JVC DLA-RS45 Projector - Image Quality
All of the JVC DLA-RS45 screen image photos below are from either Blu-ray or HDTV source material. Screen images were taken projecting onto a Stewart Studiotek 130 screen. Comparison images (two projectors, side by side, were taken when projecting to a Carada Brilliant White screen, which is basically similar to the Studiotek).
Basically all the projectors we review, including this DLA-RS45, will look a lot better projecting on to your screen, (or even a white wall), than in these pictures. Although the images can reveal some things and support some points I make, they are mostly for "entertainment" for the following reasons:
These JVC DLA-RS45 projector images come to you, through a Canon 60D dSLR camera, software, massive image compression (which does shift color), browsers, your computer's graphic card, and even your monitor, all with their own color and contrast inaccuracies. There are color shifts, saturation differences, etc. Take them all, "with a grain (no, make that a kilo) of salt".
1/20/12 - Art Feierman
DLA-RS45 "Out of the Box" Picture Quality
Right out of the box, the JVC DLA RS45 projector in its best modes, tends to be a little bit cool. That is, a touch heavy on blues, a touch thin on reds. All that considered, the colors are very good. Skin tones actually look rather good for right out of the box. Just turn it on and watch it, say, in Cinema mode. In other words most people would be perfectly happy buying an RS45, taking it home, hooking it up to a Blu-ray player, popping in a movie and just enjoying it.
On the other hand, the JVC RS45 projector, is exactly the kind of projector that is purchased by people who would not be satisfied with anything short of the best the projector can produce! So, while you don't have to calibrate this projector to fully enjoy it, you probably will. (Failing that, try our published calibration settings. Remember, a lot of the variation is from one lamp to the next, so our settings may, or may not, work all that well for your JVC projector and lamp combination.)
Check out our recommended settings for items like Brightness, Color, etc. on the Calibration page of this review.
DLA-RS45 Projector - Flesh Tones
Although the RS45, even post-calibration, (due to the lack of a full color management system) cannot offer as precisely accurate colors as the higher end JVCs, or, for that matter, some of its direct competition. (That competition includes projectors from Epson, Panasonic, BenQ, Sony, Mitsubishi, Optoma, and others). Overall skin tones are reasonably accurate, make that pretty accurate. One of the things that should truly impress you, is the combination of that rather good color in skin tones combined with this JVC's exceptional brightness when calibrated.
As it turns out, the RS45, calibrated or not, produces about 900 lumens in its "best" mode, and as I have mentioned elsewhere around 500 - 600 lumens calibrated, is typical for most home theater projectors, and few produce more than 700 lumens post-calibration.
Above and below, from Lord of the Rings: Gandalf, Arwen
Below, Lucy, from Narnia: The Dawn Treader
Leeloo, of course, from The Fifth Element
Immediately below are some additional images we typically use in reviews, that should give you a good feel for overall skin tone handling:
"Rhodey" in Iron Man 2:
DLA-RS45 Black Levels & Shadow Detail
I mentioned on the first page of this review that the JVC RS45 produces excellent black levels. This is important. The black level performance of the RS45 may well be its single greatest achievement, even though the more expensive JVC's starting at over twice the price are even better. With the RS45, even on the darkest scenes, our side by side viewing with the Epson showed that at its best the Epson could barely match the JVC and on most scenes, the JVC RS45 offers a slight, but distinct advantage.
For black level fanatics such as myself, this partially explains why I happen to own a JVC projector. Below you will find our usual images including the train scene from James Bond’s Casino Royale, taken at night (or what looks to be night), and also the starship image from the Fifth Element. These are two good examples for evaluating black level performance and dark shadow detail.
While the blacks are very black compared to most projectors, I do want to point out, that even after calibration, the JVC RS45 tends to show a very strong blue caste in the almost black areas. It is also slightly visible on some other projectors, but a bit over the top of the JVC. This really is only something to see in a very dark scene. You're not likely to even have a clue about that on any average scene, daytime scene, indoor scene, etc. However on really dark scenes such as the starship areas which should be almost black, tend to ring with a strong blue. While this isn't exactly a major league problem, it is worthy of note. I won't hold it too much against the RS45, as all considered, the great blacks easily make me a bit forgiving about the blue caste, which tends to get exaggerated in really dark images. Examples below.
