Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector - Performance
11/24/11 - Art Feierman
Below, we discuss the Epson Home Cinema 5010 projector's brightness in its best and brightest modes, with images showing relative brightness of the modes. We also look at sharpness, image and audible noise levels.
Epson Home Cinema 5010 Brightness
Mike measured the Home Cinema 5010, "right out of the box", with default settings. This is a pre-production projector - as a matter of course, we are used to pre-production projectors sometimes measuring a good bit less than full production, but the difference is rarely more than 10%. Note that we set the zoom lens at the middle point, so we do not get as many lumens as a manufactuer would, as they all measure at wide angle, which is almost always brighter than mid-point or zooming all the way out.
Our goal is more focused on good looking lumens, thus our "quick-cal" which is just tweaking the brightest mode for better color, without giving up too many lumens.
Home Cinema 5010 Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE:
Dynamic= 1819 @ 7111
Living Room= 1375 @ 7983
Natural= 635 @ 6969, 455 in Eco lamp mode (default)
Cinema= 635 @ 6924, 455 in Eco lamp mode (default)
Post Calibration: Best Mode = Cinema - or Natural?
Mike Calibrated Cinema mode. Post calibration: 630 lumens
Epson later suggested that for a better color gamut we should try Natural preset mode. More on that below. Both modes measure the same out of the box, so I think we can presume that Natural will measure about the same calibrated as Cinema does.
Post Calibration: Brightest Mode = Dynamic 1660 lumens
This isn't a D65 (6500K) calibration, rather an attempt to make the Home Cinema 5010 projector's Dynamic mode a little more balanced in color, than it starts with. Most dynamic type modes, greens and blues tend to be over the top. Our goal is to just make a dynamic mode more natural, but with the paramater of not giving up too much brightness.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
In all the talk above about lumens, remember that how you place your projector has a lot of impact on brightness. This Epson with its wide range zoom, loses brightness the further back you place it from your screen.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
Zoom out: 2051
Zoom in: 1347
Put that projector as close to the screen as you can, and you've got over 2000 lumens to work with, but lose just over 10% by moving back to the mid-range of the zoom, and for those of you putting the projector on a shelf at the far end of the range, you get about 30 percent less.
This is why we do all our measurements except this one, with the projector at mid-zoom. I normally have most projectors set up near their mid-points when I'm watching them. If you are at the short end of the range, you've got a few more lumens - a little extra juice. If you are way back, my declarations of bright enough, are a touch optimistic. Have fun with all that.
Home Cinema 5010 Eco-Mode vs. Full Power
True, dropping to eco-mode will make the lamp last longer - 5000 hours instead of 4000, but that's not a huge percentage. Most likely anyones real motivation is fan noise (discussed below.)
Lumen Output (Eco Lamp, Dynamic): 1235
That's about a 32% drop, and should be consistent, regardless of which modes you use.
Epson Home Cinema 5010 Pre-Calibration Color temp, Cinema Mode:
Color Temp over IRE Range (Pre calibration, best mode - Cinema):
30 IRE – 7040
50 IRE – 7113
80 IRE – 6998
100 IRE – 6924
Now the story gets interesting. As you propbably appreciate, the goal is a 6500K calibration. The Epson comes in a bit cool - not too much, with readings nice and tight, around 7000K.
Since this Epson does not have a THX mode, Mike calibrated the Cinema mode and saved it into one of the 10 user memory spots. That is our "Best" mode.
In a discussion with Epson product folks, about some of our measurments regarding color gamut in Cinema mode, they pointed out that for the best color gamut, we should use Natural mode, which they say closely follows REC709, the HD standard. Well, as I write this, that was less than 48 hours ago. When this is all up, Mike will take a look at Natural, and recalibrate and confirm which is better. I can say, that Natural looks pretty good without any changes, from its default. In fact I used the unaltered (except for brightness and contrast) Natural, for a portion of the photo shoot.
