Epson Pro Cinema 6010 Home Theater Projector Mini Review
This mini review of the Pro Cinema 6010, therefore, will focus primarily on the differences, with the goal of helping you decide if this Pro Cinema 6010 makes more sense for you, than the 5010. Click for the full Home Cinema 5010 review.
2/14/2012 - Art Feierman
Epson Pro Cinema 6010 Special Features
Here lies one real performance difference between the Pro Cinema 6010, and the lower cost Home Cinema 5010!
Epson provides two THX modes for the Pro Cinema 6010. The first is your basic 2D THX mode. It looks great. It's more accurate than the already very good Natural mode of the 5010, which is technically the "best mode" of the 5010. I suspect that most folks purchasing a Pro Cinema 6010 will not feel the need to have it calibrated, thanks to the THX mode. (Note: Due to things like lamp variation, you will still be able to further improve the 6010 by calibrating it, but the improvement is likely to be very slight)!
But the real home run is the Epson Pro Cinema 6010 projector's 3D-THX mode!
Wow! The 3D THX mode, actually looks better than 3D-Cinema mode, yet it's also brighter. When I'm watching the Home Cinema 5010, I almost alway use 3D-Dynamic, because for my room, screen, and tastes, 3D-Cinema just isn't bright enough. With the Pro Cinema 6010, I found that the 3D-THX mode had enough brightness to satisfy me, when I really wanted "best" color. That is to say, I mostly still use 3D-Dynamic, for much of the 3D, but definitely would prefer 3D-THX for content like Hugo, or even Legends of Flight, or Ultimate Wave, or any other content when I'd prefer skin tones to be at their best, and color, overall, to be pretty accurate, but when I can live with a little (not a lot) less brightness.
Consider the 3D-THX mode to be, perhaps the single most important difference between the Pro and Home models, although the standard THX mode might just save you a few hundred dollars in terms of a calibration, so that's not exactly insignificant either.
Anamorphic Lens Support
If you must have a 2.35:1 or 2.40:1 Cinemascope shaped ("widescreen") screen, the Pro Cinema 6010 supports using an anamorphic lens, with or without a motorized lens sled. This is another difference from the Home Cinema 5010 which lacks the anamorphic lens support!
Split Screen viewing
Like the 5010, the Pro Cinema 6010 offers picture-in-picture, or more accurately: Split Screen viewing. That is a very nice feature which I’ve actually used from time to time. Since the Pro Cinema 6010 offers the same Split Screen viewing as the Home Cinema 3010 and 5010 projectors. I've dropped in and updated a previous description from one of our earlier reviews:
"The projector lets you select two different sources and put them up side by side, either with both images the same size, or the one you designate, to be larger than the other (about 2:1).
Here's the catch (a standard one). You can't feed it two different HDMI sources, because there is, as is typical, only 1 HDMI circuit in the projector (shared by the two inputs). That means you will need a second source, and if you want that second source to be another hi-res source, you are looking at either component video or traditional analog computer. I'm just pointing all this out to you. It's no sweat if you aren't mounting the projector and have a temporary setup. It's always easy to run another wire as long as they are outside of walls. If you are wiring, though, and not sure, add a component video, analog computer, or a pair of USB cables (the analog computer also carries component, so the most flexible).
I did it. Had to rummage through my storage room, found a component video cable and fed component from my satellite box, and HDMI from my PS3, and put them up side by side. I am ready for Fantasy football - with the game on one side, and my online tracking of my players on the other. Why not!
Pro Cinema 6010 Dynamic Iris
A dynamic iris is the key on most projectors to improving overall black levels on darker scenes, and the resulting improvement in the viewing experience. This discussed in depth in the Special Features section of the Home Cinema 5010 review.
Image above from Quantum of Solace
Pro Cinema 6010 Projector 3D
Let’s talk 3D. The biggest problem with most new 3D capable projectors is simply that almost all could use a bunch more lumens to be really bright enough when in 3D mode. The Epson 6010 (like the 5010), in this case, is the brightest 3D capable projector we’ve measured so far. One or two others are very close to it. Actually only the Panasonic PTAE7000 so far appears as bright in 3D (though isn't in 2D). Of course some extensive three-chip projectors selling for five or ten times the price will be brighter still, but we won’t stress over that.
3D quality overall on the Pro Cinema 6010 Home Theater Projector is rather impressive. It was cleaner than most that we’ve seen, although there is still definitely still some cross talk. Fortunately Epson provides three brightness settings for controlling the glasses. I found that in the brightest setting, there is definitely a bit of visible cross talk. Not enough to bother everybody but I definitely prefer less crosstalk than that. I found the medium setting works fine for just about everything I watched.
