Jim Doty - Photo Blog

Photography: Photos, News, and Tips
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

With the switch to digital, a lot of photographers are going from analog to digital slide shows. Finding a good digital projector that will keep photographers happy can be a challenge. Projecting photos is much more demanding than projecting a business Powerpoint presentation, so a lot of the digital projector reviews on the internet aren't that helpful to the photographer that wants to do a high quality digital slide show.

The good news is that you can get a good quality digital projector in the $900 - $1900 price range, depending on the specs and power (ANSI lumens) that you want. Quality goes up and prices come down. $1400 today buys you a better projector than $3500 would buy three years ago.

It is important to get an LCD projector (not DLP) for the best image quality. XGA resolution (1024 x 768) should be the minimum for projecting photos. You can read more about resolution here. It is nice to have a digital projector that has computer and video inputs. You can use your laptop to do slide shows, and your video or DVD player to show movies. Read the specs carefully to make sure your digital projector will do everything you want it to.

When it comes to digital photography, one of my trusted sources is Tim Grey. Before working for Microsoft, Tim was George Lepp's digital guru and taught some of the classes at the Lepp Institute of digital Imaging. With Tim's permission, I have quoted from his digital newsletter before.

If you aren't already on Tim Grey's DDQ email list, think about signing up. He answers digital photography questions on an almost daily basis when he isn't traveling. Signing up is free. I would suggest you consider making a voluntary contribution to support his newsletter.

Below is part of a recent DDQ newsletter on choosing a digital projector. It provides some helpful advice. Tim likes Epson and Canon LCD projectors. I'm using an earlier model Epson projector (a predecessor to the 755C) that Tim recommended a few years ago and I have been very pleased with it. George Lepp is also impressed with the recent Canon projectors. If money is no object, check out the Canon Realis SX50, linked below and reviewed here.

Projector links are at the end of this post and range in price from $900- $1900 models, plus the Canon Realis SX 50 at $4200. If all the links don't show, REFRESH (RELOAD) the page.

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Digital Darkroom Questions e-mail list
December 2, 2005

Our camera club is considering purchase of a digital projector. We want to consider the following uses:

1. Potential speakers want to bring digital program material (e.g. on Powerpoint). What would we need for a system and how could we be sure that it is compatible with any speaker's material?

2. There is some interest in using a digital projector to present members' images for competitions. What would this involve?


"The particular specifications would depend a bit on the projection conditions. In particular, the concern is about the ability to darken the room. I assume, however, that the location you're using for this does allow you to darken the room reasonably well. I also assume you're talking about a moderately small room, without the need to project the image over a significant distance to a particularly large screen. In other words, I'm assuming you're dealing with a situation that is pretty typical of most camera club presentations in my experience.

To meet those needs, the requirements are relatively modest. I'd suggest a project that supports a resolution of at least 1024x768 (XGA) and that has a brightness value of at least 1000 lumens. I recommend an LCD projector rather than DLP projector for photographic displays, because LCD projectors are able to project slightly better saturation. I've been very happy with the Epson PowerLite line of projectors, and am also very impressed with the latest models from Canon. You can get a very good projector at this level for around $1,000, such as the Epson PowerLite 76c. If portability is a significant concern, or you have other needs, you can certainly spend more for a higher-end model. I also recommend checking out specifications and reviews at Projector Central (www.projectorcentral.com) as you research the model that best meets your needs.

Quite frankly, once you have a projector it is very easy to put it to work. Think of it as a monitor that can be connected to a computer but functions in a different way. You can connect it directly to virtually any laptop (provided it has an external monitor connection, which the vast majority do), set the laptop to send a signal to that port (which is usually handled via a shortcut key on the laptop) and you're all set.

This, of course, leads into your next question. You've no doubt seen plenty of presentations where the speaker comments that the projector doesn't look good, but it looks great on his laptop display. Considering that anyone who presents or submits images should have created that presentation on a calibrated monitor display, you should be able to rely on the image files or presentations containing accurate color. Therefore, the only real trick is to get accurate color from your projector. You can work to make adjustments to the projector display using a target image that assists in this regard, such as the PDI Target image you can download from my website at www.timgrey.com/ccdownloads.htm. The better solution is to purchase a projector calibration package, such as the Beamer from GretagMacbeth (www.gretagmacbeth.com). This allows you generate a profile to set as the default monitor profile for the laptop (or other computer) being used for the projected presentation, ensuring accurate color for all images and presentations assuming the source data is good. This is the best way to get accurate color from your projector and is a solution I highly recommend." - Copyright (c) Tim Grey. All Rights Reserved.

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Epson Digital Projectors (The Powerlite 76C is$899.99 as of Feb 21, 2006)

Canon Digital Projectors


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