WHAT DOES AN ANAMORPHIC LENS DO AND DO YOU NEED IT?
The Paladin DCR Anamorphic Lens
Sounds like a cool name, right? So, you just shelled out big bucks to get your new native 4K projector and the complimenting 2.35:1/ 2.40:1 aspect ratio screen. What if I were to tell you that you aren’t getting all 8.8 million pixels of the 4K resolution on that new screen? With most projectors that have lens memory you can have multiple formats to choose from. In the case of the cinemascope 2.35:1 or the anamorphic 2.40:1 you probably chose this format screen because you are a movie lover and don’t care to have black bars at the top and bottom like with a 16X9 format screen. Even with the image filling up the ultra-wide format screen, you are still projecting those black bars top and bottom of the screen. It’s very dim, but if you hold a mirror to the over-scanned area, you will see clearly. What if I were to tell you that you can get all 8.8 million pixels on the screen, improve your overall image brightness, and therefore increase your total contrast? It’s really easy to do, the answer is an anamorphic lens.
Ok so if you have spiraled down the rabbit hole, you know that you are serious about performance. Most people are content with enjoying a native 4K projector zoomed out to fill an ultra-wide screen, but then again you’re not most people. You are here to get the best possible out of your system. There are several lenses to choose from, but the most common and widely available are the anamorphic lenses from Panamorph. There are different kinds of lenses for different types and models of projectors. Different lens models are specific to certain models or have a certain anamorphic de-squeeze ratio. I have the Paladin DCR lens. This is their flagship lens and is universal. I use this with the JVC RS3000 also known as the NX9. The projector/ lens configurator is available on their website, but if you need to, we can help you match whichever lens will work best with your projector.
Setup is easy, but takes a little time to play with to make everything line up perfectly. Once installed, make sure you go into your projector settings and enable whichever anamorphic setting needed to make the image fill up your screen. In my case, I used the anamorphic C setting in the JVC RS3000 / NX9. This setting is the same throughout the Current D-ILA lineup except the RS-4500 which is used in conjunction with the Lumagen Radiance Pro processor. Once set up you are ready to go. The full height of the reflective devices are being used and the lens physically does the desqueeze to fill up the screen left and right. This gives you back the pixels once lost on the top and bottom of the image. This increases your brightness because the pixel density has increased as well as improves your contrast because ¼ of the image isn’t physically casting black anymore. Sounds like a win win right?
I have used this setup for some time now and I feel like my experience with the projector/ lens combination has some teeth now. I love the color pop. I thought it was incredible before on my 144-inch Screen Innovations Zero Edge Pro Black Diamond screen. I’m using a 2.35:1 cinemascope screen for now and the image quality is outstanding. You really notice the increased sharpness when watching movies as well as the immersion is just that much better using the projector to its full potential. You can notice quite the difference in sharpness with or without the 8K enhancement feature.
The only real downside I see to using anamorphic lenses is that they are pricey. If the barrier to entry isn’t a concern for you then you are reaping all the benefits your projector is capable of. Setup can be time consuming, so be patient if you are setting this up yourself or be prepared to pay a little extra if you have a company come out and install this for you. This is all reflective of my experience with the Paladin DCR universal lens. There are model specific versions that just slip right into place saving you install time. These are usually less expensive as compared to the Flagship DCR lens, but the model specific ones are only available for that specific model at the time of purchase. So if you bought the NEW paladin DCR-J1 then it will slip right onto an RS1000/RS2000 or NX5/NX7 specifically. If you ever replace that projector, there are no guarantees that the lens could be used on the next series. That’s the trade off in price break for the model specific version. Again, a lot of this may be confusing so reach out to us and we can walk you through which lens is good for you now and possibly in the future as well. We have a few videos for you all to check out that we did on this topic and we plan on adding several more because we find this is a frequently misunderstood area of home theater.