JVC DLA-X35 Projector Review

Shadow Detail Performance

Really extremely good. I found, overall, after correctly setting Contrast and Brightness, and Mike’s gamma calibration, that only the Epsons in the price range seem to deliver a bit more darkest shadow detail.  Gamma settings can come into play here, but I’ll stick with that assessment overall. Great, but not the absolute best dark shadow detail.  Unfortunately for this particular X35 at least, the black level is either a touch higher than it should be, or by decreasing the Brightness setting by 1 (smallest incremet) blacks improve further, but there is definitely additional significant crushing of dark detail. Dial this X35 down for the blacks, and the dark shadow detail becomes more average, close to the Sony, no match for the Epson, but still darn good.

Editor’s note:  We’re converting many of these “Bond train scene” images to grayscale, because color differences tend to be very distracting (and they are poor representatives of actual color on images overexposed by 4 or 5 f-stops (typially lens wide open, and exposures up to 30 seconds!)

DLA-X35: Extremely good, but not the best.  It’s a tricky thing to maximize dark shadow detail and black levels when dealing with controls as coarse as the JVC’s.  I think JVC would be wise, perhaps, to change their adjustment scale for finer control. To maximize, I’d guess three steps were needed, not one, for each one currently available.   That is, next year, take the range from 0 to +2, and break that out to 6 or 9 steps not 3.

Ed. Note:  Most images below have the PS3 pause icon in the lower left corner.  Comparing how blown out that pause is, helps determine if images are similarly overexposed, or if one is more so, compared to another.

Shadow Detail Performance

First two side by side overexposed images of the Bond night train scene. We’ll start with a comparison to the Epson, then the high end JVC X95R. Again, the DLA-X35 projector is on the right for both sets.

Note, above, the X95R seems to have more dark shadow detail, but if that’s really the case, it’s slight. Much of that impression is due to the X95R being a touch more overexposed.

On the upper image, the Epson has the black level, and shadow detail advantage over the JVC. This is a scene with no significant bright areas, allowing the Epson iris to close down to probably it’s maximum.

Shadow Detail Performance

jvc-dla-x35
JVC dla-x55r
Mitsubishi HC9000D
Epson's Home Cinema 5020UB
jvc-dla-x95r
Sony VPL-HW50ES
jvc-dla-x35
+JVC dla-x55r

DLA-X35 Projector: Note the excellent dark shadow detail in the forest on the right, and on the shrubs above the tracks (also on the right).

DLA-X55R: Interesting, as the X35 and X55R should have the same black level performance, and likely the same shadow detail. If you look closely, you can quickly see that the X35 above is definitely more overexposed. If you can mentally compensate, you would likely conclude that if both images were equally overexposed, blacks and detail would look the same.

Mitsubishi HC9000D: Reviewed a year plus ago. It’s getting old and will soon be out of the lineup, but it earned a top award two years ago.

Sony VPL-VPL-HW50ES: Could be more overexposed to be helpful, but overall, not quite the equal to the X35, unless you drop the brightness setting by 1 from optimum for shadow detail, to optimum for black levels.

Epson’s Home Cinema 5020UB (and therefore Pro Cinema 6020UB too), – Surprisingly, has the best dark shadow detail we’ve seen. Why surprising? because only 3 generations ago, shadow detail was a consistent weakness of the Epsons and now it’s a major strength.

JVC  DLA-X95R: You can obviously see far more dark shadow detail here, but note that this exposure is more overexposed, making that possible. Both JVC’s do a great job overall.

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