Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector - Image Quality
All of the Mitsubishi HC9000D screen image photos below are from either Blu-ray or HDTV.
In truth, virtually all projectors, including this HC9000D, will look a lot better projecting on to your screen, than in these pictures. That said, much can be revealed by viewing them.
These Mitsubishi HC9000D projector images come to you through a Canon D60 dSLR camera, software, browsers, and even your monitor, all with their own color inaccuracies. There are color shifts, saturation differences, etc. Take them all, "with a grain of salt".
In all cases, there are slight shifts in color from what I see on the screen, and what ends up on my monitor, or yours.
For this series, I found that the HC9000D images end up with a slight yellow orange caste. The real, projected image definitely looks more natural.
The images of the Mitsubishi HC9000D are provided to support the commentary, but keep in mind the major limitations when trying to compare images from the 9000D with other home theater projectors, when it comes to color accuracy.
7/20/11 - Art Feierman
HC9000D "Out of the Box" Picture Quality
Pretty impressive right out of the box, the Cinema mode pretty closely tracks the target 6500K in our quick measurements, averaging just a tad high (cool) by about 100K. Translated, out-of-the-box grayscale balance is about as good as most projectors end up AFTER calibration! OK, in fairness, a good calibration would be a bit tighter still, but the HC9000D, let's say, is one of the projectors in this price range that least needs a calibration for movie watching. (Oh, don't worry, it will further improve if you invest the effort or money to have it calibrated).
I never got back to "out of the box" after Mike calibrated it, but on the first few hours of watching I was rather satisfied with the picture quality. Reasonably accurate colors, combined with impressive black levels.
Really one of the better efforts, right in the box. There are others though, just as good, out of the box. Figure any projector that's got a THX mode, will likely be comparable. That includes the higher end JVCs (that's the more expensive ones), the Epson UB, and a couple of others, of the ones we've reviewed.
Check out our recommended settings for items like Brightness, Color, etc. on the Calibration page of this review.
HC9000D Projector - Flesh Tones
Beautiful. Not the best ever, but as good as any of the other projectors to roll through here of late, including the Sony and the JVC. Again, note, that the actual image on the screen has a lower yellow/orange component than these images, and perhaps more noticeable, the images came out a bit oversaturated.
Other than our inability to capture and deliver accurate reproductions on your monitor, let me say that the only real tendency to be concerned with is the slight over all oversaturation due to the color gamut. That's all nice and technical, but the truth is, almost everything I watched looked great, but, the underlying oversaturation, I assume, of primary colors, did have me readjusting the color saturation slighty from some content to other content.
Above and below, from Lord of the Rings: Gandalf, Arwen
Below Hermione from Harry Potter
Leeloo, of course, from The Fifth Element
Immediately below are some additional images we typically use in reviews, that should give you a good feel for overall skin tone handling:
Bruce Willis in Red:
HC9000D Black Levels & Shadow Detail
There are a whole bunch of projectors over $3500 that have excellent black level performance. In fact, great black level performance is almost standard on projectors above that price (and a few, below it). Our take is by the time you get black levels this good (are they the "holy grail"?) most folks are very satisfied (though who will refuse blacker blacks, if all else is equal)?
That said the HC9000D is in good company. Almost all of the projectors I consider in this price and black level handling range, use a dynamic iris, to achieve best blacks on dark scenes. The only exception to this of the projectors we consider primary competition, are the three JVCs, with the two higher end ones offering a bit better blacks than any of the other projectors. The field I'm addressing includes this Mitsubishi, the JVCs, the two Sonys currently shipping, an Optoma, a Runco, and the Sharp.
Of all of those mentioned, only the two more expensive JVCs are likely able to produce blacks that are visibly darker than the HC9000D.
OK, let's look at some real life, practical black level demonstrating images of the HC9000D, and some comparative images from many of the others:
First, slightly overexposed, the HC9000D, and immediately below, with similar exposure, the more expensive Sony VPL-VW90ES which uses the same SXRD panels.
