Updated Canon XEED Projector Series: The Story of Star Technologies

Agree, sometimes, seeing the next announcement of the “super-technological” novelty, we begin to dream that this miracle of technology will become a little more accessible and enter our daily life. But often we are mistaken: such developments are mostly inaccessible to mere mortals - in their present form they are inconvenient or even impossible to use. Canon XEED projectors are an original and interesting example of the adaptation of such technologies to "terrestrial" conditions. And today we want to tell you the story of their creation and consider the main technical characteristics of the series and its advantages.

Quality vs compactness

Of course, it would be possible to put up with minor shortcomings of projectors, if not for one “but”: on the giant screens of cinemas, every smallest flaw becomes too noticeable, therefore only the best technologies are used for this sphere. Among them, it is customary to distinguish two main categories: 3-chip versions of DLP and LCoS technologies. Together with the main advantages - high contrast and a small distance between pixels - they have two big drawbacks: projectors are cumbersome and very expensive.

It turned out to be very difficult to deal with this disadvantage, and therefore in mass projectors for the sake of compactness and price reduction, simplified versions of these technologies, known as “1-chip DLP” and “3LCD”, began to be used.

1-chip DLPProjectors compared to expensive 3-matrix models have become inefficient to use a light source, have lost brightness and with it the color quality on intermediate colors, consisting of a combination of primary - red, blue and green. In addition, they had only one chip left, so they had to send the red, blue and green copies of the image separately on the screen alternately. This led to the appearance of the "rainbow" effect: when objects in the frame move very quickly, these copies of different colors do not fall on the screen in one place, shifting and creating a rainbow border.

3LCD projectors have lost their contrast and the distance between pixels has increased, which is why a “grid” appeared on the projection.

It should be clarified that LCoS technologies also use LCD matrices, but they do not work in the light, but are fixed on silicon mirror substrates * 1 . Under the influence of electrical signals, liquid crystals either close the reflecting surface or open, allowing light from an external source to be reflected from a mirror substrate. Fastening on the substrates allowed the LCD matrix to be made thinner, which fundamentally increases their contrast. In addition, liquid crystal control channels can be hidden in the silicon substrate of the LCoS matrices, and in the LCD matrices they have to be placed between the pixels, which increases the distance between them and leads to the appearance of dark stripes in the image above the lattice.

We have been thinking for a long time how to eliminate the shortcomings of existing technologies, and as a result we were able to find a solution - compact LCoS projectors, who received the XEED prefix in their name . Models of this series use the optical system AISYS (Aspectual Illumination System), developed by Canon, and in their compactness they do not differ from mass 1-chip DLP and 3LCD projectors, but surpass the first ones in color quality and effective brightness (1.5 times brighter at the same power lamps), while the latter gain in contrast and pixel fusion.

The optical system AISYS has a complex optical design, and is able to control the light falling in both vertical and horizontal directions. When the light converges vertically, a smaller angle is used to prevent light from flowing * 2 into the beam splitter and the LCOS panel, which ensures a higher contrast ratio. With convergence in the horizontal direction, a larger angle is used, which helps to increase the brightness. In the optical system there are elements that work only in the horizontal or only in the vertical direction - they help to achieve this effect.

Currently, XEED projectors use a new, fourth, version of the AISYS system.

In the third generation system, a new facet lens was introduced * 3, which is an array of lenses oriented vertically and horizontally.

Together they work as a unidirectional collecting lens. New developments - the face lens and the optical design - have significantly reduced the number of lenses in the system, as a result of which its size and cost have decreased. In addition, the brightness was higher without compromising high contrast. The system was also equipped with a projection lamp with high color rendering characteristics and equipped with a design that takes into account the sensory characteristics of the human eye. As a result, we were able to achieve more realistic colors.

Changes in the fourth-generation AISYS system also affected the location of the components — the size of the separation and color combination system and the size of the optical system as a whole decreased. Thanks to these improvements, the projection lens in the fourth-generation AISYS is 20% closer to the light source compared to the third-generation system, which made it possible to reduce the size and increase the brightness of the projector as a whole.

