JVC DLA-RS35 Projector - Image Quality
JVC DLA-RS35 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-RS35 projector (and others) project on the screen. There are color shifts , saturation differences, etc.
These images are provided to support the commentary. 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 to some photo shoots that I have not been able to completely remove. In other words, while we can demonstrate differences in black levels and shadow details of the RS35, the photos are only approximations of skin tone and color accuracy. In some cases, in this review, images from the RS25 are used (and noted), as technically, most images should appear virtually identical but for a touch more sharpness from the DLA-RS35 projector.
02/28/2010 - Art Feierman
DLA-RS35 Out of the Box Picture Quality
The THX mode on the JVC DLA-RS35 looks great as expected. Last year, ultimately, we were able to calibrate Cinema 2 to look slightly better than THX. That said, if you select THX mode, I don't think you'll find any other projector at or below its price, that can match its "out of the box" combination of accuracy, look and feel.
The same is true this year. The JVC RS35 projector's THX mode is excellent. It has its own CMS settings locked in, and that, essentially, seems how THX differs from Cinema 2.
Ultimately we calibrated Cinema 2 and the individual colors in the Color Management System, and ended up with results I find to be slightly better than THX. That was also true of our calibrating the RS25, although the two look a touch different as that's how the calibrations turned out. The RS35, to keep things simple, seems to have a tiny amount of gold added to skin tones. They are still gorgeous. I'm still tweaking this unit. At this point, by eyeball. All of you that buy an RS35, can drop in our settings (found on the calibration page of this review), and see if you prefer them to the default THX. I think you should.
Skin tones in THX mode are really very good, definitely better than the default Cinema 2 mode. If you aren't making adjustments, stick with THX, and life will be simple.
The image immediately below is an all digital image from the DVE test disc.
In THX mode skin tones are most impressive. That said, I think our settings, at least applied to this unit, in terms of a calibrated Cinema 2 mode, produce slightly better and more faithful skin tones still. Nonetheless, our settings and the THX mode are very similar.
Some additional good news. Not only are skin tones excellent in THX and calibrated Cinema 2, but also really good in Dynamic mode when you need all the available lumens. Unlike a number of projectors that can pull a lot of extra lumens out of their hats, but end up with rather poor color in "brightest" mode, the JVC projectors give you very good color and skin tones in "brightes"t mode, they just don't give you a whole lot more lumens than "best" mode.
Definitely not quite as good, but still pretty good. That's only to be expected though, since using Dynamic mode only delivers about an extra 100 or so lumens. Switch to Dynamic, change the gamma, and the JVC DLA-RS35, is all ready to go for some great sports viewing, within, of course the limitations of its brightness, which is just below average for a "bright" mode.
I still think the best skin tones ever to be seen in my theaters was on a calibrated InFocus IN83, which, sadly, I finally had to return. The new InFocus replacement, the SP8602, howver is in house. With current settings, I have to give the InFocus the slightest edge in skin tones, for now, but they aren't as perfect as the older IN83, either. With either projector, we're still talking about rather excellent skin tones - natural looking!
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. (These were all taken with the RS25 projector.)
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, fluorescent lighting, incandescent lighting, or even lighting in the shade, or a cloudy day. Consider these three images, the first in direct sunlight, the second is a scene with fluorescent 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 (RS25 images):
The two images immediately below from Blazing Saddles and Dark Knight, were taken with the JVC DLA-RS35.
Lau, above, from The Dark Knight, looks just about perfect, up on the screen, when it comes to believable skin tones.
JVC RS35 Black Levels & Shadow Detail
Are the black levels of the RS35 actually even darker than the RS25? That's a question I just can't answer safely. Even if an RS35 bests some RS25's, the best of those may be as good as the RS35. No way I can know. Still, I have to assume that a DLA-RS35 will have some marginal improvement in blacks, compared to the typical RS25.
What I do know is this: I was able to make out just the slightest difference in black levels between my older RS20 and the RS25 when it was here. Doing the same thing, but with the RS35 instead of the RS25, I'm again detecting the slightest improvement in blacks. I'm telling myself that the blacks on this RS35 are better than the RS25. It's definitely my impression, but I can't be sure. If this RS35 has blacker blacks than the average RS25, I'd need to do side-by-sides to be sure.
I've settled for this conclusion: The RS35 delivers black level performance every bit as good as the RS25, and quite possibly a bit better. Theoretically it should be that bit better, but for a full out determination, I figure I'd need several of each, all at the same time. And that's not going to happen.
