My projector (Mitsubishi HC3000) is a 1000 lumen projector which I've seen reputable reports that when 'video optimized' it's more in the 400 lumen range. I have 2000 hours on the current bulb with a new one on the way.
Would this be considered a 'lower lumen' projector? In the past I've seen less knowledgeable folks discard Black Widow as an option for a screen because their projector was 'lower lumen'. And I know that in the past less knowledgeable folks said that "you really need a 'light cannon' for Black Widow".
What's the threshold for 'lower lumen'? What's the threshold for 'light cannon'?
One thing that comes to mind is whether this is max lumens or video optimized lumens. There is a huge difference and some companies advertise actual video optimized lumens (much more realistic numbers) and other list max lumens because it makes it look more impressive.
I also agree with Mike P that the 'industry' considers 2500 lumens and up as 'light cannons', and are typically used in the business community or in a house of worship where light control is not practical.
So two Home Theater projectors both rated at 1000 lumens could be totally different animals. I too have seen the comments about 'light cannons' and personally they are referencing projectors from a bygone era. Projectors today are very bright and vibrant as compared to projectors from just a few years back.
Just about any projector today can handle an N8 shade of gray and as mentioned just a couple of years ago that would have been way too dark for most projectors. Most manufacturers seem to be more concerned with listing dynamic contrast ratio than the true lumen output. It's all a big game though because most of these numbers are obtained from optimal viewing conditions. Once less than perfect conditions exist, you can pretty much throw all those numbers out the window.
I have a formula somewhere that shows what happens to CR when even 1 lux of light is introduced into the room. CR quickly takes a dive.
Sorry if I digressed. Mech my guess is your projector is showing max video optimized lumens instead of max Ansi lumens (not necessarily what you are set at), but I can't say for certain. Call Mitsubishi, they can tell you for sure. Whether it's max or optimized, I wouldn't call it a light cannon, nor would I say it's a cream puff either.
With a gain of .9, I'd say most projectors out there could handle Black Widow, it's all a matter of personal preference like anything else. Some people like inky black while others want whites as white as possible. It's no different than how some people prefer a cool image while others like a warmer image.
Once again we get into looking at things as a whole.
12fL is the standard for minimum brightness at the screen for cinema viewing with total light control and 14fL is the THX standard. So in reality it has more to do with the screen size and room setting than how bright the projector is.
I've said this before and will be posting this in the projector forum but most people approach setting up a home theater or media room totally backwards. By thay I mean they buy the projector first and then
worry about the screen. The first thing should be a review of the room conditions and setting. This will determine the optimal screen size based on the room size and viewing distance. Most people go for the largest image possible even if it is inappropriate for their room dimensions. With an honest assessment the appropriate screen size can be determined.
Next would be the lighting conditions as well as the viewing habbits. Some people only watch movies in a theater like setting while others watch television and sports on their projector. Both environments would dictate different screen types. Once the type and shade of screen is determined that suits the room conditions, then a projector should be selected that will provide the minimum required brightness for the screen and room setting.