Here we again start, with the DLA-RS45, followed by the Sony VPL-VW95ES. Note: We will be converting most recent "starship" images to grayscale to remove the distraction of varying colors.
In color above, highlights a spike in blue in the dark ranges.
Mitsubishi HC9000D (uses Sony LCoS panels):
Sharp XV-Z17000, This Sharp was the first single chip 1080p DLP projector to hit the market under $5000.
Epson has reigned for years as the "black level champ" in the under $3500 price range, and can compete in blacks, rather easily with most over $5000 projectors.
That said, it can't quite compete with the JVC DLA-RS45, which is simply better at doing blacker blacks.
JVC RS15: (Has been replaced, officially, by the RS45 (not reviewed)
Finally, a little side by side imagery. On the right is the DLA-RS45, on the left is the $20K SIM2 Nero 2:
Bottom line in terms of black level performance: The JVC RS45, quite simply, is really hard to beat. It's killer on really dark scenes (except for that blue shift), and blacks are darker and richer even on medium and bright scenes, although you'll rarely notice that because those scenes are brighter.
Shadow Detail Performance
JVC's RS45 does a decent job on dark shadow detail after adjusting brightness appropriately. It is, however, far from being a top performer in dark shadow detail. This is easily noticeable in the night train scene where the JVC shows less detail in the shrubs and trees than most other projectors anywhere near its price. This combines with the excellent blacks, however to sometimes make really dark scenes seem too contrasty, which is more of a lack of that last level of dark shadow detail, than actually being more contrasty, as things that should be near black, start looking all black.
Below Mitsubishi HC9000D (last year's Best In Class winner, $3500 - $10,000)
Here are images from additional projectors:
Sony VPL-VPL-HW30ES ($3699):
Epson's Home Cinema 5010:
JVC DLA-RS25 (two generations old, but one step up in performance and price):
Runco LS-10d (a very nice 3 chip $27K projector with good shadow detail)
In conclusion, the dark shadow detail is good, definitely more than adequate. I believe that the great black levels combine with the respectable shadow detail, and end up with a neat, really good picture. That said, I would like to see the next generation JVC do a bit better on those dark shadow details.
(Note, Mike, as usual, calibrated the RS45, ( he's a THX certified calibrator), however different people calibrating the same projector always end up with slightly different results.) It is quite possible that if I gave it back to him and ask him to see what he could do about the blue, I'm sure he would say, sure, we can reduce that, but it might affect other aspects...
Immediately below: JVC on the left, Epson Home Cinema 5010 on the right. Of all the projectors around the price of the RS45, only the Epson comes really close to the JVC's black level performance, but still falls short, although, on the other hand, it has the slightest advantage on dark shadow details.
All considered the JVC RS45, and the JVC X30, produce a really good combination of black levels and dark shadow detail, together one could say they easily rival any other projector anywhere near the price.
JVC DLA-RS45 - Overall Color & Picture Quality
It's hard not to like the RS45. I got to watch dozens of hours of movies alone, just 10 or 20 minute parts of some, but also several with my full attention, from beginning to end.
I thought skin tones to be very natural. Daniel Craig's skin tones always tended to look just a touch more believable than the Epson competition, for example (even if the Epson was providing a slightly sharper image). Combine that with the black levels, and it's hard for the JVC not to be the best thing around for the price, when it comes to movie viewing.
The image seems a little softer than most of the competition, in both texture and sharpness. For most 2D, non-movie content, the RS45 looks just dandy, but some of the competition is a bit sharper, or a lot brighter, or some other combination. Definitely this JVC projector is at its competitive best on movies.
Remember, with almost 900 lumens calibrated, this is one of the brightest projectors around when doing accurate color. Any issues with the ability to calibrate the RS45, are slight compared to running other projectors in non-calibrated modes to get similar brightness. That makes the RS45 perfect for a really large screen in your theater, if movies are your thing!
Let's address the strong blue spike in the near dark areas, that I've mentioned. Below are some images which should clarify, and give you a good idea of the impact:
The JVC DLA-RS45 image immediately below, at first glance, looks really good. I nice dark scene, from Narnia: Dawn Treader. (I like dragons).
