Mitsubishi HC6800 Projector - Image Quality
Mitsubishi HC6800 images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV. It is the first projector review not to feature any standard DVD disc movie images. This change is due to the release of Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray. Although different projectors vary in how well they handle SD-DVD (standard definition), let's just say, that if you have a large screen, they won't ever look as good as blu-ray. My belief is that almost all of us with projectors have blu-ray, and are buying blu-ray discs. True, we have old discs, but if my experience is anything, even the better SD-DVDs like the LOTR, are still noticeably inferior. Buying based on low def content, is like deciding between two high performance sports cars based on which one has the best performance and ride when driving through your Costco parking lot at 5mph.
Gold-green cast: You may note that most images do exhibit a bit of greenish gold caste. Part of that is the tendency of LCD based projectors to show a bit more green than other technologies, when photographed with my dSLR. It's very evident below in the starship image, of the space clouds. I had originally shot these images, noticing a bit more green, and a goldish caste. I sent the projector back to Mike, who was not sure why that was. He recalibrated, got different settings, and it resulted in better color, losing that greenish caste, (but the camera still adds some), but with the whole 1080p and K-12 reports on tight schedules I never got back to reshooting images. (Tthat also explains why there are a lot less photos in this review. I never did get to shooting the Bond movies, Wall-E, and several others. Finally as always please note:
These images are provided to support the commentary. 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 HC6800, the photos are only approximations of skin tone and color accuracy.
5/29/2010 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC6800 Projector: Out of the Box Picture Quality
The Mitsubishi HC6800 is only so so, out of the box. In fact while the color is pretty accurate in the bright ranges, there's very little red, and a excess blue in very dark areas. A significant shift. Overall, it's not one of the better projectors out of the box. Thus, I beg of you. Get your HC6800 calibrated, or, failing that, try our settings on the Calibration page. Our settings should provide a substantial improvement in color.
The image immediately below is (as are all) post calibration.
After Mike's second calibration intent, I was most pleased with the skin tones. As noted, the extra "gold and green" in the images is not very representative of what was on the screen. If anything, skin tones were rather neutral. Not the most natural though. I do feel that this Mitsubishi, if anything seems to add a touch of grey to the skin tones. Only a touch though. You know, it sort of makes people seem a little, well, not pale, but have a slight grey palor. I don't know if that is translating well into your brains, but just remember, I'm trying to describe very slight tendencies of what overall is very good skin tones. By comparison, Gandalf's face below has that slight gold I've been commenting on. Even Arwen seems to have that gold green look. One of these days I'll find a dSLR that doesn't shift the colors enough to notice, and that sure will save me a lot of time...
The two images (immediately above and below) are from Lord of the Rings, from standard DVD. The LG handled looked great on both scenes.
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.
From the DVE-HD test disc (digital image):
Mr. Lau, from The Dark Knight:
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.
Mitsubishi HC6800 Black Levels & Shadow Detail
While I often agonize whether a new home theater projector meets my subjective definition of being an "ultra-high contrast" projector, that isn't a problem here. The HC6800's blacks are just not that good. Mitsubishi offers up their not nearly as bright HC7000 for those craving that better black level performance. If I had to pick a couple of projectors most similar to the HC6800 in terms of blacks, Epson's Home Cinema 8100 comes to mind, as does the the good old Sanyo PLV-Z700, although I'd give the Mits a slight advantage, more so compared to the Z700. Although - or because, the black levels just aren't all that black, the dark shadow detail stands out nicely.
For comparison, here's the same image from the LG CF181D (yes it came out a little darker):
And below is the Panasonic PT-AE4000, which, offers superior black levels.
Shadow Detail Performance
Dark shadow detail is very good. I'd give it the edge over the competing Epson Home Cinema 8100 and Pro Cinema 9100. As you all know I'm more concerned with blacks than the last 1-2% of dark shadow detail. As such, I have no issues with the HC6800 at all.