Home Cinema 5010, Post Calibration, Best Mode (REC 709)
Calibrated color temps, 20 – 100 IRE:
User 1 (Based on Cinema)
20 IRE = 6528
30 IRE = 6495
40 IRE = 6481
50 IRE = 6626
60 IRE = 6611
70 IRE = 6547
80 IRE = 6525
90 IRE = 6540
100 IRE = 6513
Average gamma = 2.05
It's rare we get a projector that Mike gets calibrated over the range from 20 to 100 IRE, that is this tight - less than 150 degree range.
If the Natural mode has a better color gamut, and calibrates this tightly, then color should be dead on.
Mike reports a strange dip in the gamma reading around 90 IRE. We're scratching our heads about that. Other than there, the gamma looks just fine. The end result is an average lower than the desired 2.2, but overall it looks just fine, basically like the 2.2 we want. I haven't had the time to play with it, but the Epson gamma controls offer a custom mode, that should be able to compensate for that drop Mike noted. We're curious and discussing this with Epson. It's just one of those minor "no worries".
Below, the same frame taken using different modes, and using the same exposure. This is so you can get a handle on the relative brightness and color aspects of the major modes. Of course, since the exposures are the same, the darker modes like Cinema would look better here, if more properly exposed:
Epson Home Cinema 5010 3D Brightness
Expanding on our comments from the first page, this Epson, by Mike's measurements, is the brightest projector yet, in a 3D mode. We don't have a good measurement system, to determine brightness back to the eye (factoring glasses, etc.) and we have no 3D test disk, but we have a work around. Problem is, glasses, black frames, overlap, affect brightness. Mostly, therefore, my assessments are subjective, but I do get to view projectors side by side, which truly helps. So, here goes:
I watched the Epson Home Cinema 5010 and the Panasonic PT-AE7000 side by side, in 3D (works with either the Panasonic or Epson glasses). I favor the Epson glasses for comfort, but that's me. Note, we currently have brought in about a dozen pair of 3D glasses to see which work on the Epson/Panasonic/others glasses consortium. We'll let you know which are cross compatible.
Finally we're getting some projectors that can, in 3D, give you almost as much brightness as a typical projector in a 2D theater. While the Epson measures a bit higher than the Panasonic, measuring light to the screen (not compensating for glasses, black frames), they pretty much look the same brightness. As I had them set up, I'd say a tie. In both cases, Mike "tweaked" the projectors, sacrificing a few or a few hundred lumens to improve the color of that "brightest" mode. (We're not trying to match "best" mode, that would end up the same, given a good management system.)
The Epson was down to a mere 1660 lumens at that point, but, in fairness produced a bit better color than the Panasonic provided, even with Mike's similar "quick-cal" effort with the PT-AE7000. If you use the default Dynamic mode settings on both, the Epson has a slight edge in brightness.
For most of my use, I prefered to watch using the slightly adjusted 3D Dynamic mode to the 3D Cinema. This was strictly a matter of brightness. And I gladly give up the couple hundred lumens for the improvements Mike came up with.
For my viewing, I kept my screen size at least 98" diagonal (the actual 16:9 diagonal of my 2.35:1 screen). I actually watched movies all the way up to 124" 2.35:1. My take is that the Epson was well brighter on the larger screen, than last year's LCoS projectors could do on an average 100" screen. The measured numbers would support that.
Switch to 3D Cinema, though, and then I'm working with only mid-six hundreds lumens to start, rather than. 1600+.
If you're running a small screen, say 92" or less. then you can have the brightness to take advantage of 3D Cinema's better color. That is just what I kept saying with all the LCoS projectors with 3D. Enough brightness to do a decent job in a normal, but under 100" diagonal screen.
3D Dynamic works out just fine for my 3D viewing. Interestingly the Epson, even in 3D Cinema is still brighter than the maximum lumens we got out of JVC's RS60 last year.
None of our friends checking out the latest 3D and trying out the glasses, preferred the 3D Cinema mode - as expected, They all favored the more than twice as bright 3D Dynamic. That's just like Best Buy, where the brightest LCDTVs on display have a tendency to sell a lot better.
