What is the best projector for a small camera club?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by pondball, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. pondball

    pondball Mu-43 All-Pro

    We presently show our images in our bi-weekly meetings on a rather small LCD TV that is available to us. Most of our members however are closing in on the octogenarian category and the TV is just too small. Our room is relatively small (maybe 40' x 35') and our membership ranges from 15 - 25 members. We are also tied into a local community centre who loaned us a projector to use for our most recent meeting. We compared images shown on the TV to those from the projector (not sure which model of BenQ it was but it was a few years old)

    Comments: Most members preferred the LCD quality of the TV but all preferred the increase in size of the projector image. The screen we showed it on was not that large and we would like to show it on a larger screen if we go that route.

    Moving forward: The community centre has said that they would purchase a projector for us and a screen (not sure of the budget yet as I am to go back with numbers). My task is to research several options that would provide us with a clear, colour true image viewed from 10' to 30' away on a screen somewhere between 8' and 12' in width. So far I've looked at LCD, DLP and LCOS options, the latter being the best but probably out of reach budget-wise.

    Question: What do members of this group use... and/or recommend?
  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Hi, How dark is the room?
  3. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Maybe they should use the money to invest in a larger TV? It would be brighter and be more usable even if the room isn't completely dark, and could be used for TV and DVD viewing as well without requiring the sometimes fussy setup of a projector. And, depending on what you use to show photos with, you could do it wirelessly with an Apple TV or the like.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. slmoore

    slmoore Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2014
    For a conference room at work, we got a 70-inch Vizio TV from Sams Club. It was about $1500.
  5. pondball

    pondball Mu-43 All-Pro

    We meet from September to June, and always at 7 pm. This time of year it is still reasonably light until about 8 but in a month or so we'll be dark for the entire meeting... until about April when light becomes an issue again. There are "room-darkening" blinds but we all know how useful they are. :(
    I agree that a larger TV would be the best solution at a reasonable cost too, but I think they would consider a larger TV a security risk as the building is used throughout the week for other purposes where the general public has easy access. A projector can be locked away from prying eyes and hands.
  6. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Mount a projector on the ceiling? That's how they do it here in various conference rooms. Permanent mount, hard to steal. Running the cables/power may or may not be an issue. Seems like 8' projected image is plenty big enough. Bigger in not necessarily better and ups the cost significantly.
  7. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Bolt the TV to a piece of furniture? Someone would have to be quite committed to steal a 70" TV bolted to a piece of furniture.

    Seriously though, bright projectors that can display a good gamut of colors do not come cheap. I just did a presentation in front a 100+ people with a pair of 60" televisions. I suspect that they were just 720p but they did ok.
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Not sure that an Apple TV or indeed similar devices can work without joining a internet connection/existing network..I maybe wrong, but I don't think it can operate as a wifi hub

    I am happy to be proved wrong

  9. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    An Apple TV does not need an existing network. It can connect to an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook with WiFi directly. I used it for giving a presentation from my iPad Mini with a projector, but it works just as well with a TV, of course.

    They don't have to use an Apple TV of course. They're already using a TV to show their photos. A bigger one would just make them easier to see. As long as their device can output from a HDMI port, it should work fine. The advantage of the Apple TV if they have compatible equipment, is that it's wireless. You can walk around with your iPad. Not tethered by a cable.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  10. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Agreed, a projector would be easier to secure. One could wall-mount a large TV and that would make it a little more difficult to remove. Some have security cables or padlocks. I think I've seen that on some installations. People could also break into cabinets. After all, people will steal ATM machines and floor safes. Nothing is completely secure.

    One could bolt the TV to a sturdy rolling cart, and store the cart in a secured storeroom between uses. That may or may not be as secure as a locking wall mount, depending on how secure the storeroom is and who accesses it.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  11. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Well, now that I re-read your original post, it'd be tough to match the size of the screen (8-12') you want with a TV. But, on the other hand, lighting up a screen that big in a room that can't be completely darkened will take a projector with some serious firepower. As wjiang noted earlier, those do not come cheap. (Neither would a 72" TV) And, the bulbs burn out and aren't cheap. You have to always have a spare one around, because you never know when the bulb will fail. I've experienced that.
  12. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    Our club just purchased an Epson EX5240 from Sam's Club for $479 and change. It has a 3LCD image chip and the color, clarity, and tonal values of the images look fantastic. We project on an 80" pulldown screen installed in the basement conference room a local bank lets us use for meetings. I donated $150 of my own towards the purchase. I suggest you take up a collection among the members, maybe use club funds from dues for the balance if collection falls short, and appoint a responsible person to be the projector "custodian".

    A bit of "history": When I joined our club in 2004 (I'm a retired professional photographer) digital was just coming on strong. Some programs were given using a member's Kodak Carousel projector so I purchased a Toshiba DLP projector and brought it to every meeting. After 4 years of this the club decided to purchase one and a committee chose an Epson at the time and tasked me to order it from B&H. We decided to get the EX5240 after a guest speaker brought his to use on his presentation, when we saw how bright and clear it was once again I was tasked to make the purchase and the club treasurer just reimbursed me day before yesterday at our meeting.

    This projector is so good for the money that I bought one for myself. My own screen is a 60" matte white which is portable enough for you guys if you don't want to leave it in the meeting room.

    This model will provide image quality that matches or exceeds the LCD TV. At the first meeting we put it to work there were several exclamations of surprise at how good the images looked.

    Good luck.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  13. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    thanks for that.

  14. pondball

    pondball Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thanks to everyone for their input on this... lots of great options. I am only one voice in the decision making but I think they will probably go with whatever I recommend as long as it is within budget. I helped set up last night at the other Photo Club I belong to (100+ members) and they recently purchased a TI Optomo with about 5000 Lumens. They project on a 12' wide screen. However our hall is neither that big nor is our membership.

    The tech guy recommended going with somewhere around 5000 Lumens especially if the room is going to be moderately light for some of the showings... but the cost hits a minimum of about $2k if that is the specs we go by. There will be other considerations like dual HDMI ports.

    I guess it will all come down to budget on this one though. Not so sure the group would put out of pocket for a projector, especially with our low numbers. Sounds like a good option to me though! I think they would probably lean towards a projector that they can store in a "Safe" closet as opposed to a TV that will be available for more liberal public usage.
  15. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I might suggest giving projectorpeople.com a look. They have a lot of great calculators and shopping tools and a 1-800 sales number that can recommend a good solution. I used them to buy one for work and the one they recommended was a great fit for our budget and requirements. They also have competitive pricing.
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