Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector - Performance
10/4/2010 - Art Feierman
In this section we consider the brightness, sharpness, and image noise of the Epson Home Cinema 8350 home theater projector. Also considered are the physical attributes of light leakage and audible noise.
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Brightness
Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (Lamp on Normal):
Dynamic= 1378 @ 6810
Living Room= 1010 @ 8717
Natural= 459 @ 6233
Cinema= 463 @ 6517
x.v.Color= 447 @ 6045
Uncalibrated, Cinema mode measured 463 lumens, (with zoom lens at mid-point). That's not appreciably different than last year's Home Cinema 8100. Considering the Home Cinema 8350 is rated 200 lumens brighter, I had expected it to be closer to 500 lumens.
In brightest mode - Dynamic, the 1378 lumens measured is 90 lumens more than last years model
Low lamp will drop the brightness of the projector by approximately 23%. Dropping lamp into Eco mode reduced Dynamic mode to 1057 lumens. Expect a similar percentage drop regardless of Mode.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
Zoom out: 1640
Zoom in: 987
The impact of the numbers above show that there is significant impact to where you mount, in terms of distance from your screen. If you are going large screen, a closer mount will give you more lumens, but there are other trade-offs. Also figure most lenses aren't at their best at their absolute extremes.
Color Temp over IRE Range (Pre calibration):
30 IRE – 6495K
50 IRE – 6539K
80 IRE – 6492K
100 IRE – 6517K
That's a great set of numbers - for before calibration! The target is 6500K.
Post calibration, the projector clocked in with an extra 4 lumens; 467 total in best mode.
Our "quick-calibration" of Dynamic mode - which is designed to improve color as much as possible without sacrificing a lot of lumens, yielded a brighter than average 1240 lumens. That said for sports viewing, even unaltered dynamic mode had better color than last year's 8100.
Very few home theater projectors under $10,000 produce more than 1500 lumens in their brightest mode (the way we measure - with zoom lens at mid-point), so that makes this Epson brighter, or much brighter than most. That said, although a much different projector in features, perhaps this Epson's toughest competition is the also very bright Mitsubishi HC4000.
Cinema mode (calibrated):
Calibrated color temps, 20 – 100 IRE: (saved into User Memory 1)
20 IRE = 6561
30 IRE = 6521
40 IRE = 6484
50 IRE = 6564
60 IRE = 6520
70 IRE = 6509
80 IRE = 6511
90 IRE = 6521
100 IRE = 6519
Average gamma = 2.12
NOTE: While average gamma is low, it’s consistently around 2.2 in the lower IRE ranges, which is where it needs to be. Only at 80 and 90 IRE does in drop below 2.0.That's really impressive for before a calibration, and for that matter pretty good for after a calibration, too!
The Calibration page will provide the settings we used. That includes basic settings as well as gain and offset. We will revise, with numbers from a production projector if there are color table changes, between this unit and full production ones. I don't expect that to be the case, though.
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Sharpness
The Home Cinema 8350 projector seems to be typical of the Epson projectors, and 3 panel projectors in general. That is to say, not quite as sharp as a single chip DLP projector. That said, the 8350 may well be a bit sharper than the older 8100. This particular review unit doesn't have particularly exceptional pixel alignment, yet seems crisper than older Epsons. Epson did claim to further improve the optical path (they all seem to claim to do that, from generation to generation). All I know is I'm watching a Beyonce Music Video on Paladia as I'm writing this, and the Epson looks nicely sharp. In fact, I put up the menus just now to see how sharp they look and I think they confirm my sense that this projector is a touch sharper than last year's both the 8100 and the 9500UB I reviewed.
For your consideration, our usual close up images:
Top left: Home Cinema 8350, Top Left Center - LG CF181D, Top Right Center - JVC RS25, Top right - Mitsubishi HC7000
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AE4000, left center: Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, right center: Mitsubishi HC4000, right: BenQ W6000.
Please note, we are still switching over to using the Playstation video logo as our sharpness example, instead of the old dts-hd logo. The original sample test disc from dts died, and they can't find me another.
Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right: Home Cinema 8350, Optoma HD20, Mitsubishi HC4000, and Sharp XV-Z15000.
Epson Home Cinema 8350: Bottom Line Sharpness
I see an improvement here. I cannot tell if Epson has really made the Home Cinema 8350 sharper than last year's models, by virtue of a slightly improved optical engine, or just luck of the draw, but if they all look this sharp, that is an improvement.
There is minimal leakage from this Epson design. That was true of the older 8100 and 6100 models. There is light in the vents but minimal unless you are looking directly into it. Leakage through the lens is minimal. When it comes to light leakage, this Epson is a good design.
Pretty standard stuff. The noise filter menu setting defaults to 1. I never noticed any artifacts worthy of comment. I'm not sure if Epson is using Silicon Optix for their image processing, but they have been in the past, and they do a pretty good job. But then, I do use a Silicon Optix test disc when testing.
Epson claims 22 db in eco mode and 28 at full power. 28 is pretty good for full power, quieter than any of the DLP projectors, even at several times the price. The iris noise is minimal by my reckoning. The 8350 has been sitting 3 feet behind me and 18 inches below me, for most of a week. all my viewing has been with the lamp on full power. Never noticed the noise, but then, I know some folks are far more sensitive to background noise. In low power mode (eco mode), the 22 db isn't the quietest projector out there, but is close to silent, for all practical purposes.