JVC DLA-X95R Projector - Performance
2/14/2013 - Art Feierman
On this page we take a look at the DLA-X95R projector's brightness, sharpness, and image noise. We'll discuss brightness in both 2D and 3D, as well. Also considered here are other issues including image noise, light leakage, and audible noise.
JVC DLA-X95R Brightness
JVC rates the DLA-X95R projector as a 1200 lumen projector. As expected it isn't as bright as JVC's "entry level projector, the X35 (aka RS46, which is sitting here, already calibrated, and our next review.
Mike's highest measurement was 827 lumens, in Animation mode, with zoom at full wide angle. (757 lumens at mid-point). Stage mode, which I used when I wanted the brightest good looking picture, was a tad better than Animation but only 9 lumens less bright.
The next few screens will deal with pre-calibration information, including photos of how some of the modes look. Further down you'll find the post calibration information including the measured brightness for D65 and "brightest" mode.
First are the lumen measurements for each of the preset and user modes. Also included was the measured color temp for white, for each mode.
JVC DLA-X95R Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom):
Cinema= 550 @ 6764
Film= 514 @ 5933
Natural= 685 @ 6921
Stage= 748 @ 8273
Animation= 757 @ 8904
3D= 748 @ 8300
THX= 676 @ 6979
User 1-5= 685 @ 6866
Note, Stage definitely looks a good bit brighter, (with color temp at 7000K , and more so at it's default 7500K), which Mike's measured numbers don't seem to reflect, since he shows only about a 100 lumen difference.
Here are samples of the DLA-X95 projector in different modes: THX, then cali Brightest: Stage, and User 1 (calibrated). These could have been a little less exposed, but it does give you a look into the differences in brightness, (and a bit of color too.)
Regarding Stage mode, the cooler color temp adds to the feeling of "whiter whites" due to more blue, and makes the overall image seem brighter.
Last year, and the year before we showed how JVC's Detail Enhancement and dynamic sharpness performed. Check out the JVC RS45 review if you are curious. This year we're focusing on e-shift2 instead. (on the first page under Special Features, and image quality pages).
JVC X95R Effect of zoom on lumen output (Animation mode):
Zoom out: 827
Zoom in: 633
Changing the position of your projector, relative to the screen, so that your zoom lens is at full wide angle (projector as close as it can get to the screen) buys you almost exactly 10% more brightness than at mid-point on the zoom (the projector about another 5 feet further back from a 100" diagonal screen). Even going all the way from wide angle to maximum distance back - telephoto, results in a drop of only about 25%.
That is truly excellent for a 2:1 zoom. Many projectors with that much zoom range see a drop of up to 40% not 25%, and on the lower end of the home theater projector spectrum, the Panasonic PT-AR100U ($1199) drops just about 50%! That's a real plus, if you want to mount in the back of your room, such as on a high shelf.
FYI: JVC refers to full brightness as High, and their "eco-mode" as Normal brightess.
JVC DLA-X95R Brightness in eco-mode:
We measured 351lumens @ 7066 with Cinema mode, that compares to Cinema mode producing 550 lumens in High lamp.
That makes the projector about 37% less bright in Normal mode, or you could say that High lamp mode is almost 60% brighter. Normal ("eco") is dramatically quieter than Normal, but the question is, will you have enough lumens. the 658 calibrated lumens at full power would therefore be about 420 lumens. Of course that's still plenty for a 100" or slightly larger screen for 2D viewing.
Color Temp over IRE Range, (Pre calibration): Cinema
30 IRE 6383
50 IRE 6618
80 IRE 6668
100 IRE 6764
That's pretty good to start, although a tendency to more red in the lower brightness areas.
Effect of Lens Aperture setting on the JVC's Brightness: Animation mode
0 (maximum opening) = 757
-7 (half open) = 520
-15 (minimum opening) = 219
If you don't need all the brightness, please note that the more you close down the iris of this JVC, the better the contrast. Blacks will get even blacker, both by virtue of the smaller iris opening, and also because of the reduced overall brightness. Of course, the idea is not to starve yourself of brightness, for a very minor improvement in blacks.
