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My crappy (thrifty?) projector rundown. I've had a couple of projectors for a few years and used the Hallowindow DVD and downloads which have worked great. This year however, I won't have as much manned support for the big night, so I decided to do a bit more projection to help out. What follows is my somewhat unscientific testing and options on the crappy projectors I have acquired. Your mileage may vary, but I thought this might help a few of you make a decision on what you might want. The pics are all from a tripod using the manual setting on my SLR at F8 and 1/4 second so that all the images would be somewhat exposed the same for comparison with each other.

Heres a list of the test candidates:


3M MP225 - Ebay. Got lucky and got this reasonbly cheap for around $45.
Pros: Sharp picture, decent colors, great resolution, short throw. Contrast 1000:1.
Cons: No zoom, Not great in lit room, but Hey, this is Halloween we're talking about. Who needs light?

Zoombox - On clearance at Walmart a few years back. About $75 then.
Pros: It still works, cheap bulb, has built in DVD player, kinda a tank and can take abuse. Have used it many Halloweens with Hallowindow projection and shower curtain. Beleive it or not, it's bright enough.
Cons: No zoom, Resolution is bad 557x234, Pixelated images, 8 Lumens, really?. 50W Halogen bulb.

Sharper Image Entertainment projector - Bed Bath and Beyond on clearance. $50?
Pros: It still works as well, cheap bulb. Was able to project Zombie walking scene from Hallowindow on my next door neighbors house. It was dim, but a few sharp ToTs did see it. You had to really take a hard look though.
Cons: 480 x 240 resolution, 50W bulb, loud fan, Dim, dim, dim.

Infocus LP640 - Off ebay recently, maybe 60-80 bucks.
Pros: Bright, 2200 Lumens, has a zoom, 400:1 contrast. 1024x768 resolution, Keystone adjustment.
Cons: Heavy, the one I have blows the GFCI circuit everytime I plug it in. Projects so bright that there is a lot of extra brightness surrounding the image/video. Bulbs are pricey.

Infocus 425Z - Off ebay recently, maybe 40-60 bucks.
Pros: Pretty bright and good contrast, has a zoom, 400:1 contrast, 900 Lumen, 800x600 resolution
Cons: Big, bulky, on mine the buttons on the projector don't work. The remote works for selecting inputs though. Does a pretty good job. bulbs for this one are pricey. Low bulb life ~1000 hours.

Optoma PT100 Game projector - Woot clearance, refurbished, $79 - Currently Brand new ones there as well for the same price.
Pros: Small, light, quiet, LED lamp, 50 Lumens, richer color than any of the other projectors, nice resolution 854x480
Cons: Not great in a bright room (see pics). Focus supposedly wanders. No zoom. Long throw.

The last pics are of the 3M and the Optoma together. You can very well see the difference in the throw distance. The 3M is awesome in this department. You can also see the difference in color production. The Optoma is pretty good here.

So, for haunting in a garage or dark environment, I'm liking the 3M and the Optoma. For outside projection ability, the Infocus office type projectors should have the horsepower to project big and bright. The Zoombox and the Sharper Image projectors are basically backup at this point. I'll be hard pressed to use them this year. In their defense, they did do the job sort of when projectors of any type were 3K dollars and out of reach of most home haunters.

Lights on and off on each.

First up, the 3M:
IMG_6080-3M-MP225-Lights-on.jpg
IMG_6081-3M-MP225-Lights-off.jpg

Zoombox:
IMG_6082-Zoombox-Lights-on.jpg
IMG_6083-Zoombox-Lights-off.jpg

Sharper Image Entertainment projector:
IMG_6085-SharperImage-Lights-on.jpg
IMG_6086-SharperImage-Lights-off.jpg

Infocus LP640:
IMG_6087-InfocusLP640-Lights-on.jpg
IMG_6088-InfocusLP640-Lights-off.jpg

Infocus 425Z:
IMG_6089-Infocus425Z-Lights-on.jpg
IMG_6090-Infocus425Z-Lights-off.jpg

Optoma PT100 Game projector:
IMG_6092-OptomaPT100-Lights-on.jpg
IMG_6093-OptomaPT100-Lights-off.jpg
IMG_6094-OptomaPT100-Lights-off2.jpg

3M (top) vs. Optoma:
IMG_6099-3M-MP225vsOptomaPT100-Lights-on.jpg
IMG_6100-3M-MP225vsOptomaPT100-Lights-off.jpg

Note: The 3M shows in each of the pics for size comparison. It's only on in the first couple of pics.
 

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Yup, thats they're supposed to look like. But you're right- the 3m is very impressive for what it brings to the table. Great job!

Victor
 

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Victor-eyd: I really appreciate you putting this comprehensive list of projectors together! This is extremely helpful! I ordered the Optoma Game Projector today and hope it works for how I plan to use it. I'm on the hunt for the 3M you mentioned unless I find that I definitely need more brightness... my house is directly under a streetlight and it doesn't get too dark.

