Canon Realis SX60 Projector – Overview

As I started to review the Canon Realis SX60, I didn’t really know which direction the review would take. Last year, we reviewed the SX50, and found it to be a breakthrough projector (it remains a current model), which at $4995 MSRP, cost thousands of dollars less than the next least expensive SXGA+ (1400×1050) projector. SXGA+ projectors have a large potential market, in more than the scientific and engineering communities where their computers and graphics are higher resolution than the traditional XGA projectors. The potentially larger market, is due to the world is being flooded with laptops (and desktop computers equipped with high resolution graphics cards), that call for true SXGA+ resolution.

In this review we will look at the Canon Realis SX60 as a projector for use with high resolution computer applications, as well as for home theater.

Image reproduction is the strengh of this multi-purpose projector, as indicated by this photo image above, from an HD source.

Things change a lot, in a year. First, there is now is price comparable (and even less expensive competition in the SXGA+ catagory. Second, the SX60 offers the same rated 2500 lumens, but lists for $1000 more than the SX50. Why the price increase. Besides a number of improvements, primarily because the SX60 has added a Home Cinema mode, and uses an iris to dramatically improve contrast in that new mode.

The SX50 had developed a small, loyal, following in the home theater market. As a 4:3 aspect ratio projector (like the SX60), and one with a relatively low contrast ratio, and an inability to reproduce blacks comparable to DLP projectors (not much better than non-home theater LCD models), one wouldn’t think it would make it in the home theater marketplace. Still, those home theater folks that like to tweak, found they could get much better black levels by placing a neutral density filter in front of the lens, which would also drop down the lumens significantly.

In comes the SX60 for review, with it’s special Home Cinema mode, in addition to doing everything the older SX50 could do. So, the question arose, as I started the review: Am I reviewing a home theater projector, a projector aimed at the high resolution engineering/scientfic market, or a general high resolution projector?

Turns out, the SX60 deserves treatment in this review, in all three areas. That makes for an interesting review.

Before I really get started, some may wonder, what is the appeal of the SX60 for home theater or other video applications, when there are so many projectors out there, that are 16:9 aspect ratio and have inherent advantages.

The answer is simple – essentially the pixels are invisible on the SX60. If you are filling a 100″ diagonal screen, even the pixel structure of DLP projectors is visible at 8-10 feet, even if barely so. With the SX60 by the time you are 5 feet back, they are basically less visible than a DLP projector’s pixels at 10 feet. And by the time you are sitting at normal movie viewing distances, the pixels are completely invisible. Remember, if you do need bright home solution, say for watching sports, with a fair amount of ambient light, in the non-theater mode, in this Canon Realis SX60, you’ve got a 2500 lumen projector.

Lastly, you could consider it a dual purpose projector. In that regard, if you buy it to use business as well, you get to write it off, yet use it as your home theater projector when you want.

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