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Monday, June 18, 2007

Digital Projectors

Discover the alternatives for producing your own scans in-house

Digital Projectors So you've managed to schedule a meeting with a big ad agency or an art director you've been pursuing, or you've been invited to present your work to a roomful of peers, admirers, hungry students and overall photo junkies. Any of these circumstances are exciting events in your career. After all, the effort and dedication you've put into the development of your work is being recognized, respected and possibly considered for some big jobs on the horizon. You'll want to make an impact, be unforgettable. Bringing your printed portfolio, like every other photographer, is an option. Or, you can go big.

It was only a few years ago that a slide projector was the tool most widely used to accompany a photographer's important appointment or speaking engagement. Image quality is everything when presenting your work, and until recently, the ability for digital projectors to render a brilliant-looking picture just wasn't up to par.

As technology marches on and quality increases, digital projectors are now the staple presentation devices used for photography shows, classroom instruction and high-end meetings due to their ability to deliver crisp, clean and saturated images. In addition, some models offer unique and convenient functions that old-school film slide projectors just can't compete with.

Gone are the days of carrying cumbersome units, and say goodbye to abrupt slide-tray changes. Today's digital projectors deliver big, beautiful images with smooth transitions from picture to picture, and most are small and light enough to fit into a laptop case. They allow you to show your images larger than prints ever could and engage a roomful of people into your work all at the same time, without having to crowd around a book or computer monitor.

Some of the features integrated into these units play a significant role in their overall quality and performance. Understand them and you'll find a projector best suited to your needs.

Technology. LCD (liquid crystal display) and DLP (Digital Light Processing) projectors work differently, but both are capable of delivering superb image quality. LCD technology passes light through glass panels that incorporate three different-colored pixels of red, green and blue, while DLP projectors utilize an optical semiconductor called a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD). Consisting of tiny, individual mirrors, the DMD reflects and refracts light through a rotating color wheel. LCOS (Liquid Crystal On Silicon) is a newer technology that works like DLP, only instead of employing mirrors, liquid crystals are positioned on the surface of a silicon chip that open and close, reflecting, blocking and modulating the light to create an image.

Resolution. Resolution is key to knowing how sharp your images will be when projected. The higher the resolution, the better images look. Projectors with an SVGA resolution of 800 x 600 are popular in the business market or for PowerPoint presentations because of their affordability. That resolution is considered too low for producing crisp, accurate pictures and not recommended for photographic work.

Higher-resolution projectors produce the sharpest image. XGA and SXGA projectors have a resolution of 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024, respectively. Both are considered high-resolution and create greater detail so there's less chance your image will look pixelated. One of the newer standards is the resolution of SXGA+. This resolution of 1400 x 1050 is just a bit higher than SXGA and kicks up image quality without becoming too costly.


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