Originally Posted by JustBusiness
This is great advice. I had been kicking around the idea of going cheap, and you’re right I’d be disappointed. I really shouldn’t cut down the quality to fit a budget I never really set, and will focus on getting what I want to meet my goals.
I’ve always been a plasma fan, and have 1080p and even 720p Hitachi Directors Series still up. I think I’m leaning toward a used light cannon with the right onboard lens. Then I can have the 16x9 brightness I want.
Here’s the issue with an A lens and a used DP projector though. It looks like Panamorph requires a 1.6+ throw ratio. Any 3 Chip DLP will need a throw ratio of 1.2-1.4 to fit in my planned wall location (not really moveable since there’s a structural steel pole there). So... what happens when a 1.33 A Lens gets tossed on a 1.2-1.4 ratio projector? Geometric issues that I can correct if the projector has the functionality? Or is this a non starter and it’s time to make compromises elsewhere?
Regarding an Anamorphic lens, the reason for the minimum throw is because of the physical restraints of the lens size. If you go closer to the screen, the width of the image going through the lens is too wide and will occlude with the frame of the lens. As you get to the limits of the lens you first get warping of the image, then it straight up gets blocked by the frame, so you only see a shadow on the left and right. Any lens that has a shorter throw would have a more exaggerated barrel or pin cushion effect, so that is the reason they have minimum throw requirements and don't make anamorphic lenses with shorter ratios.
If you like plasma or OLED, then you will NOT be happy with even a 3 chip DLP large venue projector. The only ones I am aware of that will give you decent contrast are going to cost you over $100k. The used options that are under $10k will have maybe 1000:1 contrast, and on a 190" screen in a room with light walls and floor, the image will be washed out even with the lights down, assuming you can even find one that works for your situation.
Here is the bottom line:
40fL is a pipe dream on 190" unless you have deep pockets or are willing to gamble $10k or more just to get a washed out image suitable for a dive sports bar at best. If you have over $100k for a projector, there are options that don't compromise, but if you have a couple hundred grand burning a hole in your pocket you probably aren't going to turn to AVS to help you pick out your projector. Under that, you compromise almost everything to get 40fL and still spend a significant amount of money.
If you can swing a Sony 5000es ($60k), an a-lens ($5-9k), a Lumagen Pro or MadVR Envy, AND get 1.4 throw from the front of the lens to the screen, you can have your cake and eat it too. You will have a good image with respectable contrast on a 190" wide screen, and have around 25fL of brightness, more than enough for SDR and with the processor, enough for great HDR too.
If you can shrink your expectations and requirements, you can achieve a decent result for under $15k. An Epson 6050 with an A-lens will project a pretty good image onto a 150" wide screen, at least for SDR, and not require zooming in and out to switch between modes. The screen will still be taller than a 120" for 16:9 with the added width for scope movies. If you place your front row around 10-12 feet, it will completely immerse your field of view and look the same as a 190" at 15 or 16 feet. Throw in some kind of tone mapping (MadVR, Envy, or Lumagen) and you can also get good HDR from this setup. Replace the projector with one of the 4k DLP variants that kick out 5k lumens and again with the help of a processor like the Envy or Lumagen, you can get over 30fL, which is enough for sports with the lights dimmed but still on, assuming you black out at least the front of the room. You can get into this setup for under $15k, under $10k if you use an HTPC for MadVR.
For a little more (not even much more), you can upgrade to an AT screen with gain, still sticking in the 150" wide range, and buy a JVC RS2000 and a Paladin DCR lens and get uncompromised quality in both SDR and HDR without the need for anything else. Switching aspect ratios is one button. Contrast is as close as you can get to that of Plasma or OLED for under six figures. Retail on a setup like this is just over $20k, but you can shop and find this combo for around $15k. I can say from experience this is as good as it gets without spending many tens of thousands more. It isn't 190" wide and it isn't 40fL though.