JVC DLA-RS10 Projector - Image Quality
JVC DLA-RS10 images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the DLA-RS10 projector projects on the screen. There are slight color shifts (too much yellow, in this case), saturation differences, etc.
The images are provided to support the commentary, so don't read too much into them, such as expecting an exact reproduction of skin tones. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews. From a color standpoint, my dSLR camera still adds a very slight green shift I have not been able to completely remove.
2/3/2009 - Art Feierman
DLA-RS10 Out of the Box Picture Quality
After needing some tricky calibration on the more expensive RS20 to get really excellent color, and with that projector's out of the box performance (except for the THX mode that the RS10 lacks), I was pleased to see that the JVC RS10's out of the box performance was much better. The RS10's Cinema 1 mode - without adjustment (other than to lower the color saturation), definitely looked much better than the equivalent RS20's Cinema 2 mode, with a similar saturation adjustment. Black level performance (as with the RS20), was extremly good, but some near black shadow detail was crushed. Adjusting the Brightness control from it's default 0 to +1 solved that issue.
Dial down the RS10's saturation and you have a very watchable projector, but the color temperature was definitely a bit lower than the ideal 6500K (but not as far below as the RS20). Overall, the RS10 averaged about 6300K, which translates into just a slight extra emphasis on red. This was correctable with a grayscale calibration.
After calibrating and tweaking the JVC DLA-RS10, skin tones improved and we ended up with skin tones that we liked even better than THX mode (on the RS20), although they are pretty similar. I thought the RS10's skin tone handling was outstanding until I put the RS10 up, side by side with the InFocus IN83, which has the best looking skin tones of any projector I have worked with. Side by side, the IN83 still gets the slight advantage, but again, the RS10 only really comes up a little short by direct comparison.
While most projectors with good skin tones do differ from one another, they all tend to look very good during normal viewing. Put two such projectors side by side, and you really notice what would otherwise be subtle differences. If one has more red, and the other a touch more green, they tend to both look off, but either, by itself can look very natural.
Here, first are a pair of images from my favorite movie not available yet on Blu-ray: Lord of the Rings, played from standard DVD.
Next are our usual three images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale, under different lighting conditions. The point here, is that correct skin tones vary, depending on the lighting. You can expect significantly different looking skin tones, when switching from bright sunlight, to nighttime, flourescent lighting, incandescent lighting, or even lighting in the shade, or a cloudy day. Consider these three imagfes, the first, in direct sunlight, the second is a scene with flourescent lighting, and the third, a sunny day, but Bond is sitting in the shade - indirect lighting.
Next are images from the sci-fi flick, Aeon Flux:
From Men In Black:
From The Fifth Element:
Black Levels & Shadow Detail
Great black level performance is what JVC home theater projectors are famous for. True, the JVC RS10 can't quite match the more expensive RS20, but that's exactly as intended. The RS10 comes close, for a lot less money. And perhaps more to the point it has the second best black level performance of any projector I've reviewed (well, except for the RS2 that the RS20 is replacing).
Black level performance and handling of dark shadow details are closely intertwined. A projector can have so-so black levels but very good shadow detail, and you end up with a dark scene that is very flat looking. Or, you can have great black levels and just "good" shadow detail, and you end up with the opposite, a dark picture with a lot of pop, but some areas may show a little less, or no detail in a particular area. I think most prefer the second example. The slight loss of shadow detail and great blacks is typified by the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB. The Mitsubishi HC5500 would be a good example of the first example. Ideally you want exceptional performance at both.
That brings us to the RS20. It's black level abilities are unmatched. Richer and darker blacks than anything I've seen. The shadow detail, on the other hand, is simply typical of very good projectors out there. The combination of the two makes for the best looking dark scenes I think you can hope to find today.
First is a seriously overexposed shot of the starship in The Fifth Element. Note, that even with this ridiculous level of overexposure, the blacks in the image, and the letterbox are still not much brighter than pure black. Immediately below it, is a less overexposed version, for better comparing with the same image in older reviews. In this first image, I have left in part of the letterboxing, so you can see the basic black level more easily. Immediately below it, for comparison, is a similar image from the RS20. Notice that the letterbox blackness is about the same, but the starship itself is more overexposed on the RS20. Now imagine that we had taken the RS20 shot so that the starship is just as overexposed (instead of more) as the RS10. In that case, the letterbox would be darker (and therefore, the black levels in general) on the RS20. And that, is the difference.
The next pair are again the RS10 above, RS20 below, but less overexposed to give you a still overexposed, but closer to reality comparison.
For comparison, here's the same image from the Mitsubishi HC6500. Not even close.
