JVC DLA-RS15 Projector Review

The gamma controls on the RS15 allow for detailed customization, including different gamma curves for each primary color! You can have about as much fun as you would like, customizing gamma for your screen, room conditions, personal tastes, etc. Ultimately though, Normal is the default. Mike measured an average of 2.08, a little lower than the theoretically ideal 2.2 gamma. (There’s a lot of variation out there, in terms of the actually gamma of the content.) In addition there are three Custom gamma modes (1,2,3) which you can tinker with. You can start with any one of the preset gammas (Normal, A-D), copy that into a Custom, and modify from there. You can even set different gamma settings for the different primary colors (red, green, blue), or all at once with white. This is one of the more comprehensive customizable gamma modes I’ve encountered. (and much fun to play with). of the Preset Gammas, I tend to favor Normal C, or D.

The A setting lifts the brightness in the very darkest areas, making dark shadow detail more visible, but, by doing so, removes a small amount of the punch on very dark scenes. B setting mostly lifts brightness in the 40 to 80 IRE range. It adds punch and also makes those sunny days seem sunnier. Gamma C is much like B, but a little less push in those brighter ranges, and a little push added at the low end to bring up the very darkest shadow detail. In other words, C, is very much like a cross between A and B, and personally preferable to either. Gamma D lifts the mid-tones only slightly. It is closest to Normal, but “brightens” the mid-range just slightly.

Basically I tend to favor D over Normal, but it’s not uncommon of me to change a gamma setting once I start watching. C is my choice when I want to make the image more dynamic looking. B will also do that but is often “over the top” and typically “distorts” the original too much for my taste. (when I’m being an image snob)

And of course, you can create your own, similar to any of these, with your own preferences, if you like to play.

JVC DLA-RS15 RGB Settings

These are the adjustments we made to Red, Green and Blue for the grayscale balance. Mike placed these settings into User 1. Calibration settings for User 1: Quick cal settings for User 2: Gamma on Normal, Color on –12 Gamma on D, Color on 0

Custom Color Temp 1, 6500K ref.  Custom Color Temp, High Bright ref.
Gain    R  9 R 0
G -7 G 0
B -21 B -30

 

Offset  R -11 R 0
G -2 G 0
B -1 B 0

Brightness Post Calibration

(mid-point on the zoom lens):
657 lumens 746 lumens

If you wish, you’ve got everything you need to copy our calibration efforts on your shiny new JVC DLA-RS15 projector. Keep in mind, there will be slight variations due to the lamp (and lamp performance will change over time). We calibrated with the lamp virtually brand new, as opposed to waiting a couple hundred hours, which is generally considered more ideal. There will be a continuing very slight shift in color over the life of the lamp. Bottom line: With these settings, this DLA-RS15 projector puts a really impressive image up on the screen.

JVC RS15 Projector Screen Recommendations

This section on projector screens for your JVC DLA-RS15, is essentially the same as the versions for the RS25 and RS35 projectors, due to their similarity. In reality, even the RS15 here, who’s blacks aren’t as good as the RS25/RS35 is close enough that the same “arguments” hold for all three projectors.

Great projectors tend to look great on any good screen. The trick with the RS15 is to match the screen to your room, and your viewing requirements.

For example, the RS15 does’nt have the best black levels around, but is so close to the best that you really don’t need to consider a high contrast gray screen, (like the Firehawk G3 I use in my main theater), unless it is to deal with some (side) ambient light. For those with a fully light controlled room, for example, the StudioTek 130 G3, or other moderate gain white surfaces should be an excellent match. Mind you, some of you with smaller screen sizes may want to lower overall black levels so might choose a high contrast gray surfaced projector screen. I had only minor issues with the black levels when switching to my Carada Brilliant White 106″ screen (gain 1.4), in terms of black levels.

The RS15 projector filling my 128″ screen has black levels only slightly noticeable on dark scenes, when looking at the letterbox area. Not bad at all. Personally, I like that, and probably favor a screen like my Firehawk over a tyical white surface. That said, a lot of that, is my personal preference. I’m willing to give up a little corner roll-off for those even blacker blacks.

Thanks to the RS15′s brightness in “best” mode, the RS15 has plenty of horsepower to handle the full 128″ diagonal size of my Firehawk G3.

For those of us who also like to watch sports, or typical TV/HDTV programming in an environment with some intentional ambient light, the Stage and Dynamic modes are just a tad brighter, so there’s not a lot of spare lumens to deal with ambient light. In a room like mine, while I don’t need the Firehawk surface for great movie watching (room fully darkened), the screen’s handling of side ambient light really comes in handy for dealing with the intentional ambient light I like for sports viewing, much of which comes from the sides. For that, the Firehawk does a great job.

Bottom line, get a good screen that meets your lighting requirements. Preferably it should be a very fine surface, designed for 1080p projectors. For those wanting really large screens, higher gain screens may do the trick but remember, they have a narrow viewing cone (where you sit) and tend to roll off brightness in the corners.

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