Mitsubishi HC8000D Projector - Performance
2/1/13 - Art Feierman
This section covers the HC8000D's brightness (including many measurements with color temperature reported), sharpness, and image noise. Also covered on this page, are other physical attributes including light leakage and audible noise for the HC8000D projector.
Mitsubishi HC8000D Brightness
I'll start off by pointing out that the Mitsubishi HC8000D 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.
Let's have some fun: Here are how the different modes measured on the HC8000D:
Lumen Output and Color Temp for various Picture modes at 100 IRE:
Cinema = 486 @ 6897
Video = 486 @ 6662
3D = 804 @ 7556
Game = 804 @ 7564
A/V Memory 1, 2 or 3 = 476 @ 6602
ISF Day = 761 @ 7458
ISF Night = 444 @ 6628
As you can see, the Memories, Cinema, and Video are all very similar. For the brighter modes, 3D and Game appear to be essentially the same (margin of error). Those two modes have Brilliant Color on, while the first group defaults to Brilliant Color Off. There's plenty of extra lumens when you turn Brilliant Color on.
Mike did not use/measure the High Brightness Color Temp. It is sufficiently green we both consider it unwatchable. You probably have to go back to the early sixties to find a TV (that wasn't broken) that didn't produce better color than watching any of the modes with High Brightness color temp selected. Since Mitsubishi projectors never seem to allow the Hight Brightess color temp to be modified, there is no way we could effectively improve it. Even if we did, we would almost certainly knock it down from around 1000 lumens to about the same 800 lumens as the other "bright modes."
I said let's have some fun. So:
Here are the results from the HC7900DW - aka the "family room" version:
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 Memory 1, 2 or 3 = 713 @ 6550
Well look at that! Cinema Video and A/V Memories are again very similar to each other (not to the HC8000D), and - identical in brightness, but there's not as big an improvement jumping to the brightest modes. One could conjecture that it relates to both Brilliant Color, and also that the HC8000's "best" modes start out with better grayscale. That is, the "best modes" of the HC7900DW aren't quite as good as the HC8000D's so they could free up more lumens. (I sure hope that makes sense.)
Mike shared this: The HC8000 calibrated extremely well, doing much better than the HC7900 recently reviewed. It’s slightly less bright than the HC7900 and like that projector, turning Brilliant Color on increases lumen output, to the detriment of grayscale. If you look at the grayscale chart, you’ll see near perfect grayscale tracking, with Delta E under 1.0 throughout the entire measured IRE range, with an average of 0.5. This is one of the best results I’ve seen on a projector to date.
Unlike the HC7900, the preset gamma was so good there was no reason to use the custom gamma (unless you desire a level not available in one of the preset levels). Using the 2.2 setting resulted in an average gamma of 2.18, but what’s more impressive is that the gamma chart is flat throughout the IRE range (see chart). Likewise, luminance tracks the curve perfectly as well.
Mike has more to say. Much of that will be found on this projector review's calibration page. My turn:
In addition Mike calibrated the individual colors using the CMS. This is something we've recently started to do. We are saving the CIE information and CMS settings for the new site, where they will be found in the Subscriber area. We will continue to provide the same grayscale and general calibration that we have always provided, in the main reviews. Enough said for now. -art
Post Calibration: User "best" mode (placed in User AV Memory 1) = 465 lumens
That's just a little below "average" (500 lumens calibrated)
HC8000D Brightest "Watchable" mode Game or 3D saved to A/V Memory 2. 3 Brilliant Color on, Iris 2 set to High Brightness, Contrast at +11: 888 lumens
With the Contrast and +11, there are some issues, such as crushed highlights, but it does deliver (per Mike) 127 lumens more than with Contrast set for where it should be.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Game mode):
Zoom out= 914 (1174 with Contrast on 11 and High Brightness color temp)
Mid zoom= 804
Zoom in= 694
As you can see from the numbers, having the projector at its shortest distance from a given sized screen, and you get about 13% more brightness compared to mid-point on the zoom. Going from closest to furthest results in a drop in brightness of almost 25%.
HC8000 D in Eco-mode vs. Full power:
Lumen Output of Cinema mode on Low Lamp (All else on default settings) = 338
That's a drop from 486, a drop of almost exactly 30% - a fairly typical drop going from full power to an eco lamp mode. Running eco mode will get you 5000 hours on the lamp instead of 2000, and it will be quieter. The question is, on this not overly bright projector to begin with, how many will be willing to give up 30% of limited brightness.
Mitsubishi HC8000D 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 – 6551
50 IRE – 6634
80 IRE – 6576
100 IRE – 6582
As you can see, that's pretty close to the ideal 6500K. And, as Mike noted, the colors are in proper balance (grayscale). It's if you boost the contrast that the grayscale needs more work.
