As for image details, a large contrast ratio means a bigger dynamic range with good contrast and nice color reproduction. Two kinds of projectors saturate the market, LCD (liquid crystal display) and DLP (digital light processing). Both types are fine for photographers, but they use contrast ratios that are based on different specifications. LCD technology cites lower contrast ratio numbers for the same amount of quality, generally from about 400:1 to 1000:1. DLP projectors, however, generally begin at around a contrast ratio of 1000:1. Speaking of color, an extra bonus for photographers is the inclusion of sRGB compatibility, which makes it much easier to calibrate your computer with the colors of the projector.
Compatible with desktop computers, wide notebooks and 16:9 high-definition images in 1280x720, the Canon REALiS SX800 projects in SXGA+ resolution at 1400x1050. The AISYS Optical Engine and Liquid Crystal On Silicon (LCOS) panels offer excellent color, smooth rendition of fine lines and sharp displays without flicker. There are 3000 lumens with a 900:1 contrast ratio, and the 1.5x zoom lens features a 10:0 lens offset that matches the lower edge of the projected image to the optical axis of the lens for a lens shift that performs keystone correction optically instead of digitally. Throw distance is 3.9 to 29.9 feet. List Price: $2,499.
For an environmentally sound projector option, the Casio Green Slim line of projectors dispenses with traditional mercury lamps by using a Hybrid Light Source that includes a mix of laser, LED and fluorescent lights that's rated to last for an incredible 20,000 hours. Models in the line are equipped with a 2x zoom lens and an HDMI connection. Other options vary by model, including a USB connection that works with or without a PC and a wireless LAN that can connect up to four laptops simultaneously for synchronized presentations over wireless networks. Lumens in the series range from 2000 to 3000, and resolution is offered in XGA (1024x768) or WXGA-H (1280x720). List Price: Begins at $849.
Nearly the same size as a laptop at a weight of only 3.8 pounds and dimensions of 11.5x8.3x1.7 inches (without the feet), the Epson PowerLite 1775W multimedia projector (top) projects in a bright 3000 lumens with a native WXGA 1280x800 resolution. The unit is a wireless solution with a Quick Connect wireless USB key, and automatic keystone correction and the Auto Screen Fit mode quickly adjust the image to the screen size. For $200 less, the 1770W projector (bottom) offers many of the same features while sacrificing the Auto Screen Fit mode and making wireless and networking optional. List Price: $1,199 (1775W); $999 (1770W).
The 2600-lumen Mitsubishi EW270U DLP projector with a native WXGA 1280x800 resolution and 2000:1 contrast ratio supports widescreen computers, laptops and DVD players. At 5.3 pounds, the projector is easily portable, and it features BrilliantColor technology that enhances color reproduction. The HDMI input and dual PC inputs can connect multiple computers and high-definition devices, and there's a LAN terminal for linking and managing the projector via computer networks. A monitor output and an audio output allow you to play better sound through peripheral speakers. The EW270U is 3D-ready for more sophisticated presentations (3D requires a high-end graphics card and electronic shutter glasses, as well). It also can handle video up to 1080p. Estimated Street Price: $1,019.