AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Northern, VA - Washington, DC
Mentioned: 91 Post(s)
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The expert answer is 'No'.
This is mostly due to the fact that sharpness of a well built lens will be best when the projector is further from the screen. You are using less of the optics and will generally be using more of the sweet spot of the optics to get best image quality. This can help contrast as well.
But, in reality, if the lens is really well built, then image quality will remain close to the same throughout the zoom range, and as you move the projector closer, you get higher brightness out of lens (because you are using more of it!). This can be a 20%+ boost in brightness from one end of the zoom range to the other. So, with a larger screen, this can be a huge benefit.
Hot-spotting is not an issue I would worry much about with any quality screen, but is a concern of higher gain screens or poorly built screens (I've seen both).
Yes, the concept that "it depends" is always applicable. But, in reality, I think "it doesn't matter much" is more appropriate as a general statement. I wouldn't lean towards the front or the back of the zoom range, but somewhere between 25% and 75% of the range. Avoid the ends of zoom. Avoid the ends of lens shift. Work towards the middle of the glass that the projector has, and if you do have a larger screen, then work the projector forwards if you can. If you have a more traditional size (120" or so) then more towards the back.
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