About Picture Quality – Brightness, Color Fidelity, Accuracy, Color vs Brightness

About Picture Quality – Brightness, Color Fidelity, Accuracy, Color vs Brightness

This isn’t so much “features” as some dealing with the realities of different technologies used in projectors suitable for school usage.

One thing we’ve been talking about online for more than a decade, is now what’s referred to as “color lumens vs. black and white lumens (really ‘grayscale”). We created a video to demonstrate the importance, or rather the reason to consider this issue.  Check out that “Color Lumens” video.

The short version that you need to know:  Some projectors – most of the single chip DLP projectors have color wheels with one clear slice in addition to red, green and blue slices.  This allows those projectors to put out far more “white lumens” than they can color.  That works great for measuring brightness, but two years ago a color lumens standard was created as well, so now we can consider how that affects things.  With such a DLP projector one might have 3500 white lumens but only 1300 color ones.  That means a white part of an image might be almost 3 times as bright as a full brightness pure red.

What that translates to, is that such projectors often have poor color at their maximum measured white brightness.   And for that reason many such projectors have barely half their total brightness, when in their best color modes usually named “Movie” or ” Cinema”.   Does that make 3LCD projectors – no color wheels, and far more color lumens inherently better?  No, because of other factors, primarily price.  It’s not common for DLP projectors claiming 3500 lumens to sell for the same price as 3LCD projectors offering 2500 lumens.   In that case, the whites of the DLP can still cut through more ambient light than the 3LCD projector, but the colors would be inferior and far more washed out.  In other words, depends on the room, and what you are presenting to the students.

 

What that translates to, is that such projectors often have poor color at their maximum measured white brightness.   And for that reason many such projectors have barely half their total brightness, when in their best color modes usually named “Movie” or ” Cinema”.   Does that make 3LCD projectors – no color wheels, and far more color lumens inherently better?  No, because of other factors, primarily price.  It’s not common for DLP projectors claiming 3500 lumens to sell for the same price as 3LCD projectors offering 2500 lumens.   In that case, the whites of the DLP can still cut through more ambient light than the 3LCD projector, but the colors would be inferior and far more washed out.  In other words, depends on the room, and what you are presenting to the students.

Note, I did not mention LCoS projectors as they tend to be more expensive and not often used in education environments (but in this regard behave more like 3LCD than DLP).  Canon is probably the major exception, they have a full line of LCoS projectors mostly targeting scientific type classrooms (with DICOM) at the university level where budgets can be more generous for a single projector purpose.

Note, I did not mention LCoS projectors as they tend to be more expensive and not often used in education environments (but in this regard behave more like 3LCD than DLP).  Canon is probably the major exception, they have a full line of LCoS projectors mostly targeting scientific type classrooms (with DICOM) at the university level where budgets can be more generous for a single projector purpose.

In the world of education projectors figure really good (but not calibrated color is down 30-50% from white lumen measurements, for DLP projectors but only down 10-20% on 3LCD.  In those brightest modes, DLP projectors tend to try to show bright reds but appear as dark wine colored reds.  But when both are in best modes, both technologies should produce very good color.  If bright colors are important, that favors 3LCD.  If max brightness but less concern with color is key, DLP has the basic advantage.  Choose wisely!

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