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Lux vs Lumens Projector – All The Answers

by Lisa Hayden

If you are here, you might be considering purchasing a projector for home theater, business, or even illuminating your school projects, and you probably don’t know how you can get the best. This article focuses on lux vs. lumens projectors and how to get the best option for you.

Lumens vs. Lux: Overview

Lumens and Lux are the SI units or methods used to measure the brightness of the light and its perception on the human eye to determine the intensity of a projector.

Lumens vs. Lux Overview

Related: How Many Lumens for Outdoor Projector?

What are Lumens?

The amount of light you see when you reflect a projector on a screen is measured in lumens. Lumens are the total amount of light current a source emits no matter the direction after considering the human eye’s sensitivity. To understand lumens, you have to have insight into luminous flux, radiant flux, and the difference between the two.

Luminous Flux vs. Radiant Flux

Luminous flux describes the number of electromagnetic waves that you can see, while the radiant flux measures electromagnetic waves from all sources, both visible and non-visible.

What is LuxLux is the illuminance on a surface area and is represented as lumen per square meter. ?

Lux measures the amount of light output in a given area. It tries to measure how a human eye perceives the intensity of a particular light by considering the spread over an area.

To Sum up:

Lumens consider how bright a projector is, while lux describes the brightness perceived by the human eye. Essentially the number of lumens in a project remains constant while the lux changes with distance. So, for example, a projector with a 50% higher illuminance than the original lighting will appear lower to the human eye as it might seem 20% brighter and not the expected 50% brighter.

Many people tend to confuse regular lumens with ANSI lumens.

ANSI Lumens

ANSI lumens are not similar to regular lumens as the method to calculate them involves more variables; thus, they are more accurate. ANSI lumens are more quantifiable compared with regular lumens.

Which is Better: Lumens or Lux?

When considering lumens and lux in projectors, you might ask yourself which is better. Typically, lux is better in determining quality brightness as it tries to interpret the brightness to a human eye. Even though lumens are also important, lux, in this case, describes how the brightness might appear when you view that projector you are considering buying.

How Bright Should a Projector be?

When considering the ideal projector to buy, you’ll have to consider the purpose of the projector. For example, you’ll have different considerations for cinematography, consumer media, business, or educational purposes.

Even the cheapest 4K projectors contain quality brightness and are the most common for the above purposes. However, to determine the brightness you’ll need to consider the lumens by examining them with the content to be displayed, resolution, ambient light, distance, screen, and wall color.

Lux vs lumens for a projector tv

Lumens and lux are both units of measure that describe the amount of light output. Lumens measure the total amount of light emitted by a source, while lux measures the intensity of light on a surface. Generally, the higher the lumen rating, the brighter the light will be. However, lumens alone don’t indicate how bright a light will appear to the human eye. The human eye is more sensitive to specific colors than others, so a light with a high lumen rating may not appear as bright as a light with a lower lumen rating if it emits more of the colors that are less visible to the human eye. In general, a higher lux rating means a brighter light. Lux considers how our eyes perceive brightness and is, therefore, a more accurate measure of how bright a light will appear to us.

Regarding projector TVs, both lumens and lux are essential considerations. If you’re looking for a projector TV with a bright, clear image, you’ll want to pay attention to both the lumen and lux ratings. A projector TV with a high lumen rating will be able to project a brighter image, while a projector TV with a high lux rating will produce an image that appears brighter to the human eye.

Content to be Displayed

Whatever you view on the projector determines how bright you’ll need it. For instance, you don’t need many lumens to display a document without images in an office presentation. However, if the content has more graphics, you’ll need a projector with more lumens.

Standard Lux

Business and portable projectors should have at least 1500 lumens to work effectively, while gaming projectors need a brightness of at least 2000 lumens due to the amount of graphics. For home theater, you should go for a projector of a minimum of 2000 lumens for efficiency in watching shows and movies which contain graphics.

Resolution

However, other aspects like contrast and throw ratio affect the perceived brightness of a projector’s output; a projector’s resolution determines how clear its visuals are. When it comes to resolution, you should consider:

  • 4K and 1080P are the most preferred resolutions for cinematography, especially for home theaters
  • A projector geared for gaming should preferably have a 1080P resolution
  • Business and portable projectors should have lower resolutions of 840 by 480 as they are primarily used for displaying text-based presentations; thus, does not need higher resolutions.

