JVC DLA-X35 Projector Review

DLA-X35 Black Levels & Shadow Detail

More images showing off black level performance, starting with Beyonce:

Overall, great blacks and really good shadow detail!

Let’s start with a a direct comparison between the JVC and the Epson 5020UB. As many of you know, the Epson offers exceptional black level performance for an under $3500 projector - the best we’ve seen for the price.    Well, this JVC is every bit as good.

Below consider first our side by side images.  Here we start with the JVC going up against the less expensive Epson Home Cinema 5020UB ($2599 with 3D glasses) and also the far more expensive JVC DLA-X95R ($12K, without 3D glasses and emitter.  The Epson is on the left, JVC on the right.

If you look at the letterboxing and space background above, at first glance, the blacks seem a touch blacker with the Epson.  Same thing happens at second and third glances.  Still, not that overall, the JVC is a touch more overexposed.  That overexposure lifts all the blacks.  I’d call these two projectors a tie in terms of blacks on this image.

Next, now the X35 has to take on JVC’s flagship X95R, a projector well over 3 times the price:  Again the X35 is on the right.  This time the X95 is offering the darker blacks around the image, but also it’s the slightly more overexposed of the two, which indicates the X95R’s advantage is greater than you would assume on first glance.

Next:  This colorful side by side shows the X95R on the left, X35 on the right, both tackling the same black frame.  The exposure time, a whopping 30 seconds, with the lens at F5.0.  When you click on this, the larger version will be grayscale for easier comparison.

No question the “blacks” of the X95R are significantly darker, as is most obvious on the larger version.  You can also see minor shifts in color on the smaller image, and brightness shifts on both.  Bottom line, sorry X35, you just aren’t a match for the DLA-X75R and DLA-X95R projectors when it comes to blacks.  One thing more.  I’ve mentioned light leakage on the performance page.  Note that lighter greenish tinted area on the lower left of the X35.  That light is actually leakage from the X95R.  As I have said elsewhere, these JVCs do leak light through the lens, fortunately it’s very, very dark.

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JVC DLA-X35 Black Levels Slideshow

Epson 5020UB vs. JVC DLA-X35

The Epson is on the left, JVC on the right. If you look at the letterboxing and space background above, at first glance, the blacks seem a touch blacker with the Epson.

JVC DLA-X95 vs. JVC DLA-X35

Again the X35 is on the right. This time the X95 is offering the darker blacks around the image, but also it's the slightly more overexposed of the two, which indicates the X95R's advantage is greater than you would assume on first glance.

JVC DLA-X95 vs. JVC DLA-X35

This colorful side by side shows the X95R on the left, X35 on the right, both tackling the same black frame. The exposure time, a whopping 30 seconds, with the lens at F5.0.

No question the “blacks” of the X95R are significantly darker, as is most obvious on the larger version.  You can also see minor shifts in color on the smaller image, and brightness shifts on both.  Bottom line, sorry X35, you just aren’t a match for the DLA-X75R and DLA-X95R projectors when it comes to blacks.  One thing more.  I’ve mentioned light leakage on the performance page.  Note that lighter greenish tinted area on the lower left of the X35.  That light is actually leakage from the X95R.  As I have said elsewhere, these JVCs do leak light through the lens, fortunately it’s very, very dark.

Now for our usual set of comparative images from competing projectors:

Here we again start, with the DLA-X35, followed by the Sony VPL-HW50ES.  The Sony on this image has the slight advantage in blacks. Observe the pause icon, from that you can see the X35′s pause is a bit more “blown out” indicating that the X35′s image is a touch more overexposed.  That’s enough to make up for most of the difference, although, overall, I’ll give the Sony VPL-HW50ES the advantage.  Although the Sony seems to have more pop, note also that there seems to be more range of brightness in the stars.  Some of that extra pop seems, therefore to be a bit gamma difference related.

JVC DLA-X35
JVC DLA-X55R
Sony VPL-HW50ES
Mitsubishi HC9000D
Sharp XV-Z30000
Epson Home Cinema 5020UB
JVC DLA-X35
+JVC DLA-X55R

Sony VPL-HW50ES: These two (JVC and Sony) are about as close as two different projectors will get in terms of blackest blacks.  But, of course, in brighter images, the blacks are blacker with the JVC due to not needing a dynamic iris.  Still, you really notice differences on dark scenes.  They all look really good at blacks when the scenes are primarily bright.

JVC DLA-X55R: Now this projector and the X35 should have about identical blacks, they have the same native contrast of 50,000:1.  Not sure why, but this X55R does seem to have better blacks in the photo, than the DLA-X35 projector above.

Sony VPL-VW95ES: (Sorry, we don’t have a more overexposed version of this image) The VPL-VW95ES will produce blacker blacks on this scene than the X35, but then, it’s a couple thousand dollars more.

Mitsubishi HC9000D (uses Sony LCoS panels):  Similar in blacks to the Sony VW95ES above, it has better overall black level performance on dark scenes than the JVC.

Sharp XV-Z30000: Sharp was the first company to launch a home 1080p 3D capable projector.  This new Z30000 is a major upgrade from that old one.  (price competitive to the X35).  A single Chip DLP, it really has very good blacks compared to a lot of other DLP projectors, with it’s dynamic iris it’s competitive with the X35, or at least pretty close on these dark scenes. The JVC X35 will rule, if comparing two medium bright scenes, for blackest blacks.

Epson Home Cinema 5020UB:  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.  Compared to the JVC – very close in terms of blackest blacks (depending on which images I view), but the JVC has the advantage in dynamic range:   We have several additional side by sides, to be found elsewhere in this review, and also in the upcoming annual Home Theater Projector report which I start in a couple of days.

Short version:  The X35 has excellent black level performance.  For me great blacks start with what we call “ultra high contrast” projectors.  No, I don’t care about contrast specs, as things like dynamic irises allow most numbers to be pretty meaningless for comparison.  It’s not the top of the food chain, that’s reserved for the X75R and X95R, Sony’s 4K VW1000ES, and likely the Sony VW95ES. Overall, in terms of blacks, although each has slightly different black level strengths, the JVC DLA-X35 projector is pretty competitive with the Epson Home Cinema 5020UB / Pro Cinema 6020UB, and the Sony HW50ES, the projectors we consider to be the best of the competition.

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