Sony VPL-HW30ES Home Theater Projector Review
Sony VPL-HW30ES Lens Throw
The VPL-HW30ES offers a 1.6:1 zoom ratio.
To fill the usual 100″ diagonal screen, the front of the projector can be as close as 9.7 feet from the screen, or as far back as 15.7 feet. In both cases, that allows you to place it a little closer, say, than the Optoma HD8300 (more expensive DLP projector), which has a slightly narrower zoom range of 1.5:1.
Overall, the range of the Sony zoom is very typical for zooms in the 1.5:1 to 1.6:1 range. Even projectors with 2:1 zooms, typically can’t sit closer to a 100″ screen than about 9.5 feet, but can go back to about 20 feet.
The only real downside for the VPL-HW30ES in terms of placement flexibility, is that while the HW30ES is capable of being rear shelf mounted, in many rooms, you won’t have the zoom range to place the projector on the back wall. If, however, you have a fairly short back wall, or a pretty large screen for the room, you may yet be able to rear mount.
As a bonus, unlike most other projectors with this much zoom range, the Sony loses a lot less brightness than many, when going from wide-angle (closest to the screen) to tele-photo.
The Sony VPL-HW30ES does offer manual horizontal and vertical lens shift. As is typical, there’s far more vertical shift. Remember, if you use any horizontal shift, that will affect the maximum amount of vertical you can use (and vice versa).
Assuming no horizontal shift, the vertical lens shift of the Sony VPL-HW30ES will allow you to have the projector positioned +/- 65% of screen height. Our usual 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen is roughly 50″ tall, so that provides a range of +/- about 33 inches with the lens (measured from the center of the lens) approximately 8 inches above the top of the screen surface, all the way down to about 8 inches below the bottom of the screen surface.
There are a number of projectors with more vertical lens shift range, but the Sony numbers are pretty good. Having more range would help someone with a high ceiling, allowing the projector to be mounted higher up, were it is more out of the way. Of course the difference between the Sony, and the competition that has more range, is typically maybe an extra 15 inches of shift at most, not exactly a factor if you have a really high ceiling. (I once had a projector mounted and hanging down almost 8 feet on the usual extension pole, due to having a cathedral ceiling).
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