Ambient Light

The amount of light that comes into contact with your projector screen or wall affects how bright a projector might seem to the human eye.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Where you’ll use the projector, indoor or outdoor, necessitates the number of lumens you’ll need. In a dark place, the brightness of a particular projector might seem brighter compared to when using it outdoors.

 If the projector is for outdoor use, you’ll need a projector with more lumens for bright sufficiency suitable for viewing.

Screen and Wall Color

The screen color or the color you paint on a wall affects how bright a projector might seem to the human eye.

Projector Screens

Ideally, there are four projector screen colors: silver, white, grey, and black, that efficiently maximize your experience. All these colors sort out different issues when it comes to projector brightness. Silver is the oldest, while black is the latest screen color to be introduced.

Silver color:

Silver-colored projectors are efficient, and since they are classics, they are more expensive than the rest. Silver color illuminates more for content with more graphics.

White color:

White color is the most common and reliable to avail the most accurate content color and brightness when watching a movie, TV show, or presentation. It helps showcase a realistic display and bright-colored images more efficiently.

Grey color:

Projector screen manufacturers introduced darker projector screens to sort out contrast problems in digital projectors. Medium or light gray projector screens help deal with ambient light around a room and are ideal for projectors with low lumens.

Black color:

Black is similar to silver screens in terms of showing visible contrasting images. Black screens rid issues with white color screens like turning off lights to view, as it is more effective for showcasing black or contrasted images.

Walls

Regarding walls, specific colors are better for projector illumination than others. The best wall colors for projectors are gray and white. Even though both are ideal, their prospects differ.

Grey

Grey is the best for brightness and contrast, allowing for darker content and a superior viewing experience. Grey walls are more compatible with a projector of at least 3000 lumens.

Distance

As outlined in the “To sum up” section in “Lumens vs. Lux: Overview,” the lux changes with distance, and lumens remain constant regardless. Therefore, in this aspect, you should consider purchasing a projector with more lumens if the distance from the projector to the screen or wall is further than the standard.

Can Bright Lights Cause Eye Damage?

Yes! Bright lights can damage your eyes by causing eye sensitivity complications. Eye sensitivity can be due to allergies, dry eyes, corneal inflammation, and over-stimulated irises. Over-stimulated irises are associated with low or too bright lights.

Iris in the eye is for controlling the pupil size to protect the eye against bright, irritating lights. Too much light can harm your eyes by overstimulating your irises. Therefore, it is essential to consider whether the projector you buy is too low or too bright to avoid damaging your eye.

How Many Lumens are Bad for Your Eyes?

You might accidentally look at a bright light and experience temporary brightness, though not too serious to cause implications. Essentially, brighter light means more lumens.

A few hundred lumens can be standard for viewing without damaging your eyes. However, over time, the standard can cause some implications depending on how often you use it and the distance from which you usually view it. If the brightness is higher than the standard, you might experience flash blindness.

Standard LumenRarely can such visible light cause permanent damage? s

Rarely can such visible light cause permanent damage? Eighty lumens in darkness is enough to cause flash blindness, while 200 lumens might cause temporary blindness, a light source with over 10,000 lumens can cause permanent blindness.

You probably don’t want to finally get that projector you’ve wanted, only for you not to view it due to blindness. Before buying the projector, you should test the lumens to see which range is favorable to your eyes.

Sustenance

The projector you choose should be sustainable to ensure you use it for longer. For example, a high luminous but old projector wouldn’t be as efficient as a low luminous new projector. 

On the other hand, sustenance might not alarm you, and you might consider buying older or second-hand, high luminous projectors. In that case, you might be making a wrong decision because you’ll purchase a projector that might not serve you for long or efficiently as you expected.

Compared to dating as far as five years ago, most modern projectors come with accurate ANSI lumen values, as the unit is much more quantifiable. Thus, in this aspect, an older or second-hand high luminous projector might not work optimally compared to these newer models.

You might be looking to save some money on that projector by purchasing a second-hand model, but spending the premium for the best would be best.

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