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A-Lens installed - missing the "WOW" effect

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I do have a 21:9 screen now for over two years and was always happy with zooming the picture in and out. Now I bought myself a new projector the JVC X30 RS45 and thought of testing an A-lens. I borrowed an ISCO II from a retailer and have to say that I was able to install it quite well. The picture was sharp throughout, CA and pincushion neglectable. I was waiting for the WOW effect that everybody told me about when using an A-Lens. I have to say that the picture was quite pleasing but not really WOW. Then I thought of doing an A to B comparison between zooming and an A-lens and....after testing it for about 1 hour, going back and forth with zooming / A- lens with Blu Rays of old and new movies, HD sat recordings, etc.... I have to state that I don't see a difference at all! No Am I just blind, ignorant or is it due to the projector or the lens, I don't know so my question goes into this round of experts why is there no difference??? I do have a throw ratios of about 2 and a screen 3 meter wide in 21:9!
Thanks for any usefull suggestions!
post #2 of 21
I guess it doesn't suit everyone, plus I presume you are using the JVC for scaling: I use an external Lumagen VP for the vertical stretch which I think gives a better result (more obvious with test patterns but still there non the less).

However you are also at a shorter throw than me. What this means is that with a lens in place I am able to use minimum zoom in the projector, so I get maximum contrast. If I zoom there is quite a change in the light output (such that the brightness is almost the same zooming verses lens), but equally there is a bigger change in the contrast over this range too. At your shorter throw you possibly won't get the same change of contrast and light output that I get since you are more in the mid range of the projector's zoom.

When I compare zoomed to lens 2.35:1 I get a sharper, higher contrast image that looks less 'coarse' than zooming, but it's a combination of my very long throw and the Lumagen VP. I also have a TV partly showing below my screen and the screen wall is flat dark brown paint, so the lack of black bars is more noticeable in my room.

Horses for courses as they say: At least you've tried it and there is a ready market to sell it on (this was why I took the gamble to buy my Isco II, but I've kept mine).

Just one final thing though: Have you adjusted the Isco's focus correctly and evened out the pincushion? Since you say the image is sharp and don't mention pincushion I'm guessing you have, but if not put up a white grid pattern (after focusing the X30 without the lens in place first) and adjust the Isco focus so that the grid is as sharp as you can get it.
post #3 of 21
It could be that this is nothing more than one person's "WOW" being another person's "meh." The lens image should be considerably brighter, but that brightness improvement might be somewhat affected by something else in your install (as Kelvin outlined above). Unfortunately, the zoom method precludes instant "A / B" comparisons since the process of zooming is so time consuming.

Other advantages of the lens system are that you are no longer projecting black bars and menus up onto your wall, which has a pretty significant value to many who compare both methods. Of course, everyone has their own preferences and peeves smile.gif
post #4 of 21
A few things -

1. The ISCO II is much older design and why it was replaced (about 10 years ago) by the ISCO III and I do think the OP would be a little different using that A-Lens.

2. If the X30 has E-Shift, then suddenly pixel density (which all us A-lens users love about our setups) is really a non issue. I've seen these new JVCs in action an am pretty impressed with their clarity on a zoomed Scope image.

What I would like to do (and it might be possible) is another A B test like I did a few years back using 2 projectors. I would need to speak to my contacts at JVC though. And I would bring a camera and tripod this time.
post #5 of 21
Mark: The X30 doesn't have Eshift, just a straight 1080p model. FWIW I use an Isco II myself with the newer X35, but I think it's my very long throw that really helps as I actually find it sharper than zooming (ie the Isco is a better lens than the JVC) there really is no extra fringing or other convergence issues caused by the lens, so for all intents and purposes it doesn't degrade the image at all apart from the very minimal pincushion (again a product of the long throw). Having seen 3 different X55s (they have Eshift) zoomed I prefer the X35 plus lens as they all looked slightly soft to me, especially the first one I saw as it was zoomed near maximum.

Of course the Isco III might be better in the OP's set up (but of course is much more expensive), but others have told me that apart from being a true CIH lens (the 'II' magnifies height slightly so doesn't work with a sled setup without adjusting the non lens zoom) there would be little point me upgrading to a 'III' since I'm not going to benefit with the much larger glass area as I don't need it. Not sure how true this is, but given my experience above I'm happy with the 'II'. When I eventually go 4K I'll probably just zoom.

I did once try setting up my old projector (HD350) and lens at a shorter throw as a test for a fellow forum member. The result wasn't anything like as good since it was verging on vignetting, there was significant pincushion. It was like a totally different projector/lens.

I think that I agree with John : One man's wow is another's 'meh'.
Edited by Kelvin1965S - 3/18/13 at 3:21pm
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvin1965S View Post

Mark: The X30 doesn't have Eshift, just a straight 1080p model.
Thanks for that. Let me get my head around these products again -

X3 = 1080P + 3D but does not scale for 3D
X30 = 1080P + 3D and does scale for 3D.
X35 = 1080P + E Shift + 3D and will scale in 3D but 3D is only done at 1080P and does not use E Shift.

