Home Theater Review

 

Panamorph FVX200J Anamorphic Lens System Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
5 Stars
Value
4 Stars
Overall
4.5 Stars

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High Points
• The FVX200J represents the first truly affordable anamorphic home theater solution that I've seen. 
• The FVX200J is easy enough to install and adjust by yourself, though having an extra set of eyes on the projected image while you're dialing in the FVX200J's alignment doesn't hurt either. 
• The ability to watch native 2:35:1 material in your home, the way the filmmakers intended, is an experience we take for granted in our neighborhood cinemas, but has to been seen to be appreciated at the home level. 
• The FVX200J doesn't rob your projector of any perceivable brightness or sharpness the way some other "budget" anamorphic solutions do.
• The FVX200J's image quality is superb and works in perfect harmony with JVC branded or re-branded D-ILA projectors for a match made in home theater heaven.

Low Points
• Because the FVX200J is a fixed anamorphic lens, 16:9 material loses a bit of horizontal resolution, though it's hardly noticeable. 
• The FVX200J does require that you mount your projector on the ceiling at a distance of at least 12 feet from your screen. If either of these options is not feasible, you may have to look elsewhere or learn to live with black bars.
• In order to take full advantage of what the FVX200J brings to the table you'll have to invest in a native 2:35:1 screen, which means that 16:9 material will be displayed with black bars left and right, unless you invest in an auto-masking screen. While fixed 2:35:1 screens are only marginally more expensive than their 16:9 counterparts, auto-masking screens are a far costlier proposition. An affordable solution, one that I used for this review, is the Osprey Series Screen from Elite which houses both a 16:9 and a 2:35:1 screen in a single chassis.

Comparisons and Competition 
While there are other anamorphic lens systems available, Panamorph is arguably the most readily used and/or recognized. Another option however is the Schneider Kreuznach CDA 1.33x EL Anamorphic Lens. Marantz also offers an anamorphic solution, however it only works with Marantz projectors and is motorized design; not to mention it retails for far more than the FVX200J.

There really isn't an affordable anamorphic solution that competes directly with the FVX200J in the US. Sure you can spend more and get more in terms of features (i.e. motorized movement), however the FVX200J is designed to appeal to the budget conscious videophile looking to add a bit of 2:35:1 flare to their home cinema.

To find out more about anamorphic lenses and HD video projectors please visit HomeTheaterReview.com's video projection page.

Conclusion
The added impact and enjoyment, not to mention "WOW" factor I gleaned from having the Panamorph FVX200J Anamorphic Lens System installed in my home caught me completely off guard. You don't really realize just how much of your projector's potential and image quality is being thrown away on black bars until they're gone. While $2,995 isn't super affordable (some HD projectors cost half as much) the FVX200J is the best, most affordable anamorphic solution available today and I assure you it's worth every penny.

Before the Panamorph and the FVX200J's arrival, a true anamorphic home theater would've cost you close to $20,000 for a kickoff, but can now be had for less than $10,000. I demo'ed a system at this year's CEDIA using JVC's newest sub $3,000 D-ILA ($2,999) and a FVX200J being projected onto a 97-inch 2:35 SI Black Diamond screen. Total cost? Around $7,500. That's a tremendous value, not to mention one of the finer video demos I saw at CEDIA this year.

So despite the added costs and requirements an anamorphic setup imposes on your home theater, is the FVX200J worth the price of admission? Without a doubt, I enthusiastically recommend this product.

Additional Resources
• Read front video projector reviews from the likes of Runco, JVC, Digital Projection and others that can take an anamorphic lens. 
• Read reviews of the best video screens from the likes of Stewart Filmscreen, dpn, SI, Elite and many others.

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