InFocus IN83 vs. JVC DLA-RS10
Two excellent projectors here. I mean that. As you by now know, the JVC DLA-RS10 picked up our Best In Class, Runner-Up award (losing out only to the more expensive top of the line JVC). The InFocus IN83 did the next best thing, picking up one of our Special Interest Awards. These two projectors are in many ways far more different, than similar, but each is extremely impressive in their own right.
March 09 - Art Feierman
InFocus IN83 vs. JVC RS10 Projector Overview
First off, the IN83 uses DLP technology, sporting the Darkchip4 DLP processor. By comparison, the JVC DLA-RS10 uses three LCoS chips (JVC calls their LCoS design D-iLA). The differences between two excellent projectors is not going to be any more obvious, or numerous, than matching the IN83 against the JVC RS10. Even when it comes to picture quality, these two higher priced projectors have distinct advantages and disadvantages in different areas. Glaring differences seem to be everywhere. Consider these differences: The JVC DLA-RS10 has exceptional black levels, the IN83 does not. The JVC has excellent placement flexibility, while the IN83 is extremely limited. The JVC is fairly quiet, the IN83 is louder. On the other hand: The InFocus IN83 is very bright in its brightest mode, the JVC is below average. The IN83 has an extremely sharp image, the JVC is average. The IN83 pretty much has the best, most natural color accuracy I've seen (exceptional skin tones), the JVC is merely very, very good, by comparison. Overall, the IN83 has a small advantage in terms of skin tones and overall color accuracy, while the JVC RS10 has a bigger advantage in terms of achieving blacker blacks.
Three things they really do have in common: Similar brightness in best "movie" mode, price point, and an attractive design with pretty, shiny black finish. Let's get started.
We start off with two attractive projectors. The InFocus may be more contemporary modern looking, but both have to be considered good lookers (for projectors).
Getting past the look, let's start at the front. Both the IN83 and the DLA-RS10 have their recessed zoom lenses mounted to the side. That's about where the similarity ends as far as the lens is concerned. The IN83 offers up limited zoom range with a 1.2:1, while the JVC offers 2:1 zoom, about as good as it gets (only the Epson projectors in this report do better, and even then, they are only 2.1:1). The IN83 lacks lens shift, while the RS10 has plenty. Combine these two aspects, and the IN83 is strictly a ceiling mountable projector (or tabletop), while the RS10 can be ceiling mounted, shelf mounted, or tabletop.
In addition, focus and zoom are manual on the InFocus. Everything - focus, zoom, and lens shift, is motorized on the RS10. (While there are some minor advantages to having those features motorized, they mostly provide convenience). Two good examples, though, of the advantages of everything being motorized are: Focus - it's easier to get the best focus standing a foot from the screen, and working the focus with the remote, than standing on a ladder by the projector. The other is the ability to change the lens shift to drop the image down when working with letterboxed movies. This can be a nice touch, but not something that is significant enough to affect a purchase decision. I should note that the focus and zoom controls are recessed and hiding on the front of the left side, on the IN83 (looking from the front.) As a nice touch, the JVC has a motorized door that closes to protect the lens (and keep dust and cobwebs off of it).
The IN83 lacks a control panel on the unit, instead relying completely on the remote. That doesn't really cost it points, after all, once a projector is installed, who is going to use the control panel. The only warnings would be: Don't lose the remote, and keep a spare set of batteries around. The JVC's control panel is nicely laid out on the top.
That takes us to the connection panels. Even here there are notable differences. The greatest difference is that the JVC lacks an analog computer input. There are work arounds with external devices, or you can feed the RS10 an HDMI signal if your computer has one. The IN83, like every other projector in this report, does have an analog computer input. The RS10 has a 12 volt screen trigger, the InFocus has two (they are thinking motorized screen and masking system).
The two projectors are almost the same when it comes to HDMI inputs. Both have two, although the InFocus has one HDMI connector, and one of their proprietary M1-DA connector, which with an adapter can take an HDMI cable (adapter included, if I recall correctly). So, at least they have something else in common: Both can have to HDMI sources hooked up at the same time. There are other similarities, in that both have a component video input (although the IN83 can use its analog computer input as a second component video input). And like all other projectors in this report, they both have a composite video input, an S-video input, and an RS-232 serial port for command and control.
The InFocus's cable connection area (the inputs/outputs) is deeply recessed on the back, and the projector comes with a cable cover to keep things neat. The JVC RS10 has all of its inputs/outputs on the right side (looking from the front) running from the front, to about halfway back.