Is that right?

Also on the lenses, the ISCO I was 1.78 x so was designed for use with a 4 x 3 projector.
The ISCO II is a 1.33x but does increase the vertical height somewhat.
The ISCO III is a true CIH lens at 1.33x
The ISCO IV is the same in a larger case.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVX View Post

X35 = 1080P + E Shift + 3D and will scale in 3D but 3D is only done at 1080P and does not use E-shift.

The X35 does not have E-shift but the X55!
post #8 of 21
Yes as said above. Any model beginning with X3... doesn't have Eshift.

As you say the Isco II increases the high (by about 5% IIRC). I use the X35's lens memory so that when I remove the lens for 1.85:1 I still fill the screen height for true CIH. The 2.35:1 setting in the memory just backs off the zoom to absolute minimum and tweaks the shift & focus a tiny bit, but it is very consistent. I don't have a slide (don't want one really as I put my lens away after use since it's the living room and IMHO lenses look a bit ugly) but this is the next best thing and I always watch using all the pixels this way.
Edited by Kelvin1965S - 3/19/13 at 9:07am
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvin1965S View Post

Just one final thing though: Have you adjusted the Isco's focus correctly and evened out the pincushion? Since you say the image is sharp and don't mention pincushion I'm guessing you have, but if not put up a white grid pattern (after focusing the X30 without the lens in place first) and adjust the Isco focus so that the grid is as sharp as you can get it.

The first time I put the lens in front of the projector I adjusted it nearly perfectly. I only had a minimal pincushion and also CA was nearly not detectable even with a test pattern. I did it as best as I could but adjusted the Isco to the distance of the screen and then did the last finetuning with the JVC remote as then I could get closer to the screen to see the result. Maybe I could get a little better result really focusing through the lens but I doubt this will give me much difference when it comes to brightness and contrast gains which I don't see both at all.
post #10 of 21
Fair enough. As I said in your set up between zooming and using the lens you will be changing the projector's zoom in the middle of it's range so any change in contrast will be small. There may be extra brightness using the lens, but without a meter it's hard to check since at best it will be around 20% which unless you can do an instant side by side (like you can by changing the aperture) then 20% isn't going to be very obvious since you need to double the light output for it to be obvious when not side by side (or something of that magnitude). As I said in my set up there is a much more marked change in the brightness and contrast when zooming from x 1.0 to x 1.33 as my set up does. This change almost increases the brightness as much as the lens will do, so it's not a question of brightness for me anyway, just the increased pixel density and improved contrast.

Another thing is that I have a very smooth texture less screen which may have something to do with it as well since I find the lensed image sharper but also smoother compared to zooming which just looks a little (and it is a little) coarser. Maybe it's placebo since I always know when the lens is in place, but I wanted to sell it a while ago and still prefer using it to zooming.

What adjustment to the distance of the screen did you make? The number markings on the lens body don't seem to relate to distance from the screen. At least mine doesn't since it's 6 metres from the screen but it's sharpest set between 7 and 8, this is with the projector already in focus before the lens is put in place.

However, this is really fine tuning and I don't think it's going to change your mind about it, so maybe just sell it on and carry on zooming. At least you've tried it unlike some lens nay sayers.smile.gif
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Excuse my lack of technical knowledge but would it (in general) mean, that if I increase my throw ratio that would result in a better picture quality (with or without the lens). i always thought that the further I am away the less lightout I would achieve?
post #12 of 21
It seems to be an obsession on here that everyone goes for a short throw to maximise light output. It might be due to the USA generally having bigger rooms than the UK, but even then I have a reasonably sized screen at 112" wide 2.35:1 yet I still manage to hit 15fL with plenty of headroom (I could go to 22fL+ without even using high lamp). My screen gain is a more modest 1.5 hence the lack of texture but it still helps to boost the light output. So long as you can achieve enough light output to allow for some lamp dimming after the first 100 hours then I don't see the need to run a short throw set up unless it's a very large screen and you are struggling to light it up.

In a long throw set up you get more contrast from the projector due to the aperture effect. You also tend to get a sharper image since the image is spread over a smaller area of the lens so less chance of distortion. The other benefit (compared to a short throw that ends up with the projector above your head) is that the projector is behind you like a proper cinema and possibly further away (so less fan noise). I actually have little choice but to have a long throw setup, since I won't put up with having a projector stuck in the middle of my living room ceiling, but having seen some X55 in a short throw setup I'm glad that I have mine set this way: Plenty of people will spend extra money to get a model with extra contrast, then waste a chunk of this by putting it in a short throw setup. I should add that 3D holds absolutely zero interest for me so all my comments are relating to 2D.

