ZU720T VS ZU720TST Optoma projectors: why pay more for the short throw lens, and when to skip it

To someone non-technical, the first major difference between the two projector models is an over $1,000 price gap.

Optoma ZU720T is a 7,500 lumen projector perfect for large venues, classrooms, lecture theaters, museums and houses of worship and it offers

  • large 1.8x zoom and 1.4~2.5:1 throw ratio, full lens shift;
  • added flexibility of HDBaseT and LAN among other perks.

Optoma ZU720TST is a 7,000 lumen projector for auditoriums, large conference rooms, lecture halls, houses of worship as well as blended multi-projector installs. This short throw model offers:

  • WUXGA images from several feet away;
  • fixed lens design with motorized 1.26x zoom, focus, lens-shift, integrated warping and blending;
  • embedded Android OS that ensures quick and easy over-the-air software updates with advanced software functions.

Choose from this rich selection of BSP projectors

Now, let's dig deeper a bit more. When a projector's measure of the total visible light emitted by a its lens per unit of time climbs over 6,000 lumen, most manufacturers start offering detachable lenses. The word 'flexibility' gets thrown around by the sales people. The logic applied is -- since you have doled out $8,000 to $10,000 for the projector -- you can afford to throw in another $2,000 to $3,000 for a detachable short-throw, normal or long-throw lens.

Q: Why does Big Screen Pro carry Optoma VS other manufacturers offering fixed lens projectors?

A: Good price-to-quality ratio. Optoma projectors are very durable and mostly never get returned once sold. Optoma projectors are also great for outdoor screenings

Optoma ZU720T is the most affordable 7,500 American National Standards Institute (ANSI) lumen projector on the market today (check some projectors with similar specs, for comparison). This is in part thanks to a built-in fixed lens. Meaning that with Optoma ZU720T (shop here) you don't have to pay extra for a detachable lens. Using ANSI measure for the lumen in your projector is a good way to make sure you don't fall prey to some projector manufacturers that come up with their own lumen measurements. ZU720T has all the features that you would expect to see in a high-end model, such as lens shift, motorized zoom, HDBaseT standard and a powerful laser light source.

Home Cinema Theater: Projector or LED-LCD?

So what about the more expensive ZU720TST short-throw model? Who is it a good fit for?

Optoma ZU720TST is less bright -- because of its short throw lens. And it's more expensive for that same reason -- its short throw lens.

Any lens is transparent only to a certain point. Visible light always dissipates in a complex projection scheme. The brighter the lens the more costly it is to make it. Short-throw projectors offer a smaller max picture size, making such devices a no-go for larger outdoor movie screens like these or these. By the same logic, ultra short throw projectors offer max 150" diagonal, by and large.

Which projector to choose: laser, LED or a lamp one?

So the rule of thumb when choosing between ZU720T and a comparatively slightly costlier ZU720TST Optoma projectors is: when having plenty of space at your outdoor screening venue you end up paying less for a brighter T version projector (GET your ZU720T here). 'T' stands for 'Telephoto'.

If you want or need the projector closer to the screen -- be ready to sacrifice some brightness with the TST version and opt for a slightly costlier ZU720TST.

Here are some insights in parting. The bigger the projection surface, the further you need to place your projector from the screen, and the less concentrated visible light will be projected on it.

Take a 20' x 11' screen as a case in point -- like this inflatable by Open Air Cinema. The most distant wall is 40 ft away. А normal throw lens will call for a projection arrangement where the projector is placed at an 80 ft distance. But it's not possible. So this becomes a short throw projector situation.

Projector or LED display for Your outdoor events

 And here is an illustration of a case where the screening event venue called for a long-throw lens:

But -- due to a limited budget for the outdoor movie screening -- a short throw projector was used, right in front of the inflatable screen.

At Big Screen Pro, we keep track of the latest open air audio-visual solutions as we want to make sure you get the best value for your money. Feel free to reach out to us via info@bigscreenpro.com or any other communication channel on this site!

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