Top image: JVC DLA-RS10 cable connection area. Lower image: IN83's connections
In summary: There's no question about the huge advantage the JVC has in terms of placement flexibility, and it does have a control panel. On the flip side, the IN83 has an analog computer input, an extra screen trigger, and its recessed input area, plus cable cover, do allow for a neater setup.
Comparing the Projectors Picture Quality
For all the side-by-side images below, the IN83 is on the left, and the DLA-RS10 is on the right.
In terms of out of the box performance, the win goes to the IN83. I described it as "darn good, but still not as good as it could be". With the JVC DLA-RS10, I said: "definitely looked much better than the equivalent RS20's... but the color temperature was definitely a bit lower than the ideal 6500K."
Still, anyone who watches either of these projectors without properly calibrating it to maximize performance, is not getting their money's worth. To spend a few hundred to calibrate a $1500 projector may seem like too much, but for projectors selling close to $5000, it's a small expense relative to the extra picture quality you get.
In terms of picture quality, these two projectors strengths are very different, as stated at the top of this article. The InFocus IN83 has almost certainly the best skin tones and accurate color, that I've been able to obtain on any projector I've reviewed. After calibration, my own RS20 looked magnificent, I thought it was as good as it gets, until I put the two side by side, and the IN83 still looked more natural on skin tones... But, we are talking about the RS10, not the RS20. The RS10 is no lightweight when it comes to accurate color. (Grayscale balance from very dark gray - 20 IRE - all the way up to white - 100 IRE) was very tight with only a 225K range relative to a 6500K ideal. Still, I have to give the IN83 the advantage.
The first image below is from the Dark Knight. The one below it, form Men In Black (of course). When you click on either to enlarge, the differences look striking, and the IN83 does look better. To provide perspective, though, cover up one projector's image and check out the other projector's image, then cover the second one, and look at the first. Either, by itself looks really good. Side by side subtle differences start looking large.
Black level performance
Where the RS10 beats out the IN83 is in black level performance. Although the RS10 can't match the black levels of the RS20, it's the next best thing. The IN83, by comparison, is merely very good, and that's not that close. The IN83, say three years ago, would have been heralded as having sensational black levels, but that's changed with the advent of JVC's design of their LCoS chips, and the addition of dynamic irises in all kinds of home theater projectors. (Oh, as I have lamented before - if only InFocus had added a dynamic iris to the IN83). Had they done so, who knows how things would have sorted out, in terms of our awards.
Our first image is a black frame between scenes. This is an extremely long time exposure, about 15 seconds worth. I went this long, so that the RS10 is just starting to show very dark gray, instead of black. Doing that, and the IN83 looks downright bright. The second image of a logo at the beginning of The Dark Knight, is more realistic. They are still overexposed, but only slightly. It's a good representation (at least on my computer monitor) of how the two looked in real life. You can see that the IN83 (left) is going a little more gray, while the RS10 is still pretty close to black.
The next two images are the same frame. The first one is slightly overexposed, while the second one is a little more so (to make it easier to spot the differences). Still, on this type of mixed scene, though mostly dark, both projectors look very good. It is on much darker scenes where the RS10 shows its advantage.
Below is the same image, from Space Cowboys (on Blu-ray disc) but more overexposed, to make it easier for you to see the difference in black levels.
In terms of shadow detail look at the left side of the satellite, in that brown area near the bottom (and other very dark areas). You can definitely see further "into" the IN83's satellite. The JVC is just giving up on that last bit of shadow detail.
Next is shadow detail. The RS10 is pretty good, no complaints. The IN83 is better still, truly excellent. We're not talking huge differences here, but this difference does count for something. After you compare shadow detail in the image above, check out the one below from Men In Black. Note the clouds on the right. They are rather visible on the IN83, while almost gone on the RS10. (Please keep in mind that with these really dark images, differences are exaggerated a bit, but the difference is still definitely there.
A few additional images from each projector: First, three side by side images from The Dark Knight, and one from Space Cowboys.
In the scene above you can spot the difference in sharpness between these two projectors.
The next two three images are from the IN83, then the last three are from the RS10.
JVC images start below
Overall Look and Feel of the Picture:
I must admit, that I love the look and feel of the IN83. One most scenes, it is very film-like, and extremely natural looking. At the same time, the IN83 has a bit more "pop and wow" factor. That said, the advantage is slight, on both average and bright scenes. When dark scenes are on the screen, the black level advantage of the JVC (despite the somewhat offsetting better shadow detail of the InFocus), makes dark scenes noticeably better, and more dynamic looking.
