Epson Pro Cinema 4030 Projector – Review

EPSON PRO CINEMA 4030 PROJECTOR REVIEW SUMMARY

The Pro Cinema 4030 projector could be best described as a very good value proposition projector that fits into the Epson line-up as their newest projector.  The 4030 prices below their two UB series projectors, the 5030 and 6030, with a price of only $2499 in the US.  For that price, you get a local dealer, two pair of rechargeable 3D glasses, a spare lamp, and a ceiling mount.  That’s a lot of extra goodies!

The 4030 can’t quite match the performance, either in brightness or black level performance (but it’s close at both) of the 5030UB or 6030UB (but it is very close), nor can it match those projectors in terms of features.

Yet it still has some nicely advanced features, including Super-Resolution, Picture-in-Picture, and of course, a dynamic iris.  (If you need a wireless HDMI solution, there are 3rd party devices, or you could look to the Epson Home Cinema 5030 UBe, which has wireless built in.)

The Pro Cinema 4030 projector is sold only through Epson’s authorized local dealer network (here in the US).  It’s great to see a projector that can sell at local dealer prices (those dealers need higher than internet margins to survive), and still be considered a good value compared to a lot of projectors at their internet prices!

Let's Talk Picture Quality

For a projector that nets out for around $2000 you get quite a bit of picture quality.  Out of the box best mode color is reasonably good, certainly at least better than average for around the price point.  Calibrating the projector is a great idea if you are really into having the best picture.  The PC4030 has really looked great watching movies since calibrated.  From a color accuracy standpoint, post calibration it looks every bit as good as the 6030 that was sitting on the shelf below it.

One of the unique things about most 3LCD projectors around this price or higher, is that they drop in a filter to improve color, only when in “best” modes.  In this case that’s Cinema, B&W Cinema, and Natural.

A side effect of that is that this projector has far more lumens at it’s brightest than it offers calibrated.  That separates it from most of the competition, which are DLP projectors, and who’s brightest modes cannot produce a picture with as good color, that’s as bright.   Color isn’t as perfect in Dynamic or Living Room modes, but with Mike’s recommended backing off of green a good bit, Dynamic mode looks really great, and can tackle less than great rooms, or pretty large screens in more of a theater environment

Fitting in Your Room

With the Pro Cinema 4030, you can put up a very bright image, approaching 1500 lumens, and still output around 1300 looking rather fine for general TV and definitely for HDTV sports, using Mike’s “improved” looking settings for Dynamic mode.

The result is  lots of pop, and wow factor.   The 4030 in a theater is comfortable working with a 1.3 gain screen of 120″ diagonal at movie theater brightness levels.

DLA-RS25_room_full_partopen_small

Blinds not fully closed around the french doors, light leaks around windows, the JVC in this picture maxed out at only 900 lumens

In brighter rooms the brighter modes can provide the extra lumens to handle some ambient light.  This is the kind of projector that would have worked well in my last house, where my room was not ideal.

I watched lots of sports though, in the daytime, and occasional other daytime viewing, but had to wait for evening for some serious, critical, movie viewing when I no longer had light sneaking into the room around the many windows and the French doors in that room.  The shades were all black out, but they didn’t have channels so lots of light still made it into the room from around the edges of the windows and doors.

The brightest projectors I ever got to use in that old room above were barely as bright as the 4030, if even that bright.  They performed just fine in that room.  That said, for those that can afford the extra, all else being equal, consider the 5030 or 6030 UB projectors for their extra brightness.  True, it’s not a lot, but in less than a an ideal room, every little bit helps.

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