JVC DLA-X95R Projector Review

DLA-X95R Black Levels & Shadow Detail

Here we again start, with the DLA-X95R, followed by last year’s JVC DLA-X70R (basically last year’s top of the line without the hand picked components), then, the Sony VPL-VW95ES. Note: We have been converting most recent “starship” images to grayscale to remove the distraction of varying colors (which tend to be exaggerated on these many seconds long time exposures).

Other than the slight difference in exposure (the X70R being more overexposed) these two are very similar. (You can tell the amount of additional overxposure most easily by comparing their pause icons.)  In reality, the newer X95R claims higher contrast and delivers, but the difference between the two should be very slight, and both sharing, overall, the same characteristics, in terms of blacks, regardless of the scene.

The JVC X95 image up above, is obviously more overexposed than the Sony down below. Despite that, note that the blacks of space, and in the letterbox area, the blacks still look good on the JVC, and stars are brighter. The Sony’s “blacks” though, measure blacker, due to the exposure difference.

Sony VPL-VW95ES:

Mitsubishi HC9000D: The image below, is the also excellent Mitsubishi HC9000D which uses the Sony LCoS panels. That image is more similarly exposed to the JVC, so makes for a better comparison. Mitsubishi HC9000D (uses Sony LCoS panels):

Again rather comparable, but the edge goes to the JVC in real life.  And of course the advantage grows for the JVC when you are comparing scenes that are not very dark.

Sony VPL-VW1000ES: OK, this one below, is $25,000, but “wow”!

Sharp XV-Z30000: This Sharp was reviewed last summer.  Sharp was the first manufacturer to release a 3D 1080p home theater projector (at least in any reasonable price range).  This XV-Z30000 proves to be a substantial improvement, as their second generation 3D projector.  Very good blacks, in part thanks to dual irises, the Z3000 must be considered typical of the better DLP’s but definitely a step down from the JVC.

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.

That said, it can’t quite compete with the JVC DLA-X95R, as indicated in the Bond train scene we started this section with.  The Epson is, to my reckoning, the best at blacks under $3500, but it cannot match the blacks of the JVC DLA-X95, and for that matter, overall, it falls a touch shy of the two $6000 projectors, the Mitsubishi HC9000D and Sony VW95ES as well.

JVC DLA-X55R:  JVC’s $5000 projector, with a much lower contrast claim, and while still very good blacks, a real step down from the 95R.  You can quickly note that the blacks below are not as dark as the Epson above.  It’s especially noticeable in the letterbox area.

jvc dla x95r
H1080FD
dla-rs45
dla-x55r
hc9000d
home-cinema-5020
vpl-vw95es
vpl-vw1000es
xv-z30000

Finally, some additional side by side imagery. On the right is the DLA-X95R, on the left is the Epson HC5020UB again  This night scene from The Hunger Games, is about to become a standard image in forthcoming reviews:

The comparison above has been converted to grayscale so slight color differences are not distracting.  Overall, when viewing this image, the JV has a bit more “pop”.  You can just see that in the general lower right, mostly very dark area with little detail, that the Epson’s slightly lighter blacks (grays), make the image look a little more flat.  That is, on this scene you can notice easily in the comparison that the blacks (of the Epson) could be blacker.  The JVC may have the advantage, but you have to admit, for 1/4 the price…

Click Image to Enlarge

Shadow Detail Performance

Really good. Almost as good as it gets.  In comparing to the Epson 5020UB, which has excellent shadow detail, the JVC X95 comes extremely close.  The Epson is interesting, in that until about 3 years ago, dark shadow detail was a problem for the old Epson UB projectors. Now they are about as good as I can find and thus the Epson’s a good choice to compare all other projectors to.

Editor’s note: As we started to do with the starship image above, more recently we are converting the Casino Royale night train scene, to grayscale, so that the color shifts aren’t distracting.

JVC DLA-X95 R
DLA-RS25
JVC DLA-RS25
Last year's JVC X70R
Mitsubishi HC9000D
Epson's Home Cinema 5020
Runco LS-10d
Sony VPL-HW50ES
Sony VPL-VW95ES

Bottom line, really good dark shadow detail, while not the best, close enough to not worry about – at all!

JVC DLA-X95R - Overall Color & Picture Quality

OK, enough of the dark overexposed scenes, time to consider color performance on more typical scenes, with “normally” exposed photos.

Until JVC’s “entry level” $3500 DLA-X35 arrived yesterday, the only higher performance projector in house while I’ve had the X95R here, has been the Epson 5020UB.  This time I took several comparisons of the two projectors on “normal scenes” not just the usual black level and shadow detail images. Consider (JVC on the left for all comparison images):

Perhaps the most striking thing about the side by side images is how very similar they look.  Both projectors calibrate very well, and very similarly.

I did not do any comparison side-by-sides from HDTV. No matter, overall the JVC looked great when it comes to color, natural vibrancy, general look and feel.  It really does put an impressive image up there.  Interestingly, I think that e-shift2, while presenting a seeming more detailed image, may actually slightly degrade what I call the JVC’s clarity.  I get less sense of “superior optics” with e-shift2 engaged, than not.  Considering that e-shift overlaps pixels, that shouldn’t be surprising.  With e-shift2 off, I expect one would notice a bigger difference between a JVC X75R and this X95R.  I’ll let you sort out the implications of that, or maybe I won’t. Let me put it this way.  The X95R may seem, in terms of the general picture, including color and clarity, to be less “superior” to the X75R when e-shift is used. One might say, score a point for the X75R for you purists out there. Still, the X95R will have just slightly better blacks, either way. For your consideration: Here are additional JVC DLA-X95R images, some of which can be found on other reviews for comparison purposes:

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