LG CF181D Projector Review

LG CF181D Post Calibration Grayscale

When done with the calibration, the CF181D achieves color accuracy about as good as any other projector recently reviewed, including the JVC DLA-RS25

Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration)
Expert 1 Expert 2
20 IRE 6721 6520
30 IRE 6613 6577
40 IRE 6599 6603
50 IRE 6624 6633

Average gamma=         2.25                                    2.22

Interestingly, after Mike’s calibration, the LG now is slightly warm at white, and actually a little cool in the lowest ranges, but overall, a very nice (but hardly specatcular) set of numbers, and, more importantly, those skin tones looked really good!

Gamma settings

The LG is rather simple when it comes to gamma – you’ve got exactly 2 choices, unless syou want to create your own. The LG offers a number of controls over gamma, including color specific ones. I didn’t spend much time though, relying on Gamma low preset. No worries. The Gamma Low setting is almost ideal, staying around 2.2 to 2.5 though most of the modes. No issue, nothing really to fool with, although it’s always possible to further improve the gamma with the manual controls.

Regarding the CF181D Iris

The iris in the LG CF181D projector has both manual, and auto settings. There’s Off, which means the iris is wide open. There’s Manual, which let’s you adjust the iris, in which case 32, the highest number is wide open, and gets the same measurements as Off. A lot of this is a repeat from the first page overview.

Each Auto Iris setting – 1, 2, 3, affects maximum brightness, and also how blacks the blacks are. Auto 3, basically does not affect the brightness of whites, significantly (a 2-3% drop, compared to Off). Auto 2, is the compromise setting, and Auto 1, delivers the blackest blacks but also the least, maximum lumens.

I’ve been doing all of my “best mode” viewing (other than sports), with the iris on Auto 1. Brightness remains high, blacks are blackest the LG is capable of, of the assorted settings. Auto 2 is in the middle, in both max brightness and best blacks and Auto 3, well, if you plan to use a dynamic iris for things like sports or HDTV, that’s the setting you’d want.

If, for some reason you are using the iris in Manual mode instead of the Auto mode, the brightness varies in 32 steps. To give you an idea of how much effect stopping down the iris has on brightness:

Effect of Iris settings on lumen output (Cinema)
Iris on Manual (set at 32: the maximum opening) 1165 lumens
Iris on Manual (set at 16) 924 lumens
Iris on Manual (set at 0: minimum opening) 434 lumens
Iris Off 1165
Iris on Auto 1 898
Iris on Auto 2 1066
Iris on Auto 3 1134

LG CF181D RGB Settings

These are the adjustments we made to Red, Green and Blue for the grayscale balance of Cinema mode (but we used the identical Expert 1), for “best” mode. We used Expert 2 for “brightest” mode even though Vivid was brighter
Calibration settings for “Best” and “Brightest” Best in Expert 1, Brightest in Expert 2:
Gamma on Medium, all other settings on default or as previously stated.
Expert 2 gives a calibrated bright mode.

Header Content
Expert 1 (Iris on Manual 3) Expert 2 (Iris on Auto 3)
Contrast (Gain) R=0 R=6
G = 0 G = 0
B = -6 B = -8
Brightness (Offset) R = -1 R = -1
G = 0 G = 0
B = -1 B = -2
Lumens at 100 IRE 483 @ 6394K 1056 @ 6863K

Note please, re, Expert 1, 2. Mikes measurements started with the iris in it’s default Manual 3, rather dim, compared to other choices.

Using Auto 1, provides the best black level performance, yet the LG CF181D should output almost 900 lumens after calibration, in “best mode”

For “brightest mode” With the iris on Auto 3, the one with the minimal improvement in blacks, the lumen output for Expert 2 should be just slightly below the 1165 measured before calibration.

A brighter alternative would be Vivid, with color on natural, which still looks pretty good, just not as good as our Expert 2. Try it though if you need those extra couple hundred plus lumens.

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