This scene, though really brings out that extra dark blue tendency previously mentioned.
Above and below: The RS45 above, and the Sony VPL-VW95ES, SIM2 Nero 3D2 below.
Note that the dark blues in the dark areas are much stronger with the RS45 than the Sony VW95ES, or the $20,000 plus SIM2 Nero 3D2, which look - color wise, almost identical to each other, and more green, which is how I believe they were intended to be.
Both are very different from the JVC. Remember, all are calibrated, (but only down to 20 IRE). This strong deep blue issue, is the biggest thing I can find to complain about, but further calibrating, may well help. If not, it really isn't a serious problem, and only really noticeable on nice really dark scenes.
Below, for those that like to stare, and draw your own conclusions, here are several comparison images. The JVC RS45 is always the left image, and the Epson Home Cinema 5010 is on the right. (Note, for these side-by-side photos, I'm using a shiny new, full production Epson 5010 projector, that Mike has not yet calibrated. It replaces the pre-production one, that the review was based on. For that reason, the Epson's colors are off more than would be normally).
Switching to 3D content and modes, these next images should give you a good idea of the significant brightness difference. In the first image below, the Epson is in 3D Dynamic, its brightest mode (with pretty good color considering), the JVC is in 3D mode, with color temp on 6500K. JVC glasses seem to have a slight color shift, the Epson's do not.
Perhaps the most important 3D comparison image, though, is this one immediately below. In this case, the JVC is still in 3D mode, but with High Bright selected for Color Temp, yielding the maximum lumens in 3D, that the JVC RS45 is capable of. Even in this High Bright temp mode, the JVC is still dramatically less bright than the Epson (which is about the brightest - but the Panasonic is about the same as the Epson, and the BenQ should come in somewhere between the Epson/Panasonic and this JVC's brightest 3D mode).
Unfortunately, color was well off in this mode. Mike did not attempt to calibrate the High Bright color Temp. As it starts out with less than a 200 lumen advantage compared to the 6500K color temp mode, by the time the color starts looking respectable in 3D on the JVC with High Bright, it probably no longer would be appreciably brighter than the the regular 3D with 6500K!
Two more side-by-side comparisons with the Epson 5010. Again, you can see a truly dramatic difference in brightness favoring the Epson. This is a key reason why the Epson is more versatile, even if the JVC is my preferred 2D movie projector of the two.
For your consideration: Here are additional JVC DLA-RS45 images, some of which can be found on other reviews for comparison purposes:
Below: From Victoria Secret's fashion show.
The bottom line on overall picture quality:
Pre-calibration, very good. Post calibration, great. Other than the tendency of oversaturated colors, which reducing the color saturation tends to address, there's really nothing to complain about. I've got over 50 hours now, logged, watching the DLA-RS45 in 2D, and I've enjoyed all of it. Oh my old JVC can do better blacks still, but at the moment, my JVC is underpowered if I want to watch a movie filling my full 124" diagonal 2.35:1 screen, whereas the DLA-RS45 handles it no problem, in terms of brightness!
JVC DLA-RS45 Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
For sports and TV viewing, in terms of maximum brightness, this JVC certainly isn't the brightest projector around. On the other hand, it is definitely right about average brightness at maximim. The JVC's best and brightest modes are effectively the same with output hitting up to about 1,000 lumens depending on the position of the zoom lens. Calibrated, we had measured 892 lumens down from 921 uncalibrated, and both measurements with the zoom at midpoint. As Mike, our calibrator, points out, for the most point, the only way to get any real difference in brightness from the various modes is to take the color temperature and change it from the usual 6,500 K or 7,000 K, and instead select High Bright, which we assume is the native mode (and strong on green) of the lamp. Unfortunately High Bright is not very pretty.
You might switch to this color temp if you're watching sports with a bunch of friends, with some sunlight entering your room and some lights on, because you're socializing, and because it's not a movie. In such cases, the high bright will help you out a bit, however, since almost all JVC RS45 projectors are likely to end up in dedicated home theaters or similar rooms, you probably won’t need it. (By similar rooms I mean rooms with mostly dark walls and surfaces optimized for best viewing, and some decent control of lighting).
