Mitsubishi HC8000D - Review Summary
Time to summarize many of the discussions on the previous pages. For those of you who have read the entire review, no surprises. For the rest of you, this page should give you a pretty darn good idea of how the HC8000D projector performs, its greatest strengths, its most noticeable limitations, and hopefully, a good understanding as to whether this projector is for you. Have fun with it. If you find this review helpful, please "Like" us up above.
2/2/13 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC8000D Projector - The Bottom Line
Alas, only a Special Interest award for the HC8000D. Oh, a Hot Product award was considered, after all, the HC8000D puts up a very impressive image with excellent skin tones, and respectable black levels.
But, there are a number of projectors that can do that in the $2500 - $4000 price range, including a couple of Epson's, the Sony HW50ES, likely the JVC DLA-X35 (review coming soon), and the Panasonic.
All of those other projectors also offer 3D, as does this Mitsubishi HC8000D. But, of them all, the Mitsubishi is the least bright. And that folks, means it's going to be suitable for less folks, especially those into 3D.
This is a smaller screen projector, in most typical cases best around 92" to 100" diagonal screens. Well, probably half of the projector setups out there have larger than 100" screens (no, I don't have good numbers to quote, but I'm thinking back to my previous company where we sold 500+ home theater projectors a month, and plenty of screens).
The strengths of the Mitsubishi HC8000D projector are the general 2D picture quality, black levels and overall image sharpness (without fancy dynamic features attempting to "add" sharpness or "detail").
Consider the HC8000D to be an excellent 2D projector, definitely a home theater projector, not one for the family room. That's due to the only about 450 calibrated lumens, and less than 800 lumens after our "quick-cal" (adjustment) of the brightest usable mode. True, there's just over 1000 lumens maximum available, it's just that the HC8000 requires its High Brightness color temp setting to get there, and we find using that to be mostly unwatchable, and unfixable. By comparison, our AV Memory 2 "quick-cal" looks very good but the brightness of this "brightest" usable mode, are in the mid 700 lumen range. That's about what a number of competitors offer when calibrated.
3D is even tougher. I can watch at 100" diagonal, but I know I've got friends who would not care to watch this on a screen that large (average), due to lack of horsepower in 3D. And that's with the brighter "proprietary" 3D glasses.
Like the HC7900, we could call the HC8000 a "condo-focused" projector. (Or spare bedroom conversion to theater). Some day Mitsubishi will truly impress me. They will decide to build a projector with this one's overall quality but give us more like 1500-2000 usable lumens to help out with 3D. Next year perhaps.
Seriously, it is simply having less lumens, that cost the HC8000D its shot at our Hot Product Award, so if your room and viewing habits don't need more lumens, understand that this is a fine projector, and one that if significantly brighter, almost certainly would have received the higher award.
Choosing between the HC8000 and HC7900 is mostly a no brainer. You do get more bang for your buck with the lower cost HC7900. And while you will get slightly better blacks with the HC8000, the improvement is not greatly significant. That is, having the extra roughly 50% more calibrated lumens with the HC7900 should have more appeal than the HC8000's slight black level and contrast advantage.
Can you use an HC8000D in a family room type of world with some ambient light, and not dark room surfaces? Sure, but should you? I don't think so. Certainly the HC7900 would be more suitable there, as would most brighter projectors in the HC8000's price range, which is to say, all the other projectors in its price range.
Screens Clarification: When I am talking about "smaller screens", let me clarify for those of you never previously having owned a projector. I'm thinking between about 82 inches diagonal to 110 inches diagonal as "smaller to medium." (Large starts over 110".)
Your 65" LCDTV by projector standards is downright "tiny". I was in a Best Buy over the shopping weekend, and saw 70" LCDTV's on display, and wow, they really looked "humongous" compared to the 50" inchers near by. Well, next time you're in Best Buy, take a look. When you see a 50 and a 70 near each other, realize that the increase from 70 to 100" is a slightly greater increase than going from 50 to 70. Further a 110" screen makes a 70" seem downright small or "cute".
More importantly, when you get to projector sized images, you enter a world where the screen is large enough to get immersed in the picture. If that wasn't the case, no one would go to the movie theaters, we'd all be happy watching James Bond, or Transformers, or Hurt Locker on our 40" LCDTVs. OK, enough.
Above: Cinna, from The Hunger Games
Standard recommendation: If you really are into movies, and want best color, we recommend having the HC8000D calibrated. If that's not going to happen, definitely try our settings. They should do visibly better than the defaults, and it shouldn't take but a few minutes to input them into your Mitsubishi projector. (No technical skills needed, just the ability to scroll through menus, and change a few numbers).
HC8000D Color and Overall Picture Quality
Skin tones are excellent. When I did do side by sides of best modes comparing to the Epson Home Cinema 5020UB (direct competitor), I have to say that as good as the Epson did, the HC8000D looked a touch better. Consider: Epson (calibrated) on the left, HC8000D calibrated on the right. (Click for a larger comparison image). (Despite the Epson running in eco mode it's still a bit brighter than the HC8000D at full power. In fairness, the Epson was calibrated at full lamp, so there's a slight color shift away from best image quality.)
Overall, once calibrated (try our settings if you aren't going to spend to calibrate), this Mitsubishi projector produces some excellent skin tones. Perhaps not the very best (I'd have to pick the Sony HW50ES among projectors in the general price range,) but definitely right up there.
Shadow detail is also extremely good.
