Hardware review Epson 1775W

Normally I try to keep to photographic gear, but this is one piece of hardware I really have to review on the blog.
We all do need a projector sometimes, being it for a seminar, workshop or just showing people your work.
If you go to a location were there already is a projector a lot of photographers decide to just use that projector, but trust me in most cases this is not the smart thing to do. In most locations the projectors are very bad, sometimes you can solve this if the owner is willing to hand you the remote, in this review I will give you some tips and also do a small review on a special projector I think you really should have/use.

Setting up the projector on location (or your own)
A projector out of the box is in reality never performing the way you want your images to be shown.
A lot of projectors have custom settings often called, photo/cinema/living room/presentation etc.
Personally I always start out with cinema or photo.
Often those settings have a good starting point, the rest of the settings you can do very quickly yourself.

Sharpness
Some people think that sharpness will add sharpness to an image.
Reality is however that this is not true, it enhances contrast on a local base, this often leads to an artifact called edge enhancement/ringing where you can see white lines appearing around high contrast objects, this makes your image not sharper but gives a lot of “unrest” in the image and shows the images with loss in small detail (often large details are a bit enhanced, but small detail is sacrificed for this).
Always try to keep the sharpness as low as possible, on some projectors this is the setting 0 or -xx.
Watch out however, some projectors will put the image out of focus when using a low sharpness setting, try to find a setting where the image is NOT out of focus, but not higher, you can use the menu letters for this.

Brightness and contrast
Two very important settings.
Brightness controls the lower area of the image, and contrast the higher area of the image.
Or in short Brightness controls the dark areas and contrast the lighter areas.
Brightness can be set very easily.
Project a black screen and turn up the brightness until you see the screen light up, now go back step by step until the screen doesn’t get any darker. After you achieved that go back up 1 step (indeed you will see the screen light up just a little bit, this is correct).
Contrast is a bit more difficult and you will need a good test pattern for this (read on), you could try it with an image where you are sure there are whites that are close to blowing out (for example a white dress), turn up the contrast until you see white clipping and now back down till there is no clipping.

Colortemp and gamma
These two are not possible to set yourself, you will need a color-analyzer for this and someone who knows how to operate it and interpet the readings. If you don’t have a calibrated projector or color-analyzer often the setting warm for color-temp and 2.2 for gamma works just fine.
The best setting to show your work is D6500 and a gamma of 2.2
The problem however is that often those settings are present on the projector but the numbers are not corresponding with what you will measure from the screen, this is why it’s a very good decision to find an ISF tech/calibrator who can calibrate your projector. Prices for a good calibration range from 100.00 to 300.00 US depending on your country.

ISF
The ISF stands for Imaging Science Foundation and is a foundation that is learning people to understand the need for calibration and getting a good standard out there. If your projector/TV etc. are calibrated by an ISF tech they should show you the images/movies the way they are intended. If some of you might know I’m an ISF trained calibrator so I do all the calibrations myself but I really can’t stress the point enough that just buying a cheap color-analyzer is not the way you should calibrate your projector, it does work for your monitor but for a projector you really need a specialist.
For the Netherlands you can always contact me.

Digital Video Essentials
There are several options to set everything up yourself (except color-temp and gamma).
The best way is via test patterns of course and there are several options for that, you can download several patterns online (search for calibration patterns) or you can buy the Digital Video Essentials BluRay. We will add the BluRay to our webshop today which you can find on http://www.frankdoorhof.com/shop2 You will find it in the calibration topic where you also find the spyders. With this BD it’s very easy to setup the projector perfectly. You can also use the downloadable content of course which works just as good but can be run from your laptop without the need for a BD player. The DVE however is more advanced and also adds sound for your home theater.

Review Epson 1775W
Now back to the projector.
I could of course tell you that the projector has 3000 Ansilumens, a short throw ratio and has a cool look.
However this is all not that important, what is important however is that it’s a very light projector and it’s small meaning it fits in your bag quite easily and when traveling this is a big plus. But there is much more, otherwise I would not write a review about it.

I hate cables
Yeah I know coming from a guy that loves to shoot tethered, reality is that I hate cables.
With tethered shooting I don’t have a choice, but I can’t wait for wireless that’s fast enough for the big files we are using, with my projector however I do have a choice now. As mentioned before I use the projector a lot when I’m teaching on location, I never trust the projectors that are available for me on the locations I teach in, I do always try them before pulling out my own of course but in 90% of the cases I decide to use my own.

As a photographer you have to realize that people are looking at your work that is projected on the screen and judge you for those images. When you explain something about shadows not blocking up and the projector shows a huge black mess without detail your whole story falls down of course. I have to add that this is often a real problem because in most locations there is some light hitting the screen (other than from the projector) which also washes out the shadows, but let’s be frank when you have a better projector the result will be less catastrophic. So be very critical about the projector you are using.

When I’m not happy with the projector it’s time to take out my own.
In most locations however you often have to place the projector far away from your laptop or speaking location, you could of course take the chance that you can use the cables that are available on the location, but this gets a lot harder when the projector on location is ceiling mount, so there is no other choice than to bring your own cable. Because we all use HDMI at the moment due to the better image quality of the image compared to VGA this can be an expensive matter. If you want to make sure you can use the projector on all locations you would need at least a 15mtr HDMI cable and even than it’s not sure that you can use it always…..

If you want to do this the cheap way you will run into problems because the cheaper HDMI cables are not reliable over 7 mtrs of length. If you want to do it the right way you will talk about a substantial investment in for example a good HDMI cable with repeater or a network solution with two convertors from HDMI to CAT5/6 this works flawless most of the times and you can change the length on location as long as there are network cables (but these are easily bought in most places). However as you might imagine traveling with the cables means that you carry more weight in cables than your projector.

Away with the cables
This is why you are now reading a review about the 1775W projector.
Epson delivers a special software solution where you can use the projector 100% wireless (well ok you need a powercable). With this software you can “beam” your images wireless to your projector. You don’t need any knowledge for this, just make sure you have a wireless option in your laptop and run the software, type in the code that appears on the screen and your done.
The quality of the images are great and it really does away with the need to run cables. With video you will need a solid connection (wireless) but most powerpoint presentations are not based on video and they work flawless, even on greater distances.

Conclusion
If you’re serious about your images and want to show the images also on location the way you intended them (or as close as possible) and you love the idea of not using cables (who doesn’t) I really don’t know a better solution than the Epson 1775W, it rocks !!!

For the Netherlands you can contact Annewiek Doorhof at itctd@itccomp.nl for pricing and orders.
International customers please order via this link