Epson Home Cinema 3020 Home Theater Projector Review

We discuss the Epson Home Cinema 3020 projector’s brightness in various modes of 2D, and provide our subjective assessment of its 3D brightness. You will find images showing the differences in brightness (and color) between the 2D modes. Further down we get into the Home Cinema 3020′s sharpness, image noise, audible noise, etc.

Epson Home Cinema 3020 Brightness

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE
Dynamic 1950 @ 6811
Living Room 1496 @ 7948
Natural 1386 @ 6715, 908 @ 7413 in Eco lamp mode (default)
Cinema 1386 @ 6692, 908 @ 7415 in Eco lamp mode (default)
Auto 908 @ 7370 (dark room)

The Epson is a veritable light canon of a projector in its price range.  The only home projector we’ve reviewed in the last year that sells for under $2000, that can best this Epson at its brightest, is the Panasonic PT-AR100U.  That Panasonic is slightly brighter, but is 2D only.

The HC3020 and HC3020e are about as good as it gets for working in “normal” rooms lacking the almost total light control one expects to have in a dedicated home theater.  As a result, it has to be about the top choice for the price, if you want both 2D and 3D capabilities.

3D brightness is discussed in more depth, a bit further down.

Those numbers are all “right out of the box”, without any adjustments, to settings like contrast, which can affect overall brightness.

Epson HC3020 Calibrated: User "best" mode, based on Cinema mode = 1362 lumens

Until 3D projectors hit the market, I don’t think we had seen more than one home theater projector (over many years of measuring), that could output anything near 1362 lumens once calibrated.  With the extra demand for brightness needed for 3D, this changed things tremendously. The benefit to all of you:  Here’s a projector that can put up its best picture – calibrated, and do a better job in a less than ideal setup, than most projectors could do in their brightest modes, with their poorest color.  Uncalibrated, it’s about twice as bright as the average non-3D projector under $10,000, when all are in their brightest modes.

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode)

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode)
Zoom out 2031
Mid-zoom 1950
Zoom in 1851

Home Cinema 3020 Eco-Mode vs. Full Power

Home Cinema 3020 Eco-Mode vs. Full Power
Full Power 1950 lumens
Low (eco) Power 1263 lumens

That’s a drop of almost exactly 35%.  Mike measured Dynamic mode for the comparison, but  yu should expect all the preset modes to drop the same 35%.

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