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I want to buy a 35 mm projector for home use. Does anyone have any experience with the Leica P150 w/ 85mm 2.8 lens? What should I look for when buying a projector? Are zoom lenses better than fixed ones.
-- Michael Estrella (email@example.com), March 09, 2001
Michael, I have done a lot of AV work over the past 20 years, and have played with most slide projectors out there. All the zoom lenses do is let you have more flexibilty in where you set the projector and screen. The biggest problem I had with projectors was getting the slightly bowed slides to be in sharp focus across the whole screen. Most of the lenses are designed to have a curved field, but it won't exactly match the curve in your slides in my experience. Some of the autofocus projectors I've used worked pretty good at refocusing themselves as the slides "popped" from the heat of the lamp. AF is a nice feature to have in a slide projector. People used to glass mount their slides to take care of some of these problems and use a flat field lens, but that sure is a lot of effort to make. I also found I did not like any screen but a plain smooth matte finish. I don't seem to shoot and project slide too much these days, and I kind of miss the lifelike brilliance of a properly projected slide. Leica's sure do take nice slides--that is where I noticed ther most difference from my other cameras.
-- Andrew Schank (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 10, 2001.
Mike, I came across a P150 a few years ago and found it to be much sharper than the Kodak I was using at the time. The only downside (in my opinion) is that the straight Euro trays are a pain compared to the Kodak trays. But keeping that in mind, the improvement in image quality on the screen more than made up for the convenience of the rotary trays. It's odd, but a few years ago I also aquired a V35 Focomat enlarger. As with the M series cameras, the lens is the 'pudding' so to speak. Other makes may offer more convenience, or sophistication, but the proof is in the images, and Leica glass wins hands down!!
-- Bob Todrick (email@example.com), March 10, 2001.
One is not limited to Kodak glass (plastic) with Kodak projectors. The Golden Navitar lenses from D.O. Industries are much better. Also, Buhl Optical has projection lenses in two grades. And I've tried out a Schneider perspective control lens. Of the lot, the Golden Navitar is probably best.
-- Bob Fleischman (RFXMAIL@prodigy.net), March 11, 2001.
Be sure to do a search on "pradovit" in www.photo.net. There are several very informative threads in there that you should read before you buy. The lowest cost route to the highest quality image? A P300 with a Super Colorplan lens. Everything else will get you more build quality, convenience, carousels etc. etc., but will not improve on the above configuration's image quality.
-- Mani Sitaraman (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 12, 2001.
I do not think the P150 (or any P series) are really worth having - they are not nearly up to the quality of the cameras. You need a C series (from the 80s) or P2000, P2002 from the 90s, or even a great Pradovit Color 250 (halogen bulb) from the 70s. I cannot comment on the current carousel versions which may well be really good. All of these ones are exceptional and you get the best optical path available (it is still not perfect) - miles better than any Kodak (and that includes the metal professional models with the Schneider optics). I have the C2502 and P2000. Fantastic. I exhausted myself testing projectors many years ago and this is my opinion. As I say I would welcome any thoughts from others on the carousel Leica's. Personally I prefer the straight German style magazines anyway. Zoom lenses are not better than fixed lenses, but can be useful I suppose, although most of us use a projector in one room at one size so pick the right lens for that. If you are touring with your projector then a zoom might be useful. My projectors have the 90mm Colorplan which is great - I have no idea whether the Super-Colorplan is significantly better. The point to bear in mind about projectors is that the lens is not everything. Quite as important is the condensor, slide gate and warming/cooling arrangements. This is the part that lets you down with most projectors. Good AF (one you do not have to "fight") is very useful. Leica AF is excellent - you will still have to refocus of course, but it gives you a pretty good look at a slide when it first arrives in the gate. Get one of these projectors and it will test your technique! A non-textured (non-beaded) screen is best.
-- Robin Smith (email@example.com), March 12, 2001.
I should have added, I own both the RT300II AV from the early 1980s, a Carousel type projector, now manufactured (body only) by SInger Caramate under a different name. This projector has a Colorplan Curved Focus Lens.
I also own the P300IR, a LTM European tray type of projector, with a Super Colorplan Lens.
The Super Colorplan wins hands down, and improves upon the Colorplan, an already astonishingly good lens. The difference may be liked to the 35mm Asph Summicron vs. the predecessor non-Asph but perhaps greater in degree.
I agree though with the above comments about build quality and mechanical reliability.
In that regards, your best current bets are the p2002 or the RTs or RTm projectors. Of course these are vastly more expensive than a P150...
-- Mani Sitaraman (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 13, 2001.