Brief review of the Panamorph Phoenix Lens with a Sony 40ES
A few call outs before we begin:
1) I'm posting here because as an entry level A lens I believe this is a better fit for this forum and projectors like the 40ES or Epson 5030. I realize A lenses are not as popular here but most folks in the $3000+ forum would probably choose one of Panamorph's higher end products.
2) I'm only been researching projectors for about a year and this is my first A lens. So I have nothing to personally compare it to and any mistakes in setup are likely my own rather than a failing of the lens. I'm open to suggestions on how I can improve things.
3) I pre-ordered early. So I only paid $995. The price has since gone up. So any mentions I make of value should take that into account.
4) I'm working with a temporary setup while waiting for my house to be finished. I'm projecting a 45 inch tall image from a throw of about 14 feet (minimum distance for the lens). Projector lens in roughly at the bottom of the image so vertical lens shift is minimal and I'm using no horizontal shift. I'm within the proper throw ratio of the lens, but the throw distance is the minimum suggested. When I move I'll be able to place it a few feet further back.
First Impressions/ Build Quality
My first impression was good. Despite the housing being made out of plastic it feels solid. The housing is smooth to the touch but visually appears a bit 'wavy' (for lack of a better term). Nothing that I would notice in the dark though when the unit is mounted so it's not an issue at all. When projecting you can see some VERY slight light leakage from the seams in the middle of the housing but nothing that would brighten the room or be distracting.
I selected the XM-1. It also seems well constructed and includes pretty much everything you might need with one exception. The 40ES requires use of pretty much ALL of the provided spacers but I didn't have screws of the proper length on hand to mount the projector mount through the XM-1 and the spacers. But I don't expect Panamorph to provide screws for very possible ceiling mount combination so this is certainly more than acceptable. They otherwise provide everything else you might need from what I can tell.
My only complaint is that I wish it was possible to bring the Phoenix lens a little bit closer to the projector's lens. With the XM-1 I can only get about as close as a half inch between them. This could very well be a non-issue however.
Convergence, ECC, Focus, Brightness and Pincushion
Setting convergence was not a problem and only took a few minutes. As this was a temporary setup I didn't obsess over it for days. I performed the ECC corrections before completely dialing in the lens positioning wise but slight physical adjustments didn't seem to affect things. I only required a slight adjustment to red, but blue...especially on the right side of the image required the maximum adjustment to the left. But it looks fine now and certainly no worse than when I used ECC without the A lens in place. If you hate ECC the amount of adjustment required may bother you, but I use it anyways so I'm not overly concerned.
Focus seemed unaffected by the lens. I do have a bit of pincushion but I've noticed by adjusting the tilt of the lens this changes (The manual also mentions this of course). I was able to get it to an acceptable level and I fully expect to remove it entirely when I adjust the lens in it's final home with a bordered screen.
Brightness may have taken a slight hit but I haven't used a meter so I may just be imagining it.
Action items /Final Thoughts
I still need to test 1.85:1 movies with the lens in place to see if I'm bothered by the loss of resolution.
Overall I'm pleased with the lens and the price I paid for it.
I've added a few quick and dirty pictures of the lens.
Home Theater: Sony 385ES, Denon AVR-S920W, NHT Super Ones/Zeroes w/Ten Sub,
Sony BDP-S6500, Sony UBP-X800, and Monoprice 130 inch 2.35:1 White Material Screen
Living room: Sony 60NX720, VIZIO SB4051-C0 Other: Samsung 51F8500
Displays calibrated with HCFR, i1DisplayPro, and Colormunki Photo.
Last edited by AMartin56; 01-15-2016 at 08:26 AM.