Projector Iris a Benefit or Distraction

Many projectors today have irises in them. The type varies between dynamic and manual. The dynamic version moves as the picture brightens and dims. Manual irises stay fixed at the setting chosen. Some projectors will have both while others will have only one.

Manual irises are a huge benefit when there is excess light output. It can be used to match a projector to a given service in this situation. Sports for example looks best relatively bright while movies generally look better at lower levels. Reducing the light output should be considered for movies when a projector can go brighter than about 15 fL with a given screen. As the lamp dims with time it can be opened to keep the image looking brilliant.

Dynamic irises are more variable in their success. These can be noisy and a point of failure. When implemented well they are not a distraction and make the blacks darker. Done poorly and you can see an image suddenly brighten or dim as the scene changes. The brighter the image from the screen the easier this effect is to see. The best implementations I have seen are Sony projectors. Other manufacturers tend to have mixed results.

Another benefit of an iris is that when it is placed inside the lens it will reduce aberrations. Unfortunately, many manufacturers take the less expensive option and attenuate the light outside of the lens.

W. Jeff Meier

ISF and THX Certified Home Theater Consultant

4 Comments
Pamela Stiles

With a brighter image, LED walls offer a more economical, reliable and exible platform than projectors. There are a number of advantages the LED walls offer over projection.

William J. Grant

I cleaned the lcd block on epson TW5900 model. After I put the mainboard on and tried it, the lamp lights up as normal but not much light coming out of the lens. I doubt if I have damaged anything at all. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Adam Golightly

My dad has been thinking about getting a new projector that he will be able to use outside for different events. He would really like to buy one from a professional that will be more durable. I’ll be sure to tell him about how he should watch movies at lower levels, and sports at higher ones.

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