly 13 inches from the ceiling?

Given the housing of the projector and the tight spot I have to work with - the shorter that pipe gets - the less room I get to allow the housing and lens front to "duck" under the bulkhead. I can only go so far with it and I am unsure if I can actually ever get "lens center" to be 13 inches from the ceiling. I may be able to swing getting the lens top to 13 inches.

Failing that - I can always simply just get the projector lens (or lens top) to be as high as it can be (and still fit) and then just zoom to fit on screen. As long as the image is perfectly square and is in perfect alignment with the screen top (but not necessarily) right into the actual corners of the viewable area - i think I can live with a half inch of "space" round the viewable area.

Thoughts?

VP
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 04:46 PM
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From the ceiling measure down to the center of the lens, as per page 15 of the owner's manual. Depending on your screen size and projector-to-screen throw distance the offset is only 0.1 to 0.2 inches from the edge of the projected image which is too small to be significant (offset value is again as per the table on page 15 of the owner's manual). Most screens have a black border that is 2" to 3" wide and I typically extend the projected image (i.e. overscan) about 1" onto the border. If you are also going to overscan the image just a little, then you should be using the edge of the actual projected image, not just the top of the white area of the screen for your measurements. Also remember to level the projector front-to-rear first since this will impact the lens position a little.

One way to check how much you need to change your ceiling to projector drop-down distance is with the projector in its current positon use a bubble level and adjust the projector mount until the projector is exactly level (front-to-rear) then measure how far the projected image is shifted vertically from the actual screen position.


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post #10 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 05:44 PM
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Hello
Glad you got rid of the keystone. Here is how you can get an easy measure of how much to shorten your pipe. Now that your projected image is square to the screen, zoom it out big until the bottom of the image hits the bottom of your white area of screen. Measure how much white remains above the top of your projected image. Then, to get an even more exact measure, zoom out a little bigger, until the projected image extends onto the black border of the screen at the bottom as much as there is white remaining at the top. That amount of white is the exact distance you need to shorten your pipe. Once the pipe is shortened, you should then not need any adjustments to your projector, unless you bumped them during the pipe change. Good luck.

As to the question about sharpness... hard to be sure. There are forum discussions about unlocking the secret menu on the 3010 to allow pixel alaignment adjustment. You should have very crisp images, without any objectionable blur, on every single pixel of your display. Not perfect alaignment, but one without objectional blur.

A smaller display will of course appear sharper always, everything else being equal.
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello
Glad you got rid of the keystone. Here is how you can get an easy measure of how much to shorten your pipe. Now that your projected image is square to the screen, zoom it out big until the bottom of the image hits the bottom of your white area of screen. Measure how much white remains above the top of your projected image. Then, to get an even more exact measure, zoom out a little bigger, until the projected image extends onto the black border of the screen at the bottom as much as there is white remaining at the top. That amount of white is the exact distance you need to shorten your pipe. Once the pipe is shortened, you should then not need any adjustments to your projector, unless you bumped them during the pipe change. Good luck.

As to the question about sharpness... hard to be sure. There are forum discussions about unlocking the secret menu on the 3010 to allow pixel alaignment adjustment. You should have very crisp images, without any objectionable blur, on every single pixel of your display. Not perfect alaignment, but one without objectional blur.

A smaller display will of course appear sharper always, everything else being equal.

Wow - thanks guys! Great tips here.

So - just to clarify - assuming my image is about as square as it can get - AND knowing there is a slight front-to-rear tilt in play here (approx a degree upwards right now - since the lens center is about 15 inches from ceiling) - do I still just zoom out big and leave the PJ in it's current state (do not touch anything?)

Just want to be sure that the slight upward tilt should stay in play - or should I make it go away (as per Ron's suggestion) by actually "leveling" the projector first...and then zooming out to bottom edge?

VP
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-16-2013, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Lowes or HD or Mom and Pop hardware will cut pipe and thread to any length you want.

The US Lowes must be a lot more accommodating. I just called my local store here in Calgary and they will only cut and thread their own pipe (That you purchase from them).

I cannot bring my Peerless pipe down there and have them size it up

Going to have to find another option.

Cheers!

VP
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