Enough: The bottom line, is so far, this is as bright as it gets around here, and enough to let you watch 3D movies and other 3D content, at about the same brightness as is normal for 2D movies, on screens larger than 100". Oh the color won't be as good, but if you are like me, you'll be blown away with the 3D, regardless.
Epson Home Cinema 5010 Sharpness
No changes - same lens, as previous years. Optics are not a problem. No sign of going out of focus after warm up. Pretty good center to edge sharpness with just a touch of softness at the edges if you focus on the center. It's usually best to focus your projector 25% to 1/3 out from the center.
Interestingly this Epson has a digital alignment system, to compensate for any normal mis-convergence. I reallly haven't played with this yet, but I will, and will update. The manual, strangely says nothing (or I missed it). The Epson also has traditional digial pixel shift, common on some more expensive LCoS projectors, and first time for Epson. That worked fine, one of the colors was off more than half a pixel and that improved the image oh, so slightly, as expected. I shall investigate this system further, and append this review.
I'm wondering what type of system they are using with this "alignment" as it seems to blur things slightly. It may well be like the JVC projectors, claiming 4K resolution. Ultimately, you just can't make true 4K without 4K of pixels, and those JVC's don't. Shifting softens the pixels, but blurs it slightly as well. BTW, I don't buy into that whole 4K claim. It might allow you to feed it a 4K still photo, but ultimately, they are pixel shifting, and that isn't the same as having real 4K - not at all. In fact, think of the 4K claim, as being more like, from a practical standpoint, claiming a 720p projector is 1080p, simply because it can take the 1080p and convert it down to 720p. It's not exactly the same thing, but hopefully you get the idea. (At CEDIA, when demonstrating it on standard content, switching to 4k softened pixel visibility, and also softened the whole image. When I go "up" in resolution, I expect sharper, not softer.) But I digress, back to the Epson projector!
Top left: Epson Home Cinema 5010 , Top Center - Optoma HD8300, Top right - Runco LS-5.
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AE7000, center: Optoma HD33 (lower cost single chip DLP), Right: JVC DLA-HD250 (LCoS)
Epson Home Cinema 5010: Bottom Line Sharpness
Nicely sharp. As usual, there are sharper projectors. A well designed single chip DLP projector has the advantage. With any three panel device, convergence is at least a small issue. As a result, with rare exception LCD, LCoS and three chip DLP projectors are sharp, but the well done single chip DLP projectors are "sharper still." After saying all that, it translates to, movies look really sharp. Their own artifacts, including film grain, are far more noticeable. On clean digital 1080p content (satellite and cable are signifcantly compressed), those single chip projectors will seem a touch sharper, and show more depth.
Of course, you want real depth, switch the Home Cinema 5010 into 3D mode and apply some stunning content. (Did I mention Hubble 3D?)
Excellent. I don't think this Epson leaks any visible light out its front vents. Any stray light from the optical path, through the lens seems to be well below visibility (I'm not talking about blooming which all lenses do.)
I'm still trying to define 3D type noises, artifacts etc. Meantime 2D looks just fine. I'm so rushed I haven't even checked to see if Epson's still using Silicon Optix processing. I believe it was their Reon-VX in last year's Epson. (I use a Silicon Optix test disc for image processing, and their own processing does very well, as you might expect.)
The Home Cinema 5010 projectors are on the noisy side when it comes to full power. Epson claims 32 db, not a number to be particularly proud about, but, it doesn't seem to be that much of an issue, as the pitch is farily low, no whining. There is also some low rumbly, and clackity dynamic iris noise, but I consider it fine for all but the most noise adverse.
The overall noise level is pretty much just below most of the DLP projectors, and noisier than most other LCD based projectors. I sit in my captain's chair about 3 feet from ear to projector, not a problem for me, but I know a few folks really don't like any audible noise. (The Epson's quieter than my PS3's fan.)
In low power the Epson claims 22db, and truly is very quiet - and for everything but 3D, is still very bright.