I don't suspect very many JVC RS45 or X30 projectors will end up in a light, bright, family room, because that’s not its native habitat. In fairness though, it's brighter than the more expensive JVCs, but it's still no match for projectors that are designed for family room as well as dedicated room operation. Some examples of that might be the Epson 5010, the Panasonic PTAE7000, the BenQ W7000, and there are others. All of those I mentioned, can put onto your screen 50 percent more brightness, more than double the output of the JVC. So, just remember, this is a home theater projector designed for a proper room.
If you aren’t sure about the match between your projector and room for sports, keep in mind JVC RS45 does have more calibrated brightness than most home theater projectors. You will have great color when watching all that HDTV, including your favorite sporting events. Even if some other projectors can be roughly twice as bright, at their brightest, the JVC's color will be more accurate, than those projectors, when using all of their lumens.
I used my old RS1 (the great, great, grandfather of the RS45) for a couple years in a room with off white ceilings, gold carpeting, and rust colored walls. Although I had black shades on the windows (some leakage around the shades). That RS1 (similar in brightness to the RS45), was adequate on a large 128” screen, but I always wanted more lumens, and would, for example, always bring in a much brighter projector for our annual Superbowl parties.
Because many new projectors are 3D capable, we're seeing far more bright projectors this year and last than any previous time in home theater history. While last year, most of our projectors that were LCD were around 600 lumens or less ("best" mode) and most DLPs were 500, 600, 700 lumens (as were LCOS projectors).
That's no longer the case. You have a choice. If you need a lot more lumens than the JVC, consider that the BenQ W7000 can put something like 1,200 calibrated lumens on the screen! When you don't need perfect color, you'll find that the Epson 5010 can put almost 1,700 lumens on the screen with decent color, and so it goes. The only final recommendation as far as brightness is - choose the JVC for the right room and you will be very happy. Try and push it into a room or a screen size too large for it for multi-purpose viewing including sports and gaming and who knows what else, and you might be somewhat disappointed.
Bottom line for HDTV on the JVC DLA-RS45 Home Theater Projector
In a dedicated theater with excellent lighting control, even with a fairly large screen, you should have no problem at all with brightness when viewing HDTV in general, and specifically sports. Your lighting control should keep everything under control. If you are out in a more family room type evironment, then other projectors that are brighter, might serve better.
The picture, on the other hand, should be beautiful, because, in your theater, there won't be any reason not to watch in your best, calibrated mode, since it's within 20% of its absolute brightest mode.
3D viewing of sports and hi-def content, as mentioned on the first page, is my biggest issue. While definitely brighter in 3D than the JVC RS60 I got to look at last year, it’s still too thin on lumens for reasonably bright 3D, except on smaller screens.
Sharpness is very good for a "3 chip device" in which I mean the projector is converging and aligning three beams of light. Single chip DLP's do have an advantage. Overall, though the JVC is pretty typically sharp for an LCoS projector. In side by side viewing, it was a touch softer, though, than the Epson Home Cinema 5010, another 3 chip (LCD) projector.
When watching your non-movies (where content is all digital) - that is when you can really appreciate any extra sharpness. Let's say the JVC is good for a projector in its price range for digital content, but better at handling film.
Brightness for sports - in my dark surfaced theater: I can have all my rear recessed lights on (7 down facing LED lights - each about 50 watt equivalent), and still find that sports viewing is more than bright enough in 2D, with that ambient light . While there isn't a huge difference in brightness between the JVC RS45's various modes, filling a 100" screen (16:9) even with the lights on, in any of the modes, looks great in my theater. I never really needed to go to "brightest mode" except for 3D, or if I chose to partially open a couple of my shutters to let in some real sunlight.
Page summary: The JVC RS45 is pretty darn good, right out of the box, but a typical "enthusiast" buyer of the RS45 wants it performing at its best. Post calibration color is great, not the best, but really good, and things tend to look natural and right.
The great black levels, combined with less accomplished dark shadow detail abilities, yield really excellent dark scenes, with a lot of "pop".
In the right setup, picture quality wise, the JVC RS45 is superb for movies, and more than fine for everything else.