Reaching the goal - we aim higher!

Exceptional image quality with small device sizes is distinguished by XEED projectors, but we decided to go further and enhance the results achieved by using very high-quality lenses, and in older models also with 4K resolution arrays.

Canon lenses are distinguished not only by the quality of optics, but also by their unusual features.

  • For example, Canon's short-focus projector models can displace an image by more than 70% vertically. This allows you to place the projector on the ceiling, so that it was not visible, and project the image at a level convenient for the audience. Therefore, Canon XEED series projectors are loved by many galleries and museums that use them for video installations.

    Interactive exhibition of works by Caravaggio in the Royal Palace of Venaria in Turin

    67 Canon XEED projectors used on display at the OPENLUGHT MUSEUM Museum in the Netherlands
  • The second peculiarity of Canon lenses is the additional peripheral focusing. It allows you to separately bring sharpness at the edges of the image, which for conventional lenses is a problem when projecting on large panoramic screens.
  • Great depth of field is the third advantage of Canon lenses. This feature is in demand in video mapping, which today is becoming very popular and consists in projecting not on smooth screens, but on the surface of ordinary objects. At the same time, it is almost impossible to maintain good sharpness of the image on the edges of the object, which are differently distant from the projector, but Canon lenses allow you to do this.

    Fragment of the film, recreated in the cinema hall at the premiere of the film TOMB RAIDER: Lara Croft

On the merits of the language of numbers

Evaluation of the specific values of the benefits of a projector Canon XEED can be divided into two categories:

First get compactness and price compared with projectors for movie theaters, with which they look at the characteristics of the image quality.

The second category covers the differences between XEED projectors and cinema projectors from mass 1-chip DLP and 3LCD models in terms of contrast, color reproduction and image fusion (distance between pixels).

  • According to ANSI contrast, these two groups of projectors differ approximately in two times. When evaluating this parameter, it is important not to confuse the figures of unknown origin in the specifications of the projectors with those measured in control tests with compliance with the international ANSI standard.
  • The distance between pixels in Canon XEED projectors and projectors for movie theaters does not exceed 3 microns, and for half of the mass models this value is almost 2.5 times longer and equal to 8.
  • The level of differences in color quality is determined by a 3-fold failure in brightness in 1-matrix mass projectors on intermediate colors. This, by the way, does not mean that 1-chip projectors cannot reproduce the color of the image correctly. Just in the mode of correct color, they lose brightness about 2-3 times. This can be easily noticed even with the naked eye, if you turn on the color transfer mode in the menu of such a projector, which is indicated by the abbreviation sRGB.

It is worth noting that the figures cited above in the comparisons are not tied to specific models of projectors, but are constant and constant characteristics of the technologies themselves. For example, the color quality depends only on the number of matrixes (chips) in the projector, and the contrast and interpixel distance depend on the type of technology used: DLP, LCoS or LCD. The quality of optics also affects the contrast, but is incomparably less than the type of matrices (chips) used.

Canon XEED to the masses!

Previously, the main areas of use for Canon XEED projectors were, as a rule, only specialized training centers, museums, photo studios, and virtual reality objects. Today, this list is actively replenished - largely due to the affordable price, small size and versatility - the traditional tasks of projectors in business and education. In our plans - to improve technology and be even more convenient and closer to the mass user. We hope that we will not get off the course and will continue to not lose the trust of our customers.

* 1
Devices for image reproduction

Liquid crystal panels can be transmissive or reflective. Since the contours of the electronic circuit are laid between the pixels of the transmissive panels, the non-transmissive elements create a grid pattern on the projected image. In reflective panels, the outlines of the electronic circuit are located behind the pixels. A projection using such a panel is uniform, without a grid.

* 2
Light leak Light

leakage onto the surface of the image when the entire screen is filled with black.
When using LCOS panels and beam splitters, rays of light with a large angle of incidence cause light leakage and reduced contrast.

* 3
Facet Lens

A lens made up of many individual lenses mounted next to each other in vertical and horizontal rows like a dragonfly eye.

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