The eleven screens in this review vary in their rated gain specs from 0.8 to 1.4. In general, the higher the gain rating, the brighter a screen image will be for any given projector when viewed from the center, zero degree viewing axis. Since a higher gain screen is focusing more light directly back toward the center viewing position (thus making the picture appear brighter from that position), it is often true that the higher gain screen will have a more narrow viewing angle. So higher gain is not always desirable. If you need a brighter picture, your best solution might be to go with a low gain screen and a brighter projector.
For this test we measured the actual luminance at the center of a 100 IRE white pattern for each screen in order to have an exact measure of their relative brightness when viewed from the center position. The results from brightest to least bright are as follows:
|SI Zero Edge Slate|
|SI Black Diamond 1.4|
|Microlite Black Crystal 1.2|
|Seymour Matinee Black|
|Elite EPV PolarStar|
|Stewart Firehawk G4|
|Elite EPV DarkStar 9||DNP Supernova|
|Da-Lite Parallax 0.8|
For the most part, the vendors' rated peak gain specifications had a general correspondence to the screens' relative brightness. The two exceptions were the SI Zero Edge Slate and Microlite Black Crystal 1.2. Both of these screens have a gain rating of 1.2, but in these ambient light conditions they appeared as bright from the center viewing position as competing products with 1.4 gain ratings.