And below is the Panasonic PT-AE3000, which also isn't a match for the JVC DLA-RS10:
I also took side-by-side images with a fully black "image". There are no larger versions to click on. The interesting thing about shooting fully black "scenes" is that different projectors, so equipped, will close down their dynamic irises to different degrees. Just because one projector looks blacker on a black scene, does not guaranty that that projector is still blacker on a dark, but not fully black scene.
In this case, though, the the comparison is between the JVC DLA-RS10 (on the right) and the InFocus IN83 on the left. Neither have a dynamic iris. So, what you see, is what you get. The IN83 sports a Darkchip4 processor, which is, I believe as good as DLP gets in terms of black levels (without adding a dynamic iris). There's no comparison between the two projectors, the JVC blows the InFocus away (The photo was taken with a time exposure just long enough to bring up the background of the JVC so you can see it along side the InFocus. Note, the white vertical streak toward the left side of the RS10's dark image is actually light leakage from the InFocus:
Next is a dark scene of Gotham, from The Dark Knight, comparing the JVC (right) and InFocus (left).he Dark KnightBoth are a bit overexposed so you can better compare black levels (click to enlarge).
Consider two additional images which are good ones for observing black levels. Look for the richness in the black part of some of the buildings and, also, the sky, in the second image. Both of these first two, are digital hi-def images from the DVE-HD calibration disc.
There's nothing like a real image of the night sky to show off black level performance. This image is most likely from the Hubble telescope.
Shadow Detail Performance
The JVC DLA-RS10 is very good in terms of shadow detail. As I've pointed out many times, good projectors today don't vary a whole lot in how much dark shadow detail they reveal. Still, there still differences. Of note, the gamma setting can make a difference, but ultimately it's more about getting a projector set up for its best performance. This JVC is definitely revealing a great deal of dark shadow detail. I've seen other projectors adjusted well enough to do better than I have been able to get out of the JVC, but were talking very slight differences on all but the most difficult scenes, when properly set up.
This first comparison image is a good one for both black levels and shadow details. It is from Men in Black. Look at the clouds, the details in the structures at the top, actually there's plenty to look at in the image. This image will become a standard one for comparisons, going forward. This image has the InFocus IN83 on the left (and it has about as good a shadow detail performance as I have seen). The JVC is on the right. You will see that the buildings at the bottom are hard to spot on the JVC. As is some of the detail in the band around the saucer. Note, though, most of the detail is there, it's just darker, and the eye has trouble picking it out because of brighter areas. Of course, that's what happens when watching movies. In scenes with lots of bright areas, you never pick up the dark shadow detail:
In this image above, projected on the screen the JVC looks rich and dynamic, and the InFocus definitely looks a bit flat by comparison. This is definitely one type of scene where the JVC really shines.
Below are groups of images, showing the JVC's performance on shadow detail and black levels compared to many of the other 1080p projectors out there.
Top left: DLA-RS10, Middle: Panasonic PT-AE3000U, Right: DLA-RS20:
The next set of comparison images is from Space Cowboys. This is a very dark scene with Clint Eastwood, on Blu-ray disc. The photos are intentionally way overexposed. Look for the blacks in the shades, and the details in those shades in the form of the white trim. (At this level of overexposure, don't even worry about the skin tones, as in these types of overexposed photos they always look terrible).
First image is the DLA-RS10, followed by the RS20, then Sanyo PLV-Z3000 and the Mitsubishi HC7000. Those are followed by the Sony VW60. The last two in the sequence are the Panasonic PT-AE3000 and the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB
Again, from Space Cowboys, this is a cropped image. The right side is very bright (so dynamic irises will not be effective). The DLA-RS10 (top left) shows very good shadow detail in the dark areas of the satellite. Next to it on the first row, is the JVC RS20 Those images are followed by the Optoma HD806 and the PT-AE3000 (second row). The third row is the Mitsubishi HC7000 (left), and the Sony VPL-HW10. Apologies, the JVC image is a little blurred, but you can still see the details.
The Space Cowboys re-entry scene is a tough shadow detail test. Projectors with weak black levels and average shadow detail ability tend to generate an image where much of the right side of earth, looks to have that flat, lacking in detail look. All projectors pick up some of the brighter features on the right side, while better ones, pick up a lot more and usually have richer blacks as well. The JVC does a great job, rich dark blacks, plus good shadow detail.
Next is a frame from the last Indiana Jones movie. You'll this one in other recent reviews. The details still found as the walls and fixtures darken toward the top, are a good way to compare shadow detail.
On the left, is the DLA-RS10, the middle, the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, and on the right, the Panasonic PT-AE3000. The exposures are all a little different, but you should be able to appreciate the combination of shadow detail and dark blacks
Below is the night shot of the casino, in Casino Royale.
When comparing, look at the detail in the roof (tiles), and also in the assorted trees and plants. The small images below (all from the same projector) show a slightly overexposed scene. Click on the images and you will find larger images, but of the different projectors. The large images are far more overexposed, to allow a closer inspection of shadow details.
