Mitsubishi HC7900DW Projector - Performance
11/21/12 - Art Feierman
This section covers the HC7900DW's brightness (including many measurements on color temperature), sharpness, and image noise. Also covered on this page, are other physical attributes including light leakage and audible noise for the HC7900DW projector.
Mitsubishi HC7900DW Brightness
I'll start off by pointing out that the Mitsubishi HC7900DW is very typical in terms of "best mode" brightness when compared to other projectors in its price range. On the other hand, it doesn't do as well when you need the brightest image, and still expect respectable color.
There's more information, and all the settings Mike came up with, on the Calibration page. In addition Mike provides some calibration notes and opinions.
Let's focus on the actual measurements, and how they might work for you.
Lumen Output and Color Temp for various Picture modes at 100 IRE:
Cinema = 713 @ 6855
Video = 713 @ 6650
3D = 962 @ 7431
Game = 962 @ 7424
A/V Memories = 713 @ 6550
Those numbers are all "right out of the box", without any adjustments.
Post Calibration: User "best" mode (placed in User AV Memory 1) = 701 lumens
That's healthy, for a calibrated projector. The HC7900DW calibrated, is fractionally brighter than the competing Panasonic and Epson LCD projectors, and also measured almost 5% brighter than last year's HC7800D.
HC7900DW Brightest Mode (that you would never want to watch): 1315 at full wide angle, 1236 at mid-point on the zoom.
Note, I didn't even bother to give you a larger image to click on. Would you want to watch skin tones like those in this image above from Victoria Secret, or give up about 20% of brightness to have picture quality approaching the image above it? (More comparison images below!)
HC7900DW Brightest "Watchable" mode Game (or Cinema), Brilliant Color on, Contrast at +10: 1112 lumens
Here you go. Brighter than "best" calibrated, but still drastically better than "brightest":
Sorry folks - the High Bright color temp mode of the HC7900 offers no way to improve its color which is extremely green, and has almost no red. I mean it's looking a lot like the green caste in The Matrix (if you recall).
But, this projector is still capable of over 1000 lumens - in fact 1112 lumens with pretty decent "brightest mode" color. And that's at the usual "mid-point" on the zoom lens. If you can place at the closest, that jumps about 6% to approximately 1181 lumens.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Game mode):
Zoom out= 1024
Mid zoom= 962
Zoom in= 883
HC7900 in Eco-mode vs. Full power:
Lumen Output of Cinema mode on Low Lamp (All else on default settings) = 545 lumens vs. 713 lumens
That's a drop of just over 25%. (But it does - per Mitsubishi - increase lamp life from 2000 to 5000 hours).
Mitsubishi HC7900DW Pre-Calibration Color temp, Cinema Mode:
Mike looked to find the best mode to start with, which he determined to be Cinema. Video, Game and 3D seem similar to Cinema , but Cinema has slightly better grayscale. Game and 3D have Brilliant Color turned on (Video and Cinema have it off), which has a number of effects, including cooling the picture - in the low 7000's instead of the mid-upper 6000s.
Color Temp over IRE Range, Best Mode:
A/V Memory 1 (or Video)
30 IRE – 6505
50 IRE – 6582
80 IRE – 6570
100 IRE – 6550
Mike calibrated the Cinema mode (as a starting point for AV Memory 1), and came up with the results below.
HC7900DW Color Temp over IRE Range - Post calibration: AV Memory 1 Mode
20 IRE - 6548
30 IRE - 6434
40 IRE - 6528
50 IRE - 6469
60 IRE - 6489
70 IRE - 6476
80 IRE - 6480
90 IRE - 6451
100 IRE – 6760
Average Gamma: 2.17
That's a really tight set of numbers above. With the exception of full 100 IRE (white), which rises only slightly. The other settings are essentially dead on the money. The HC7900DW's "white" doesn't adjust very much when the lower brightness grayscale does.