JVC DLA-X95R Projector - Post Calibration
DLA-X95R Best mode- User 1: 658 lumens @ 6860
Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration):
20 IRE 6245
30 IRE 6415
40 IRE 6517
50 IRE 6569
60 IRE 6536
70 IRE 6534
80 IRE 6645
90 IRE 6643
100 IRE 6680
Average gamma= 2.20
JVC Gamma Control:
The measured gamma, in all the preset gamma modes comes in under 2.2. Normal setting, at 2.14 measured is the closest the JVC gets to the correct number. That' translates into brighter than proper in the mid-range brightness areas). Fortunately JVC offers extensive gamma custom controls. Mike setup a custom gamma successfully, which hit his 2.2 target. Otherwise, note: Gamma setting A, lifts the very dark regions of an image. When engaged, it seems that the very dark shadow detail is improved, but in reality, it's really just lifting that which was already there, making it far more obvious (and too much). That A setting might be a setting gamers would like, since they really want to easily see dark shadow detail, some of which is often lost with projectors.
Art's NOTE: The JVC X95 R does seem to have a slight shift to red in the very dark regions. That's supported by viewing and the drop in color temp at 20 IRE shown above.
Mike's Notes: Grayscale calibrated pretty well, with an average Delta E of only 1.3. The RGB balance was also pretty good, other than a spike in Red at 20 IRE. Adjusting Gain has a greater effect on the total IRE range than it should, whereas Offset has less of an effect on upper IREs. So, if you adjust Gain, then compensate for the adjusted gain effect with Offset, it works out pretty good. As Animation (the brightest mode) is only 81 lumens more than THX mode, there’s no need for a quick cal of a “bright” mode.
Typical of JVC projectors, gamma was too low in any of the presets (Normal was the high with an average gamma of 2.14), so I used the custom gamma. The custom gamma started with the Normal preset, but I dropped the numbers -15 from 5 to 75%, -10 at 80% and -5 at 90 and 95%. This results in a pretty smooth gamma with an average of 2.20. Luminance tracking is quite good as well.
The standard color gamut is decent and doesn’t have the oversaturated green that prior models had, but the secondaries are all off a little in hue.
Fortunately, the CMS works quite well and I was able to dial in the colors pretty well. Overall, colors look very good.
Art's note: Future subscribers, starting in 5/13 you will be able to view the CIE charts, and get our settings from calibrating the individual primary and secondary colors with the CMS, plus Mike will have additional commments related to that extra calibration work).
The Calibration page provides the settings we used and report on. That includes basic settings as well as gain and offset for the grayscale balance.
JVC DLA-X95R Sharpness
The JVC DLA-X95R starts out "typically sharp" for a 3 chip or 3 panel projector. All else being equal, single chip DLP projectors have a sharpness advantage as they don't have to align and converge separate Red, Green, and Blue light.
But this is JVC with their "4K" e-shift technology, which I discussed on the first page of this review. While I don't buy into their marketing of 4K, e-shift2 definitely is a player when it comes to providing a sharper seeming image.
Not surprisingly the DLA-X95 seems to be at least as sharp as any other 3 panel/3chip type projector I've seen, at least if we exclude some many times the price 3 chip DLP projectors (with optics that probably sell for more than this projector). Even when using e-Shift2, though, the JVC is no match for the true 4K Sony, when both are handling 1080p images.
For your consideration, our usual close up images:
Top left: JVC DLA-X95R, Top Left Center: Runco LS-5, Top Right Center: Sony VW95ES, Top right: Epson Home Cinema 5020
Below: Panasonic PT-AE8000, left, JVC X55R center, Sony VPL-VW1000ES on the right
Also for your consideration:
The standard size image is a frame from the latest Spiderman movie. Click on it, though and you will get a 1000 pixel wide image that is very closely cropped, showing only about 1/4 of the whole image. e-shift2 is set to Film:
JVC's own focus screen for the power lens, also makes for a good indicator of sharpness: Looking at the larger version of these two, may drive you crazy. Differences are hard to spot. Your initial reaction is likely wrong. The first image is with e-shift on Film, and it's turned Off on the second. After you've stared at these a while, you come to the realization that e-shift on isn't adding detail, only the "feeling" of more detail.
