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Do I Need A Lens Shift On My Projector?


It can be a hassle to constantly need to move your projector if you want to move a picture. Especially for a ceiling projector, when you have to get out a ladder to change where it projects.

Lens Shift offers a solution to this problem, by avoiding the issue of touching and moving a projector physically.

Having the flexibility to change where the image actually projects can give a lot of useful installation breathing-room.

What is Lens Shift in a projector?

Lens Shift feature

Lens shift is a feature designed so that a projected image can be moved without the need of physically moving your projector – it’s shifted! This can be done with a joystick, or through buttons that will move it automatically.

Lens shift’s main function is to make moving an image simple and straight-forward. Physically moving a projector can prove to be difficult – a projector that’s mounted, for example, wouldn’t be able to easily move. So being able to control where the picture is projected can be extremely convenient.

The most common shift is the vertical shift – meaning the picture can go up and down. However, some projectors offer additional customization, such as horizontal shifts to move the picture left to right.

In an indoor area with less vertical spaces (such as a shorter ceiling), a vertical lens shift can prove to be extremely handy. A horizontal lens shift can be useful when putting the projector at an angle, giving a center-image without needing the projector in the center of the room.

Does Lens Shift affect picture quality?

picture quality when using lens shift

Lens shift is designed to make sure the picture itself isn’t distorted in any way. The quality isn’t altered in any way, since the picture is just translated. Removing compression and scaling means there aren’t going to be any issues with those qualities.

Projectors with lens shift are given more freedom with their installation. Once again, having the convenience to keep a stable projector while still being able to move the picture is valuable.

It’s important to note that, depending on the projector, some lens shifts aren’t possible. Varying customization tools, such as the aforementioned vertical and horizontal shift, depend on which projector you have. As a result, this can also vary the range of these shifts.

Digital Keystone vs Lens Shift

compare Digital Keystone Vs Lens Shift

When a projector is put at an angle, the picture projected will become distorted. Digital keystone is a technology designed to “fix” this distortion. Depending on the projector, it can be done manually or automatically.

If automatic, the picture will be automatically changed so it can be properly projected. However, this can damage the picture quality. Vertical keystone can fix distortions on the top or bottom of the image, while horizontal can fix distortions on the left side and right side of the image.

Digital keystone can be used to correct images, but how does it compare to lens shift? Digital keystone can harm the quality of the image. Due to this, using lens shift can do the same function without sacrificing the quality of the picture.

Keystone will slightly edit the image, to adjust for the angle of the projection. This compression can make the picture look generally lower quality, or at the very least, a little bit odd.

While keystone can be useful for images and can be passable for videos, using lens shift in a more permanent set-up will save the potential headache in the future.

Do I need the Lens Shift on my projector?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to customization and what you need for your specific projector. If you think you won’t benefit from the extra space you’re given, lens shift may not be necessary. However, it is such a great thing to have in the back of your pocket.

The ability to essentially place a projector anywhere in the room and still have clear, high-quality images, that aren’t off-center is one that cannot be understated in any way. Lens shift is an incredibly useful tool, so when in the market for a projector, you may want to consider this asset in your potential purchases.


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