The first set of individual images for comparison is from Space Cowboys. This is a very dark scene with Clint Eastwood on Blu-ray disc. The photos are intentionally way overexposed. Look for the blacks in the shades, and the details in those shades in the form of the white trim. (At this level of overexposure, don't even worry about the skin tones, as in these types of overexposed photos they always look terrible).
First image is the HC6800, followed by the LG CF181D, JVC RS25 and the Mitsubishi HC7000. Next is the the Vivitek H9080FD, and extremely expensive LED light source DLP projector. The last two in the sequence are the Panasonic PT-AE4000 and the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB.
Again, from Space Cowboys, this is a cropped image. The right side is very bright (so dynamic irises will not be effective). The HC6800 (top left) shows very good shadow detail in the dark areas of the satellite. Next to it on the first row, is the Epson 8500UB/9500UB. Then come the LG CF181D and the PT-AE4000 (second row). The third row is the Mitsubishi HC7000 (left), and the Sony VPL-HW15.
Next is a frame from The Dark Knight. This overexposed image shows subtle details in the outer dark room. You can see minor details to the sides of the "picture window", and the walls in general. These walls are not meant to be black, nor are they when viewed with the HC6800. At the same time, nor were they too light a gray, which happens with some projectors with less impressive black levels.
On the left, is the HC6800, the middle, the Epson 8500UB/9500UB, and on the right, the LG CF181D. The exposures are all a little different, but you should be able to appreciate the combination of shadow detail and dark blacks
Click on left thumbnail image for the Mitsubishi HC6800, Epson Home Cinema 8500UB in the center, and the right for the PT-AE4000U. Look for the dark details in the woods on the shed on right and the wood structure on the left.
Bottom line Mitsubishi HC6800 Blacks and Shadow detail:
The HC6800 combines impressive dark shadow detail with good, but not "ultra-high contrast" black levels. Combined that make this projector better in these areas than average projector but still visibly short of any of the better ultra-high contrast projectors, several of which are at or slightly below the HC6800's price point. Just remember, none of the ultra-high contrast LCD projectors that are price competitive can match the brightness, with the HC6800 being almost 20% brighter than the brightest of these.
Overall Color & Picture Quality
The HC6800 is solid, in all areas. Although it won't appeal to a black level fanatic like myself, for most home theater people, and even some enthusiasts, the HC6800 provides an excellent blend of performance. Although it lacks the beefy bright feel, of the brighter LG LCoS projector it competes with, it looks good in its own right, and I'd have to consider it a touch more natural than the Epson competition, but not better than the Panasonic PT-AE4000, or th LG.
A reasonably good dynamic iris is less noticeable than many competitors, and therefore allows you to better enjoy the color and feel of the projected image.
A mix of additional images to show off the HC6800:
From the DVE-HD test disc:
And here are a couple more images, two from Dark Knight:
Mitsubishi HC6800 Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
Our first image is small. It shows about a 94" diagonal image projected, with the rooms two recessed ceiling lights on. The image is slightly underexposed, in terms of how the side wall on the left looke, in reality, but us obviously overexposed if trying to shoot the projected football game. In other words, on a smaller screen such as this size, the HC6800 has plenty of luens for handling moderate ambient light.
Below is the same image shot under the same lighting, same image size, but properly exposed (ok, sorry, it's a touch overexposed) for the football game. Not bad considering there's enough ambient light in the room to sit and read a magazine. (Do remember this was only about a 94" diagonal image.)
The Mitsubishi HC6800 image is very sharp, which only adds to the overall picture quality. Consider this shot from The Fifth Element - you can appreciate the sharpness in observing all the fine detail in this "busy" image:
Bottom line on HDTV and Sports: The sharpness makes the HC6800 a bit special among the LCD and LCoS projectors and that's a plus in terms of the overall picture quality, especially on HDTV sports and digital content. This may well be the right projector for those who have just found other LCD and LCoS projectors a bit too soft for their taste on digitial content. The rest of the picture quality is just fine, and balanced. Of course, for sports in particular, this projector could stand to have a few more lumens, but, then, what projector has everything, especially in the under $2500 price range?