Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector - Image Quality
In a perfect world, our photos would perfectly reproduce the Mitsubishi HC7800D image on my screen. In the real world though, the HC7800D projector projects onto my Studiotek 130 screen. Those images are captured on a Canon 60D professional dSLR. Even so, there is always some minor color shift and other changes. From there, software (Photoshop), your browser, and your monitor, are also in the path, each adding some "color" to the image, changing it from the original HC7800D projected image. As a result, while the photos can give you a good idea of picture quality, overall, the accuracy of the color on your screen is not going to be accurate enough for really close comparisons of, say the HC7800D projector's skin tones, compared to some other similarly good projector. Take our images, therefore, with a grain - or pound - of salt.
For all of that, I believe that the HC7800D images came out very well, in terms of representing the color the Mitsubishi HC7800D projector is capable of. I do detect a slight shift to red - or rather "salmon" kind of pink. The skin tones do look better "live" than on these images, at least when viewed on my MacBook Pro.
I repeat again, for the record: All home theater projectors, including the Mitsubishi HC7800D definitely look will look better live, than in even the best looking images here might suggest.
1/31/12 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC7800D Out of the Box Picture Quality
Rather impressive! Not only does the HC7800D have very good brightness right out of the box, combined with good color but its color quality comes very close to what many other projectors look like after they've been calibrated. So kudos to Mitsubishi for starting this projector out with some pretty impressive looking color, even before you make an adjustment.
Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector - Flesh Tones
Post calibration, the Mitsubishi 7800 D looks downright great on skin tones. First of all it's a classic DLP, with all that being a DLP home theater projector implies. Many of us are big fans of the general picture characteristics of DLP. I try and describe that "dlp look" as having rich looking and saturated looking colors and especially so on the darker scenes. Lots of "wow and pop" from DLP projectors, and the Mitsubishi HC7800D is no exception. However we were talking about skin tones. Once Mike calibrated this projector, skin tones look pretty much right on.
Although our measurements show that the calibratred HC7800D ended up just a smidgeon to the warm side, (just a touch too much red relative to blues), the HC7800D did not exhibit what is sometimes called the "sunburned" look.
You know, that is when you've been out in the sun for about 20 minutes too long. The Mitsubishi's skin tones look just fine. Below you will find the usual images and some new ones that we like to show you to give you an idea of what skin tones can look like. As usual we start with a couple of images from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
Above and below, as always - Gandalf and Arwen, from Lord of the Rings, on Blu-ray.
Below are our three James Bond images from Casino Royale. Each has a different lighting scenario, the first - full sunlight, the second image; indoor fluorescent, and finally, filtered sunlight in the third image. And as one would expect, that causes each image of James Bond - Daniel Craig - to have different looking skin tones. All look pretty good!
More images we like for considering skin tones:
Mitsubishi HC7800D Black Levels & Shadow Detail
Black level performance:
The Mitsubishi HC7800D claims 100,000:1 contrast ratio. There was a time when one could presume, with a number like that, that black level performance would be amazingly stellar. However in this day and age with dynamic irises, contrast numbers tend to be generally poor indications of actual performance. This Mitsubishi HC7800D home theater projector is a good example.
The 100,000:1 claim had definitely led us to expect deeper blacks then we actually were able to see. Keep in mind it's not just Mitsubishi. Epson's lower end LCD projectors claiming 40,000:1 and 50,000:1 contrast ratios do not produce blacks near as good as their high end 1080UB from several years ago - which also claimed a 50,000:1 contrast ratio.
Numbers are fine, but when it comes to black level performance, it's how it performs that counts, and that's why our black level analysis is subjective.
