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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Nothing is perfect, or so they say. I guess the question should be "is it worth the hassle and expense". Well, you won't get a definitive answer from me.


I have now spent one evening with the ISCO II mated to my LT150, so the jury, for me at least, is still out - sort of.


To start with the ISCO II probably weighs more than the LT150. There is a base with two arms that hold the lens and allow it to be moved up or downwards and rotated to change the lens's (sp?) angle in relation to the projector's lens. The lens is screwed into its base which is located between the two arms. There is a release button on the lens to allow you to turn the lens to rotate it clockwise or counter clockwise to minimize the distortion!


Do you like Cinescope? There is definitely that look to the image which can be more or less expunged by overscanning into masking - masking IMO is an absolute necessity with this lens. Get this - I had to mount my LT150 a couple of inches higher than the ISCO and then rotate the lens backwards (ISCO) to a fairly high angle and the image was substantially lower than without the lens - yes, lower!


Set up wasn't all that difficult, however, if you're a perfectionist then minimizing the stretched looking distortion could become a full time occupation.


O.K. - what about the image. I friend, who is very familiar with my set up popped in while I was making an attempt to produce an acceptable image and the first thing he said was "Wow"! "Alright what are you seeing", I said while still manhandling the ISCO. He explained it as a definite improvement in clarity, which to me means resolution. He's right, at least from my perspective. The confirmation came when I switched back to the old set up without the lens and we continued with the same DVD. Suddenly the stellar image I thought I had was simply not so stellar which leads me to conclude the image produced by the ISCO was "better". Without the ISCO I was suddenly noticing a "rougher" looking image, still good, but now I saw a little pixelization that I hadn't before - same seating position. I think I just upped the ante. Now I know, to some extent at least, what the D-ILA guys are talking about when it comes to resolution. I didn't notice any softening of the image and we discussed this. The image is definitely "smoother".


If you're a hobbist then this lens could make a nifty addition to your HT. If not, then I would suggest you take a serious look at the new 16:9 projectors if you want the higher resolution that this technology offers. I have no idea how this lens works with a longer throw on axis projector - might make for less Cinescope and an easier set up.


Like most marriages this one isn't perfect, however, there are some real pluses. I suspect this marriage will survive for some time - its a keeper for me, albeit I will be spending some time tinkering.


I will post some updates as my reality changes with experience. As usual, don't believe a word of the above. It is for entertainment purposes only, or not. Don't forget I am somewhat biased since I have a vested interest in this lens.


Cheers,


Grant
 

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Grant,


Thanks for the preview, I should be getting my ISCO II in the next day or 2. In my case it will be matched up with the LT150s brother the Plus U3-1080. Just so that I have an idea what to expect, do you mind posting the measurement of distortion ie the difference btw the middle of the screen and the edge. Also do you get any disortion down the sides of the screen?


Thanks,


Jeff
 

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Grant congratulations! Your observations are very similar to mine. I've had the LT150/ISCO II combination for a while and have tinkered with it until about a week ago. Never could get rid of the distortion, but finally reached a point in which I felt it was the best I could achieve. The increase in resolution is worth the pincushioning to me and I could never go back to a "naked" LT150. Smoothness is exactly the word I would use to describe the difference.


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John
My HT Picts
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jeff, the Cinemascope distortion is probably 1 1/2 inches from middle to far edge on a 1.85:1 DVD and maybe twice that for a 2.35:1 (screen is 92 iches wide). I may be wrong and I'll check a little later. Once masked off it isn't much of an issue, at least for me.


The real test will be when my Panamorph arrives - head to head shootout for sure!


Cheers,


Grant
 

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I'm using it with the VT540.


While at times I've noticed that my setup has resulted in both the projector and ISCO being at substantial angles, and the pincushion can be minimized that way, I've found the following procedure more helpful and consistent-


I set the projector so that the 4x3 image is roughly centered in the (16x9) screen, and a bit smaller than full vertical height. I then place the ISCO square to the optical path, by looking at the beam as it enters and exits the lens. It can be then be fine tuned by slightly tilting the lens, the amount depending on throw distance and vertical offset to the screen. The resulting alignment should look pretty straight. There will still be some pincushion, and masking is necessary.


I've also tried putting both the projector and the lens on a single sheet of plywood, so that once alignment is attained, I can move them together as a unit, keeping them aligned as I make small adjustments in vertical height. This was helpful when backing up the projector to fill my 2.35 screen, but after having the lens for a while, and getting a feel for the setup, I can pretty much plop down the lens and set the angles properly right off the bat.


I do confess, that sometimes, feeling lazy and not wanting to fiddle too much, I've wound up with some skewed angles, which no one but me seems to notice.


Try not to get too neurotic about it, you'll get better and faster at the adjustments once you've used it for a while. On the other hand, getting neurotic is part of the fun(?) of this hobby!


I predict that overall you'll wind up considering the lens a big plus.


I'm sure many of us are very interested in your forthcoming ISCO/Panmorph comparison.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did a little more tinkering last night and then had my wife take a look. I told her about the Cinemascope distortion and was curious about her comments. She didn't see any distortion (thank God!), but didn't find the image significantly better either. For me, better becomes obvious when you go back to the pre ISCO II image. Moving to better is easy, it's the moving back that can be tough.


The lessons from all of this (the ones I haven't learned) is to be happy with what you have, get lots of use out of it, don't look at anything else until you're good and ready to upgrade and of course don't take everything you read on this forum soooo seriously - this isn't life and death!


Cheers,


Grant
 

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Grant - do you have this configured for a constant height or constant width?