When I watch 1.85:1 content without my lens in place I'm at min zoom and even at 150+hours I'm still using -15 aperture and still hitting 15fL so I'm likely to be getting over 40,000:1 contrast (allowing for some reduction from the claimed 50,000:1 due to calibration) and the contrast is really good like this. I've seen X55s set with lots of zoom and the aperture wide open and it's almost like watching a totally different projector (Eshift not withstanding) as they didn't look as good to me (and I had a HD350 at the time as well, but same long throw setup of course).

It's not for everyone (especially those who think that less than 30fL is dim) but there are a lot of benefits to having a long throw setup and it only helps when using a lens.
post #13 of 21
Sometimes a long throw setup just isn't available. My current theater is so short a throw I have to use the T1 short throw lens on my Lumis. No A lens will even work in my theater, for the size screen I want. Unless I add on to our house. That would add 25K - 50K to the price of the lens. eek.gif

I'll live with my current setup thanks ! cool.gif That said, sometimes an A lens will improve the picture - it's totally a case by case basis.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
As I am nearly against the back wall with my projector I don't have much more possibilities with increasing the throw. Nevertheless as my door is in the back of the room more or less in the middle I will try on the weekend to increase the throw by projecting from outside the room and then will test with and without lens. Should be an interesting experiment, biggrin.gif
post #15 of 21
One thing I've found as I've "progressed" through the hobby, is that I suppose the "pessimist" way to say it is it takes less and less to impress me. Perhaps the more accurate way to say it though is I'm impressed by more and more subtle things. I suspect this is the case for a lot of folks on the forum, and I think you need to take that into account when you read/interpret things like an Anamorphic lens producing a "wow" effect. It seems like when you start, differences/improvements need to be much larger relative to the cost, but as you proceed/learn, well at least I seem to be willing to spend increasing amounts of money for smaller and smaller improvements, yet I still find them "significant".

I got a used Panamorph P752 early on in the hobby and it was great, and it was cheap. After a couple projector upgrades I upgraded to a Prismasonic HD5000, which was a lot more expensive, but a significant, and IMO worthwhile improvement. I've added a Lumagen Radiance XE, AVM 50V (ARC), etc.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't know that I'd ever say an Anamorphic lens produces a "WOW" effect, the difference is subtle, yet significant, like the more "solid" (best way I can describe it) picture I get with the Radiance.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't know that I'd ever say an Anamorphic lens produces a "WOW" effect, the difference is subtle, yet significant, like the more "solid" (best way I can describe it) picture I get with the Radiance.

Does the Radiance have a significant influence on picture quality in A-lens mode? Is the iscan duo comparable?
post #17 of 21
Just to add that I agree with Stanger89 in that it isn't a 'wow' for me either (very little is for me these days since general projector standards have got pretty good even at the budget end), just a 'preference' and also the same more 'solid' effect.

FWIW I'm not sure if the Duo uses the same upscaling as my old Edge because if it does then IMHO it still isn't as good as the Lumagen (but again we're just talking subtle improvements before anyone gets upset wink.gif ).

In cases like Craig's set up then if it's a really short throw (since he can't afford to extend wink.gif ) then a lens isn't going to give a very good result, no point arguing otherwise (I'm not one of those lens owners who thinks the only way is my way). It seems like the OP is towards that end of the spectrum or maybe he just expected too much with some of the more OTT lens owner's posts in other threads. smile.gif
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by westmd View Post

Does the Radiance have a significant influence on picture quality in A-lens mode? Is the iscan duo comparable?

I leave my lens in place all the time (no good way to automate an HD5000R with a URC remote), but everything seems more refined than without the Radiance. It should be noted that I actually had pretty good video processing before too, both my projector (Planar 8150) and my SSP (AVM 50V 3D) have similar Gennum chips to that in the Radiance, but Lumagen with their scaling FPGA and secret sauce is a definite improvement.

Significant? I would say so, based on me personally seeing an improvement and the cost of the Radiance wasn't "too" painful.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I do want to thank evrybody contributing to this thread! After really watching a movie with the ISCO lens and not just comparing snippets of movies I really enjoyed the lens in comparison to the "blown up" picture and decided to buy it. Since then I enjoyed loads and loads of movies with the lens and couldn't think of watching any 1:2.35 movie without it. I did build myself a very nice slide for the lens just out of stuff from my local hardware store, if anybody is interested I could post some pictures.
Cheers Ingo
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by westmd View Post

I do want to thank evrybody contributing to this thread! After really watching a movie with the ISCO lens and not just comparing snippets of movies I really enjoyed the lens in comparison to the "blown up" picture and decided to buy it. Since then I enjoyed loads and loads of movies with the lens and couldn't think of watching any 1:2.35 movie without it. I did build myself a very nice slide for the lens just out of stuff from my local hardware store, if anybody is interested I could post some pictures.
Cheers Ingo

It's always nice to see a fellow DIY lens slide!

Post your pcts.
post #21 of 21
Yes! Post pics!

I'm about to start a project when I have time and get back from vacation in early September so I would love to know how you do it.
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