Epson Pro Cinema 4030 Projector – Review

PROJECTOR HARDWARE

Appearance

All Epson Pro Cinema Projectors, including the 4030, are finished in a flat black finish.  This Epson projector is medium sized, still reasonably smaller than than most of the LCoS projectors, but larger than the DLP projectors that are around the price or lower.

 

The 2.1:1 Fujinon manual zoom lens is centered on the front.  Power and Control panel are on the side – with the Pro Cinema 4030′s control panel hidden behind a small door.  Nothing on the top of the projector but lens controls and the  Epson name and some decals.  Well, that’s not quite true, the lamp door is on the top but wraps around one side a bit.  All the inputs are in the back, the air intake/exhaust in the front.

The zoom and focus rings are just back from the front, in line with the lens.  They are recessed.  Also nearby are the vertical and horizontal lens shift dials.

The back of the 4030 projector has all the inputs and connectors.  On the bottom are the screw thread adjustable front feet, rear feet and the usual holes for a universal ceiling mount.

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Control Panel

For aesthetic purposes, Epson has two almost invisible switches on the right side (if you are facing the projector), and blue LED indicator lights (can be turned off from the menus when projector is in use).  Right next to the Power and Source select buttons there, is the small door that reveals the rest of the control panel.  The panel consists of the “usual” controls.

 

Upper left is the Menu button while lower left is the Enter.  There are four arrow keys in a diamond configuration and the Escape button, which takes you back up a level in the menus, is in the lower right.  That folks is it.  Might be a touch frustrating for folks with huge hands, but hey, other than we reviewers and installers, most everyone relies on the provided remote control.   More on that in this section.

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Lens Controls

As mentioned, the lens is center mounted.  On the top behind the lens, are the recessed area for the zoom and focus, and the two smaller rings for vertical and horizontal lens shift.  More details about the lens shift  and zoom on the next page.

 

The Pro Cinema 4030′s 2.1:1 zoom has more range than found on any competing projector (except other Epsons with the same lens).

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Lens Throw

Epson’s Fujinon lens, updated this year, offers tremendous front to back placement flexibility.  Here are the closest and furthest the projector can be placed from a 100″ diagonal, 16:9 screen.

Measured from the front of the lens, the closest placement is 9.8 feet, the furthest away (for example, if shelf mounting) is 20.9 feet.

If your screen is larger or smaller, just figure out the percentage difference and adjust.  The closest distance for example, would be 20% greater if you have a 120″ screen…

Lens Shift

There’s plenty of lens shift adjustment range.  The Pro Cinema 4030 projector can be placed, either normal or inverted anywhere from 22.7 inches above the top of a 100″ screen’s surface, all the way down to 22.7 inches below the bottom of the screen surface. Measurements are calculated by measuring from center of the lens.  There is also a good amount of horizontal lens shift. Using horizontal lens shift will partially limit the range of the vertical lens shift (and vice versa).

It’s impressive!  The wide range zoom lens plus the excellent lens shift, makes ceiling mounting, or shelf mounting the Home Cinema 4030 possible in almost any room.

Pro Cinema 4030 - Overall Placement Flexibility

The Epson gets a pretty close to outstanding. With only one real limitation.  That’s typical of the higher end Epson projectors, thanks to the 2.1:1 zoom, which has the most range of any, although there are a number of 2:1 zooms, notably from JVC and Panasonic.  Most others have less, many, far less, such as 1.2:1 or 1.3:1 zooms.

Lens shift is also extensive.  It’s not quite the best, but there are few projectors that can offer more vertical or horizontal shift.   To have much more flexibility, you would really need to have interchangeable lenses, so you could have the option to mount the projector extremely close or far, far, away, as well as in the normal ranges.

But there is something else, and that’s the only real limitation – to very few people.  The Pro Cinema 4030 projector does not support using an anamorphic lens (to use wider, 2.35:1 screens, than the standard 16:9 HDTV screens).  Epson reserves that for the Pro Cinema 6030 UB.  That’s fair.  Cinemascope shaped wide screens are most common in much high end installations, not surprising with anamorphic lenses priced from $1500 to the stratosphere.

So, overall, consider the Pro Cinema 4030 to have excellent placement flexibility.

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