Canon Realis SX7 Business Projector Review - General Performance
Canon Realis SX7 Projector Menus
Overall, I found the Canon Realis SX7 menu system to be very good. It's well organized, easy to read, and accomplishes most things without having to drill down very far. Most items are on the primary menus or the first sub-menus. Advanced color controls are further down. We'll look at a few of the menus now.
These first two images are from the Digital Video menu. It changes slightly depending on the source. You'll note there are three different tabs - Display settings (above), Image Adjustment (right) are two shown here.
From the Image adjustment menu, you can select from the various image modes, including Standard, Presentation, Movie&Photo, and sRGB.
The usual basic controls are present - Brightness, Contrast Sharpness and Gamma.
I love that Canon has put the Lamp mode on the same menu with all the color controls. That's not common, but that's exactly where I think it should be.
Below that are both the basic Color adjustment submenu shown here, with separate Gain and Offsets for red, green, and blue. This area is where you can get the color temperatures close to ideal, instead of the SX7's shift from cool to warm as it goes from dark to bright.
The Canon offers even more control of the image, with the Advanced adjustment sub-menu. I won't get into the individual controls, let's just say Canon is offering far more image control, especially color control than many home theater projectors, let alone business projectors, which tend to be thin, in the area of color correction.
All considered, not only are the Canon SX7's menus well laid out, but they offer extensive control over the projector.
Canon Realis SX7 Projector - Remote Control
I'm not really thrilled with the SX7's remote control. It is functional, but I find its edges a little uncomfortable. The remote does have a backlight, which is always nice. However I should point out that it's not overly bright, so it's not going to be much help unless the room is very dark, and considering the projector kicks out over 4000 lumens...it probably won't be in a really dark room.
From the top: The green power switch is typical - press once for on, two for off. An Auto Set button let's the projector set everything up, best it can, and, I might note, that includes auto focus - a nice touch.
On the next row, the Image button allows you to toggle through the various modes. There is an Input button, which also allows you to change modes, although I favor remotes that have discreet buttons for each input. The Auto PC, specifically adjusts the projector to different computer sources.
Right below that is the classic diamond shaped arrow key layout, with the Menu in the lower right corner. On the lower left, is the button to set the keystone adjustments.
Below that are a series of smaller, more packed in buttons. The next two on the left are the page up and down for presentation control. You need to also connect the Canon SX7 to the computer through the USB port to use this remote mousing feature. Next to that are digital zoom in and out, and on the right a Spot tool to highlight areas of your presentation. Below it is the mouse right click button.
Further down are a video mute (No Show), Audio Mute, Volume control, and on the last row, a Freeze button, a button to call up the a timer onto the screen. Great for rehearsing presentations, or monitoring the length of a presentation. Very cool. I don't recall ever seeing that on any other projectors except other Canon models.
Bottom Line: Not great, but some interesting features. Hardly a deal breaker!
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Canon Realis SX7 Lens Throw and Lens Shift
Canon provides an zoom lens with plenty of flexibility. It's 1.7:1 zoom ratio is far more than the typical 1.2:1 found on many portables, and very few offer as much or more range than the SX7. To fill a 100" 4:3 aspect ratio screen, the front of the SX7 can be as close as 9 feet 5 inches and as far back as 16 feet 3 inches.
The Canon SX7 offers no lens shift, but does, of course, have keystone correction.
Canon Realis SX7 - SDE and Rainbow Effect
The SX7 is 100% free and clear in both categories. Since it is an LCoS design, with three panels (one each for red, green, and blue), there is no spinning color wheel, thus no possibility of the Rainbow Effect. LCoS, by its nature, has the least visible pixel structure (by far) of the three projector technologies - LCoS, 3LCD, and DLP. Combine that with the Canon's ultra high resolution, and pixels are completely invisible unless you are just a couple of feet from a fairly large screen.
Canon Realis SX7 Audible Noise Levels
Pretty good for a portable. The Canon claims 31 db, in its eco-mode (lamp on low power). If anything, it may be even be slightly better than that. They don't rate the noise in full power, but I'd put it around 35 db. The last review was the Dell M209X, which claimed 39 db in full power, and I can definitely tell you that the Canon is immediately, noticeably quieter.
Canon Realis SX7 - Projector Brightness
Ahh! A really bright portable projector. I even had the opportunity to use it at a family event. The projector effortlessly cut through the moderately bright lighting in a large diningroom for about 125 people, to show a video on an 80" diagonal screen. This was the same lighting used for the entire event, not dimmed at all for the projector. The SX7 was hardly challenged.
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Here's how the SX7 measured out. Canon claims 4000 lumens.
Presentation mode is definitely the brightest mode. The Canon, with the zoom lens near the middle of the range, measured 4650 lumens. That means its even brighter with the zoom at full wide angle, and perhaps 20% less in full telephoto.
Standard mode wasn't quite as bright, but was a little more natural looking. It still managed an impressive 3836 lumens.
I should mention, that Standard mode dropped almost 23% when switched to Eco-mode, yielding 2961 lumens. You can figure that the same 23% drop will apply to Eco-mode compared to lamp on bright, for all modes (such as Standard and Presentation).
MoviePhoto mode automatically drops the fan and lamp into Eco-mode for the lower sound levels. You can, however use the menu to switch it back to full power. At full power, it measured 1725 lumens, still brighter than almost any home theater projector.
Last is sRGB, which measured with lamp on full power, at 3874 lumens.
Bottom line: The SX7 will blast its way through presentations in conference rooms and training rooms on screens of 100" diagonal or less. With over 4000 lumens, though, its strength is the ability to tackle larger screens and perform beautifully with moderate lighting control. A great, bright portable.
Canon Realis SX7 Lamp Life and Replacement
The lamp life is pretty standard. Canon claims the usual 2000 hours with lamp on full power, and 3000 hours in Eco-mode.
On using the Realis SX7 for Home Theater and Photography
I already mentioned (bottom of the Image Quality page) the nasty motion artifact I saw when when there were action packed scenes, demanding heavy image processing. This really ruins the projector's capabilities as a seriously bright home theater projector. Otherwise, it has a lot going for it.
Projected still photography looked great, good but not exceptional contrast, but bright, and natural colors after a basic calibration
I have just advised Canon regarding the video image processing issue, and will discuss with them. It may be this unit, although I doubt it. However, it is possible that it may not suffer this problem, with component video input instead of HDMI, or doing 1080/60 instead of 1080/24. There was no problem with lower resolution video sources.
If we find that there is a good workaround, or that this unit is the problem, this will get updated.