In determining the RS25 vs. my RS20, and again, doing the RS35 vs. my RS20, I put both of them up on the screen at the same time (one above the other, in my main theater), I was able to make out the slight difference in blacks. I was mostly able to do it by comparing the two letterbox areas. The difference is not great, but is a visible difference. It's just that without a "side by side" type of setup, you would be hard pressed to convince someone. Take my word for it though, it's there, it's real, and it takes the best black levels and makes them better still.
Because the lamp on my JVC now has about 900 hours on it, I had to stop down the manual iris several notches to balance brightness. Technically stopping down the manual iris should improve contrast very slightly, but, the amount of drop in brightness I needed to apply to the RS35, shouldn't result in any visible improvement in contrast or blacks, to the best of my knowledge. (We're talking about only dropping brightness by 20-25%.)
Image time: 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 dramatically brighter than black, if you compare it to the image right below. Immediately below it, is a less overexposed version, which is also better for 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, from The Fifth Element, our favorite starship image - overexposed. The first overexposed image, is the RS35, followed by the Sony VW85, and then the RS25. (The RS35 overexposed and regular images will be added within 24 hours if they can be found. (They are lost, and I must find them.)
Below, the Sony again, but normally exposed, and for comparison, a number of other projectors
For comparison, here's the same image more normally exposed, from the JVC RS25.
Next, the Panasonic PT-AE4000, which isn't really a match for the JVC, but one respectable, feature laden projector for $2000:
For some more black level perspective, here are the same side by side images seen in the RS25 review comparing the JVC DLA-RS25 (right) to the Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB, which has the best black levels of any projector under $4000, by my best reckoning.
Here are two more dark scenes comparing the JVC (right) and Epson (left) from Space Cowboys.
These two all digital images images are good ones for considering black levels and dark shadow detail. 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 one is from the Hubble telescope. This image is absolutely gorgeous when filling my 128" screen, using the JVC RS25.
Shadow Detail Performance
The JVC RS35 is consistent with the RS25, in that it really does a good job in terms of shadow detail, though not the very best. This DLA-RS35 is better at dark shadow detail than the Epson UB, but just a touch less dark shadow detail than, say, the Panasonic PT-AE4000. Today's better projectors don't vary a whole lot in how much dark shadow detail they reveal. The choice of your brightness setting between the two closest to ideal, makes a difference, also how you set gamma can make a difference, but ultimately it's more about getting a projector set up for its best performance. The JVC projectors - the 25, and 35 are definitely very good, but just not exceptional.
Consider this: Regarding dark shadow detail, working against the JVC are its inherently excellent black levels. That means that the same near blacks on the JVC will be darker than on a projector with inferior black level performance. That also means that the detail may be there, just harder to see, simply because it's darker. I've owned the older RS20 for almost a year, and have no problem with JVC's dark shadow detail performance. This JVC RS35 projector, in this regard seems to perform like my RS20.
Below, Epson on the left, JVC on the right. Look to the trees and shrubs on the far right, beyond the train tracks.
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.
The first 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 JVC DLA-RS25, then the Sony VPL-VW85, and the Mitsubishi HC7000. Next is the the Sony HW15. The last two in the sequence are the Panasonic PT-AE4000 and the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB.
Again, from Space Cowboys, this is a cropped image. The right side is very bright (so dynamic irises will not be effective). The DLA-RS35 (top left) shows very good shadow detail in the dark areas of the satellite. Next to it on the first row, is the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB/Pro Cinema 9600UB, 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-HW15.
Next is a frame from the last Indiana Jones movie. You'll see 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. Like others mentioned above, this was taken with the RS25. Because on most images, the two look virtually identical, I didn't do a full batch of images for the RS35.
On the left, is the JVC DLA-RS35, the middle, the Epson 8500UB/9500UB, and on the right, the VPL-VW85. The exposures are all a little different, but you should be able to appreciate the combination of shadow detail and dark blacks
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-RS35U performs very nicely.
Click on left thumbnail image for the JVC DLA-RS35, PT-AE4000 in the center, and the right for the Sony VPL-VW85.
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 RS-25, the second is the Sony VW85, followed by the Epson 9500UB, the Mitsuishi HC7000 and the last one is from the Optoma HD8600.
Of the first two, the RS25 vs the Sony VW85, while the VW85 supports improved blacks this year, you can see here, it really still isn't up to the JVC RS25 (nevermind, the RS35), just by looking at the blackest blacks in the woods on the right, and in the lower letterbox. The JVC's blacks ARE blacker, and the exposures, are virtually identical...
Overall Color & Picture Quality
Wow! Wow! and for good measure, Wow!
