Projector Reviews

Mitsubishi HC3800 Lens Throw

The 1.5:1 zoom will let you place the front of the projector as close as 11 feet 1 inch from a 100 inch diagonal, 16:9 screen. Or, the HC3800 can be placed as far back as 16 feet, 5 inches from the same sized screen, and of course, anywhere in between. These numbers are based on preliminary specs but should prove to be accurate within an inch or so.

Lens Shift

No lens shift for the Mitsubishi HC3800, but that’s hardly a surprise for an entry level 1080p DLP projector. The lens offset is significant, though not as great as a lot of DLP home theater projectors over the years. For the usual 100″ diagonal, 16:9 screen, the center of the lens needs to be 16.53 inches above the top of the scren surface, or, if on a table or low shelf, 16.53 inches below the bottom of the screen surface.

With that much lens offset, a number of folks will find they can’t use this projector with larger screens (110″ diagonal and larger) in rooms with 8 foot or lower ceilings, or at the least, it will be a close thing.

Consider: 8 foot ceiling, 120 inch diagonal screen: Assume the projector is mounted very close to the ceiling, with a drop of 10 inches from ceiling to center of lens. Then, for the 120″ screen, the lens offset is just less than 20 inches. The screen height is about 59 inches. Bottom line: 96 inches (ceiling) – 10, -20, -59 = 7 inches – the bottom of the screen would be just over 7 inches off the floor. That much offset is handy for placing a projector on a table below screen height, but is a challenge in those lower height ceilings.

Anamorphic Lens

The Mitsubishi HC3800 does support an anamorphic lens. Better still, the HC3800 has support for what Mitsubishi calls Anamorphic Lens Modes 1 and 2.

What is especially nice about the HC3800, is that you can choose to go with an anamorphic lens, but not need the usual motorized sled to move it in front of the regular lens when you want 2.35:1, and out of the way, for everything else.

The first mode provides the usual required aspect ratio for working with an anamorphic lens for 2.35:1 viewing. The second mode, though, assumes that the anamorphic lens remains in front of the lens for 16:9 and 4:3 viewing, and this mode essentially provides the right adjustments to provide the right aspect ratios for those shapes.

For those sold on 2.35:1 without letterboxing, and expected to pay $3000 – $4000+ for an anamorphic lens and sled, this capability should save you about half of that!

Mind you, when viewing 16:9, you will no longer have 1:1 pixel mapping, which is preferred, but that should add only the slightest softness, and won’t bother many. Anyone using an anamorphic lens has already given up 1:1 pixel mapping for those Cinemascope movies!