JVC DLA-RS10 projector:
JVC DLA-RS20 projector:
Epson Home Cinema 6500UB:
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 projector:
Panasonic PT-AE3000U projector:
Sony VPL-HW10 projector:
InFocus IN83 projector: (a more expensive projector that I've been raving about)
Mitsubishi HC7000 projector:
Mitsubishi HC6500 projector:
Below is a heavily overexposed scene from Lord of the Rings. The overexposure lets you see all the details in the shed on the right, the structure on the left, and the plants and ground along the lower right. The DLA-RS10U performs very nicely.
Click on left thumbnail image for the JVC DLA-RS10, Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB in the center, and the right for the PT-AE3000U.
Our last comparison uses the night train scene from Casino Royale. Look to the trees and shrubs on the right, especially just above the tracks. The first image is the JVC DLA-RS10, the second the RS20, third is the Epson 6500UB, followed by the Mitsubishi HC7000, and finally, the Panasonic PT-AE3000. While shadow detail performance is very good on all of these, you can see that the JVC does produce the best blacks.
Next is a side by side - JVC RS10 this time, is on the Right. the InFocus IN83 to the Left. This scene is from Space Cowboys:
Another good image for observing shadow detail is this very dark scene from the first National Treasure film. The DLA-RS10 performs extremely well on this image. This image is dramatically overexposed to allow you to view the darkest shadow details. Look to any dark area in the frame, but especially in the upper right steps. It handles those particularly well:
Overall Color & Picture Quality
The RS20 out of the box, as noted, leaves much to be desired in color accuracy and saturation, except in THX mode. THX is very impressive, but to my taste, it's a little lacking in wow factor - a little flat. Don't get me wrong, the RS20 really does look excellent in THX, it's just that it can do better. THX mode also doesn't quite have as dark a black level performance, as we achieved after calibrating. The thing is, to best calibrate the DLA-RS10 requires the color management system, and is tricky. As I've mentioned elsewhere, if you are spending "the big bucks" for an RS20, plan to spend the additional few hundreds for a really good calibration, if you want to get the best out of this projector.
After much work here, and help with the CMS from some of the very serious enthusiasts on the forums, we obtained an excellent calibration. (For more about it, see the calibration page.) While the colors are not as dead on as my favorite (for color accuracy), the InFocus IN83, which seems to look about perfect, in terms of colors and skin tones, no matter what you throw at it, the JVC RS10, is close behind. I've got some side by side images, and you can see differences, in some of them, but others look so close you might mistake them for being the same projector.
Skin tones still have the tiniest amount of extra red when the faces, etc., are not well lit. Much better (extremely good) in bright scenes. These are minor things, there's no doubt far more variation in skin tones, from one movie to the next, than the overall amount of shift in the JVC RS10.
Shadow detail is typically
The RS20 looks really great in terms of color accuracy- until, you put it side by side with the InFocus. Put it next to an Epson 6500UB, Panasonic PT-AE3000, and it's better overall, as is also true with the Sony HW10, and BenQ W20000. You should get the idea. Let's finish this off by saying, properly calibrated the overall picture quality, including shadow details and color balance are excellent, but not the best.
But, when you factor in the incredible black level performance of the RS20, then there's no other projector under $10,000, that I've worked with, that I'd rather own. Even the slightly softer sharpness/crispness of the RS20 compared to the absolute sharpest of the 1080p projectors is, by my taste, a very minor thing, in the overall quest for the getting the best possible image on the screen.
A mix of additional images to show off the DLA-RS10:
From the DTS Blu-ray test disk, consider these:
From the DVE-HD test disc:
Back to movies - here's a couple from Dogma and one from Aeon Flux:
And here are a few more images, the two from Dark Knight, followed by two from the latest Indiana Jones movie and a few assorted scenes from movies and digital video sources:
JVC DLA-RS10U Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
This section will be completed in the next week. Let's just say that the RS10 does a great job on HDTV and Sports. True, it could be a touch sharper to match the sharpest of the 1080p projectors, but this isn't likely to be an issue for anyone. The weakness of the RS10, if any, for this type of viewing, is the relatively limited brightness of the projector in its brightest mode. That said, there is so little difference in brightness between modes, that when you are watching HDTV and sports, most likely you'll be using the JVC's best mode - a calibrated Cinema 1. That translates into a no compromise image in terms of color accuracy, skin tones, shadow detail, etc. Those are areas of compromise with most projector's "brightest modes".
The images above and below are from a Moody Blues Concert that has been broadcast in HD, and is also available on Blu-ray disc. Excellent black levels and great skin tones make these images look particularly good.
Stay tuned for the rest of this section.