JVC DLA-RS25 - Performance
11/6/2009 - Art Feierman
JVC DLA-RS25 Brightness
No surprises here. The new JVC DLA-RS25 projector is very similar to last year's RS20 in terms of brightness. In this case, the JVC DLA-RS25 - and, therefore also the JVC HD950 - measured just a little less bright than the older model, in some modes, and a little brighter in others. (Bolded modes are the ones we worked with. Ultimately a calibrated THX mode was saved in User 1, and a calibrated "Brightest" mode was saved in User 2.
JVC DLA-RS25 Projector - Uncalibrated:
Cinema 1= 753 @ 6029
Cinema 2= 753 @ 6878
Cinema 3= 769 @ 8040
Natural= 748 @ 6863
Stage= 769 @ 8050
Dynamic= 853 @ 9586, 862 with Color Sat. set to 0
THX= 748 @ 6865
User 1 or 2= 753 @ 6860
After doing our calibration of "best mode" we measured Cinema 2 (placed in User 1) at 727 lumens down only 25 lumens from uncalibrated. Mike felt that the color handling and picture quality of Dynamic mode was already extremely good, and did not do our basic "quick-cal(ibrate)" of Dynamic because he felt that further improving it would eliminate any additional brightness.
The good looking, and unadjusted Dynamic mode measured 853 lumens, only 125 lumens more than our calibrated THX mode
The Effect of zoom lens positioning on brightness: Our standard measurements reported are done with the zoom at its mid-point. Here are relative numbers from the Cinema 1 mode, for different lens positioning From a percentage standpoint, the differences will be the same for any mode, as you change the lens angle:
Zoom out (closest position - wide-angle): 819 lumens
Mid-zoom: 753 lumens
Zoom in: 625 lumens (furthest from the screen - tele)
Thus, at the maximum zoom distance, the lumens are 17% lower. At the closest distance (wide angle), they are 9% greater, than with the projector lens at the middle - the mid-point of its zoom range. (The same ratios should apply to any preset mode)
The Effect of low lamp (eco) mode on brightness:
Low lamp power ("Normal" lamp mode), for Cinema 1: 506 lumens
High lamp power ("High" lamp mode) for Cinema 1: 753 lumens
That works out to a drop of almost a 1/3 in brightness when running the lamp in Normal (low) mode. That same percentage difference should be unchanged, regardless of preset mode. Even in low power, in a "best" mode, the JVC DLA-RS25 and HD950 should be slightly brighter than the average home theater projector running at full power. With the JVC lamp on normal (High) setting, the JVC is one of the very brightest projectors available under $10,000, when comparing "best" modes.
It's when you are willing to sacrifice some picture quality for a lot more lumens that the JVC RS25, like my own RS20, runs into "trouble".
With the JVC projectors you get a relatively small bump in brightness going from "best" to "brightest" (in this case, Dynamic) mode. That small bump is only about 13%. That is, the RS25 is 13% brighter at it's brightest, than at its best. We're talking a measured 853 lumens in Dynamic with lamp on normal (High setting). That's a bit below average, which we deem to be about 1000 lumens.
This fits nicely with my experience with the RS20. The lack of extra brightness in "brightest" mode, is my only real complaint about the RS20 after owning it for the better part of a year. (OK, it could be a touch sharper too.)
With the JVC RS25 (like the older RS20), you can also control brightness (and slightly effect contrast) by closing down the manual iris.
Closing the iris all the way down (-15) decreases brightness by about 54% to 403 lumens, from 753 lumens. Closing it part way down (-8) decreases brightness 23% to 580 lumens. (We used the manual iris to reduce brightness in our side by side shoots with the Epson 9500UB.) Again, this is a manual iris - the JVC projectors do not use a dynamic iris.
Nothing exciting an dnew to report here: JVC's have never been among the very sharpest looking 1080p projectors around, nonetheless, it isn't a serious issue.
I refer to the JVC projectors as having average sharpness, simply because they do look sharp. Any differences on movie viewing between the RS25, and the sharpest images out there is slight. Where you might notice a bit more difference is with a straight digital video signal, as you don't have the softening effects of the film, that comes with movies. All told there just isn't that much difference between a projector with "average" sharpness, like the JVC, and "sharper still" as I like to describe the sharpest of the 1080p projectors.
