Everything You Need to Know About Projector Brightness Before You Buy?

Read this article to know how the brightness of a projector should decide your purchase decision. Understand the relationship between lumens of a projector and area in which you are going to use it and make the right buying decision.

Whether for your church group, school, or business, buying a projector involves a modest investment. You want to make sure that you purchase equipment that's cost-effective and powerful enough to display crisp, clear images and vivid colors.

Many factors go into choosing a projector, including resolution, throw ratio, and . Brightness is one of the most essential. It takes more than just a dark room and a white screen to make moving images pop. Read on to learn more about the importance of getting the right brightness level and how to gauge the factors that determine appropriate light levels.

Does Price Make a Difference?

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. This is especially true when it comes to electronics equipment. You may think that you need to get the most expensive projector you can afford, but this doesn't necessarily guarantee quality. There's a common misconception that the higher price you pay for your projector unit, the brighter it will be. That definitely isn't the case. But, that doesn't mean to buy something cheap from an unknown brand.

Look at the specifications and read unbiased reviews from real users whenever possible.

In our research, we saw a number of popular projector units under $200, with some as low as $100, that have the same brightness capability as high-end models. Check this guide by Outdoor Movie HQ, where they compare brightness vs lumens on popular models under 200 dollars.

What Determines Brightness?

The brightness of the projected image is measured in lumens. A lumen is foot-candle, which is the brightness a light-emitting object one foot away from the source of light. For instance, a candle flame is 16 lumens and the average 100 watt light bulb emits 1,600 lumens.

The lumen level of your projector should take into account whether you're broadcasting a film or video outdoors or inside, whether you are able to control the amount of ambient lighting in the viewing area, and how far the projector will be set up from the screen. To some degree, it also depends on the type of display. The light source is not much of a factor as long as the lumens are adequate for your needs.

Lighting inside the viewing area is divided into three categories:

Low ambient light: Near-total darkness or very little extraneous light in the room, like in a movie theater. You can go with a lumen range of 1000 - 2000.

Medium ambient light: Low levels of lighting in the room, such as dimmed lights or windows with some light bleeding through the blinds, such as in a classroom or outdoors with a few streetlights or moonlight. You'll need at least 2500 lumens in this environment.

High ambient light: Daytime presentations or areas where there is little control over light sources. This would be common during a presentation at a conference or school where viewers might need to take notes while viewing. Such a venue would need 4000 lumens of light or more.

Need a few real-world examples?

Business presentations shown on a 120" screen in a room with little ambient light would look fine with a projector the throws 2500 lumens; for a large venue or outdoor presentation, you should move up to something in the 5000 - 6000 range. However, since the screen you have may not exactly match the capability of the projector, you should pay more attention to the size of the image from a given throw distance rather than the size of the screen.

The throw distance is usually listed in the owner's manual as a ratio, such as 1.5:1. That may look complicated, but it simply means that your screen should be one and a half feet away for every foot of screen width. You can locate the projector farther from the screen, which will make the image larger, but may cause it to fade somewhat. Locating it close to the display area will result in larger, brighter images.

Manufacturers list lumens and throw distance for their projectors. If you know where your presentations will take place, how they will be viewed, and the amount of space you have to work within, it's easier to figure out how many lumens you'll need for best viewing.

Final Thoughts

No matter the reasons for needing a new projector, it's important to get your money's worth. Knowing what to look for in the selection of available equipment can help ensure that you're making a wise investment.


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