The JVC DLA-RS35 works for me. Color is excellent - there's more variation in color from one movie to the next, or to TV, than the RS35's color, (when properly set up), deviates from the ideal.
I have always had but two noteworthy complaints about the JVC LCoS projectors. They have been: They could be a bit sharper, that is, comparable to some really excellent single chip DLP projectors.
And "brightest" mode could stand to have an extra 400 - 600 lumens to give us large screen owners some breathing room.
Well, the RS35 doesn't not help out one bit with my second wish, but it definitely hit the bullseye on the sharpness aspect. The essentially perfect convergence, and slight tweaking of the JVC's sharpness related controls - Sharpness, and Detail Enhancement result in result in more perceived sharpness.
Crisp and Clear. I'm just loving the small but noticeable difference when switching back from my RS20 and this RS35. It's just enough that that extra crispness makes the image seem "razor sharp", even when watching a full 128" diagonal image at less than 12 feet. Nice!
A friend of mine was by. (Showed him the winning performance of the Woman's Freestyle Figure Skating - breathtaking), and he and I watched the 3rd and overtime periods of the US - Canada Hockey final. Hey you Canucks! Congratuations! Great hockey game. Savor it! See you in 4, if not sooner.
I said this about the RS25 compared to my RS20, "Overall there's very little difference between the JVC DLA-RS25, and the older DLA-RS20. I'm not sure how much of the slightly greater "pop" the RS25 has, is due to the older lamp in my RS20, or how much is due to the slightly improved, and truly unmatched black levels. Ultimately, though, the RS25 does look, overall, both extremely similar, and slightly better, than the RS20. Not a great difference, but at this level, any real improvement is always appreciated, in the quest for perfection."
OK, the RS35, by definition is going to be at least as good as that RS25, and likely at least a tiny bit better at everything. That puts the RS35 at the top of the food chain, for projectors in the $10,000 or less range. Not much surprise though.
Darker and very dark scenes, of course are a real strength of this JVC RS35. With its advantage over all other projectors (except maybe a good RS25), in terms of blacker blacks, and the fact that unlike almost all other projectors, which rely on a dynamic iris for excellent blacks, the JVC does not. That means darker images are not being compressed. With dynamic iris designed projectors, for an iris to close down, those small bright areas also have to be dimmed or the iris can't close down at all.
The scene from Narnia, below was taken with the DLA-RS25 projector.
With the JVC, the whites are just as bright on an otherwise extremely dark scene, as they are on a full daylight scene. Projectors with DI's just can't claim that, and it does make a real and easly visible difference. That's obvious everytime I do a side by side shoot with one projector with Dynamic Iris, and the other, without.
A mix of additional images to show off the DLA-RS35 and RS25
From the DVE-HD test disc (RS25):
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 an old favorite movie of mine: Blazing Saddles, plus a few assorted scenes from movies and digital video sources:
The very bottom line on overall image quality and color: It doesn't get much better than this. Rich, very accurate colors, good saturation, and those superb, unmatched blacks, plus a lot of lumens for movie viewing, pretty much insure a great viewing experience, and one that can handle a larger screen too.
JVC DLA-RS35U Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
While I have always loved my own JVC, as well as these newer models for movie viewing, I have always wished for a slightly sharper image for sports viewing. The RS35 has it. This unit with its visibly, the best pixel alignment I've seen, has the sharpness I've missed.
For all of you who don't want to give up that good single chip DLP projector sharpness, but otherwise have been attracted to the JVCs for all the other reasons, it's time to tap the equity line. The JVC DLA-RS35 projector looks sharp!
On a different subject, the DLA-RS35 could be brighter at its brightest. I like to see at least 1000 lumens and better still - 1400 or more lumens, for combating intentional ambient light - so we don't have to watch sports in the proverbial cave. Remember, though, I'm a big screen guy, 1400 lumens hitting my screen is about the same as 1100 lumens hitting a 110" screen.
The JVC like the others in the series, comes in shy of 900 lumens in "brightest" mode. That's adequate for sports in my room, as I have good lighting control and can get the room moderately bright without putting too much light on the screen, but I really crave having more.
Ultimately I dream of having 4000 lumens for sports and HDTV, and nothing short of the big 3 chip DLP projectors, or commercial projectors offers anything near that. One of these years, the home theater projector makers will get it. A good home projector needs different levels of brightness for different functions like movies, sports, gaming. 3D's coming too, and 3D gobbles up lumens.
So, ok, the RS35 could have more lumens, but I at least take heart in that even at its brightest, the color accuracy is pretty good - far, far better than most other projectors at their brightest.