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Review: Canon REALiS SX80

Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projector
Ease of Use
Canon REALiS SX80 Projector Canon REALiS SX80
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900:1 Contrast Ratio
3000 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Movie mode. The presence of an operating mode called "Movie" might lead users to imagine that it should be used to view movies. We would counsel against it. Compared to the sRGB mode, the Movie mode drops lumen output by 15%, which in and of itself may be a good thing for dark room viewing. But it also lowers ANSI contrast from 244:1 to 206:1, and most importantly it renders a colder, less accurate gray scale to boot. For photography and movies, stick with sRGB. If you need to reduce the lumen output, back the projector up and use the long end of the lens, put it into low lamp mode, and if necessary, use a neutral density filter.

No lens shift. The SX80 projects a picture such that the centerline of the lens intersects the screen at the bottom edge of the image (or the top edge of the image when the projector is inverted for ceiling mount). This built-in fixed throw angle may present difficulties in some situations. If the projector is on a conference room table, the bottom of the projected image is also at the level of the table, which in many cases may be too low. For ceiling mounting, you may wish to use a drop extension tube to get the picture down the wall a bit and away from the ceiling.

You can always tilt the projector upward, or downward from the ceiling mount, and square up the resulting trapezoid with keystone correction. However, if you do this, you will not get a native 1400x1050 image. Since one of the advantages of this projector is a very sharp image due to its high native resolution, most users will want to avoid any compromise in image sharpness that would be imparted by the introduction of keystone adjustments.

We should note that keystone adjustments have more of an effect on material like text/financial documents than on graphics and photography. But we always like to avoid keystone adjustments whenever possible. In lieu of physical lens shift, which is the ideal solution for adjusting image height on the wall or screen, we would like to have seen a fixed upward throw angle with more of an offset.


The Canon REALiS SX80 fills a unique niche in the marketplace. It offers high resolution, excellent color balance, zero pixelation, and high lumen output, for street prices under $3,000. Its ability to deliver 2400 real color-balanced ANSI lumens in sRGB mode gives it a significant competitive advantage over home theater models that are higher in contrast, but weaker on lumen output. It is ideal for large scale presentation of graphics and photography, or for the clear display of detailed text and financial documents, especially if there is ambient light in the viewing room. If the limitations imposed by the fixed lens and minimal audio capability are not relevant factors in your intended usage, we can strongly recommend the Canon SX80 with genuine enthusiasm.

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