JVC DLA-RS35 - Review Summary
A summary of the JVC DLA-RS35 projector's pros and cons and capabilities.
3-2-2010 - Art Feierman
JVC DLA-RS35 Projector - The Bottom Line
How's this for the bottom line on the JVC RS35 - and the HD990 projectors: The JVC DLA-RS35 wins!
With my 2010 1080p Projector Comparison Report starting up, and only three more projector reviews to complete (the InFocus SP8602, JVC RS15, and the Mitsubishi HC6800). I've worked enough with each of those to know that none are a threat to the JVC DLA-RS35, anymore than any of the other $3500+ projectors we've reviewed, except of course for the RS25.
That's right, while the report won't be ready for several weeks, the one thing I now know, is that the JVC RS35 will receive our Best In Class award for projectors $3500 - $10000 (that's as high as we normally go).
JVC DLA-RS35 Brightness
Where'd the lumens go? A mystery. I do not know any reason why an RS35 would measure about 10% less bright than the RS25 we reviewed a few months ago, but it does. I've looked for leaks, but don't see any.
So, while it might be strange, and other RS35's theoretically would be a bit brighter, here's the word. With over 650 lumens in "best modes", the JVC is noticeably brighter than most 1080p projectors. Still there are several in its range, and a couple that can best it.
"Brightest" mode, is what the JVC says it has, but with only a measured 750 lumens, it's only about 15% brighter than "best" mode. And, more to the point, it's a lot less bright than the average 1080p projector, when you want the maximum lumens.
Placement flexibility is excellent, not quite the best. The 2:1 zoom should work in just about every room. The only real limitation is that some projectors have a little more vertical lens shift. Only a very few projectors, like the Panasonic PT-AE4000 and the Epson projectors, have a bit more vertical lens shift. JVC, though motorizes theirs, for convenience (lens shift as well as zoom and focus). By comparison, most projectors with lens shift, tend to have manual shift. As to zoom and focus, about half of the home theater projectors sold out there have those motorized.
Leeloo image above - The Fifth Element, Blu-ray, from the RS25
The JVC DLA-RS35 projector is well endowed, in terms of features, and their benefits. While no other projector I can think of, can match the Panasonic PT-AE4000 for it's wide range of features (normal and unusual), this JVC does pretty well. Of note, it does have a good, not great CFI (creative frame interpolation) ability, with multiple settings. The RS35 also has Detail Enhancement as part of its sharpness controls. It works rather well, although if you push it too far, you start seeing the downside, too much contrast in faces, etc. Like most dynamic controls - they work best, in moderation.
The very bottom line:
A tiny improvement in black level performance (best I can determine so far) over the RS25 I had here a couple months back, is definitely noteworthy, but the single thing that struck me about the RS35 is its feel of being a sharper projector than any previous JVC RS projector I've seen. I attribute that primarily to the tighter pixel alignment, but the RS35 also receiving, theoretically the sharpest of the lenses, etc., can't hurt either. I've been using slight detail enhancement with my RS20, and darn, it definitely does not appear to be as sharp.
Finally, a projector with world class black level performance, that actually appears to be extremely sharp, has truly excellent color, a fairly dynamic looking image, and lots of "best" mode lumens. 'Bout time!
The JVC DLA-RS35 from my observation has no really major weaknesses, although, I still find it lacking in terms of how bright it can get, in "brightest" mode. Those of us, who like our sports, or gaming, or sitcoms with a decent level of ambient light, will continue to be disappointed, a little.
But, when you put on a nice movie from Blu-ray disc, for the first time, in a nice dark room, you should be totally blown away.
As a RS20 owner, the only thing holding me back from getting the RS35, is the cost. Even with the nice discount most manufacturers would offer me, that's a real chunk of change for those of us who "work for a living". We shall see. Most likely I'll wait for the next generation - afterall, as a reviewer, I really do need to have projectors here that do all the latest and greatest, and for next year's crop of home theater projectors, that may well include the ability to watch Avatar, Clash of the Titans, Alice In Wonderland, etc. in 3D. All the standards are coming into place and I imagine that will be possible on a decent number of projectors a year from now, but there are no guarantees of much of anything in terms of future 3D capability from the few 3D ready projectors out there.
Ah! I digress.
The Last question: "Based on what I've seen, from the RS35 and RS25 review units, is the "hand picked" RS35 worth the difference?
