Sony VPL-HW15 Projector Review

Sony VPL-HW15 Remote Control

Sony has a new remote for the HW15, and I do like it a lot better than the old remote which has been around a couple of generations.

Sony VPL HW15 Lens Throw

The lens is a manual, 1.6:1 zoom lens. Per the user manual, if you have a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the lens allows the projector to be placed as close as 10 feet, 1 inch, or as far back as 16 feet 4 inches. Despite the reasonably good zoom ratio, the HW15 can not be placed as far back as most projectors that are rear shelf mountable (has lens shift). Most of the non-DLP competition can be placed as far back as 19 – 21 feet, for the same sized screen.

The bottom line, therefore is while you can of course ceiling mount the VPL-HW15 projector, many will not be able place the Sony on a rear shelf, unless they are using an unusually large screen for a that room size. Let me restate that – you aren’t likely to be able to rear shelf mount unless your room isn’t very deep – a fairly square room, though should work fine.

Lens Shift

The Sony VPL-HW15 has vertical and horizontal lens shift. Both functions are manual, and controlled by the adjustment wheels on the top of the projector, just behind the lens.

For a 100″ screen, the center of the lens can be placed as high as approximately 7.5 inches above the top of your screen surface Actually Sony quotes, in their manual a maximum of 31 – 7/8 inches above the center of the screen, which is about 49.5 inches high, so top of the screen is about 24.3 inches above the center of the screen.

Anamorphic Lens

The Sony HW15 does not inherently support an anamorphic lens and motorized sled, for those wanting to go with a 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) shaped screen. Sony does provide said support on their higher end VW projectors. This is not an unusual marketing decision. Few folks will spend about $4000 for a lens and sled, for an under $3000 projectors.

Still, if you want to go anamorphic after you buy an HW15, it can be done, by adding an outboard processor that can provide the necessary stretch aspect ratio to make it work. As outboard processors typically start around $1000 and go up from there, if you are really serious about going that route, you might want to consider the more expensive Sony VPL-VW70 (or its replacement), as you will be getting a better projector, and the cost differential isn’t great, compared to an HW15 and external processor.

As an additional note, there is no 12 volt trigger for controlling a lens sled, but the most popular anamorphic lens/sled combination is Panamorph, and they provide what you’ll need to control the sled.

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