Field Testing: Canon's Realis SX50

  • On the outside, the Canon Realis SX50 looks no different than your typical 9-pound projector. On the inside, however, is LCOS display technology that produces an image of stunning quality.
  • Sort of a "best of breed" combination of LCD and DLP technologies, LCOS helps the SX50 provide an extremely sharp image. To put its resolution in perspective, here's a quick review: SVGA offers 800x600 pixels, XGA provides 1024x768 and SXGA boasts 1280x1024 display. The Canon Realis SX50 offers even more, an astounding 1400x1050 pixel display.
  • Fine details in flow charts, clarity in facial features, and 7-point fonts can be seen clearly because of the LCOS technology (not that I recommend 7-point fonts for presentations). HD images jump out at the viewer in breathtaking clarity. The same image displayed on projection TVs looks dull in comparison.
  • In my class, I projected an HD image from a computer onto a green chalkboard. The SX50 actually has a feature that allows you to present images on a green board. One click of a button on the menu and the skin tones and all other colors are perfectly matched to the background, just as if it were presented on a white screen. Of course, you could do this with other projectors, but not with one button. It would take a while to mess with the colors until you have found a satisfying setting.
  • If you still want to tweak the color of your picture, a 6-axis color wheel, much like the color correction feature in several NLEs, may be displayed and the exact shade selected. This is by far the best method of changing colors-long live the color wheel.
  • The user-friendly SX50 does everything you'd expect from a projector in its price range and more. The keystone feature has a +/-20 degree option, so the projector may be pointed at steep angles and the picture is still correctable. I tested the projector's brightness and measured 2740 lumens at a distance of 10 feet, higher than the published spec of 2500 lumens. Keep in mind, though, that when the bulb fails, it does cost quite a bit more to replace ($580) than a standard unit.
  • I even took this projector on a shoot and used it inside as a field monitor. The client was pleased at how great his footage looked. Any video really does look better with the SX50.