Correcting image problems on your projector is one of the essential features that we buyers look for when buying a new projector.
Sometimes, your projector’s image comes out a bit wonky even after setting it up the way you usually would, and it can be a pain to have to stand up and move your projector’s lens around just to get the image position right.
This scenario is where lens shift comes in.
Having lens shift built into your unit makes it easier for you to adjust the lens without manually adjusting the entire projector itself.
But do all projectors have lens shifts? What IS lens shift? Why does it matter if your projector has a lens shift or not?
Let’s talk about that!
What is Lens Shift?
Lens shift is a feature projectors have that allows the user to adjust the positioning of the lens without having to move the projector itself around.
With lens shift, the user can make the image adjustments they need using a dial on the projector or remote control.
Your lens shift controls will allow you to move your projector’s lens up and down (vertical shift) and side-to-side (horizontal shift) to center your projector’s image on your screen.
Yes, it’s that easy!
Do All Projectors Have Lens Shift?
Now that you know what lens shift does, let’s get to the meat of the article.
Do all projectors have lens shifts?
Unfortunately, not all projectors have this feature, and projectors with built-in lens shifts tend to be pricier than projectors that don’t.
So, if you’re on a bit of a tight budget, you don’t need to buy a projector that has a lens shift. But if you don’t mind adding a few hundred dollars for a projector with lens shift, then, by all means, get the unit you want!
But why does it matter whether your projector has a lens shift or not? Well, we’re going to talk about that too!
Why Does Lens Shift Matter?
While lens shift is not an absolute necessity when it comes to buying projectors, it can come in handy in situations where you can’t manually move your projector.
Here are some reasons you may want to have a projector with lens shift:
We can all agree that getting up and adjusting the whole projector just to get the image centered can be annoying.
So having a lens shift feature will mean that you won’t have to get up from where you’re sitting, and you can simply correct the orientation of your projector’s lens without moving an inch from that fluffy beanbag you’re curled up on.
Another advantage of lens shift is being able to adjust the lens position on a mounted projector. No, you won’t need any screwdrivers to remove the projector from where it’s mounted, and you won’t need a step-stool to reach the unit.
All you need is a remote and maybe the manual to help you make all the adjustments needed!
You also risk dropping your projector or slamming it on the surface it’s propped up on. This could damage your projector.
If your projector has a lens shift, you won’t need to lift it just to center the projected image on the screen. All you have to do is use your remote or the dial behind your projector to move the lens around until you’re satisfied with your image’s position.
Who is Lens Shift For?
You don’t need a specific career to make good use of projectors that have lens shifts. Honestly, anyone can choose to buy projectors with lens shift features if they want to.
With that said, projectors with built-in lens shifts are perfect for:
- Movie buffs
- Office workers
Is Lens Shift the Same as Keystone Correction?
While both lens shift and keystone correction give users the ability to change the projected image, keystone correction manipulates the image right before it exits the projector’s lens.
It is also much more common to find keystone correction features on lower-end projectors compared to lens shift which you can only get from pricier units.
Another big difference is that lens shift allows the user to physically manipulate the projector’s lens itself without needing to move the entire projector.
So, to answer the question, no, lens shift and keystone correction are not the same. However, these two features improve the user’s experience and comfort while using their projector.
Does Lens Shift Affect Picture Quality?
The sole purpose of lens shift is to correct image distortion. So, no, toggling your lens shift will not affect the quality of the projected image.
It will, however, move the image left to right or up and down.
Let’s say you decided to move your projector to a different room for the time being. Because it has a lens shift, you can practically put it anywhere in the room and simply adjust the position of the projected image on the screen.
How Do You Use Lens Shift?
How you use your lens shift feature will depend on your projector. Some will have buttons on the unit, others will have a remote control, while more sophisticated units have a built-in touchscreen display.
You will have to check your projector’s manual to locate the lens shift settings. But once you find it, all you have to do is press either the vertical controls or horizontal controls until the projected image is where you want it to be.
Wait, that’s it?
Yes, basically. We did say that lens shifts make it easier for users to adjust their images with the least amount of effort.
And if we’re talking about movie nights, little to no effort is definitely the goal!
Here’s a great video by Optoma USA.
If you like being able to adjust the image position wherever you’re sitting, then a projector with a built-in lens shift feature is perfect for you.
You have to keep in mind that these types of projectors can be pricier than those without lens shifts.
Is it worth the extra bucks?
Of course, it is! If a feature improves a user’s experience for the long term, then it’s worth the extra dollars.
Do you really need lens shift?
Nope! As we said, it can be costly and is not ideal for those with a tighter budget.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.