I have been away from the forums for the past few weeks, and in catching up I missed out on the A-Lens discussion.
One point I didn't see mentioned is that like upscaling 1080p to 4k, when you upscale 3840x1600 scope to 4096x2160, you DO gain some sharpness and clarity, and overall a better image than if you just zoomed to 3840x1600. Yes, there is technically no new content, but with interpolation, you are creating new content, and increasing the number of unique pixels. Although I can't speak for the quality of the conversion compared to higher end processors like the Lumagen, the JVC Anamorphic modes with a lens look superior in terms of clarity and sharpness compared to the zoom method. When you add the extreme benefit of 38% more light which highly benefits HDR content, the differences between zooming and using a lens are night and day.
I saw mention that a black pixel uses more less light than color pixels or something of that nature, and the fact is, if a pixel is projecting black or is off the screen, you don't get to use the light from the lamp on the pixels that ARE lit up. Either you use a pixel or you don't and if it is being used, you get the benefit of more light. So by adding over 40% more pixels compared to the zoom method, you DO gain the advertised 38% more light. You gain about 8% less with the non DCR lens because it only uses the 3840 pixels across and you still have black bars that you either mask or zoom to put off the sides of your screen. More pixels being used = more light, plain and simple.
Yes, as mentioned there are some negative effects to using an A-lens. First, there is some barrel distortion. It is very minor on the Paladin lenses, on my 150" wide scope screen it is a little less than 1" from corner to center. So I set about a 3/4" overscan onto my frame to account for it. Also, since the JVC has a recessed lens, even after some slight deviations from the manual on mounting the Paladin to get my lens to sit flush on the front of the JVC chassis, I still had to go about 6" further back than the minimum 1.4 throw ratio. Still, I am within a couple percent of the minimum throw of the projector for the width of my screen, so I am still getting almost the most light possible. While other lenses might allow for shorter throw, your JVC needs 1.35 minimum so it is irrelevant (on a compression lens, on an expansion it is different).
The Anamorphic B setting on the JVC is also a downside to the DCR lens. It is a slight squeeze over 16:9 because it is putting 17:9 in the same space as 16:9 content should be, so rather than zooming to put the black side bars outside the screen, it is stretching the 16:9 image to fill the 17:9 space. Plus, I am losing pixels on 16:9 content, quite a bit in fact. However, my pixel density is the same as it is in scope, so the image quality is consistent between the two, 16:9 content is not brighter as it would be on a zoom method, and switching between modes is very fast with no readjustment ever needed. Changing memory settings takes about 1-2 seconds, but if I were just hitting the button to switch anamorphic modes it is even faster, less than a second.
I do hope JVC comes out with an Anamorphic D setting for lenses that take advantage of the full 4096 wide panel, but I am not holding my breath. I may upgrade to a Lumagen in the future which would correct this issue and allow me to set up some custom anamorphic modes for Netflix content that seems to be set for something in between scope and 16:9.
I run a very large screen for home theater (150" wide) and the lens made a massive improvement in the area of brightness. Between that and tone mapping, HDR is not only watchable, it is a SIGNIFICANT improvement over SDR, and while it will never be as good as a high end LCD or OLED, it is close enough that I am satisfied. In short, it is exceptional in every way, a real joy to watch, and I don't feel like I am losing ANYTHING over watching 4k UHD content on a high brightness LCD or OLED panel. Anyone that says it doesn't work or is barely acceptable doesn't know what they are talking about. I always prefer HDR content over SDR with this setup.