Kelly
 

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I got my ISCO II today, what a great add on!. The difference is sort of subtle yet the improvement in picture quality is not, its big. The best way I can describe it is smooth and liquid, just like CRT. The distortion is there, I'm sure that it would be invisible once masked off, but I find it kind of appealing in a strange sort of way. Like having a curved screen.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Kelly - my width is constant and I just change my "floating" masking top and bottom for the different aspect ratios.


Jeff - have you noticed any abnormalities with colour. I haven't. The top seems to be perfectly straight (no distortion) while the bottom is Cinemascope looking. Is your set up similiar? Masking will do more than just expunge the distortion - try it you'll like it.


These things aren't cheap, but if it satisfies the "itch" then it probably just saved you the expense of a new projector.


Cheers,


Grant
 

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Just one tip when using the ISCO. Of course anything is to personal taste but in my research and trying to minimize distortion, it was recommended to try and get the pincushion even on top and bottom, that way the center is fairly straight. Increasing the angle of the lens will also raise the image.


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John
My HT Picts
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the tips - I now have the pincushion even at the top and bottom and masked off.. As far as the image is concerned there is no "distortion". I am very pleased with the image - thanks guys!


Cheers,


Grant
 

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Grant-


Have you considered a constant height, variable width setup, using a 16X9 screen? It's an easier setup with the ISCO, which expands the image, easily masks the distortion, and looks more impressive as well.


Of course, that would create problems with your upcoming Panamorph, and should probably be factored into any lens 'shootout' as well.


Obviously, you need two (or more) screens! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Drmyeyes - constant height, variable width? You'll have to explain this to me like I was a two year old (my wife sometimes thinks I am). Currently I am able to adjust my masking to border the image exactly. I move the masking with no need to zoom (or in my case move the projector).


The so called distortion (Cinemascope - slightly curved screen) is a non-issue for me. This lens would be easy to recommend to most normal individuals, however, this forum isn't composed of "normal" individuals so I am going to stay out of this one. There are members of this forum that have been less than enamored with this lens, and I respect their opinion. For me though, there is a definite improvement in image quality - smoother, like going from non-anamorphic to anamorphic. The difference doesn't jump out at you and slap you in the face, however, it's something that I don't want to give up. To some extent it's like going to better processing. The improvement is noticeable and once you get used to it and then go back to what you were previously watching you then clearly comprehend just how much of an improvement it is.


Cheers,


Grant
 

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Grant,

have you considered that the lens might be masking imperfections reducing the details of the images displayed, rather than improving the resolution, therefore making the image more enjoiable?

Not sure it makes sense... (mind you I am a novice), it just seems strange that the projector throws an image with a certain definition, and it improves thanks to a lens (if there is an imperfection, the lens either magnifies it or masks it...). What is your impression?


Roland of Gilead


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While I believe that the lens does possess certain qualities that have beneficial effects on video, its not all hocus pocus since it does increase vertical resolution by 33%.


Jeff




[This message has been edited by JeffY (edited 10-12-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Based on my understanding of how this type of lens works, Jeff is right. Both the ISCO and Panamorph stretch or squeeze (depends on how you look at it) the full resolution image back to its proper shape giving the image more vertical resolution than a 4:3 projector can when the image is "squeezed" electronically (I think that's right). The downside is that the image is now projected through more glass (with the Panamorph glass and oil).


The "blacks" and contrast look great on my Hipower. Whether or not there is a definite improvement - well, I'll have to watch something and then remove the lens and watch it again.


Thanks to Jason at AVS for his advice and help. He set this thing up with a LT150, just to make sure it would work, before shipping it out.


Cheers,


Grant

 

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Hi, Grant-


Constant height, variable width-

i.e.- use a 16x9 screen, viewing 4x3 centered within it. If for example, the screen is 45" high, 4x3 images will be 60" wide, 16x9 images will be 80". Masking will be applied at the sides of the 4x3 image (curtains).


This works better with the ISCO, since you can set up your projector for 4x3 in the center of the screen, and put the lens in place to expand it for 16x9.

The Panamorph, on the other hand, should work more easily with a 4x3 screen; set up for 4x3, and vertically 'squish' the image for 16x9.


If you really want to make things difficult, you need to get a 2.35 screen, as I've done, and both add the lens on and move/zoom the projector. With everything 45" high, I watch 4x3 at 60" wide, 16x9 at 80" and 2.35 at 105".


This is, after all, the way it's done in the movies. 2.35 looks really impressive.
 

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Dredging up an old thread but I'm researching the ISCO II/LT150 combo for the powerbuy and I was curious about some comments.


I'm considering the ISCO so I can shorten the throw of my LT150 so I can shoehorn it into a floor mount (i.e. under a riser that the seats sit on). I had it all worked out and I was thinking the LT150 would work out perfect since it has that offset in the projected picture (the bottom of the picture is *not* at the same level as the center of the lens). Unfortunately, at the 8 to 8.5 feet throw I would be using, the offset is pretty small and I end up with my screen being very low on the wall. And now Grant seems to be saying the ISCO *lowers* the image further?


But I also saw a lot of comments about lens adjustments that I didn't quite follow... any chance the lens can be angled to raise the picture without introducing more distortion? That's probably too much to ask for, but what the hell...


Any comments?
 

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Actually, Grant can correct me if I'm off base here, but I believe he was trying to get the top of the image straight. With the ISCO, in order to do that, you change the angle of the lens so that the image is projected lower. The downside of is the bottom of the image is more distorted and the center is not straight. The goal is to get the distortion equal on all sides, which raises the image. With the ISCO you should be able to achieve constant height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have had to raise the projetor with lens about 1 1/2 feet to have the image at approximately the same height it was pre ISCO II. There is a substantial image shift downwards for a floor mounted off axis projector.


Cheers,


Grant
 
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