Cinetron HD700 Projector Review

DLA-HD700 Projector - Special Features

The HD700 for all its size and weight, is not a projector with a ton of features to discuss. Unlike a good percentage of projectors selling in the $2000 – $3000 range, it does not have a lot of options, for example, there’s no CFI (creative frame interpolation), nor a number of other things like dynamic contrast. On the other hand, it’s got some pretty complete sets of controls for color, gamma, and other items.

Color Management System (CMS)

The Cinetron HD700 does provide a full CMS system for managing and tweaking color. In addition to the usual red green and blue adjustments for balancing color temp, the color management system allows adjustment of hue and saturation for each of the primary and secondary colors.

There is also an extensive set of controls for gamma, for customizing, in addition to the 4 pre-set gammas provided. You can save 3 different custom gammas. On that note, I’ll cover a touch more about gamma settings here. Normally, I mention on the Image Quality page, but this time there’s more necessary commentary:

First, I try to avoid getting tecnhical on the first page. For those of you out there, new to projectors, and terms like IRE, you need to know what IRE is. The short version, for our purposes, is IRE is a measure of grayscale brightness. 100 IRE is white. 50 IRE would be medium gray. 0 IRE (which today’s fixed panel projectors can only achieve when powered off) is black. 20 IRE would be a very dark gray, and 80 IRE a light gray, etc. OK. When it comes to gamma, 2.2 is the desired result, especially for movies, but I, and probably most people, prefer a lower gamma 1.8 – 2.1 for things like sports viewing and a lot of that gorgeous HD content out there on science, travel and other such HD channels.

 

With four pre-set gamma settings Gamma 1 – 4, all turn out to measure too low, which means all settings are overly bright in the mid IRE (brightness) ranges. The theoretical ideal is 2.2 whereas the preset gammas varied from Gamma 1 at 1.65, to Gamma 4 at 1.95. Even 1.95 is a significant difference from 2.2. With a gamma around 1.9 or 2.0, moderately dark and very dark areas aren’t quite as dark as they should be. Thanks to the ability to customize the gamma, Mike’s work resulted in User 1 gamma of 2.23. While that sounds great, I actually did not like it. The average of 2.23 might sound great, but the gamma wasn’t very linear through the range. As a result, often, skin tones appeard too contrasty. This may in part be due to the large dip in gamma Mike reported around 90 IRE. I’ve still been screwing around (by eyeball) with the user gamma controls, however, ideal is somewhere between Mike’s settings (in this case) and Gamma 4. I’ve come up with a very nice compromise, but am still tweaking. Otherwise, I definitely prefer Gamma 4 at this point, over Mike’s settings. BTW, Gamma 4 works great for sports, as far as I personally, am concerned.

Manual Iris

Although the Cinetron HD700 lacks a dynamic iris (too bad!), it does have a manual iris, which can be used to limit brightness. Along with reducing the iris opening (you’ll find the controls in increments of 10%: 100% – 90% – 80%…) which will reduce brightness, you will also get a slight (slight is the operative term) increase in contrast, with the iris closed down a good deal. For perspective, to get the Cinetron HD700 brightness comparable to the Epson 9500UB, for our comparison pictures, I had to put the Cinetron iris to 60% to get the two projectors as close as possible in brightness. (That should serve as a quick reminder about how bright the HD700 is, in its “best” mode!)

Cinetron HD700 Anamorphic Lens Support

The HD700 does support 3rd party anamorphic lenses and sleds. (And it has two 12 volt screen triggers).

That about covers the special features. Let’s move on, to take a tour of the projector!

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