As I pointed out last year, the average "sharpness" may be due to JVC's use of LCoS panels which have the least visible pixel structure. That may inherently make them look a little softer, even as they reveal the same amount of detail. That wouldn't surprise me, as the Sony's are typically similar to the JVC's and they too are LCoS. The other major projector that tends to fit in the group (in terms of sharpness) is the Panasonic PT-AE3000 and PT-AE4000 which use their SmoothScreen Technology on their LCD panels to end up with a pixel structure no more visible than LCoS.
Generally the best of the DLP projectors, probably thanks to not having 3 panels (chips) to align, tend to have slightly sharper imagery, than the three chip devices like the 3LCD and LCoS projectors.
One thing significant about the JVC's sharpness, is that it is pretty consistent from the center of the screen to the corners. This is likely due to having excellent optics. Many projectors have very detectable softening of the image in the corners and outside area, if you focus from the dead center. We recommend that with any projector you should pick a spot for dead on focus, that is about 1/3 of the way from the center to the corner. That will give the best overall sharpness across the image.
For your consideration, our usual close up images
2nd row left: Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, left center: Panasonic PT-AE3000, right center: Optoma HD8000, right: InFocus IN83
Note, starting with this review, now that my DTS test disc died, for this sharpness demo, we will be using a closeup of the PS3 system screen, showing the Video icon
Below: Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right DLA-RS25, RS20, Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, and BenQ W20000. The DLA-RS25 holds its own against most, but not a few of the sharpest DLP projectors.
JVC DLA-RS25: Bottom Line Sharpness
As the owner of the older JVC, I've always considered it's sharpness, and therefore that of the RS25 as well, to be acceptable, but I have always wished it was a sharper, such as the old InFocus In83, and a few others I can think of. Quite honestly I don't really notice a difference when watching typical film based movies. It's when I have a great 1080 HDTV or 1080 Blu-ray source, with all digital material (an HDTV sports event, or programming like Discovery HD, Universe, Blue Planet, etc, where you are more likely to notice the JVC's slight softness compared to the sharpest projectors.
I certainly considered it a fair trade-off, in exchange for superior color accuracy, and the best black level performance available.
No change here, from last year's models. This JVC projector leaks lots of light, out of the lens. This is especially true if you are using a lot of vertical lens shift. That's the bad news.
The good news is that while it covers a wide area, it's so dark as to be a non-issue. That leakage (which is outside of the projected image area) is no brighter - less bright, than the black levels themselves, and they are darker than with any other projector. I was able to spot the faint light on my off-white front wall of my theater, but, then I had the walls painted a dark rust color, and no trace of that light remains detectable.
JVC DLA-RS25 Image Noise
Nothing new here. For the 3rd generation, JVC has continued with higher end Silicon Optix for their image processing. They are still using the Silicon Optix Reon-VX (the lastest version no doubt). The Reon-VX is found in a number of excellent projectors. I'm not aware of any notable flaws in image processing. Mosquito noise is just visible, in normal amounts, without the Noise Reduction engaged. I don't see a need to implement it, but that is personal taste. Performance on motion artifacts is very good. As you can imagine, the RS25 easily passes all the other related related tests on the HQV test disc, as that widely used test disc is put out by Silicon Optix.
The RS25 does offer a contrast enhancement feature. As would be expected, it does slightly increase the image noise.
DLA-RS25 Audible Noise
More than quiet enough. While there are quieter projectors the JVC RS25 is quieter than average, and claims a very impressive 19db noise level in low power mode. It's probably still 25 db or less with fan and lamp running at full power. The pitch of the noise is fairly average, and lower than many. Overall, having owned the equally quiet JVC RS20, audible noise has been a non-issue. In fairness, my RS20 sits on a high shelf (just over 10 feet) and about 8 feet behind me, so it's a lot further away than it would be in some smaller rooms or if ceiling mounting almost overhead. Still, while there are quieter projectors, this should satisfy all but the most noise adverse, and even those folks would have to have it placed close by before they might complain.