Epson Home Cinema 3010 Projector - Performance
10/18/2011 - Art Feierman
In this section, we consider the brightness (including full measurements), sharpness, and image noise of Epson's new, and least expensive 3D capable projector, the Home Cinema 3010. Also covered on this page, are the physical attributes of light leakage and audible noise of the Home Cinema 3010.
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Brightness
Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE:
Dynamic= 1925 @ 6852
Living Room= 1602 @ 7633
Natural= 1402 @ 6155, 923 @ 6912 in Eco lamp mode (default)
Cinema= 1402 @ 6166, 923 @ 6849 in Eco lamp mode (default)
Auto= 923 @ 6704
Those numbers are all "right out of the box", without any adjustments, to settings like contrast, which can affect overall brightness.
Post Calibration: User 1 "best" mode = 1424 lumens
A true light canon, this Epson gets started when other projectors are already out of lumens. This means you have enough power to maintain a respectable image even with modest ambient light when watching a movie. Oh a really dark scene will take a big hit, but most viewing will be just fine.
Post Calibration - User 2 set as "brightest" mode: 1758 lumens (about 10% below uncalibrated dynamic mode). Our "quick-cal" is nothing more than Mike adjusting the colors for improvement, without costing too much in brightness. That is, for example, can oversaturated greens being reduced, to improve the picture, without doing the type of full calibration that would essentially give the same results as our User 1 calibration.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
The slight differences will be consistent
Zoom out: 1972
Zoom in: 1864
Realizing that a 1.5:1 zoom lens should lose less lumens going from wide angle to telephoto, than the 2.1:1 lens on some other Epson projectors, I was still impressed by the minimal drop in brightness across its range. The Home Cinema 3010 measured only about 7% lower at maximum distance, compared to the closest placement.
Home Cinema 3010 Eco-Mode vs. Full Power
Measuring Dynamic mode (all modes will behave the same), brightness dropped 35% (a bit more than most), to 1235 lumens, from 1925 lumens.
Uncalibrated Cinema 1 mode (our basis for "best") still manages 923 lumens (we didn't calibrate Eco-mode, which we noted already looked very good)! There is still plenty of brightness for movie viewing on even extremely large screens (over 130" diagonal) or significant ambient light on a smaller screen. This lower 923 lumen number may also make some folks happy who don't like their movies too bright.
Note, you do get a claimed increase in lamp life, from 4000 hours, to 5000 hours, when using Eco-mode.
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Pre-Calibration Color temp, Cinema Mode:
Cinema Cinema (in Eco lamp)
30 IRE – 5873 6741
50 IRE – 6036 6836
80 IRE – 6128 6815
100 IRE – 6166 6849
Overall, with lamp at full power, the Home Cinema 3010, in Cinema, is warm - too much red. This corrects very nicely with calibration. Note, however, if you lower the lamp to low power - ECO mode, The color temp jumps dramatically and produces better color to begin with
It's unlikely you'll need Cinema mode (or the calibrated version, dropped into User 1) on high lamp, in most cases, for movies. Eco-mode should be more than bright enough for movie viewing. Therefore, if you aren't going to calibrate your projector we strongly recommend Eco-mode for your quality movie viewing, for the slightly better color, and still be extremely bright.
Mike calibrated the User mode, and came up with the results below.
Home Cinema 3010, Post Calibration, Best Mode (User 1)
Calibrated color temps, 20 – 100 IRE:
20 IRE = 6506
30 IRE = 6421
40 IRE = 6436
50 IRE = 6508
60 IRE = 6536
70 IRE = 6570
80 IRE = 6551
90 IRE = 6578
100 IRE = 6271
Average gamma = 2.27
That's a very tight range, but with a slight dip at white (100 IRE), that will add an almost insignificant shift to red, just a touch of extra warmth.
Mike adds this note: Using a gamma setting less than 2.4 results in gamma being too low for most viewing. There is a CMS, but it’s not really necessary as the CIE chart shows very good color balance.
Below, the same frame taken with the same exposure so you can get a handle on the relative brightness and color aspects of most of the major modes. Of course, since the exposures are the same, the darker modes like Cinema ("best") would look better properly exposed:
Dynamic (brightest, but check out Living Room):
Living Room (not quite as bright, but definitely much better color):
Epson Home Cinema 3010 3D Brightness
We've mentioned the Optoma HD33, as the other, similarly priced 2D/3D home projector. It too is a bright projector, but no match for the Epson Home Cinema 3010. The image below shows the Optoma on the left, Epson on the right. It's a huge difference in brightness. Of course, glasses and processing, also affects 3D brightness, but there is no contest at all. The Epson is dramatically brighter in 3D.
