FISHEYE OR MIRROR?
As every astronomer knows, it's far easier to make a perfect mirror than a perfect lens. That's why we call our mirror system a "Newtonian". Furthermore, in a mirror system, for the front-center field of view, you are using the BEST part of the mirror (the flat part), but the WORST part of the fisheye (the edge). We use high quality Elumenati fisheyes that have multilayers to keep all the dome equiangular and free of chromatic abberation, but the best costs more!
1. Slightly easier to set up
2. Can be offset slightly from center of the dome if necessary
3. Fisheye images or videos from cameras can be displayed immediately on the dome
1. Considerably more expensive
2. Projector mated to lens.. must send back to manufacturer for service, with extended "down" time (note - this is true for competing fisheye systems but NOT for our projectors from Elumenati. With the new Elumenati clip-on systems you can easily move the lens to a new projector if needed)
3. No easy upgrade as projectors improve - can't just put a fisheye into any projector without modification
3. Replacement lens very expensive (10X the cost of the mirror)
4. Fewer projected pixels for a HD projector (although, again, the Elumenati truncated fisheye beats the competition because it DOES use most of the projector's pixels!)
5. Single box is heavy; must be shipped instead of carried as luggage (again NOT true for our Elumenati modular system which has a separate stand).
1. Fully modular system: as projectors/computers improve, just replace the projector and/or computer
2. Local service on international projector and laptop brands (can keep a "hot spare")
3. Larger fraction of the projector's pixels are used... over 70% instead of 44% for an imbedded 1080 circle
4. Mirrors are much cheaper than fisheyes to replace if damaged
5. Projection system in back of dome... leaves the best seats in the house, the center, for customers (15-20% more seating for a given size dome)
6. Can be used in traditional planetariums without removing their existing starball.
7. Easy one-person portability in a compact car
8. If you want to show NON-fisheye content (e.g. a regular movie) it's trivial to do.. just slide the secondary mirror in or remove it.
9. Better for movie seatingÉ most fulldome movies are designed for unidirectional (theater style) seating. The Digitalis and Digital Starlab system is designed for viewing in the round, making it cumbersome for some to see the movie. (Our fisheye from Elumenati IS optimized for movies).
10. NEW! 3D capability: with our new Epson 3D projector you can quick-change from fulldome content to ACTIVE 3D content! A mirror system is three theaters in one!
1. Very small area in back of dome not covered (less than 5%)
2. Slight distortion in back of dome if not aligned precisely
3. Requires a brief time to align mirrors
4. Content must be warped for playback (all our shows are prewarped for highest quality), or else use "warp on the fly" software, now available for Mac and PCs.
Note: Our equiangular fisheye systems from Elumenati also of unexcelled quality [Kumler and Bauer], while giving the purists a true 100% dome coverage option. Elumenati principal D'nardo Colucci was one of the Elumens designers who hold the patent (number 5,762,413, 1998) on mating fisheye lenses to projectors. Our fisheye provider is the FIRST and the BEST!