JVC DLA-X95R Projector Review

All of the JVC DLA-X95 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 1.4 gain screen, which is basically similar to the Studiotek).

Basically all the projectors we review, including this DLA-X95R, 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-X95R projector images come to you, through a Canon 60D dSLR camera, Photoshop software where we save for web, using 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”.

In terms of color shifts, note that these images (viewed on my Mac) exhibit a touch extra yellow (with an even slighter extra touch of orange), that’s not present when viewing it on the screen.

All that said, viewing a calibrated JVC X95 projector in a good room with decent content is a rather stunning experience.

DLA-X95 "Out of the Box" Picture Quality

Pretty good! This JVC X95R sports a THX mode so we expect no less. Still, THX modes don’t seem to be very consistent when it comes to color temperature, from one certified projector to another.  Last year the X70R, was up in the upper -7000′s for white.  This year it’s a much better 6900+.  Much closer to the target 6500K.  But the grayscale balance itself is very good, resulting in a consistently pleasant image.

Check out our recommended settings for items like Brightness, Color, etc. on the Calibration page of this review.

Above concert image from the Paladia channel was taken in default Stage mode, the best combination of color, brightness and the punch to deal with some modest ambient light.

THX mode and User 1 are very similar and the basis for Mike’s calibration.

Switch to Stage (or Animation) and you buy yourself less than an extra 100 lumens, but overall, the other aspects of those presets, result in more vibrant, if less accurate picture, and color.  In general, to my taste THX mode for movie viewing appears a touch oversaturated, color wise.  I dial it back by 2, although Mike shows the correct setting to be 0.  (See theCalibration page.)

Click Image to Enlarge

DLA-X95 Projector - Flesh Tones

In total I’ve logged more than 100 hours onto this X95R. (Might as well fully enjoy it while I have it.).   Skin tones, post calibration are really good, and rather natural (as long as you avoid all but the minimum setting for e-shift.  Even with the Film setting engaged when viewing a movie, there’s a bit of shift to, say, Gandalf’s face below.  It starts looking a touch harder, less smooth, a touch more contrasty seeming.  That said, I did most of my movie viewing with e-shift2 set to Film, rather than off.  You be the judge.  Naturalness of skin tones is gone by the time you get up to High Resolution or the other even higher settings.  Oh, not drastically so, but the images tend to look oversharpened.

If there’s one other aspect of skin tone handling, it’s in dark scenes.  In the lower ranges - I’m talking around 20 IRE and below, the X95R is a little warm – down in the mid 6200K range.  That tends to make a skin tone in a darker scene pick up a bit to much red.

 

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DLA-X95 Projector - Flesh Tones Slideshow

Indirect Sun

Sunlight

Flourescent Lighting

DLA-X95 in Stage mode

This HDTV image was taken with the X95 in Stage mode, the projector's brightest, rather than the User 1 "best" mode used for all the movie shots.

DLA-X95R Black Levels & Shadow Detail

Native black level performance is the one thing that the JVC X95R definitely does well, and without equal.  No dynamic iris needed.  Yet the JVC LCoS panels are capable of natural dynamic range – contrast, so good, (130,000:1 contrast ratio), that produces extremely black blacks, whether on a very dark scene like our images below, or even bright or medium bright scenes.  The blacks are consistent, not dependent on a dynamic iris to lower them. Even lacking a dynamic iris, there are only a couple of projectors with irises that can give the JVC DLA-X95R – or the DLA-RS66U, any sort of run for the money.   Of all we’ve tested, only the Sony VW1000ES at double the price seems to produce a visibly blacker black – but only on darker scenes.  The less expensive Sony VW95ES, on those same dark scenes is almost as good, and may match the JVC projector.  But, switch to something, such as a night cityscape with enough bright objects, and the JVC produces the same dark blacks, but those Sonys, or the Epsons, or the…., that come close, no longer can stay up with this JVC projector. Of course it’s those really dark scenes where you want to blackest blacks, but still recognize that the difference in blacks will be bigger on a scene that’s mostly very dark, but still has enough light areas to essentially prevent a dynamic iris from stopping down enough to produce its best blacks. Let’s look at a couple of side by side images:

Above: JVC X95 R on the left, Epson Home Cinema 5020UB on the right: (Epson has provided us use of a 5020UB for the year).  It serves as a good reference for comparing any projector’s blacks, even if not quite up to this JVC.

Above, our night train scene.  This first side by side, is slightly overexposed, the one located below, drastically overexposed.  This is an almost dictionary definition dark scene with virtually no bright areas (really just the train’s headlight, and off screen, the Blu-ray player’s pause marker).  (To match the images in overall brightness, I used the JVC’s manual iris and lowered it by 3 (of 16 settings) from wide open).

In the next image, the Epson looks a touch more overexposed, so more whites without greens, but concentrate on the woods and shrubs on the right. Note how much darker the darkest part of the woods are.  You can just barely make out, also, that the letter box above the Epson is slightly lighter than the JVC, also indicting the JVC’s better blacks.  The JVC manages a more dynamic scene thans to that blacks advantage.  Viewing it live, the differences in the two are slight, but no question they are there.

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