Mike calibrated the Cinema mode (as a starting point for AV Memory 1), and came up with the results below.
Post calibration: AV Memory 1 Mode
HC8000D Color Temp over IRE Range
20 IRE - 6402
30 IRE - 6550
40 IRE - 6496
50 IRE - 6527
60 IRE - 6485
70 IRE - 6486
80 IRE - 6541
90 IRE - 6510
100 IRE – 6527
Average Gamma: 2.18
Lumens at 100 IRE: 465 @ 6527
That's a nicely tight set of numbers above. That's with the exception of the very darkest ranges, where there is a touch too much red. It may be that boost in red, in the dark ranges that helped give the uncalibrated HC8000 that slightly sunburned look on skin tones. (You may remember, I mentioned that was the case, particularly in darker scenes.
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.
Lumen Output of Cinema mode with Brilliant Color on: 613
That compares with 486 lumens in Cinema with BC off. Thus engaging Brilliant Color on the HC8000D boosts brightness by approximately 26%. Overall picture quality, as expected, is better with BC off.
Below, Relative brightness and color: Brilliant Color
Brilliant Color Off:
Brilliant Color On: Not a huge difference, but a bit more contrast in the image below. A little more pop.Viewing the larger versions you can see that the man's skin tones are a bit smoother with BC off. This Brilliant Color implementation is rather good, but then with only a 26% difference in brightness, Mitsubishi isn't cranking BC up. (Some projectors have multiple settings for Brilliant Color. Texas Instruments (of DLP fame) provides projector manufacturers with the basic Brilliant Color option, then the manufacturers customize it to their tastes.
HC8000D: 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 Color Temp ("3D" mode - the brighest):
It doesn't really matter which mode you start with. Set Color Temp to High Brightness, and all this green above, is pretty much what you will get. (Unwatchable!)
A last thought on High Brightness color temp. It reminds me of watching The Matrix (but brighter and uglier).
AV Memory 1 (calibrated):
AV Memory 2 (quick-cal - "brightest mode")
Mitsubishi HC8000D Sharpness
As was the case with the HC7900, the HC8000D's sharpness is excellent. Single chip DLP projectors always have an advantage, and Mitsubishi manages to put some very respectable glass on this projector (13 elements in 4 clusters).
Ignoring the latest in "detail enhancement" and "dynamic sharpening", the HC8000D simply looks sharper than most other projectors we've looked at of late. 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.
Top left: Mitsubishi HC8000D, Top Center - Sharp XV-Z30000, Top Right: PT-AE8000
2nd row left: Sony VPL-HW50ES, center: Optoma HD8300, Right: Epson Home Cinema 5020UB
Note, unfortunately the PS3 chooses the background color for these images. The background for the HC8000 is unusually light, so it lacks the contrast of some of the others. That shouldn't prevent you from making a determination.
Mitsubishi HC8000D: Bottom Line Sharpness
Bottom line: There's nothing like a good single chip DLP projector like the HC8000 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 HC8000D 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 the bottom line is that no one will be complaining about a "soft" image.
For your consideration: An image of a newspaper from the last Spiderman Movie. Click on it, for a much larger and high resolution closeup.
Sharpness is a real strength of the HC8000D projector. Without fiddling with fancy dynamic controls, this HC8000D should definitely look a bit sharper on sports and other HDTV content than most of the 3 panel competition, which is to say, most of the competition near the HC8000's price.
One more sharpness image for you. The picture below is a look at Spiderman's wrist gadget and outfit. Click on it for a larger, closer look! Impressed?
The HC8000 has no real light leakage issues. A small amount exits from the lens, mostly below the lens, but I can't see anything hitting the screen even with a black frame on the projector. Blooming around white text on black (typical movie credits) is present, as expected, but certainly no worse than average, perhaps better.
As is the case with the HC7900DW, when viewing the HC8000D in 2D, the projector looks pretty clean in terms of basic mosquito noise, at least 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. The bouncing on the slow pan from the beginning of the movie Red, was perhaps a touch more than some, but, definitely a bit less than the Sony HW50ES, one of the strongest overall competitors out there.
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 HC8000D is rather impressive. Only using 2D to 3D conversion created issues, and that doesn't count as real 3D.
Like most DLP home theater projectors (and a few others), the HC8000 projector is on the noisy side when running the lamp at full power. Now I'm not saying that compared to $999 home entertainment projectors - they are noisier. I'm comparing to other mostly $2000 and up projectors. The 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 20-26 db range in eco-mode, and run from about 26 to 33 db at full power.
Bottom line, if you are particularly noise adverse, you won't like the HC8000D 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 HC8000D's audible noise levels are nothing to get excited about - but probably won't be a real issue for you.