Thanks again :D
HarleyQuinn07
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow. The most comprehensive comparison of its kind I have ever seen. THANK YOU, vonroll!
Great information and unbiased. :)
You're welcome. I hope it does help out. I've been researching projectors for a while and really didn't know how good or bad a used office type projector off ebay would be. Well, they are older, but built pretty well. Of course the bulb is a huge gamble, and I'm a bit nervous about them running 3 hours on Halloween night. The Zoombox and the Sharper Image only have a halogen bulb and they have no issues running all night. The Metal Halide bulbs obviously run hotter. I've taken the extra precautionary step of using my blowgun with my compressor to get all the dust out of the used / ebay ones. You'd be surprised how much dust there is in There.
I ended up being more impressed with the color and the clarity (sorry doesn't show as well in the pics) of the LED and the 3M LCOS projector. I think that's the direction I'll go with the dark haunt. The 3M being as small as it is and with such a good throw range is tailor made for haunting. I did see that it was on sale at Target...I'd get one but their site says "Not available online" and "Not available in stores". Grrrr. Because of that, I picked up another Optoma PT100. Woot has them for 79 NEW. Mine was 79 Refurbished. So, they are definitely closing them out it seems. Ouch...I just checked and Woot is sold out. I'll post in this thread if I see any pop up.

Let me know if you guys want to know anything specific about any of the projectors.
 

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The one problem I had with firing up multiple projectors was overloading the breakers. I think these newer pico draw less amperage than the standards so running them off one circuit might be okay.

Might.:p

Victor
 

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The one problem I had with firing up multiple projectors was overloading the breakers. I think these newer pico draw less amperage than the standards so running them off one circuit might be okay.

Might.:p

Victor
Agreed. The newer ones, Pico and LED use wall warts so that's not an issue. The big ol Infocus LP640 pops the GFCI circuit breaker everytime I plug it in. My garage, which has higher rated breakers for power tools, etc. seems to do ok. I should probably test that cord too. ;)
 

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Check the goodwill store for target items the goodwill here has the 3m projectors and is a clearance drop off from the Target stores
 

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Check the goodwill store for target items the goodwill here has the 3m projectors and is a clearance drop off from the Target stores
Oh really? The new 3M projectors from Target are at Goodwill now?? I'm check out the local goodwill today after work! Do you know how much they are? Thanks for the tip! :)

HarleyQuinn07
 

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Harley, since you're in the Bay Area I would suggest going to craiglist and looking up pj. Here's a place that I bought a 23" lcd from for $40 (lloking at it right now), big worldwide company with lots of inventory and very helpful

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/4046188549.html

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/4046186164.html

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/4046146684.html

These are pulled from work environments and they test them prior to resale. I would strongly suggest checking them out before ghoing anywhere else. They are located in Fremont across the street from Fremont Commons shopping mall on Boscell. Ask for Scott.

Victor

PS Get the best projector with highest resolution/lumens that you can afford
 

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Discussion Starter #17
These are pulled from work environments and they test them prior to resale. I would strongly suggest checking them out before ghoing anywhere else. They are located in Fremont across the street from Fremont Commons shopping mall on Boscell. Ask for Scott.
Victor
Wow....those are really great prices and a bonus that you can check them out in person. Stay away from anything that says "bad bulb" though. That'll cost you. :)
 

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Stay away from anything that says "bad bulb" though. That'll cost you. :)
Actually, you'd be surprised. My 1st projector purchase, a NECMT820, was being sold to me from craigslist for $10 because of a "bad bulb". Turns out the people at the office did not seat the bulb in enough to make a connection. A gentle push in place, and I have a fully functional projector (shh, don't tell them ;).

I've used it many times on my inflatable Gemmy 144" screen and never had a problem with. Here it projected onto my brother's house a few halloweens ago

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Victor
 

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Actually, you'd be surprised. My 1st projector purchase, a NECMT820, was being sold to me from craigslist for $10 because of a "bad bulb". Turns out the people at the office did not seat the bulb in enough to make a connection. A gentle push in place, and I have a fully functional projector (shh, don't tell them ;).

I've used it many times on my inflatable Gemmy 144" screen and never had a problem with. Here it projected onto my brother's house a few halloweens ago
Victor
Mums the word. Great find. Yes, I agree, for 10 bucks you really couldn't go wrong. I just wouldn't want to spend $50 on one and have it not function at all. I've even read that the white spot issue is the LCD panel not being seated properly. Another easy fix. Man! That ghost-rider looks great on the house. HUGE. You must be hitting 2000+ lumen on that projection. :)
 

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Man! That ghost-rider looks great on the house. HUGE. You must be hitting 2000+ lumen on that projection. :)
2000? Hardly- try 700 and an older bulb so i'd estimate 70% of that- at best

http://www.projectorcentral.com/NEC-MultiSync_MT820.htm

I agree- $50 is too much on a projector. That's why I always set my limit at $35 :D However, with the Infocus X3 I had to pop a little more since I had a perfectly good bulb that wasn't being used. Turns out later it came with bulb that had 30hrs on it. That is a lot of halloween ,xmas, and backyard movies to burn through before I deplete that bulb.

Victor
 
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