New York, NY — Four lenses are available for Meridian’s flagship 810 Reference Video System, ranging from a specialist “very short” throw -– designed typically for back-projection use — to a long-throw lens with a range of up to 8:1. However, the one that Meridian expects to be most commonly required for their customers’ home cinema installations is the medium-throw or “M” lens.
The M lens features a 2.2:1 to 3.6:1 zoom ratio and is fully compatible with the 810’s anamorphic lens assembly. Nevertheless, the lens itself is particularly interesting. It is a prime example of how Meridian delivers a lot more than a simple off-the-shelf projector: indeed, as well as the lenses, every 810 Reference Video System includes a super-high-definition video scaler, and each system is calibrated specifically for the installation in a process that takes up to four days.
The M lens is custom-made for Meridian by Nittoh, a Japanese lens specialist with a history stretching back to the 19th century and a wealth of experience in producing lenses for high-quality applications. Even so, Meridian says that its lens is the most sophisticated design the company has ever made.
It features 16 all-glass elements, for maximum image quality and minimum loss (many cheaper lenses use plastic). Almost every element is made of a different type of glass, and they are arranged into five groups.
Almost the entire lens is made in the Nittoh factory, with only the raw glass being bought in as each element is formed by pressing from powder under enormous pressure and intense heat. Everything else is done in-house at Nittoh, including glass grinding, polishing, and fabrication of all metal parts and plastic moldings, to final assembly, testing, and calibration.
Meridian says that simply making the raw glass takes over a month and a half, while polishing it into lenses takes another two. According to the company, the lens features extremely high-precision mechanical systems and optics; the lens elements are made to such a high degree of accuracy that the glass has to be allowed to cool for no less than three months to ensure that it meets Meridian’s exacting specifications. And as the lens is focused or zoomed, internal element groups move back and forth with an accuracy that measures in micrometres.
Often the compromise involved in commissioning a special lens to accompany a projector is that it does not offer the same level of controllability as the native lens. Typically, this means that it is manually operated. In the case of the Meridian Nittoh lens, however, the unit is fully motorized for maximum usability and ease of installation, and interfaces seamlessly into the projector’s control system.