The two projectors are closer in brightness in their best 3D modes (a 3D image from Ultimate Wave 3D Tahiti). Again, the Epson is on the right.:
By comparison, 2D brightness is closer: Here are the two projectors again, this time in "best" 2D (the overexposure of the Epson is washing it out a bit):
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Sharpness
The Home Cinema 3010 performs very well for a lower cost home projector. Optics seem better than on many less expensive projectors, and convergence of the panels seems to be typical for an Epson 3LCD projector, regardless of the price. In addition to our playstation logo image below, I've left some menus on a number of images we took, and those menus also help get a close look at sharpness, when you click for the larger version.
I don't believe anyone will have any issues regarding the sharpness. I also note, that I didn't notice any defocusing as the projector warms up.
Top left: Epson Home Cinema 3010, Top Center - Optoma HD33, Top Right - Mitsubishi HC4000.
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AE4000, center: Viewsonic Pro8200, Right: BenQ W1200
Epson Home Cinema 3010: Bottom Line Sharpness
The Home Cinema 3010 sure looks good to me. The new, less expensive lens, with less zoom range, seems every bit as sharp as the lens used on the more expensive Epsons. A good single chip DLP projector can do better, but down in these price ranges, you don't always get the best from DLP projectors. Consider the Optoma HD33 - the most direct competition to date - whose optics seem to bloom a bit, compared to the Epson. The HD33 may be a single chip DLP projector, but the Epson overall appears to the the sharper, clearer picture, even with the usual minor misconvergence of pixels.
Small amounts of light are visible in the front vents. However, the projector throws no significant light out those vents. Not an issue. No ambient light outside the projected area coming through the lens (sometimes a minor issue).
Take your pick. 2D, as with almost all projectors is rather clean. Let's put it this way, any image noise you are likely to see, is less than the noise of compression when watching HDTV content. Standard background noises are not as noticeable as with a typical DLP projector (which is the most direct conpetition). 3D is really good. It seems cleaner than several higher priced projectors. Consider, though this is an entry level 3D capable projector, and in that sense, 3D related noise, be it crosstalk, etc. should be treated as a non-issue, considering it rivals easily first gen 3D projectors (most still shipping) costing 5x more.
Definitely this Epson family room projector can make a bit of fan noise with lamp on full power, but really no more than the competiton. Cut it to low power, and the Home Cinema 3010 becomes relatively silent, with a claimed 24 db, far quieter than most dedicated home theater projectors at full power, and as quite as many of them even in eco mode.
When the Epson is cranking out lumens in full power, Epson says 32 db audible noise, which is fairly typical of competing (mostly) DLP projectors, and a touch noisier than Epson's own 8350 and 8700UB models. Considering that you will probably be watching movies in low power (other than 3D), no issues there, and even if you run at full power, it's in line with competing Optoma brand and other DLP projectors. For example, the most direct competition, the Optoma HD33, is similarly noisy when both are at full power, but the Epson is brighter at low power, than the Optoma at full power!
I currently have two Home Cinema 3010 projectors here, the first an engineering sample I received a few weeks ago, the second one, a far more finished projector. That first unit raised some concern. It had a dynamic iris that as physically rather noisy when operating, "clickity, clackity" at times. I immediately noted that to Epson, that it seemed loud enough to be a problem for many folks.
Even at that time, they assured me that they were aware, and that the production projectors would be far quieter in this regard. As it turned out, they were dead on. The iris on the second unit still clicks and clacks, but not near as often, and far, far softer. I definitely don't think the iris, behaving as the production units should, is even any noisier than the rumbly iris of the Epson 8700UB and the UB's before it.
The soft occasional "clickity" you might hear from a few feet away with the sound off, is certainly going to get lost with the slightest audio, be it talking or music, never mind "action" sequences. I'm sure there will still be a few who are bothered by it, as there are for almost every projector, but, certainly, for a family room type projector, Epson has reduced it to a non-issue.
In other words, this Epson is definitely about as quiet as anything else out there targeted for family rooms, etc., and is actually about as quiet as the average (not the most expensive) DLP projectors designed for dedicated home theaters. This Epson is going to be slightly noisier than the average LCD projector targeted for dedicated rooms..
Bottom line: Lots of lumens, but very respectable noise levels. Normally very high brightness projectors have hotter lamps, and need bigger/louder fans. All considered, a real good job.