Bottom line on 3D: The Epson is Dazzling. I can kvetch (complain) all I want about the dynamic iris not being active, but the overall 3D is bright and stunning. The blacks could be blacker, but are black enough. The rest is killer.
My friends come over and are truly taken aback. (in fairness, that has also been the case with the Panasonic). I plant everyone about 4-5 feet from the screen and show them Hubble 3D, or Flight, or Tahiti, or maybe even football or boxing in 3D (amazing, truly amazing), or perhaps, a movie.
What a projector filling a large screen brings to the party is so euphoric, that the government should ban 3D on anything smaller than 90 inches! (and that from a guy with libertarian tendences).
Pro Cinema 6010 Creative Frame Interpolation - CFI - smooth motion
Once again, the 6010 shares another feature with the 5010 projectors, read more in the Home Cinema 5010 review.
From the Pro Cinema 6010 remote control, you can control other devices, such as many Blu-ray players that support HDMI-Link. Note, you'll find a full set of DVD type controls on the Epson remote, which we discuss on next page.
Pro Cinema 6010 Lamp Life
This Epson offers a claimed 4,000 hours at full power on its lamp and 5,000 running in eco mode. Folks that’s about as good as it gets! Oh, remember, that's going to be the average life per the manufacturer. That means probably half of you will find your lamp doesn't last that long, and the rest - will find their lamp still going after that mark.
A comment about lamp life: Lamps are very inconsistent. There is some color output variation from lamp to lamp, and lamp life varies as well. Even with a claim of 4000 hours, a projector manufacturer is going to have some users having lamps fail at 500 hours, or 1000, or 2000, or 3500, or even 6000 hours. The thing is, Epson tends to be a bit "over the top" compared to others, when it comes to support, so definitely, should you lamp fail, at say 1500 hours, I'd say call Epson's Private Line support (the number comes with the projector), and let them know. They just might pleasantly suprise you, where other manufacturers normally won't!
Epson's Fujinon 2.1:1 zoom lens
Epson's been using this lens since the original Home Cinema 1080 more than 5 years ago. It's got a touch more zoom range than anything close (such as the competing Panasonic). The optics do look pretty good. The lens allows a really sharp look at your pixels if you stand next to the screen. This is a 3 chip LCD projector, which means there's never perfect conversion. With the Epson Home Cinema 5010, no issues on the optics, and more placement flexibility than other lenses, very few of which offer more than 1.6:1.
Just remember, if you are going to place the projector at the maximum distance from your screen, as with all projectors with zoom lenses, the optics are at their least bright, and brightest, when the projector is at its closest.
Epson Pro Cinema 6010 Conclusion
Okay folks, that pretty much wraps things up! For all the finer details, info on menus, and the remote, full measurements and settings, plus a chance to look at lots of additional images, check out the Epson Home Cinema 5010 complete review. This Pro Cinema 6010 review only covers the slight differences between the two models. The last of which, I almost forgot to mention. Epson’s Pro Cinema 6010 comes finished in black whereas the Home products are done in white, and (as I did mention) it comes with a cable cover.
Epson Pro Cinema 6010 Bottom Line
Although the Pro Cinema 6010 officially is about $1300 more than the Home Cinema 5010, there's definite value there for the extra expense. The two THX modes are a major plus! The spare lamp, two pair of 3D glasses, ceiling mount, and cable cover are arguably worth, perhaps as much as $700 of that difference, and the 3rd year warranty with replacement program; priceless (almost). Finally, the Pro Cinema 6010, thanks to its black finish, is the "better looking" fit for a dedicated cave/home theater.
Remember, the Pro Cinema 6010 is only sold by local "installing" type CEDIA dealers. That is to say, in addition to Epson's well regarded support, you'll have the advantage of a local dealer who should be giving you far more attention than one would expect to get from a high volume online reseller.
But the most important thing may be this: Like its less expensive Home Cinema 5010 sibling, the Epson Pro Cinema 6010 is not only a top performer for its price, and dazzlingly bright in 2D, but the Pro Cinema 6010 is one of very few projectors that has the horsepower to do a really good job with 3D (all types of 3D content) on respectably large screens, without going really high gain screen, or with a two screen solution, and the baggage that comes with either of those options!
Hot Product Award: Normally when we do a sort of mini-review as we have done here, that is largely based on the full review of an almost identical projector, we do not hand out Hot Product Awards. The reason - the projectors are usually too similar, and when the "local dealer version" costs more, we find the other to offer more value. Thanks however, in this case, primarily to the addition of the two THX modes, and also the extra warranty, it was felt that the Pro Cinema 6010, for many, offers every bit as much value as the Home Cinema 5010. With that in mind, a Hot Product Award for the Epson Pro Cinema 6010 projector certainly seemed warranted, and, therefore, granted!
BACK TO THE BEGINNING: The Epson Pro Cinema 6010 Mini Review