So, how good is the black levels of the HC7800D? They're okay! I would say that the HC7800 is on the borderline of what we call being an "ultra high contrast projector". There's no scientific measurements for that, it's just how I group them. Where that positions the HC7800, it is with black levels that can't stack up to the best competition around the price range, such as the Epson Home Cinema 5010, the JVC RS45, the JVC X30 or the Panasonic PTAE7000. Overall, the black level performance is still better than almost any of the lower cost projectors like the Epson Home Cinema 8350, Mitsubishi's own HC4000, and it's a world better than some of the $999 projectors. So don't get me wrong. The HC7800D projector does pretty well, but if black levels are your thing (as they are mine), then this probably isn't the projector for you. Certainly, as an example, the HC7800 with its dynamic iris, does much better blacks than the HC4000, which lacks one.
Mitsubishi HC7800 Projector:
JVC DLA-RS45 or DLA-X30:
Optoma HD33 (lower cost, $1599 3D capable projector):
Runco LS10d projector ($27,000+):
Sony VPL-VW90ES ($9995):
Sony VPL-HW15 (LCoS projector under $3K)
Sharp XV-Z17000 (direct competitor):
BenQ W6000, a "perennial favorite" lower cost DLP
Epson Home Cinema 8700UB ($2199):
Shadow Detail Performance
When it comes to dark shadow detail, the Mitsubishi HC 7800 does an impressive job.
In this case, it's one of the better projectors around the price range. It certainly holds its own with the Epson, which we now consider to be pretty good, beating out the Panasonic just slightly. Overall, I am more concerned with black level performance than dark shadow detail; however, with that said, having great performance in both categories is where you really want to be. If however, you can only have one, be aware that the "lighter" your blacks are, the easier it is to make out the darkest shadow detail. As a result, it's not surprising that the HC7800D, which has only average blacks, would have particularly good dark shadow detail. As usual, we have lots of images for your consideration, including the standard night train scene from Casino Royale and the starship image above (that was used for black levels), which works very nicely for looking at dark shadow detail as well.
Our primary comparison image is the night train scene from Casino Royale. Look to the trees and shrubs on the right, especially just above the tracks. Don't worry about the great deal of color shift. This seems to be the result of the very long time exposures I use on this shot.
The HC7800D comes across a little better than average in terms of revealing dark shadow detail. We make this determination based on viewing, after contrast and brightness has been adjusted as part of our calibration.
The Mitsubishi did a better job than the more expensive (and also DLP based), Optoma HD8300:
Optoma HD33 (lower cost projector):
Below, the Epson Home Cinema 5010. Note the much increased dark shadow detail in the shrubs on the right, and the trees on the right, that the Epson offers.
The JVC HD250 below is a bit more overexposed than most of the others. Consider its dark shadow detail to be about average, comparable to the Mitsubishi HC7800D. In terms of blacks, on really dark scenes, the two seem about comparable. On mixed brightness scenes, the JVC (as expected), which doesn't use a dynamic iris, will show blacker blacks. Of course you appreciate great blacks most on those overall very dark scenes without any bright areas. (That folks is why we use this night train scene, as one of our most critical test images.)
Sharp XV-Z17000 (similarly priced, 3D capable, and with similar black level and shadow detail performance:
A few additional images that let you observe how the Mitsubishi HC7800D handles darker scenes, and those with lots of black areas:
Two from Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix:
Click on this thumbnail for a different look at shadow detail. This time, in a rather bright scene, but one with some fairly dark areas. This scene from Lord of the Rings is heavily overexposed so you can see the detail in the shed, in the beams, etc.
Black Level and Shadow Detail Performance: HC7800D Projector - Bottom Line
The HC7800D doesn't blow me away in terms of these two areas of performance that are important on dark scenes. I would have been more impressed if the blacks were one step better.
Note, however, that the HC7800D is very good at revealing the darkest details. Considered together, not bad, but an area that isn't the HC7800D's real strength.
Mitsubishi HC7800D - Overall Color & Picture Quality
Picture quality is generally the biggest strength of the HC7800D, but with the caveat, that black levels could be better. When it comes to skin tones, the HC7800D definitely has a slight edge on how natural they look, compared to the Epson 5010 that Mike just calibrated for me. Both look rather great, but the advantage on skin tones does go to the Mitsubishi.
