InFocus IN82: 1080p Home Theater Projector Review - Image Quality
You will find that this section, on the IN82's image quality, is organized into four sections:
Skin Tone Handling
Black Levels and Shadow Detail
Overall Picture (image) quality
InFocus IN82 Home Theater Projector: Skin Tones
The InFocus IN82 does a very good job on skin tones. After the minor adjustments I made to the grayscale, I found skin tones, overall, to appear very natural looking. The general tendency of most projectors is to end up with the skin tones just a little to contrasty, overall, giving you the feeling of a hard image. I've provided a number of images.
Quicktip: Images in this section
Please remember two things, first, that most images can be clicked on for much larger, and slightly higher quality version.
The second point is that these images are approximations, designed to support commentary. The reality is, there is no really go way that I am aware of to faithfully reproduce what the projector puts on the screen. My monitor, and yours are drastically inferior to the capabilities of a good projector (consider the high contrast and very dark black levels compared to a typical computer monitor, it's like Ferrari, vs Kia. Even good digital SLR cameras can't do the job. I know, I'm still trying to get my 2nd dSLR to produce something that's moderately close.
So, don't get hung up on smaller color shifts. Especially, color shifts in the dark end of the "overexposed" images I take to demonstrate shadow detail At the very slow shutter speeds and light levels, etc. my camera will exaggerate tremendously what tends to be a very slight shift on the screen. Consider the green in the cavern scene from Phantom, below, when you get to it. It definitely did not look green on the projected image. That same image might be very redish on another review, yet the two projectors probably looked very similar on the screen.
Back to business. I'll start with a couple of the usual frames from Lord of the Rings. These days, that movie, and Sin City, are now the last two non hi-def DVD images I am shooting. Everything else is now either Blu-ray (ok, an occasional HD-DVD), or HDTV sources.
On the image of Arwen above, this one looks very good. The actual screen image is a touch darker, but the proper image is always a little pale, and on the better projectors you can see the slight shift toward green toward her forehead, which fits with the location, a forest, with lots of reflected green.
Gandalf, just looks natural (at least on the IN82, and my Mac laptop, if not your computer screen).
The image of Nia, from House of the flying daggers:
Switching to something a bit more contemporary, here's Hitch, from a Blu-Ray DVD:
I love this image from Phantom of the Opera. When it works it really works.
The skin tones of Johnny Depp, considering he's backlit before dusk, are very believable.
I'm not sure this image from Sin City belongs here, nor the one below from Phantom, as both frames are artificially set. Sin City uses a lot of sepia tones and spot colors for it's look, but still Nancy looks good here. You'll find another frame, of her dancing later on, which will help you see what the director was doing with color. The other image, from the beginning of Phantom is "black and white", just before the movie switches to color (we're not in Kansas anymore).
Aeon (from Aeon Flux) (above) looked great in this sequence. This exposure I chose is a touch lighter than with most other projectors, but overall, her skin looks rich, and soft, under hard lighting. This is definitely of my favorite projectors when it comes to handling this scene.
One more from Aeon, and time to move on to black levels and shadow detail:
InFocus IN82 Projector: Black Levels and Shadow Detail
Black levels of the IN82 were, as mentioned at the beginning of this projector review, as very good. And that's a really good term for them, when compared to other 1080p projectors. They are superior to a number of less expensive 1080p projectors, most notable the LCD projectors already shipping (Epson Cinema 1080 series, Mitsubishi HC5000 and HC4900, and DLP projectors like the Optoma HD80 and HD8000. In fact, of the DLP home theater projectors reviewed so far, it's probably closest to the two Optoma step up models, the HD81, and the top of the line HD81-LV. The InFocus IN82, however falls a little short of the Sharp XV-Z20000, and a bit further behind the reigning champ, the DiLA (LCos) JVC DLA-RS1, and the other LCos, the Sony Pearl (VW50). Nevermind their announced replacements, the Sony VW60 and JVC RS2, which are even better than the current models.