Bottom Line in terms of image quality
Despite the IN83's advantage in terms of skin tones, slight edge in color accuracy, and better shadow detail, I have to give the advantage to the JVC RS10, for its bigger advantage in achieving blacker blacks.
In terms of the dynamics of the image, I'll call them tied. The JVC RS10 has a more dynamic look on dark scenes (thanks to the black levels), but the IN83 definitely has more "pop" on typical, and very bright images. For TV, HDTV, and especially sports on HDTV, I definitely have to pick the IN83, but for movies, the JVC gets the nod.
JVC RS10, IN83 Projector Performance
The advantage definitely goes to InFocus. While the IN83 and DLA-RS10 are almost identical in brightness in their "best" modes (within 5%), when you go to "brightest" mode, the JVC barely gets brighter, while the IN83 now becomes 60% brighter than the JVC. The IN83 can tackle significantly more ambient light while maintaining a dynamic looking image! Oh I wish my RS20 (same brightness as the RS10) could match the IN83 in "brightest" mode. I'd just love that for my football games!
What about sharpness:
All 1080p projectors appear very sharp. Some are just sharper than others. The JVC is one of those projectors we classify as average sharpness. By comparison, the IN83 is perhaps the sharpest of the "sharper still" group. Side by side, the difference are very apparent. Still, if you are watching content on the JVC, you aren't going to feel like you are missing sharpness. It's only after you see the IN83, that you understand that there is sharper still, than the RS10. I believe you will agree with me, that the sharpness differences, are more noticeable on digital content rather than film. Thus, you would tend to notice any difference more on your favorite Discovery HD channel or sports broadcast in HD, than on movies.
Neither projector is considered to be quiet. In actuality, the JVC is about average, and the IN83 a little noisier than the JVC. That said, I suspect only those who are particularly noise adverse will have an issue with the IN83, although keep in mind that placement might be a factor - If the IN83 is right over your head, you are going to hear it! On the other hand, the projector is bright! Dropping it into its much quieter low power mode, still leaves you with a pretty bright "best" mode although no longer as bright as the JVC, but in low power mode (again, compared to the JVC at full power), it's still a good 30-40% brighter in "brightest" mode.
InFocus IN83 vs. DLA-RS10 Special Features
Not much to offer up here. Neither projector has significant "special features". Both have manual irises (the InFocus has far more steps, for more precise adjustment, but that's a minor point). Neither offer Creative Frame Interpolation. Both provide internal support for an anamorphic lens.
InFocus IN83 vs JVC RS10 Bottom Line:
I have to go with the JVC DLA-RS10 as the better overall projector. Of course it has the huge advantage in placement flexibility, but if that's not an issue for you, then it's also not a factor. Both produce excellent pictures, but with the IN83 being slightly more natural and accurate in color, while the JVC has truly superior black level performance. The other key factor that will influence many people's decisions is brightness. While the two projectors are almost identical in their "best" modes, the IN83 is much brighter, when comparing "brightest" modes. For some, that's a really important advantage. For movies, I definitely favor the JVC, but for sports viewing, it's no contest, the IN83 wins hands down, with more brightness, and more pop to the image.
For all I complain about the IN83's black levels, they really aren't bad, they would be considered very good compared to many projectors in this report, just not those of the ultra-high-contrast variety, which primarily consists of a number of the 3LCD projectors, the two JVC's, the Planar, and the BenQ W20000.
As I have said in the past, it really is a shame that the IN83 doesn't have a dynamic iris. If it did, the black level performance in dark scenes should improve significantly, and it just might have been the better projector. Who knows, maybe next year we'll get to try again, with an IN84? Meantime, this is what is out there.
One last thought. Pair the IN83 with a good HC Gray surfaced screen, compared to the JVC RS10 on a white surface, and the black level difference becomes definitely less noticeable. I would strongly recommend a high contrast gray screen to partner with the IN83. With the RS10, you could go either way. The blacks are sufficiently dark that the projector doesn't demand the gray screen, but it still further improves the black levels. (Even my RS20 looks better on my Firehawk G3 - which is an HC gray surface).
Tough choice between these two. We've discussed the primary differences, now it's time for you to sort through your requirements and pick the one best for your layout. Either one will provide an excellent viewing experience!