IMAX 3D Vs 3D: In Depth Comparison

The theater has evolved a lot in the last few years and it is still evolving with every passing day. There was a time when the only source of entertainment used to be a wooden enclosed TV. However, now since there are a lot of theaters, people prefer to watch movies in movie theaters. The two most commonly compared options are 3D and IMAX 3D. Most of the time, IMAX 3D is preferred and picked.

These theaters have been compared several times and even I have read most of the comparisons before purchasing the ticket.

My experience and opinion after spending a few hours in were completely different. Since I found most of the comparisons misleading, I have decided to write one for my readers.



If I have to sum up the major differences between IMAX 3D and 3D, IMAX 3D is the most luxurious and expensive option. IMAX 3D has better, bigger curved screens. Whereas, 3D has smaller screens.

The audio quality in 3D is the best however, the sound at the IMAX 3D is perfect in every way. IMAX 3D theaters are more spacious and use linear polarization, and dual projectors to entertain the viewers.

However, regular 3D theaters have standard-size screens, have only one projector to light up the screen, and are generally less spacious as compared to the IMAX 3D.

The major differences are summed up in a few lines. Now, let’s compare the 3D and IMAX 3D in a little more in detail;

Screen size, type, and quality

Whichever theater you choose to go to the screen size and the quality of the screen would always be different.

The same is the case with IMAX 3D and regular 3D. If you notice the IMAX 3D screens more likely, you would find the screens to be slightly curved, are typically 52 by 72 feet(16 meters high by 22 meters wide), and are much more improved and advanced than the regular 3D ones.

The 3D has not very advanced or unique screens. They are of standard size and not capable of creating effects that IMAX 3D screens make.

The screen size is also more or less the same as in regular theaters. Unlike the IMAX 3D screens, the regular 3D screens are not at all capable of serving large movie theaters’ needs.

IMAX 3D and 3D have one thing in common. It’s silver coated screens. The screen size and type are different. However, both theaters use the same silver-coated screens to entertain the viewers.

To be honest, the IMAX 3D screens being bigger and more advanced is not even a surprise. It is because IMAX 3D is an upgraded version of IMAX that a regular 3D theater can not even beat.

Therefore, If you are fond of watching movies on the big screen, IMAX 3D is the best option.

IMAX 3D is a completely different, more advanced world. Once you get used to watching movies on the IMAX 3D screens, the regular 3D theater will not impress you anymore.

Picture quality

There is always a noticeable difference in the picture quality of each theater. IMAX3D and 3D are no exception.

The style, size, and projection technology of the IMAX 3D and 3D are different, the picture quality can not be the same.

The IMAX 3D uses curved screens and dual projectors. Therefore, the picture quality of the IMAX 3D is superior. The regular 3D theater’s picture quality is also not that bad, however, as compared to IMAX 3D it is a little inferior.

Sound quality

The second major difference you will notice soon after stepping into the theaters would be sound quality. Just like the screens, the sound quality of the IMAX 3D and the regular 3D theater would be noticeably different.

The sound at the regular 3D theaters is satisfactorily loud and clear. The visitors might have issues with the regular 3D theater’s screen size.

However, none of us have complaints regarding the 3D theater’s sound quality at all. IMAX 3D is much more advanced than regular 3D.

It uses high-tech speakers to deliver the sound to the visitors. Therefore, the sound quality of the IMAX 3D theater is perfect in all senses.

Polarizing Format

The polarizing format is also not the same in the IMAX 3D and regular 3D at all. The appears to be a superior option IMAX 3D uses a linear polarization format. Whereas, 3D uses a circular polarization format in the theater.

The linear polarization format is not that popular. It is because the head titling and any other movement distort the 3D image. To not get to see the distorted image, one has to keep the head aligned the entire time.

Since it’s pretty hard to keep the head aligned the entire time, it is quite common for the viewers to experience distorted images in the IMAX 3D theaters. However, the format of the regular 3D polarization uses is better. It does not distort or affect the 3D image in any way. So, the 3D theater wins in the ground of polarization format.



As you know IMAX 3D is one step ahead in the race, it is quite obvious to understand that IMAX uses more projectors.

As per the IMAX 3D theater management, they use dual projectors to projector exceptionally good images on the big screen. Since the screen in the regular 3D projector is not that big, a single projector with a 3D lens is used to light up the screen. 3D IMAX cameras cost more compared to normal IMAX.


It might already have become pretty obvious which of the two options is more popular. Yes, it’s IMAX 3D. IMAX 3D even though it uses a linear polarization format is still by far the most preferred place to watch movies in.

The 3D theaters remained popular for quite some time. However, since now a lot of better options are available, 3D is left behind in the race.

Overall theater appearance

IMAX 3D is an extension of IMAX theaters. Therefore, it is just as luxurious as the IMAX theaters. The IMAX 3D theaters are spacious whereas, the 3D theaters are not as big and luxurious as the other option.


As you have concluded that IMAX 3D is far superior to the regular 3D theater. It is fairly more expensive than the regular 3D theater. If you are comparing the options to pick the most economical one, I would suggest you go for a 3D theater.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is IMAX 3D better than 3D?

Yes, IMAX 3D is a much better option than regular 3D. The theaters are big and more luxurious than the 3D ones. However, they are expensive.

Is IMAX 3D worth visiting?

Yes, if you have enough money to get a ticket without starving yourself for a movie. IMAX 3D is luxurious and has a better picture and sound quality. Therefore it is truly worth visiting.

Is IMAX 3D leaving 3D behind?

IMAX 3D is not leaving 3D behind, it already has beaten 3D in the race several years ago. IMAX 3D is better than 3D because the picture and audio quality are much better. Moreover, IMAX 3D provides a far more luxurious environment to watch movies in than 3D.

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Cian has 7 years of experience in the musical instruments industry. His press and research articles are published in many well-known journals. Cian is part of our product testing team so he knows the criteria for the best products. Here at sound keen cian covers how to set up instruments and selection criteria for new products.

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