View Full Version : Need Slide Projector Opinions
I have been shooting mostly Kodachrome for the past year. I have a little slide viewer but I would like to purchase a slide projector soon. I have a home theatre with a big screen and shaded windows so that won't be a problem. The screen is about 50" high and 94" diagnol roughly. I could set the projector anywhere from 3' to 11' from the screen.
There are a slew of projectors online for sale so it got a little confusing. Some people swear by kodak others say leitz or braun. Another thing I'm fuzzy about is lenses. I guess, like a camera that is the most important part. A cheap zoom might negate the quality of a good projector right? So what lenses are good. I would like a projector that:
1. Throws a nice bright image from center to edge
2. Is easy (relatively speaking) on the slide. No heat wave to nuke the slide. Does this rule out older projectors with incandescent bulbs?
3. Has a bulb that is easily replaceable
4. Retains the spectacular almost 3D quality of slides
5. I don't really care about the loading system. I'll load them up a few at a time if necessary. As long as the image is good.
Thanks for any advice!
Hello Donovan--nice to see someone who wants to project their slides!
I have been using slide projectors since 1968--Carosel, Ektagraphic, and Leitz--as well as the Navitar Xenon 750--and can tell you that you cannot go wrong with a late model Ektagraphic. It meets ALL the criteria you set. In addition--they are fairly inexpensive and easy to find slide trays, too.
The nice part about the Ektagraphic is that the autofocus is the best there is. The Leitz autofocus is SO annoying--constant searching (that's for the RT-300), whereas the Ektagraphic is very stable. And you will evnetually need some sort of autofocus if you are using commercially mounted slides.
As for a lens, I've tried many, including the Leitz Colorplans, and IMHO, the best general purpose lens is the Navitar 70-125 f/2.8 zoom. It's unbeatable! Be SURE you get the one that is marked f/2.8 on the barrel. They are very bright, and a good one will match the Leitz lens for color quality. I have done many side-by-side comaprisons of slide projector lens, and the Navitar is one of the best. Avoid the cheap Kodak lens! They are terrible. The Kodak Peo Select lens are very good, but it is hard to find a reasonable focal length.
You mention that any loading scheme will work, but if you project lots of slides, the 80 capacity genuine Kodak slide trays are hard to beat. The 140s tend to jam and are difficult to edit as the slots are way too narrow.
I have several of the older Leitz projectors such as the Color, Color autofocus, etc, and they are nice, but they are really getting old. The Colorplan 90mm lens is a good lens, but the long, narrow slide trays are prone to spillage--especially if you are drinking single malt while watching your slides!
I like the Ektagraphic that I have. Make sure you get one that uses the 300w ELH bulb or equivalent. The original Kodak projectors used a 500w bulb that ran hotter.
I have to second much of what Paulbe said. Stay away from Carosel, there is a world of difference between them and an Ektagraphic. As much as say between a Kodak Pony and a Retina.
I never liked anyones autofocus, perhaps a hold over from my camera lens preferences. The high end Kodak glass is as good as any other, but the low end is not worth calling it a body cap.
I have not looked but I have to think there is glass out there to be found but not as easy as say five years ago when shops started going digital.
I love the magic of a great slide show, while digital project is fun, it does not have the same wow impact. Yes it's a whole lot easier to make it big, but my father always used to say if you could not make it good, make it big. I just do not feel the tonal range I used to even on a great ektachrome 200 Pro slide (my old favorite ektachrome).
While I almost did the Leitz thing, never did because of the ease of getting trays for a Kodak. Do skip the high density unless you have glass mounted everything.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for all the info! I like the idea of a 100% digital free image projected in all it's glory. I'll still scan my kodachrome but I'm thinking the projected image will be special (if I nail the picture of couse!). I'll definately look into an ektagraphic and navitar 70-125 f2.8 combo. Thanks again.
P.S. - Paul: When you say "late model ektagraphic", is that the III series?
Yes to all above. I had a Rollei (used straight trays) because it was cheap. The lens wasn't too bad, but the autofocus was worse than a Canon 10D.
Another vote for Ektagraphic. I use the older ones, such as the E2. Now, for your wide screen, you may want a wide-angle lens. You can fill your 50" x 94" screen completely, but only with those slides you want to crop to a 2:1 aspect ratio. That will call for a very wide lens--a2" or 50mm would not be too wide, what with your short 11 foot projection distance.
To project your horizontal slides without cropping them, preserving the 3:2 aspect ratio, and projecting from 11 feet, you need a 60mm lens. I use either Golden Navitar, or Schneider Cinelux. Both are available in a 60mm focal length. And both both are available in perspective control versions. A 75mm would also work, at a shorter projection throw.
To project 50 x 50, so as to be able to project both horizontal and vertical slides within the 50" height, a 90mm will be about right, assuming the same 11 foot throw.
All these distances are figured from the screen to the film gate--not to the rear of the projector.
I have no problem with the zoom lens choice Paulbe recommended, except 70mm may be too long for you. If it is not too long, I can also recommend the Schenider VArio-Prolux 70-120mm.
You should buy or make a stand that will raise the projector until the lens is at the mid-height of the screen, so as to have a zero degree projection angle. If it need to be off-center, use a perspective control lens. Here's my setup:
Hi again Donovan--the latest model Ektagraphics are the II series--and they have a brownish colored case--not those with a black or silver control panel. They usually have a little bright yellow Kodak symbol on the front (lens side) of the projector. The most recent ones seem to be almost unused; Kodak stopped making them in 2004--after the advent of Power Point and the tiny digi-projectors.
Rob-F--phew!!! NICE setup! Thanks for showing...
OH DEAR!! Wrong info, Donovan! Please excuse!
The latest Ektagraphic series IS the III--you are right. A good IIIA is all you'd ever need--the AF can be turned off. The IIIE has no AF; the others--the IIIAM and AT have little doo-dads that rarely get any use.
Sorry about the typo...
And to think, I don't even have my slides mounted anymore so they'll scan easier! :eek:
I agree with the other posters about the Ektagraphic projectors. They can be purchased quite inexpensively now. I just got a IIIA with remote control, remote extension cord, base level Kodak lens and tray for $60.00. I am sure patience would have allowed an even better deal. Be careful about the stated condition, and any auction seller's ratings on packing.
I also agree that it is essential to get an upgraded lens, particularly f2.8 lenses. I have the aforementioned Schneider Vario-Prolux 70-120mm 2.8, and it is excellent. Kodachromes projected through a quality lens can be dazzling.
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