LG CF181D Projector Review

LG CF181D images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the CF181D projector projects on the screen. There are color shifts (too much yellow, in this case), saturation differences, etc.

These images are provided to support the commentary. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews. From a color standpoint, my dSLR camera still adds a very slight green shift to some photo shoots that I have not been able to completely remove in most cases. I now visually attempt to adjust all the images to correct for major abberations in color between big screen and computer screen. In other words, while we can demonstrate differences in black levels and shadow details of the CF181D, the photos are only approximations of skin tone and color accuracy.

LG CF181D Projector: Out of the Box Picture Quality

The LG CF181D is pretty good, right out of the box. The color overall, of the “best” mode, Cinema, is just a little cool, so a touch more blues than reds. Overall, though, skin tones looked pretty good, but just lacking a bit of red. Calibrating the projector took care of that.

Click Image to Enlarge

The most notable thing, out of the box, is that Cinema is defaulting to a manual iris setting of 3. That makes it dark for the LG’s maximum “best” mode brightness, but still average compared to the competition. I suggest the first thing you do, is to switch the iris to Auto 1 mode, for better blacks and more brightness both. The brighter modes of the CF181D are all very, very cool. Change the color temp to a warmer one for immediate color improvement with no dramatic loss of brightness. The image is from Star Trek, on Blu-ray.

Flesh Tones

Great skin tones. I am extremely pleased. I’ve watched tons of hours of Olympics with the LG, as well as at least 20 hours of movies. The LG has some of the best skin tones I’ve seen. Not the very best, but up there. I still give my own JVC the advantage, after calibration, but, I found the LG has no problem taking on projectors like the Epson (which exhibits just a touch of yellow green in skin tones), or the Sony HW15, with its just a touch too strong reds. It’s probably comparable to the PT-AE4000, but the LG is just so much brighter, that I really couldn’t quite tweak the LG to be as dim as the Panasonic, even with the lamp on low, and the iris on manual 3, never mind iris on Auto 1.

The skin tones are why I consider the LG one of those particularly pleasing to watch projectors. In “best” mode, the LG seems to be rather forgiving – looking good over a wide range of HDTV and Blu-ray content.

Below are a wide assortment of images to demontstrate skin tones. Remember, the same face will look markedly different under different lighting scenarios, such as full sunlight, filtered sunlight, gray overcast, nighttime, fluorescent lighting, and so on.

While there are a few projectors that are able to best the LG in terms of skin tones, it’s never by much. The “best” mode abilities of the LG are very, very good, when it comes to natural looking skin tones.

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Flesh Tones Slideshow

Flesh Tones

The image is from Lord of the Rings, from standard DVD

Flesh Tones

The image is from Lord of the Rings, from standard DVD

Flesh Tones

The image is from sci-fi flick, Aeon Flux

Flesh Tones

The image is from sci-fi flick, Aeon Flux

Flesh Tones

The image is from Men In Black

Flesh Tones

The image is from the DVE-HD test disc (digital images)

Flesh Tones

Mr. Lau, from The Dark Knight:

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