A buddy was asking me about these. Monster 170″ screen, what do you buy. AVS Forum has some good recommendations. You have 20x27x9 room and want 20fL as standard, although having 35fL makes the pciture amazing. The main net of this is that if money is no object the Barco DCI wins, right now the best value leader (if a 28K list projector can be called a value) is the Sim2 Lumix Host. The potential amazing newcomer is the Projection Design Helios. So here is a stack rank so far:
- Christie HD6K-M. Very advanced, you can blend 4 of them into one. Uses the new DarkChip 4. Two lamps of 300 watts each. Very hard to setup right. 5600 lumens giving 60-80 fL on the screen. Has dynamic iris for improved contrast. Much better image than the past. Gets a real 3700 lumens. 2K:1 native iris and 16K dynamic, but dynamic is buggy because you have to set the adaptive contrast to zero first, it is 2 by default. Change this and you get a great projector. It retails twice that of the Lumis, but the Lumis prices are rising and it is not available so we’ll see.
- Projection Design Helios 3-chip, Been years in the makings. Really hand tweaked but very expensive. Lots of hard work on optics and also about to ship. Sounds promising, but not here yet.
- Sim2 Lumis. Blacks on par with RS20 (considered the reference for black levels), very bright. This thing has an proprietary optical connection so you can have it far away from your gear box which is called the Host. It is fundamentally different than the older C3X1080. But even without the HOST, it is a better projector as well. 7500:1 native contrast. The dynamic iris works really well. But its lense is not constant aperture, so when you zoom, you lose light. It is about 2K lumens. As an aside 3D is coming and you can only do this with a Titan Reference or Christie because it has dual lamps and this happens in two years probably. Wow! Twice as bright as the RS20. People love the image. However, these are not available yet until March and prices are rising plus tests are showing they dont perform that well in production with lower numbers on light output. Sim2, such a difficult group to work with at least for me. Terrible issues with distributors and retailers then products are late and prices are actually rising. Sigh. But great quality they say.
- Titan Reference 1080P 3K lumens, 6260:1 contrast ratio, 3D capable.
Then there are units that are good but not quite there:
- Sim2 HT5000 is an older projector but bright at 1800 lumens, not clear how it competes with the Lumis and it stuggles with dynamic iris and dark scene. Folks are waiting for a new HT5000 with Lumis electronics and is actually dimmer. HD6K-M is 3800-4000 lumens Lumis 1650-2200 and Ht5000 is 1800 and is constant aperture, whereas the Lumis falls off when you zoom in.
- Digital Projection Dvison 30-1080p. Single chip DLP, very bright, $28k Retail. Does have rainbows for some. Digital Projection will go 3D across its line. It has special board that takes a 1080p120 and fires to each eye at 30fps.
- Projection Dvision Avielo Optix dual lamp. Single chip and no rainbows
- Sim2 C3X1080P. The 3-chip DLP older model, not as good a black as the new Lumis, so get the Lumis if you can.
Finally units that are way too expensive IMHO, but great to lust for:
- Christie HD10KM is 10K lumens and $75K list. Native contrast ratio 3000:1 and adaptive contrast is 15K:1. There is a new unit HD5Kc which is half a HD10Kc with a new lamp but not clear its performance.
- Barco DCI. Really professional grade and better optics and you can get it modded.