Which type of projector should I buy?
Why a Projector?
From the Renaissance greats to the premier fine artists of today… The legacy of the projector as a tool for master artists continues.
From da Vinci to Vermeer to the Artograph DB300, now to the new Flare150, Inspire1000, and Impression1400, the projector is long-recognized as a vital tool in the palette of artists, crafters, designers, and more. Projectors, digital or opaque, project an image onto a surface for layout, design, tracing, scaling, and viewing. This allows the artist or crafter to design and compose with greater speed and accuracy, while still maintaining creative integrity and control. The new digital projectors also offer a wealth of tools to let the artist see and evaluate different aspects of the artwork at various point during the creation. Art is in the artist. Projectors are among their most valuable tools.
Choosing a Projector
You must first determine what your needs are. Below are some things to consider to help you get on the right track:
Do I want a digital projector or an opaque projector?
Digital projectors operate from images stored on your computer, smartphone, flash drive, or tablet. It can also project live images from, for example, your phone’s camera, and play videos, project PDF files, PowerPoint files, or Word docs. You can manipulate the image right on the projector, for example change it from color to black & white and back, or enhance edges. Digital projectors are also bright and most can work in reasonably well lit rooms.
Opaque projectors are the traditional style of projector which shines a bright light on a paper such as a photograph or illustration, or a three dimensional object like a small statue, and projects that image. Opaque projectors usually require a darkened room to operate effectively. Lenses vary with our line of opaque projectors, some allowing both enlargement and reduction of the original image. If your source materials are primarily printed, you may prefer an opaque projector.
How much do I want to spend?
MSRPs of our new line of LED digital Art Projectors, plus a comparison of features, are on our Digital Projector page. Many retailers may offer lower prices than our MSRP. Artograph does not sell directly. Look at our Where to Buy section to find retailers.
How do my working conditions and artwork type relate to my projector choice?
The power/brightness and physical size of both your working conditions, and your artwork surface and type need to be considered. If you’re doing wall murals in a brightly lit area, you’ll need a brighter, more powerful projector, probably one of the higher-end digitals, like the Impression1400. You can get that size with clarity if you can dim the lights in an opaque like the Super Prism.These projectors are physically larger and heavier than other models, so won’t be as easily portable and need sturdy platforms or stands to hold them.
If you’re doing close in, smaller sized work, especially if you can occasionally dim the room lights, a less powerful projector will work just fine. Portrait sized work is well served by the Inspire1000 in the digital line, and by the Tracer in the opaque projector line. Both of these projectors are lighter and easier to transport. The Tracer needs to be placed on a flat surface, but the Inspire800 works very well on a tripod allowing you to position it to any angle you need.
The newly redesigned EZTracer is a perfect, inexpensive, entry-level opaque projector for the young artist.
The new Flare150 and the popular Flare100 find a happy ground between price, size, and power. Though less powerful in terms of lumens of brightness than the Inspire1000 and Impression1400, the Flares are lightweight, AND operate on built-in batteries for 2+ hours, or plugged in. We’ve successfully projected images from the Flare100 as close as 4 inches from the surface, for an image less than 2 inches high, to as far away as 30 feet from a wall in our warehouse with the lights only dimmed, not shut off entirely! See our demo photos on the Flare100 page. The Flares are priced to suit any budget.
The digital projectors offer the bonus of being able to project your art portfolio or designs for you at the touch of a button. You can store and playback from a flash drive, or your tablet, computer, or smartphone easily giving you a portable art show wherever you want it to be.
What else do you want to do with the projector?
The digital projectors bring you Artograph’s custom on-board tools. Included with the Flare150, Flare100, Inspire1000, and Impression1400 are custom grid patterns which you can use alone, or superimpose over your projected image to give you unsurpassed design and layout control. Also included are a bonus set of geometric shapes, and border patterns. For custom home decor and decoration, customizing graphics, and more, these geometric shapes and border patterns can be a valuable tool.
See artist Tom Lynch demonstrate how to use grid patterns with an Artograph digital projector to design and create a wall mural (on our YouTube channel).
Digital projectors also offer the bonus of being able to project your art portfolio or designs for you at the touch of a button. You can store and playback from a flash drive, or your tablet, computer, or smartphone easily giving you a portable art show wherever you want it to be. The digital projectors also project PDF files, PowerPoint slideshows, and Word documents. You can also use these projectors to show movies. As one reviewer commented, “Add popcorn and you have a movie night!”
The opaque projectors offer the ease and comfort of simplicity. You don’t have to cable or connect anything other than the power cord. You don’t have to scan your photos or images into a computer or figure out how to put them on a flash drive. The opaque projectors let you project your photograph or image without going through any other steps. The opaque projectors also offer the bonus of being able to project three dimensional objects (Prism and Super Prism only). With this ability you can project an image of, for example, a small sculpture without having to photograph it first.
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!