JVC DLA-HD250Pro Projector Review

DLA-HD250 Lens Throw

JVC has been using this setup for about 4 years now, going back to the JVC RS1. The JVC HD250′s 2:1 aspect ratio zoom lens provides excellent placement flexibility for ceiling or shelf mounting. To fill a 100 inch diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio screen, the front of the projector can be as close as 9 feet, 11 inches, or as far back as 20 feet, 2 inches. Using these measurements for 100 inches, you can figure out the range for any other screen size. These are the same as with previous few years JVC projectors. Same lens… In this case, the logic “if it works, don’t change it” seems to fit nicely.

DLA-HD250 Lens Shift

JVC’s DLA-HD250 and HD250Pro have plenty of lens shift. As a bonus, it’s even motorized. For that same 100 inch screen, the projector can be placed anywhere between 15 inches above the top of your screen surface, to 15 inches below the bottom of the screen surface. Those are approximates, as JVC doesn’t have exact numbers in its manual.

Certainly there are projectors with a more lens shift, and plenty with less. All considered, the JVC’s lens shift offers pretty good flexibility.

The JVC supports horizontal as well as vertical lens shift. The horizontal lens shift allows a maximum of about 30 inches to the left or right of the center point on that 100″ screen, and appropriately more on larger screens.

Note: The more vertical you use, the less horizontal is available, and vice versa. If you have maximum vertical, there is no horizontal lens shift.

Thanks to the large zoom range, plus motorized features, including lens shift, allows me, and other owners of Cinemascope shaped screens (2.35:1, 2.4:1…), who can place the projector within the front half of the zoom lense’s range, can fill their 2.35:1 screen with a movie, no letterbox on the screen (and therefore no letterbox visible at all, if your walls are dark).

When we then want to watch standard HDTV aspect ratio, be it HDTV, or some movies, and lots of other content, all we have to do is zoom out, to make the image smaller and fit the vertical. (The letterbox ends up on the sides.) I’d rather have not letterbox for movies, than sports, etc.

What I’m describing is essentially what Panasonic does at the touch of a button with their Lens Memory feature (and I figure they have that patented, since no one else has automated it). In this case, though, manually, you have to adjust the zoom first, then adjust the lens shift, and finally refocus, as working all those controls is likely to leave the lens just slightly out of focus.

How much time does it take me, to go from Cinemascope to HDTV, making the adjustments, or doing it in the reversde direction?

Typically the process was taking me about one minute. I can live with that. If you can’t, buy a Panny, or a 16:9 screen!

Anamorphic Lens

Even though the JVC DLA-HD250 and the DLA-HD250Pro are their entry level home theater projectors, they offer the necessary vertical stretch aspect ratio to support an external anamorphic lens for Cinemascope. Although I failed to confirm it (I just realized), I don’t believe the JVC offers the second anamorphic lens mode, that would allow viewers to watch conventional aspect ratios (16:9, 4:3) with the anamorphic lens still in place.

This would basically mean you not only need the anamorphic lens, but also a motorized sled, to move it in and out of the light path. Technically a sled is better than the second aspect ratio, but as that can add $2000 more, beyond the anamorphic lens price, one ends up spending more for the lens and sled, than for the projector. That tends to make one want to look at alternatives, or skip going “anamorphic” altogether.

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