Again, it's your money, and I can't tell what you can afford, but, all else considered, the sharpness difference alone, for me would justify the RS35, because, the other JVCs' average sharpness has been my own primary misgivings with both my older RS1 and my current RS20. Had there been an "RS30" last year - same idea, I do believe I would have bought it then, as I was definitely in the heart of my 2 year spending cycle.
Awesome picture! Truly the Best In Class. Congratuations JVC, for giving the bar another nudge.
JVC DLA-RS35 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Image below is from the RS2 - source: The Fifth Element, on Blu-ray
JVC DLA-RS35 Projector: Pros
- Excellent Color with extremely good skin tones (the tiniest of gold caste, but I'm really quibbling and figure I can eyeball remove that, as I continue to play)
- Definitely above average brightness in "best" movie mode
- Superb, and unmatched, black level performance - as close to the Holy Grail (of perfect blacks) as any fixed panel projector I have ever seen.
- Certainly the sharpest looking image from an LCoS or LCD based projector, that I've ever seen
- Not the most dynamic image (pop and wow) but still rather good at it, on bright scenes. Great blacks give it more "pop and wow" than the competition on any dark scene.
- Good shadow detail performance, not the best, but more than acceptable.
- There is a manual iris, for getting your brightness right. It has lots of steps and can be very helpful for those with smaller screens, if things actually get too bright.
- Good CFI - creative frame interpolation, best for sports, and digital source material. Not as smooth as the best, very minor artifacts at times. Could be improved, but just dandy for 40 hours of Olympics viewing these past two weeks.
- Outputs 24 frame per second sources at 96 fps
- Excellent remote control with excellent range, excellent backlight, good organization one of my all time favorite remotes (a great thing, since my RS20's remote sucks due to limited range - though fine for people with smaller rooms and screens.)
- Very good color management system, improved over the last generation
- Almost excellent placement flexibility (2:1 zoom, lens shift), just a little less lens shift than the most shift offered by a few models If you can't make the RS35 fit in your room, few projectors will.
- Focus, Zoom and Lens shift all motorized
- Very good menus
- Definitely expensive, but it delivers excellent value for those who can appreciate this projector - at least a small step up, over anything else near its price. A pricy projector, yet a really good value proposition. That is, if you can afford, it, you will almost certainly feel it's worth it.
Note, I've received 3 emails now from current RS35 owners, since this was published almost a week ago. The one thing in common all three said, in addition to mentioning a this or that, was that, yes, they all felt the RS35 was definitely worth it. (Obviously it was within their affordable range.) At least two of the three have had at least 1 home theater projector previously.
JVC DLA-RS35 Projector: Cons
- A relatively dim "brightest" mode, of 725 (calibrated, midpoint on zoom lens) lumens means it can't deal with a whole lot of ambient light, at all, unless you have a small screen.
- CFI not as smooth as the best, but fine for sports. Definitely changes enough to "damage" the director's intent when watching movies.
- Slightly less than average lamp life? JVC quotes 2000 hours at full power (the "industry average), but only "slightly better, in low lamp" while most 2000 hour full power projectors quote 3000 in low power.
- Although most reasonable - audible noise wise, the RS35 could be a little quieter with lamp at full power. Few would consider this an issue though
- I'm still waiting for truly great documentation, from anyone. JVC's efforts aren't bad, but, still leaves many questions about how features work, unanswered.
JVC DLA-RS35 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Selection of inputs
- Lamp life is likely typical or below average in life
- Documentation (I'm still waiting to see a projector that really does provide good explanations of all the menu functions).
My last thoughts: Well, I'd rather have the RS35 over my RS20, if for no other reasons, the sharpness difference and the CFI for sports viewing. Ultimately it's JVC's decision to build a limited number of RS35 projectors from the best of the parts that go into RS25s, that provides the extra sharpness and other, subtle improvements, that really make the JVC DLA-RS35 home theater projector, overall, outstanding, without any real image quality issues.
I just looked at my check book balance. It would seem that I will have to get by with my RS20 and it's slightly softer image, and not quite as excellent blacks, for a while longer.
But, don't let that stop you. If you've got the funds on hand, I'd suggest you either plunk down for the JVC RS35, or, better still, transfer the money into my checking account, and I'll buy one, and provide you an occasional report on how much I'm enjoying "your" home theater projector. The last image above, was taken with the RS25, not the DLA-RS35 projector. Source, August Rush, Blu-ray.
If you do spring for a JVC DLA-RS35 or DLA-HD990, you really are in for a treat to the eyes and the visual cortex.
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