Mike's Notes: (repeated from last year) Unfortunately, Mitsubishi has decided to not allow access to even basic settings like Brightness and Contrast in anything but the A/V Memories. You can’t even change the lamp setting in anything but the A/V Memory modes.
Turning Brilliant Color on increases lumen output, but to the detriment of grayscale. Calibrating with BC on brings the lumen output down close what it is with BC off.
Below, Relative brightness and color: Brilliant Color
Brilliant Color Off:
Brilliant Color On: You can see on the cuff edges that BC on definitely dramatically increases the contrast, from the more natural, with BC off. With BC on, you get more "pop", but you will also see flattening of the color pallet, which is likely to show up in close-ups of faces.
HC7900DW: Comparing Default Modes:
Below a series of images taken with the same exposure, to show the different modes, in terms of both brightness, and color:
High Bright ("3D" mode - the brighest):
Video mode, EXCEPT as you can see, regardless of "color mode" setting "color temp" to high brightness, essentially results in a picture just as bad:
AV Memory 1 (default)
Even if you start with Cinema, Video or any other mode as noted above, (default color temp is Medium for both Video and Cinema), selecting High Brightness Color Temp has the picture going straight to hell.
Mitsubishi HC7900DW Sharpness
Sharpness is excellent. Single chip DLP projectors always have an advantage, and Mitsubishi manages to put some quality glass on this projector (13 elements in 4 clusters).
The HC7900DW simply looks sharper than most of the projectors to cruise through here in the last year . That includes pretty much all the LCoS projectors and 3LCD projectors. The image sharpness certainly also looks as good as any DLP in the price range, including the pricier Optoma HD8300. True, we like detail enhancing features like the Sony's Reality Creation, but here we're talking real, native sharpness.
Mitsubishi HC7900DW: Bottom Line Sharpness
Bottom line: There's nothing like a good single chip DLP projector for sharpness. With no panel convergence issues to deal with, a good optical path design, and a good lens, should yield a sharp clear image that lets you appreciate all that good full HD resolution content.
The Mitsubishi HC7900DW places a sharper than most of the competition image, up on the screen. You'll probably appreciate it more with digital content like sports, rather than film, since film based content starts out a little soft, but you will be able to appreciate it!
For your consideration: Nice and sharp - CNBC and Cramer and lots of small text and numbers!
Sharpness is definitely a key strength of the Mitsubishi HC7900 DW projector. Without fiddling with fancy dynamic controls, this HC7900 DW should definitely look a bit sharper on sports and other HDTV content, than most of the 3 panel competition.
As was the case last year, the HC7900 has no light leakage to be concerned about. A touch of light leaks though the venting, but not enough to create any issue. There is some through the lens as well, but again, not an issue that should affect your buying decision.
In 2D, the projector looks pretty clean in terms of basic mosquito noise, for a DLP. Such noise seems more evident on DLPs but this one is pretty good.
Panning 24fps content is pretty good. Some panning has showed up once in a while on some other (including very expensive) projectors to be unsually jerky at certain pan speeds. The Mitsubishi fits into the typical category, rather than exhibiting more jerkiness than many others.
3D noise, as mentioned on the first page, starts with ghosting or crosstalk. DLP projectors are supposed to be crosstalk clean when it comes to crosstalk, so it's not unexpected, that the 3D image looks clean.
In fact, as far as all 3D related artifacts go, the HC7900DW about as good as we've seen.
Like most DLP home theater projectors (and a few others), the HC7900 projector is a bit noisy when running the lamp at full power. Not too bad, though. I believe Mitsubishi claims 31 db at full power, and that seems about right. The 25db claim for eco-mode also seems about right. The quietest projectors get down to about 16 db in eco-mode (call that silent for all practical purposes). But most home projectors are in the 18-26 db range in eco-mode, and run from about 23 to 33 db at full power.
Bottom line, if you are particularly noise adverse, you won't like the HC7900DW at full power, but then, you also won't like about 75% of the other home theater projectors out there. Not bad, not great, the HC7900DW's audible noise levels are nothing to get excited about - but probably won't be a real issue for you.