Types of Slide Projectorsby Brenda Ingram-ChristianUpdated July 21, 2017
When projectors were popular, a warm summer night might find the family outside projecting their vacation pictures on the garage door for all the neighbors to see. It has been said that pulling out the vacation slides was also a great way to get visitors to leave. Slide projectors were a favorite in the home before digital technology unleashed a wave of low cost video and digital cameras. Kodak has discontinued most of their projectors, but parts can still be purchased for repairs and maintenance of your unit.
Four of the basic types projectors listed on slideprojector.kodak.com are the carousel, ektagraphic, audioviewer and ektapro.
The carousel slide tray accepted a variety of slide mount types--glass, metal, cardboard, plastic--as long as the dimensions are no larger than 2 x 2 inches. The standard tray that was purchased with this unit held 80 slides. This type of projector was commonly used in the home to view vacation photos or in classrooms for instructional purposes.
The Ektagraphic was similar to a carousel with a brighter output.
The audioviewer is an ektagraphic that has sound capabilities that were recorded on audio tape. The sounds could be synchronized with the slide changes. This was used more by educators and professional presenters.
The Ektapro added a microprocessor for precision operation. A remote control was used to access any random slide and was equipped with two lamps. It could also be connected to a computer for programming.
Not listed on the Kodak site are lantern slide projectors. These were used more often in theaters and auditoriums. Slide size for this unit were 3.5 x 4 inchs. It used a 750 watt lamp, and was cooled by a blower.
A slide projector’s light is measured in lumens. A lumen is a measure of brightness that a light source emits. A 100 watt light bulb generates about 1200 lumens. The carousel lumen is 1000, the ektagraphic 1300, the audioviewer 1300 and the ektapro 1300. A lumen of 500 is good in a dark room, 1000 in normal lighting and 2000 where a room is lit with daylight.
The first Kodak slide projectors were produced in 1937 and were gravity fed one slide at a time. The first straight trays and timers were introduced in 1958. Auto-focus was not a feature until 1969, and computer compatible units were not available until 1992.
You may have worked with programs like Microsoft Powerpoint and noticed the similarity or progression of the slide idea. This software is used in presentations in businesses, churches and classrooms to pull together a series of pages or slides into an ordered array to make a point. Each page or picture displays one at a time like a slide projector, but can be greatly enhanced to fade in line by line or object by object, play music or video, or many other optional enhancements. It's still a slide. In fact, it is called a slide show in the program. As a last nail in the coffin of the slide projector, you can even scan your old slides into your computer and put them into a Powerpoint presentation.
As demand for these products decrease, the cost of producing and purchasing parts will increase and they will become more difficult to locate. You can still find several suppliers online that can help with parts and service of your unit. Slideprojector.kodak.com also provides a list of repair shops and retailers available across the country.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Terry Borton