For a projector in the price range, black level performance is pretty good. It definitely cannot match the Epson 5020 or 6020, or the Sony HW50ES, but should beat the Panasonic PT-AE8000, BenQ W7000 and a few others, and possibly the JVC DLA-X35, which we haven't yet reviewed. Bottom line on black level performance, pretty darn good. I can see some folks (where brightness isn't an issue), preferring the HC8000 over the Epson HC5020UB, willingly giving up the modest black level advantage of the Epson, in exchange for the small improvement in skin tones.
HC8000 DW Projector - Brightness for 2D viewing:
The HC8000 was measured at 465 lumens calibrated (486 before calibration), with the zoom at mid-point. That's pretty close to the 500 lumens we call average. That said, it proves to be one of the least bright (calibrated) in the price range.
That 465 lumens is in full power mode (a little noisy, but not exceptionally so), is with Brilliant Color Off. The HC8000D is definitely visibly better with BC turned off if you are looking for the best possible picture. But if you turn it on, the HC8000 still produces really good color.
The brightest alternative is to change the color temp of the Mitsubishi to High Brightness - but, to me, that's pretty much unwatchable, the green is so dominant, and you can't adjust that setting. (See what it looks like compared to "best" mode by clicking here and scroll down to the "green" image). Too bad, really. If they provided enough control, maybe the ugly 1174 measured lumens, might have yielded a more watchable 1000 or 1050 lumens (with the zoom at wide angle/closest).
Even bumping up contrast to +11, mid on the zoom, which does affect color accuracy detrimentally, still produes less than the average 1000 lumens, specifically 888 lumens measured that way. In speaking average, we really should raise that to about 1200+ lumens for 3D capable projectors at their brightest. Consider there are even a few projectors today, hitting 2000 lumens with reasonably good color. Those "shine" on 3D.
HC8000 Projector - 3D Brightness:
With a basic white screen with typical modest gain: 1.3 to 1.4, I think the HC8000D is best doing 3D on screens 92" diagonal or less. At 100" diagonal I was personally never satisfied with brightness in 3D, and that's in a very dark theater. The call though, is yours. As I said, I tend to demand a bit more brightness than a decent number of my readers.
The Very Bottom Line on the HC8000D projector:
Great color! Nice, sharp image without "gimmicks". I really did enjoy watching the HC8000D as long as I didn't go too large an image. In 2D, no problem watching a 2.35:1 movie filling my full 124" diagonal 1.3 gain screen in my theater. That I found most satisfying.
Black level performance of the HC8000 D is definitely "ultra-high contrast". I find it to be better than all but a few projectors in the price range, and expect it has no trouble besting some fine projectors including the Panasonic PT-AE8000U and the BenQ W7000.
The overall brightness we've discussed isn't a problem, it simply sets limits on what type of room setup the HC8000D should go in, and the number of folks who will find it a really good match for their viewing preferences and environment.
Overall, a most impressive projector. It's not the right one for my room, and my tastes (which include lots of sports with intentional ambient light present), but it might be just what you are looking for, if you have a smaller screen.
I believe that there are enough other really good competing projectors out there - most of which are brighter, that you consumers have lots of choice. DLP fans in particular, though, should give this one a close look.
That said, the HC8000D does have a lot going for it, and it will be a great choice for a good number of people, especially those demanding great color and sharpness, and especially its handling of skin tones once calibrated.
If you are a DLP fan, and the brightness and feature set of the Mitsubishi meets your needs, then consider the HC8000D projector to be one of the best choices available to you.
Mitsubishi HC8000D Projector: Pros and Cons
Mitsubishi HC8000D Projector: Pros
- Excellent overall color, and especially skin tones
- Very good dark shadow detail (but not "best in class")
- Very good black level performance in the midst of serious competition
- Zoom lens for good placement flexibility
- No problem with any 720p or 1080i/p content from any DirecTV 3D channel, or Blu-Ray 3D
- Optional 3D glasses and emitter provide plenty of range for 3D
- You can use Mitsubishi's proprietary 3D glasses which are brighter, or use the typical universal glasses out there
- Good looking CFI (for smooth motion)
- Lamp Life is excellent (rated 5000 hours) in Eco Mode
- Low maintenance - no filters to change
- Lamp can be replaced without unmounting the projector
- Dynamic iris very smooth
- Better than average documentation
- Excellent warranty: 3 years parts and labor
- A smaller projector, fits nicely in smaller rooms
Mitsubishi HC8000D Projector: Cons
- A just below average of 486 calibrated measured lumens in "best" mode, is enough for medium sized screens
- Could be a lot brighter in "brightest modes", still less than 1000 lumens
- Actual "brightest" measured mode - is unwatchable (but others come close) we really don't care about any mode if High Brightness color temp is selected.
- Lamp life is well below average if you run at full power for the most brightness (2000 hours)
- Fair amount of audible noise at full power, but many other good projectors are louder (including most other DLPs)
- 3D glasses and are optional (just a reminder) and the bright (proprietary ones) are expensive at $199 each
- 2D-3D conversion is good, but still enough issues to want better before most will use it for 2D movie or sports content
- Remote is dated, backlight dim, buttons soft
- Definitely could use additional user memory positions
Just a couple of last images for your amusement! (above, from The Fifth Element)
Above, from Red: A typical darker scene with a lot of pop to it.
Above, from The Hunger Games, Below our usual "last image": Star Trek's Captain Pike
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