It’s vitally important you understand why brightness or lumens matter to projectors to successfully choose the one for your requirements. To know how many lumens are good for a projector, we look at the key factors that influence your choice.
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The brightness of a projector is typically measured in lumens or ANSI lumens. This number is important when selecting a projector, as it can affect the projection outcome.
However, understanding what this number means and how to choose a projector for your specific needs can be confusing, so do look at our article ANSI lumens vs Lumens.
The unit of the ANSI lumen measures the overall light output from a projector. The ANSI lumen is a brighter by 2.4 times than a regular LED lumen figure. It is important to know the difference as some manufacturers will just list the LED lumen figure, which can be misleading.
The LED lumen measures the light output from the LED projector light source only. It does not take into account the other factors that will affect the final image such as;
This really depends on your requirements and the set up of your room.
To know how many ANSI lumens do I need, you need to consider the following:
Perceived brightness from a projector is dependent upon contrast. The greater the contrast between the projected light and its surroundings, the brighter it will feel.
Therefore, if you want to use a projector in the daytime, say in a classroom or venue, then for it to feel bright enough for a good contrast and experience, the higher the lumen level is required to become brighter.
When a single lumen output is given by a projector manufacturer, this is considered the overall white brightness you can expect on the screen, ie unadulterated lumen brightness.
If you want to watch movies on a large screen without ambient lighting, it is ideal to have a projector with around 2,000 lumens of white brightness.
If you need to turn on ambient lighting or if there are bright light sources in the room, a projector with 3,000 lumens or more will create crisper more defined images.
For comparison you could ask how many lumens is a tv, to give you a guide on expected brightness from a screen. Find some comparison lumen outputs from TV or PC monitor manufacturers.
The brightness of a color is not always the same as what is stated in the overall projector lumen output.
If the manufacturer does not provide a breakdown then the rule of thumb is that the color brightness will be around 50% or less of the stated white brightness output.
Not all light is good, it can create glare. Bright light can make things look better, but it can also be bad for your eyes if you’re looking at it for a long time.
This will depend on your home theater set-up. If your space is completely dark, a projector with a rating of 2,000-2,500 lumens may seem too bright. If you plan to use the projector in moderate or bright ambient lighting conditions, then no projector on the market will be too bright for your eyes.
So is more lumens better? Do high lumens equal excellent viewing quality and truer colors? Not Necessarily.
You may be wondering if a projector with a higher brightness can be used for different sizes and in different lighting conditions. It is possible, but it is not always the best choice.
For home theatre systems, you should choose a projector that has the appropriate brightness to create clear images with good color and the appropriate contrast levels (ANSI Contrast Ratio). A modern projector will create dynamic contrasting according to the projected image or scene of a film to minimize the washing out of the image and poorer viewing experience.
Another thing to consider is the distance between the projector and the screen and how much light there is in the room.
The further the distance the projector is from the screen the more lumens and brightness is needed. If you’re projecting on a very large screen or from a long distance, then you’ll need a brighter projector.
The next thing to think about is the image size.
The bigger the image, the more lumens you’ll need. If you’re projecting a very large image, then you’ll need a projector with around 2500-3500 lumens for it to look bright enough and have good contrast levels.
The brightness you need for your projector depends on the room you will be using it in. If you are using the projector in a large room, like an auditorium or lecture hall, you will need more lumens.
The more light in the room, the brighter the projector needs to be for a clear and defined image. At night time or in a home cinema room where light can be managed well, the lower ambient light levels mean a lower lumen level is sufficient, but daytime needs more output.
Consider the following guide for how many lumens for indoor projector:
The light processing components of a projector are the projection lamp and the colour wheel. The projection lamp determines how bright the image will be. The colour wheel controls how accurate the colours are in the image.
When you need to make sure that colors are accurate, you can’t just go for the brightest projector. That’s because brightness affects color accuracy. You’ll have to find a projector with the right amount of lumens so that the colors are accurate.
Too high a lumen level can wash out color for a poorer viewing experience.
Outdoor projectors need to be very bright, from 4000 lumens and up. That’s because there is so much light outdoors that you need a bright projector to compete with it.
6000 lumens is good for an outdoor projector.
You also need a projector with a high contrast ratio so that the image is still defined and clear. A high lumen level doesn’t necessarily mean that the projector has a high contrast ratio.
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