JVC DLA-X95R: Bottom Line Sharpness
Overall, very good sharpness (definitely better than most in the corners), for a 3 chip device. A number of competitors are slightly sharper, or "sharper still", as I like to say, and that includes several DLP's as well as a few 3 panel based projectors. But that's no longer true with e-Shift2 engaged. Use the higher settings at this JVC will easily seem sharper than those DLPs. It may be "image processing" but it seems that way, none the less. It's a tough call, stay a purist, or use these fancy dynamic features that always have to take something away, for everything they give you. My solution, with this projector has been moderation. Thus, I've had e-Shift2 engaged for almost all viewing, but Film setting for movies, and no higher than High Resolution for the rest, although HD is very tempting for sports.
X95R Light Leakage
The JVC DLA-X95R does leak light through the lens. Fortunately, a projector with this black level performance is leaking a tiny amount of light. You simply won't see it with anything much above a completely black image being projected. Below is an incredibly overexposed image of the JVC (left) next to the Epson 5020. Note the lighter vertical band running through the Epson (about 10% in from the JVC edge). That's light leaking from the JVC. Also there's a general amount of low light all the way around the JVC, which really isn't detectable here, even with more than a half minute exposure, plus additional push, and with the camera's aperture wide open.
Don't start wondering why the Epson looks darker overall. In this photo, I froze the projectors with no signal present. That allows the Epson iris to stop down further than it can even are the darkest scenes, sort of a reset position. I have yet to see any scene where the Epson has blacker blacks.
Basically I'm pointing out that yes, they could control light through the lens better, (further improve the optical engine) but as they already have the blackest blacks available (that would be the grey - then you realize that the leakage is even darker than the JVC's most perfect black. When you consider the light leakage, but paired with the blacks potential, but it really should be seen as a "who cares" improvement. You will never see this, or notice this, even though the tiny leakage must have the tiniest impact on the image. JVC on the left, below:
DLA-X95R Image Noise
I didn't spot the minor, and not very often panning issues, we look for. At certain panning speeds you can always see some judder with 24fps movies. In this case, one of our test scenes is near the opening of the movie RED when they pan the neighborhood. The JVC did a really good job. From a practical standpoint it was perhaps insignificantly smoother than the Epson, but definitely better than the Sony VPL-VW95ES.
Of course fancy image processing, including e-Shift2, can add to the visible image noise, and they do. Still pretty good looking, almost always better than the typical DLP in terms of noises such as common mosquito noise.
3D noise: Much better than last year's JVC projectors. I think JVC did a great job of improving 3D performance this year. They went, in one year, from mediocre, to "pretty competent".
I watched a ton of 3D with this JVC X95R projector, that included Hugo, MIB 3, the last Harry Potter, The Avengers, Step-Up 3D (dance movie). My concern with 3D was not crosstalk or other 3D issues, but always came back to the brightness. I'm sorry, working with less than 800 lumens in 3D is always going to make brightness the primary issue.
At least this year, they have the big crosstalk issues discussed last year, under control.
JVC DLA-X95R Audible Noise
Large projectors have the room to baffle noise and end up quieter than smaller projectors. Still, this JVC X95R is still fairly loud at full power considering. (Of course, I'm talking for a home theater projector.) It might be a touch quieter than those Epsons but there are noticeably quieter projectors at full power. I'd say the JVC is a little quieter than the average DLP projector, but that's about it.
In low power, no issue at all. The JVC X95 projector is close to silent, for all practical purposes. In its low power (Normal) lamp mode, it's likely in the low 20s interms of measured decibels (we do not measure).
The pitch is reasonably low, so it may seem a touch quieter at full power than a number of other projectors with higher pitched fan (and in the case of DLP projectors, color wheel whine).
Bottom line on audible noise: The JVC DLA-X95R's handling of fan noise is pretty good. It's fairly typical (or slightly quieter than most) at full power, and really quiet at low.