Forgetting for the moment, things like your room, or the size of your screen, the HC7800D is hard not to like. The really sharp image, combines with generally excellent color, (post calibration, though not bad out of the box), to look great on the full spectrum of content - movies, general HDTV, sports, and I assume, even gaming.
Extensive controls allow anyone knowledgeable to really tune the HC7800 projector, and a generally great picture should be the result.
A mix of additional images to show off the Mitsubishi HC7800D:
Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
The Mitsubishi HC7800D looks rather killer on HDTV and sports. It starts off with the advantage of being a single chip DLP device, and single chip DLP projectors tend to be sharper looking than any of the competition from LCD and LCOS. Why? Answer: Because there are no panels to align (unlike LCD and LCOS), where you are combining red, green and blue beams of light back into a single image using a dichroic prism. This leads to misalignment issues.
I viewed plenty of hours of sports. I had CFI running for most of it, without noticing anything nasty. There is a touch of noise associated with the CFI's work, but that's typical.
The DLP projectors don't have any of that, so start out with inherently a cleaner image on the screen. After that, it's just up to having a really good optical solution, a good lens, and you should have a razor sharp image on the screen. Folks that's exactly what the HC7800D provides you. The image is really sharp. It's as good as anything I've seen near this price range. Quite honestly, I believe the Mitsubishi image is a touch sharper than the JVCs, the Sonys, the Panasonics - actually from a touch to definitely a bit sharper. The new Epson 5010 that I received, seems to be sharper than the earlier preproduction model I had here, but even the new one is not a match for the HC7800D when you're watching pure digital content, (such as the upcoming Super Bowl). That Epson, though, is sharper than the JVC.
Once again, DLP projectors have a reputation for rich saturated looking colors. The HC7800D is no exception. Football games look great, Revealing China off of HDTV looks stellar. My favorite Steven Low movies, which are Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D and Legends of Flight, are just stunning. I was showing them to a friend who was in town last night and they just went like "wow". The outstanding clarity of a really good single chip DLP projector is something that is and can be truly appreciated when watching both sports and the wide variety of 2D and 3D content now available on HDTV.
As a side note, I have now recorded over 40 hours of different 3D content off of Direct TV and there's plenty more out there -art.
If you were so inclined, and it looks like the HC7800D is for you, then, as I am writing this, there's just enough time to buy one in time for your Super Bowl party. (Of course by the time most of you are reading this, Superbowl 2012 is probably well past.)
My recommendation for those going with the HC7800 is to just make sure you're not going with too large a screen for the job, and that you have the necessary lighting control for using a projector that doesn't count excessive brightness as a trait.
As mentioned earlier, the HC7800D does have one very bright mode, which is when you select High Brightness color temp. Problem is, the picture is so shifted towards green, I don't think anyone's really going to use that mode, since you can't color correct that setting.
Since all the modes are relatively similar in brightness, though, that's hardly a concern.
3D content looked very good, with the caveat that I still would have liked a bit more lumens when trying to fill a 100" diagonal image (16:9). At that size it did well enough with high contrast content, such as Tron, or most animation. Will it be enough for you? Perhaps, with a 100" screen. For someone really into 3D though, there are brighter choices out there. To put brightness in perspective in terms of 3D, the Mitsubishi fell roughly half way between the Epson 5010's 3D-Cinema, and 3D-Dynamic modes (when the Epson glasses setup is at Medium). With the Epson, I watch most things with 3D Dynamic, for the brightness. Hope that helps.
Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector: Bottom Line on HDTV and Sports
I happen to really like the HC7800D for all this digital content. It's really sharp, the CFI works well, and since we're watching in a mode that's not much brighter than, and almost as good looking as the "best" mode, it does deliver better color and a more balanced picture than most projectors who rely on a very bright, but less accurate "brightest mode". Well, as mentioned, the HC7800D has one of those: Dynamic, but I'm avoiding considering the extra brightness, because few will watch its way green color. This is not, by any means, the first projector with a brightest mode that really isn't very watchable, and it won't be the last.
For that reason, we focus on the brightest watchable mode, as our "brightest" mode.
One more from Victoria Secret's fashion show: