Epson Pro Cinema 4030 Projector – Review
PRO CINEMA 4030 PERFORMANCE 3
Epson PC4030 Projector - Sharpness
While inherently no 3LCD projector (or LCoS one) can have perfect alignment of it’s panels for ideal sharpness (assuming comparable optics, design, etc.), giving single chip DLP projectors an advantage in inherent sharpness, this Pro Cinema 4030 does very well. The 3 panels came reasonably well aligned, but hardly exceptional. Red in particular was mostly over a 1/2 pixel shifted right of Blue and Green, and slightly below vertically. I did use the Panel Alignment feature, which helps but it’s doing things digitally, not optically. No separation of colors was visible at normal seating distances, except barely perceptibly watching white credits on black from 8 feet from a 100″ screen.
Better still, for some images I used the Epson’s Super-Resolution feature at settings 2 or 3 to provide “detail enhancement”, which also added to the sense of clarity. 3 makes a noticeable difference, and 4 a lot more, but while 4 may be fine for some scenes, it can be noticeably over the top, on others. Check out these first batch of images to get a feel. And remember, you aren’t viewing 1080p resolution. The images themselves are only 1000 pixels wide, and even that is being compromised by camera, your display, software…the “engineer” in many of you, understand the finer points.
For the best idea to get a sense are the comparative images below where we have a full screen image, and then, look at a very small portion of the image at the same 1000 pixels wide!
The first two images here, are from the same frame (Spiderman). The second one is heavily cropped to give you a great idea of the detail the Pro Cinema 4030 is capable of. . The close up is our best way of showing the real resolution best we can do to all the other losses, injected by camera, monitor, image compression (which is very significant) etc.
Our second pair of images are from The Hobbit (2D version of course). Again, the first image of Rivendell is almost full frame, while the second one is cropped to show a very small part of the whole. There’s lots of contrast here between light and dark areas. Again, very nicely sharp, until you get down to the smallest details. Keep in mind, though we’re still not able to provide the 1:1 pixel mapping that would show true sharpness.
Bottom Line Sharpness
Of course, film based movies have their own softness and graininess, so it’s harder to spot differences in sharpness with those movies. That said, the Pro Cinema 4030 projector still won’t be quite as sharp as a higher priced DLP projector, but definitely “close enough,” as it does a great job for a 3 panel device. If you like your movie image to seem really sharp, try super-resolution settings 1 or 2.
On HDTV, where most content is all digital, differences are a bit easier to spot. The same remains true though, the Epson, even with it’s panel alignment, can’t match a single “chip” or “panel” device.
However, Epson’s Super-Resolution feature, although it’s digitally giving you the impression of more sharpness and detail, rather than being native, easily makes the Pro Cinema 4030 seem sharper than it “should” be. Sports viewing is really crisp looking when you crank up Super-Resolution to 3. Higher settings do more, but shows more artifacts.
I don’t think anyone’s going to complain about sharpness when viewing this 4030 projector.
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