LG CF3D - Performance
11/24/2010 - Art Feierman
LG CF3D Brightness
The LG CF3D is by far, the brightest 3D projector we've received, and as a 2D projector, it still offers a respectable 2500 lumens. Not exactly a big auditorium projector (though the LG is physically as large as many of them), but more than capable of larger screens when there's good light control.
LG CF3D Projector - Measured Brightness Uncalibrated:
Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom):
Vivid= 1572 @ 11327
Standard= 1843 @ 8290
Natural= 1843 @ 8200
Cinema= 1929 @ 7079
Sport= 1808 @ 8486
Game= 1870 @ 8188, w/ Natural Color Temp= 2347 (highest lumen output of all picture modes)
Expert 1 and 2= 1843 @ 7076K
LG CF3D Projector - Post Calibration Brightness:
Above, the new testing room. The 3D Da-Lite screen is just propped up against the wall for now. It's an 82" diagonal 16:9. As you can see, we're filling only about 70" diagonal in this photo, but then, consider, those two lights overhead, are each 65 watt floods only a foot or so out from the screen. (Nasty!) That's the advantage of having about 2500 lumens. The image on the screen is 3D, I should note, but since the camera isn't looking through glasses, it is as bright as any 2D image. (Note, on the wall to the left, is a second screen. When the room is complete, two walls, either 3, or four screens total).
After doing our calibration of "best" mode, Expert 1 - which seems virtually identical to Cinema, with color temp set to Warm, this projector measured 1929 lumens!
Applying a "quick-cal" to Expert 2, with Temp set to Natural, we topped out the LG at 2258 lumens (with lens at mid-zoom, lamp on full)
The Effect of zoom lens positioning on brightness: Our standard measurements reported for the LG CF3D are done with the zoom at its mid-point as with all reviews. Here are relative numbers based on Vivid mode, but the differences will hold for all modes:
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Vivid mode):
Zoom out: 1624
Zoom in: 1461
As expected, with only a 1.3:1 zoom range, the differences aren't that great - only about a 10% increase from full telephoto, to full wide angle.
Lumen Output (Low Lamp, Vivid): 1093
That compares with 1572 lumens at full power. That's a larger drop than most, with the LG losing just a fraction more than 30%. (Most projectors drop 20 - 25% in their eco (low power) modes.)
I should note, though, that the amount of drop is consistent with other LG projector designs. The CF181D had dropped 29% when tested.
If you are going to drag a CF3D into your home or screening room, you'll find plenty of lumens. For more business/education type applications though, the almost 2500 lumens measured assure a respectable image on screens of up to 100" diagonal, even with some moderate ambient light, and even doing 3D. (Remember, ambient lighting can affect the 3D image as well - especially fluorescent lighting).
The CF3D is a little more complicated than most projectors - with its six panel, dual lamp design. I'm not surprised, therefore that the image appears a bit softer than most other 1080p projectors. That said, in 3D, it tends to look very sharp, no doubt in part due to the 3D effect. On 2D though, it's average at best for a 3D projector. I definitely consider the image a little soft.
Is that terrible? No - If you have 1920x1080 content running on the LG, I am pretty sure, you'd still consider the image as appearing sharper - or rather resolving more detail, than, say the WXGA projectors with their lower resolution.
In other words, it may not be the sharpest 1080p around, but, in most business and education environments, almost all the projectors out there in use would be lower resolution models.
The exception to that would be scientific modeling, and areas like engineering and architecture, which have always pushed for the highest resolution work, and therefore have been using high resolution projectors a lot more often, when available.
I did not shoot the general images I usually do for home theater, but I did shoot this test pattern, from the DVE-HD disc. Click the image for the larger, 1000 pixel wide version:
Below: Close up of a computer monitor (film based movie, Blu-ray disc), from Space Cowboys, left to right: LG CF3D, DLA-RS25, Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, and LG CF181D.
LG CF3D: Bottom Line Sharpness
I think LG faced a real challenge converging 6 light streams, and pushing them out the lens. That said, the projector does appear a little soft compared to most normal 2D projectors we review. Single chip DLP projectors with few (low priced) exceptions, will be a bit sharper. Many other LCoS and LCD projectors may also be a tad sharper, but, this is a 1080p resolution projector - there's plenty of detail and clarity, even after discounting the softness. The fact that the LG CF3D is an LCoS projector means that the pixel structure is essentially invisible, compared to LCD or DLP. That alone tends to make projectors with more visible pixel structure to appear sharper.
It's not, about how sharp a projector looks, but how much detail it can reveal. To make that point, remember that most sharpening tools for projectors and monitors give you a sharper "looking" image, but at the expense of actually decreasing detail.
All considered, I'd have liked to have seen the LG a touch sharper, but, whether watching neurons and other cells, or a football game, the LG certainly seemed sharp enough, and the detail is there.
No issues to report. This is a big projector with a lot going on inside, but from the exterior, this projector leaks very little light out vents, or the lens.
LG CF3D Image Noise
Generally very clean, image noise wise, at least for 2D. I've already discussed crosstalk relating to 3D, and also the seeming screen type noise, on the Image Quality page.
LG CF3D 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!