World’s First Lens Design Revolutionizes UST Projection


The ultra-short throw projector is one of tech’s little miracles, and the ability to create a perfect 100-inch image from a distance of a few feet seems to defy the laws of optics.

Few companies know more about optics than Fujifilm. With over 85 years of history in the science of color, film and digital cameras and lenses, the company has been manufacturing cinema projector lenses for over 30 years. These decades of experience in optics and lens design culminated in 2019 with the launch of Fujifilm’s first projector, the 5,000 lumen FUJIFILM FP-Z5000, which was joined in March 2021 by the FUJIFILM FP- Z8000 even more powerful with 8000 lumens.

The FUJIFILM FP-Z8000 has all the features one would expect from a high-end projector, including single-chip DLP technology, solid-state laser / phosphor light engine, 4K signal input , Full HD output resolution and edge warping and blending capabilities.

However, it also has a solution to one of the lingering drawbacks of UST projectors which is revolutionary in every way.

Since the UST is designed to operate in the type of confined spaces that would hamper a conventional projector, it is not always possible to mount the unit directly in front of the screen. So most good UST projectors have some sort of mechanical lens shift to compensate for off-center placement.

“This technique works best when the plane of the projector lens is parallel to the plane of the imaging surface, which minimizes geometric distortion and maintains sharp focus from edge to edge,” says Scott. Bartolini, Product Manager at Fujifilm. “But if the projection angle becomes sharp enough, the only remedy is to add some form of digital image shift. This approach is a classic compromise: while digital pixel mapping can correct image geometry, it typically results in reduced image resolution. “

The ideal solution would be to allow the lens to move independently of the projector case, regardless of the angle at which the projector is installed. This was once considered impossible, but with the FUJIFILM FP-Z5000 and the FUJIFILM FP-Z8000, Fujifilm has come up with a revolutionary solution.

“Our engineers have developed a bent and rotating dual axis lens design that can rotate 360 ​​degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically,” explains Bartolini. “The FUJIFILM FP-Z5000 and FUJIFILM FP-Z8000 are the first projectors in the world to incorporate this type of rotating bi-axial lens with lens shift. We call it the “Swiss Army Knife” of UST projector design, and it allows a projector to be mounted in just about any location imaginable, filling the imaging area with bright, contrasting images and videos. high and crisp. “

The Fujifilm single lens assembly can independently rotate in two directions. The primary lens can be set to any of four positions within 360 degrees, while the lens support arm – which is also part of the optical path – swivels up to 180 degrees.

“Combined, these settings offer 22 different lens and projector placement choices, opening the door to all kinds of projection capabilities on walls, floors and even ceilings, all with the projector mounted in an inconspicuous location.” , explains Bartolini.

A venue might, for example, have two FUJIFILM FP-Z8000 mounted on the side of a room, one projecting toward the floor and the other toward the ceiling, with both images being mechanically shifted to shift the projectors comfortably out of the way. field of view. In another scenario, a projector could be installed under the reception of a luxury hotel, illuminating a large curved projection screen behind the desk, with the lens shifted ensuring that images will not be blocked by the receptionist standing on the desk. path.

“Our goal was to illuminate a 100 inch screen or surface from a 30 inch projection distance with the rotating lens placed in any position,” Bartolini explains. “In addition, the plane of the lens can be shifted plus or minus 70% vertically and plus or minus 35% horizontally. The projector can even “remember” these offset settings when the lens is rotated to a new position, so if you need to reorient the projector, you don’t have to redo the setup.

The unique design of the Fujifilm projector line allowed for truly spectacular installations. Fujifilm has initiated many projects around the world, including projects that rely heavily on UST coupled with a need for extreme offset ranges. In the Tokyo Tower lobby, a 250-inch screen is served by a FUJIFILM FP-Z5000 mounted just six feet and shifted to one side to avoid blocking the air conditioning.

Another notable project can be seen at UFO by FrancFranc, a video store concept in Osaka, Japan. The display case features four FUJIFILM FP-Z5000s, the edges of which are blended to produce a gigantic image of approximately 16ft x 10ft. The projectors are mounted vertically and their slim size (only W460mm x D510mm x H162.5mm) means they don’t disturb the mood. Another large format installation composed by Fujifilm was with Ocubo’s Porto Legends. Porto Legends – The Underground Experiencee is an entertainment show created by Ocubo Studio that presents the legendary history of the city of Porto in northern Portugal. The show takes place in an underground construction, using no less than 38 FUJIFILM FP-Z5000s.

The front lens of the FUJIFILM FP-Z8000 is aspherical, with a large diameter of 87mm. To manufacture it, Fujifilm has developed advanced and high-precision processes that ensure that the precision of the lens surface does not vary by more than 0.1 micrometers. The lens assembly includes 18 separate elements and bends the light four times on its way to the screen, including two 90-degree angles in the lens arm.

Buyers will be pleased to learn that the flexibility of Fujifilm’s innovative lens assembly does not mean compromising on performance. “The uniformity of focus, even on curved surfaces, and the accuracy, brightness and color uniformity are all comparable to that of a single-chip DLP projector using a conventional projection lens,” explains Bartolini. “This precision and uniformity makes it easy to blend edges on any axis, even when the projector is mounted at an extreme angle to the screen. Digital keystone correction is provided as an additional tool to adjust image geometry to match the dimensions of the screen or imaging surface.

Overall, the FUJIFILM FP-Z8000 represents a new approach to projection. “Equipping the projector with a biaxial rotating lens and mechanical lens shift allows a wide range of installation and projection options that were previously difficult, if not impossible, to achieve,” explains Bartolini. “This unique combination of features, along with the automatic memory of shifted images when the lens is rotated to a new position, creates a powerful new tool for projection designers. “

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