LG CF181D Projector Review

LG CF181D Brightness

The LG CF181D is one of the brighter 1080p home theater projectors out there. Immediately below are the measured lumens of each of the preset modes, (and also the color temperature they produced at 100 IRE) (white)

LG CF181D Projector - Uncalibrated

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom)
Vivid 1064 @ 7356, 1380 with Iris fully open (Manual 32)
Standard 608 @ 9523K lamp on low, 852 lumens with Lamp on High
Cinema 503 @ 7031K (note that’s with the default iris setting of manual, 3)
Sport 763 @ 11690K
Game 852 @ 8998K
Expert 1 and 2 503 @ 7045K

After doing our calibration of “best” mode, we measured Cinema (set up as Expert 1) at an awesome 898 lumens. That would be with the Iris set to Auto 1, for the best blacks the LG can achieve.

In the very “brightest” mode, (Vivid), we measured 1380 lumens. However, I played with several other “bright” combinations including Sports and Vivid, with color temp set, usually, to natural. The point is, you can have excellent color in a brightest mode, and still get 1100 to 1380 lumens depending on how good you want the color. For much of my sports viewing I used Expert 2

The Effect of zoom lens positioning on brightness: Our standard measurements reported for the LG CF181D are done with the zoom at its mid-point as with all reviews. Here are relative numbers based on Cinema mode (lamp on high, auto iris 1), for different lens positioning. From a percentage standpoint, the differences will be the same for any mode, as you change the lens angle. Basically wide angle is about 5% brighter than mid-point on the zoom, and telephoto would be about 13% dimmer than mid point.

Considering the zoom lens is a 1.8:1 zoom, that would indicate very good optics as the total drop is only about 18%! With many 2:1 zoom lenses (Panasonic, Epson…), the drop is about 40% from full wide, to full telephoto, and the LGs drop is less than half of that.

Zoom lens positioning on brightness
Zoom out (closest position – wide-angle) 526 lumens
Mid-zoom 503 lumens
Zoom in 437 lumens (furthest from the screen – tele)

Note: Mike measured the effect of lens position, while the Cinema mode still had the iris at Manual 3 (about as dim as the LG is capable of), thus the low lumen numbers.

The 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
Low lamp power, Standard mode 608 lumens
High lamp power, Standard mode 852 lumens

That translates into a drop of approximately 29% when going from full, to low power lamp setting. That’s a slightly bigger drop than average. Most home theater projectors drop about 20 – 25% brightness going to low power.

The LG CF181D, by comparison, definitely has the lumens to spare. It easily fills my screen, with enough extra horsepower to make me happier, when viewing sports, than I ever have been with my JVC for sports.

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