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Isco2 vs. panamorph u85

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I know these are old but it's all I see on eBay, which is better. I'm concerned with the panamorph sapping contrast, is it really that bad?
post #2 of 12
I don't know about the U85, but I'm using an Isco II with my JVC X35 (and my HD350 before that). I have a very long throw setup so my projector is at minimum zoom for lens use which helps minimise pincushion. I found that the image was sharper using the Isco than zooming with my old HD350 (not tried zooming with the X35 to be honest), though I did also find that there was very little increase in lux reading between zooming and lens use in my set up. Mine is on a stand, so I lift it out of the way for 16:9 content and I use a Lumagen Mini3D for vertical stretch scaling as I found it better than the scaling in the projector.

I'll be interested to hear what others say about these lenses: I can't see me changing mine for the foreseeable future unless I found an Isco III for a silly price (unlikely).
post #3 of 12
That Panamorph U85 is a prism-based vertical compression lens, I'd say with little doubt that the ISCO is superior.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yea I'm sure it's better, just wondering if its 4x better.
post #5 of 12
The difference comes down more to application. The U85 is a vertical compression design, so needs to be used in a fixed configuration and at a long throw. The Isco II is horizontal expansion and can be used in a moveable configuration.

To clarify - the U85 is a hybrid prism / cylindrical design, not a simple prism. It does, however, have plastic optics and has been replaced in the Panamorph lineup by the UV200, which has glass optics.

I would LOVE to see a blind shootout between a U85 and and Isco II, at "normal" viewing distance and with video content. Vertical compression designs have certain benefits over horizontal expansion designs, which may mitigate the other trade-offs you get with the U85.

It would help to know your throw distance, screen size, etc.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Very long throw, dude selling a 85 on eBay for nothing, might pick it up. If it hurts contrast that bad I can just take it off.
post #7 of 12
Keep in mind that the U85 is a vertical compression design. Once you take it off the 16:9 image will overshoot the top and bottom of the screen (this is why I said above that the U85 is designed to be used in a fixed configuration). If you want a moveable lens system to pair with a 2.35:1 screen you will be better off with the Isco II or other horizontal expansion lens. The Panamorph HE lenses are the UH480, DC1, and CineVista, where the U85 / UV200 are vertical compression.
Edited by John Schuermann - 2/1/13 at 10:22am
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I only fire up my projector for movies, I don't think the fixed mounting will be all that bothersome.
post #9 of 12
You are set then smile.gif

Of course, not all movies are 2.35:1 / 2.40:1, so you would need to set the projector for the 4:3 scaling mode for movies shot at 1.85:1 or 16:9 native. They will display properly but at a resolution of 1440 x 1080.
post #10 of 12
The Isco II is a fixed mounting too, but I just lift it out of the way for a full 1.85:1 movie since I hate to waste pixels. I use the lens memory in my X35 to slightly adjust the zoom when the lens isn't there and it's a good solution. I also find with the Isco II properly adjusted that it doesn't seem to add any visible distortion to the image even close to the screen: Any convergence errors that are present without the lens in place are no worse when it is in place and focus is very sharp, these observations are when close to the screen, so sat back in the viewing seat then the image looks extremely sharp and clear.

I'm not sure how much cheaper the alternative is, but I wouldn't want any additional distortion to the image so if the alternative is cheaper, but worse, then I'm glad I paid more. wink.gif
post #11 of 12
I have never seen the Isco II in action, so can't comment on it vs. the U85. If it can be moved out of the way, that would definitely give it an advantage, as the U85 is pretty much a set and forget solution.
post #12 of 12
Strictly speaking the Isco II isn't a true CIH device since it magnifies the image height by approx 5%,so moving it out of the way means that for 1.85:1 content especially, you are left with black bars that (for me) are big enough not to ignore.

If I'm watching a 2.35/2.40:1 disc when using the lens, then I just use my Lumagen scaling for 16:9 menus and trailers, since I'm not concerned about full pixel use for these parts, so I have the instant AR change that the Lumagen provides with the lens in place. However, using the X35's lens memory I can select my '1.85:1' setting just before I physically lift my lens out of the way and by the time I've sat back down the image is adjusted perfectly to fill the screen height for a 1.85:1 film, so it's no hardship. In fact I have some simple side masks that I clip each side of the screen, so that takes me longer to change than the lens/zoom adjustment, but the lens memory saves an extra step compared to my old HD350.

Like a lot of things in my life, if I put a little extra effort in then I get the maximum out: I prefer to use the full pixels for both 2.35/2.40:1 and 1.78/1.85:1 so I don't mind the little extra work, I tend to put my lens away after use anyway since my projector is in my living room and IMHO lenses aren't the prettiest of things to have on show, so it suits me anyway. However, I can understand that some might want to use a fit and forget arrangement as it's simpler to use and if the majority of viewing is 2.35/2.40:1 then the 16:9 lens in place compromise isn't such a factor.

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