Mitsubishi HC3000: Summary, Pros, Cons
The HC3000 offers excellent price performance. There is no question about it's ability to produce impressive imagery. It is certainly one of the best home theater projectors selling for less than $3000. In fact, it's a pretty impressive home theater projector overall!
Clicking on the image above, from Starship Troopers will provide a much larger image.
This Mitsubishi projector suffers, of course from the same, relatively limited placement flexibility that is true of virtually all under $3000 DLP home theater projectors. (The exception to this rule is the more expensive Optoma HD7100 with it's horizontal and vertical lens shift. It is now also available for under $3000. . The competing LCD projectors, by comparison, have zooms with far more range and all offer adjustable lens shift with lots of range as well.
The black levels and shadow detail of the Mitsubishi HC3000 (link to specs) are excellent. The best I have viewed short of the Optoma HD7100. Once a basic calibration is done, the colors are downright excellent and natural, with particularly good flesh tones. The projected image is crisp and it has good depth as well.
So, if your budget will allow for an over $2000 selling price projector, the Mitsubishi HC3000 provides one of the best values and highest performance available at its price point.
Let's look at the Mitsubishi HC3000's pros and cons:
- Excellent overall image quality (after a basic, end user color calibration)
- Extremely good black levels (best I've seen, for it's price or less)
- Fairly bright in best modes
- Very good manual (a rarity)
- Good menus, almost all functionality on four main menus
- One digital input and up to 2 component video inputs (if you don't need to use one connector for a computer input)
- "Brilliant Color" technology offers an easy way to adjust the image dynamics to meet user preferences
- 16:9 or 16:10 capabiliities for full support of XGA resolution, makes this a good choice for doubling as an not exceptionally bright business projector
- Adustable front and rear feet
- Overall, superior price/performance
- Minimal maintainence - no filters to change or clean
- Fairly quiet in low power mode
- Limited range of zoom lens (typical for DLP projectors in this price range)
- No variable lens shift (also typical of under $2500 DLP projectors)
- Remote control's backlighting is dim, and hard to see in a dark room
- Lacking a second digital input (HDMI or DVI)
- Significant lens offset, requires projector to be placed well below or above the screen surface (similar to the HD72)
- Noisy fan, in high power mode
- Needs an (end user) color calibration to achieve it's great performance
- Appears that projector must be unmounted to change lamp
- Remote's functionality
- Lamp life (actually on the low side of average)
Bottom line: Mitsubishi's HC3000 offers the best picture quality we have seen of the many DLP projectors (using the Darkchip2 processor), as well as home theater LCD projectors, that we have reviewed.
HC3000 vs the Competition
The HC3000 is most similar to the Optoma HD72. Both use the 1280x768 Darkchip2 DLP, and feature TI's brilliant Color processing. Both have significant lens offset (the projectors will sit either significantly below the bottom of the screen, or above the top of the screen (when ceiling mounted). The Optoma has two distinct advantages, first it is quite a few hundred dollars less (July 06), and second, it is slightly brighter (and brightest in class). By comparison, the Mitsubishi has one key advantage, which is it's superior black levels and shadow detail. Secondarily, for the HD72 to produce it's it's very best black levels, it's AI must be on, and that means a louder fan.
The best LCD projector we've looked at in it's price range is the Sony HS51A. The HC3000 has an edge in picture quality, and black levels, but of course lacks the lens shift and wide range zoom. The HC3000 is also much brighter. So I would say, that if the HC3000 works in your room, and you aren't susceptible to the rainbow effect, then the Mitsubishi is the better choice.
Straddling it on the other side, price wise, is Optoma's HD7100 with Darkchip3. This I would have to say, is the overall better projector. It is similar in brightness (the Mitsubishi is slightly brighter), but the Optoma has better color out of the box, better black levels, and far better ergonomics, in terms of zoom lens, and having both horizontal and vertical lens shift which allows placement of the Optoma anywhere between just below the bottom of the screen to just above the top. Since both have a two year warranty, the real advantage of the Mitsubishi HC3000 is price. As of this writing, the Mitsubishi seems to be selling for under $2500, probably about $500 less than the HD7100.
There's a large selection of projectors out there, spanning a wide price range. Ultimately, it still comes down to price. If the Mitsubishi HC3000 is at the high end of you budget range, it will give also give you the best picture that your available dollars will buy.
Well done Mitsubishi!