Choosing an Art Projector

Projectors are available in all types, shapes, costs and makes. Recognizing the need for a projector and making the right choice is a very important decision for today’s busy artist, crafter or designer. The right projector can greatly increase and improve productivity and creativity. With so many projectors on the market, the decision can be a difficult one. Here are some considerations to make your choice the right one:

Why a Projector?

Projectors primarily do one thing – they project an image of something onto a work surface for tracing, scaling and viewing. This allows the artist, crafter or designer to size, view or lay out a particular design or composition with incredible speed and accuracy, while still maintaining creative integrity and control. The image can be reproduced exactly or can be used merely as a proportioning or layout guide to aid in the creation of a new design. With roots as far back as 1000 AD, the projector allows the artist to be more productive, efficient and creative.

Choosing a Projector

You must first determine what your needs and limitations are. Below are some things to consider to help you get on the right track:

  • How much do I want to spend?
  • Do I want the image projected onto a tabletop, vertical surface (i.e. canvas, easel, wall etc.) or both?
  • What is the maximum size of my original copy that I want projected?
  • Do I want to enlarge my original, reduce it, or both?
  • To what size do I want to enlarge or reduce?
  • Do I want a portable or stationary projector?
  • What are my ambient or room lighting conditions?
  • If the room lights cannot be turned off, or there is a window, how can I darken the room?
  • What are the size limitations, if any, of the room I will be using?

Once the above needs have been thought out, you can begin to shop around and ask the right questions.

Ready to begin shopping? View our full-line of art projectors!

Other Features to Consider

Copy Size: Look for a projector with a copy area that will accommodate the bulk of your copy needs. Usually, projectors with larger copy areas are more expensive. The largest copy area available in opaque or art projectors in today’s market is approximately 10 ” square. However, there are always ways to get around a projector that has a small copy area. For example, if the projector is top loading, the original can be moved around and projected in sections or simply reduce the original copy on a copy machine to fit the available copy area and enlarge as needed.

Lighting: Projectors come equipped with a variety of light sources including incandescent, fluorescent’s and halogen type.

Incandescent bulbs used are similar in appearance to the types used in the home, but are a larger wattage and provide photo quality lighting. Though they are not as bright as halogens, they produce an excellent image, and are both inexpensive and readily available at local camera or theatrical lighting stores.
Artograph Projectors that use Incandescent bulbs: Designer™, DesignMaster, Prism™ and Super Prism™.

Fluorescent lamps can often replace incandescent lamps and offer a cooler, longer lasting and an energy efficient alternative. They are ideal for use in smaller projectors but they usually do not put out the lumens (brightness) that the larger projectors require.
Artograph Projectors that use fluorescent bulbs: Tracer Jr.

Halogen offers a very bright white light, excellent for use in reproducing photographs and/or highly detailed images. Although superior performers, halogen bulbs are expensive to replace and usually only available from the manufacturer. Be sure to ask for replacement bulb costs, and if purchasing, buy a spare. A couple of cautions with halogen bulbs: Do not jolt the projector while it is in use or still hot, and do not touch the bulbs with your hands. This will either blow the bulb or shorten its life.
Artograph® Projector that uses Halogen bulbs: MC 250™ Professional Projector

Lens: The lens is where the construction of any projector begins. Generally, the more elements the lens has, the better the resulting image and greater the cost. Try to get a projector that has a multi-element lens. However, it is most important that the lens be precision ground and designed specifically for the projector. All Artograph Projectors feature precision ground lenses that are individually designed for each model.

Mirror: Be sure the projector you choose features a front surface mirror. Front surface mirrors have the reflective coating applied to the front of the mirror instead of the back. This type provides the sharpest and brightest image. All Artograph Projectors incorporate a front surface mirror.

The above information should offer some ideas of what to look for and ask for when choosing a projector. The best way to finalize the right projector decision is to visit your local Artograph dealer and request a hands-on demonstration. Please visit our Find A Dealer section to locate a dealer in your area. Happy Projecting!!