LG AF115 - Performance
8/8/2010 - Art Feierman
LG AF115 Brightness
The LG AF115 is above average in brightness. It definitely is not as bright as the more expensive CF181D, measuring about 30% lower in brightness overall. That's a much bigger difference than the 1500 vs. 1800 lumens of the AF115 vs. CF181D, based on claims. However, keep in mind that the AF115 is pre-production, and those typically measure a bit light. Also remember, we measure with the lens at mid-zoom point, that just about guarantees that our measurements will be below factory claim, if a projector has a fair amount of zoom range. Manufacturers measure their lumens with the lens at wide angle when it's brightest. That can be more than 20% brighter than the mid-point measurement we get.
Mike did quick measurements, but only Vivid mode uncalibrated, and fast "quick calibrate" bright mode, that's better, but not as bright as Vivid.
The Vivid mode measured 976 lumens
The "Brightest" mode (placed in Expert 2) measured 801 lumens. Please remember that the goal of a "brightest mode" quick-cal is to maintain as much brightness as possible, while improving the color accuracy and picture overall. In this case, the improvement is slight so the Vivid mode would probably be what most would watch when lumens are needed. It does look pretty good for a bright mode.
The LG CF181D measured Vivid at 1380 vs. 976 for the AF115 (that makes the AF115 29.3% less bright). Using the same percentages for both projectors we would expect a "Best mode" with iris on Auto 1, to measure in at 635 lumens! That's still very respectable, brighter than any of the 3LCD competition (Sanyo, Mitsubishi, Epson, Panasonic) in their best modes.
The Effect of zoom lens positioning on brightness: Our standard measurements reported for the LG AF115 are done with the zoom at its mid-point as with all reviews.
Wide angle is about 5% brighter than mid-point on the zoom
Telephoto is approximately 13% dimmer than mid point.
The roughly 18% drop from wide angle to telephoto lens settings should be the same, regardles of what mode you choose.
The Effect of low lamp (eco) mode on brightness:
Switching to Low lamp power results in a measured reduction in brightness of approximately 28.6 percent.
Bottom line: Definitely brighter than average in "best mode", but strictly average in "brightest mode". That said, this isn't a full production projector, so production projectors may well be a bit brighter. One thing that's excellent; like the CF181D, this AF115 looks good. Somehow it seems to have more lumens than we measure. That's a good thing!
The LG AF115 is an LCoS projector. However, it's more like an LCD projector in one regard, and that is, it lacks the digital pixel alignment feature found on JVC and Sony (and even Cinetron) LCoS projectors. Most 3LCD projectors could also sport this feature, but generally, the LCD crowd hasn't added it - yet.
Pixel alignment was pretty good for pre-production. None of the colors, (R,G,B) were off a full pixel, vertically or horizontally, with two off over a half pixel.
I expected no difference in sharpness between this LG, and the CF181D, while I've viewed them months apart. The image was every bit as sharp as the other LCoS projectors that have been though here, and for that matter, the Epson 8500UB. The Mitsubishi HC6800 (3LCD) that was recently reviewed, I'd have to give the slightest advantage in sharpness, but then Mitsubishi projectors are usually very good.
You can see the LG is softer than the DLP's around here, when you put on nice pure digital 1080p content. On movies the difference is slight enough that the average viewer wouldn't notice at all, but we "enthusiasts" study everything.
For your consideration, our usual close up images:
Top left: LG AF115, Top Left Center - CF181D, Top Right Center - JVC RS25, Top right - Mitsubishi HC7000
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AE4000, left center: Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, right center: Optoma HD8200, right: InFocus IN83
Please note, we are slowly switching to using the Playstation video logo as our sharpness example, instead of the old dts-hd logo. The original sample test disc from dts died, and they can't find me another.
Below: Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right: LG AF115, CF181D, Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, and BenQ W6000. The DLA-RS25 holds its own against most, but not a few of the sharpest DLP projectors.
LG AF115: Bottom Line Sharpness
About as sharp as LCoS or 3LCD projectors get. I was generally very pleased when watching movies. On 1080i sports, I could have wished for a touch more perceived sharpness, but I'm not complaining. If you want a projector that appears to be sharper, you are going to have to stick with single chip DLPs. Bottom line, no issue here!
No issues to report. Very little light detectable anywhere but a fan vent, and not enough to even remotely be considered an issue. Through the lens leakage is extremely minimal, better, than, say, the leakage on the JVCs, which do typically leak a bit of light. Of course, it's more noticeable on the JVC's since their blacks are so much blacker. Still, nothing to be concerned with here.
LG AF115 Image Noise
Overall noise performance is nice and clean, no overt issues. This LG showed no signs of the flickering I had spotted briefly on the other LG projector.
LG AF115 Audible Noise
The LG is fairly typical of LCoS projectors. Noise levels are acceptable, but a good deal noisier than the quietest projectors (such as the Panasonic PT-AE4000, and the Mitsubishi LCD based projectors), but still quieter than any of the DLP projectors out there, and perhaps, a touch quieter than some other LCoS projctors At full lamp power, some of those folks especially audio noise adverse may not be happy with the audible noise, but it should not be an issue for the vast majority.
LG claims 23 db in low power (eco) mode. I put full power noise (estimated) at 27 to 29 db.
Bottom line on noise - few will have any issue with the LG, and for those really, really noise adverse, well, the LG's 23 db in eco mode, would be considered very quiet, and the LG in eco mode is still brighter than all but a very few projectors running at full power. Not to worry!