So, where does that leave us? With a projector that combines very good black levels with a very bright image. Too small a screen, unless you damp down the brightness (lamp on low, closing down the iris), and the "blacks" become too light of a dark gray, and a bit annoying in a fully darkened room. Fortunately that's all under your control, including a screen choice, which we will discuss in the next page.
Let's look at a few images that will help you get a handle on black levels. Most of these images are in most recent reviews, and some, have been used for a couple of years.
The first image is from Space Cowboys (I love space images, as most of you have figured out by now), and looks pretty good. All the stars are there, and the blacks look very black, but not quite what I would call that magical "inky" black, that only a small handful of projectors can achieve.
and from standard DVD - Sin City:
IN82 Home Theater Projector: Shadow Detail Performance
While black levels were very good, the IN82 was definitely better in terms of revealing shadow details. To do so, you not only need some really good black level capability, but contrast, brightness and gamma all impact what you end up seeing.
The first image is from Space Cowboys, the re-entry scene:
Click on the left thumbnail for a large, seriously overexposed version of the original scene. The purpose here is to see how much detail is there in the dark areas on the right and bottom right. Now, if you compare this image with the similar one on other reviews, you'll find that there are differences in exposure. Most are close, but not all. You'll have to "compensate" to figure out which ones are really best (or take my word)? The thumbnail image on the right is from the Sharp XV-Z20000, which has the best black levels of any of the single chip DLP projectors tested.
The thumbnail below is from the Mitsubishi HC4900 one of the least expensive 1080p projectors out there, and the one with weakest black levels.
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The HC4900 is far more overexposed than the other two images, and so you can see a bit more detail, but to do so, you also acknowledge that the "blacks" are now a medium gray. With this same exposure the other two projectors would easily match the shadow details, but still have blacks that resemble black, not medium gray.
Next! Two images here, from Aeon Flux. The first normally exposed, the second overexposed so you can see what detail is in the ground, and the dark parts of the building. Unfortunately, the "overexposed" image would have better served you had I overexposed it by an extra f-stop. still it gives you some idea.
Click on the left thumbnail for the nomal exposure...
Another image from Aeon Flux, note the data in the dark areas of the table.
The scene below from Space cowboys is incredibly dark, "lit" only by a table lamp. Note the detail in the wall behind him. This is a good image to compare with the same, on most reviews done in the last year. Note the vertical "stitching" on the wall, and note that the one just right of the center of the image, goes all the way up to the top of the image. You can find four different projectors' similar images, in the recent Mitsubishi HC6000 review.
Ok, just a few more "dark" images for your consideration starting with the cavern shot from Phantom.
From HDTV - Pete Townsend (The Who) in concert on HDTV:
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IN82 home theater projector: Sharpness
InFocus'es IN82 produces better than average sharpness. I found it, like a couple of the other DLP projectors, the Epson Cinema 1080, and the Mitsubishi to be slightly sharper than my reference JVC RS1.
Three different images for your consideration:
The first, from Aeon Flux. Note the clarity of the eyes, the detail in her hair, both in the front, and the loose strands.
Perhaps the two best images for comparing sharpness are the DTS logo from their demo disk and the closeup of a computer monitor from Space Cowboys.
Below click on each thumbnail below for a closeup of, in order, from left to right:
InFocus IN82, JVC RS1, Sharp XV-Z20000 and, on the second row, the Mitsubishi HC6000:
On the monitor image (click on the thumbnail), try reading the various type sizes, and you can compare with the same image on the other reviews.
InFocus IN82: Overall Picture Quality
The IN82 is just very well balanced. As I pointed out earlier, I would describe the IN82 as being one of those, that does "film-like" well.
Here are an assortment of general images for your perusal.
A computer generated (or model?) city off SD-DVD (Lord of the Rings):
From the DTS sampler disk, a real city!
And from HDTV:
Next it's general performance time, including; menus, remote control, brightness, projector screen recommendations, and more!