Next we look at heavily overexposed images. The idea here is comparing black level performance. Easiest is to look a the relative brightness of the starship, compared to the brightness of the letterbox above and below.
If two images have the starships equally bright, but one has blacker blacks in the letterbox, that projector is the one with the better blacks. Alternately, and logically, (since the exposures do vary a bit), if two projectors have letterboxes equally black/gray, then the one with the brighter starship, has the better blacks. It's that easy. The hard part are the minor brightness variations from one image to the next.
Here we again start with the HC9000D, and the Sony VPL-VW90ES:
For example, above, the RGB brightness of the letterbox on the Mitsubishi is about 3.3%. For the Sony, it's about 3x as high, around 10% (of white). Conversely, the same area in the starship measures about 79% brightness on the HC9000, but about 87% brightness on the Sony. Do the math, and any way you slice it, in this dark image, both projectors have about the same black level performance. Of course, since both use dynamic irises, the results may be different on scenes that have more bright areas (only the smallest amount of this image has any real whites or near whites, it's only the heavy overexposure that makes you think otherwise.
OK, let's look at the JVC. Now, the RS25, predecessor to the $7500 RS40, has always had the best blacks around (along with its hand picked sibling, the RS35/RS60). Blacks are a bit brighter, but, the brightest areas are brighter - or are white.
Sharp XV-Z17000, the only 2D/3D 1080p projector so far, (7/11) under $5000 that uses single chip DLP technology. Its black level performance is also comparable to the Mitsubishi projector.
JVC RS15: (Has been replaced, officially, by the RS40.) (BW image)
The RS15 seems about comparable to the Mitsubishi as well, but it does not use a dynamic iris. That would indicate that in an even darker (dark) scene (such as the Bond night train), the iris will get the Mitsubishi a touch blacker than this JVC, although the RS25/RS35/RS50/RS60 will still have the advantage.
Finally, a little side by side imagery. On the left is the HC9000D, on the right the JVC HD250.
Note there are two images. I mentioned elsewhere that the HC9000 (on the left) iris is a slow one.
The first image was taken immediately after putting up a black screen, and pausing. The image immediately below it let a black frame run for a several seconds before taking the picture. The first one indicates roughly what the dynamic iris will do on the Mitsubishi, rather quickly. However, if the dark scene is very long, the blacks will continue to drop it seems, until you get the second image.
In other words, on long dark scenes, the Mits will produce blacks at least as good as the JVC, but on shorter scenes, the JVC will have the better blacks.
One other point. You can clearly see the hot lower right corner on this HC9000D. Uneven backgrounds always exist to some degree or another. This leve of hot spot is barely detectable on dark scenes, but still worse than one would expect as an owner. Uneven backgrounds are often related to minor imprecisions that can come from too much shipping violence. Review units do a lot of traveling, so we're used to a spike like this, but you normally shouldn't expect any unevenness to be noticeable under casual viewing. In this case the JVC HD250 does better.
Shadow Detail Performance
Our major comparison uses the night train scene from Casino Royale. Look to the trees and shrubs on the right, especially just above the tracks. The first image is the Mitsubishi HC9000D. Next, the Sony VPL-90ES, third is VPL-Pro1, fourth, the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB, followed by the JVC RS15, and the last one is from the Runco LS-10d projector.
Although you can tell the Mitsubishi image is a touch brighter than the Sony immediately below, look to the shrubs and trees on the right side by the tracks and above. There is definitely more detail visible on the Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi is especially good at dark shadow detail for an ultra-high contrast projector.
Here are images from additional projectors:
Sony VPL-Pro1 - also known as the VPL-VW-HW20a:
Epson's Home Cinema 8700UB. (Previous models were not great at dark shadow detail). The 8700UB was the first Epson UB to exhibit expecially good detail in the darkest areas:
JVC DLA-RS15 (replaced by RS40): Not quite as good on dark shadow detail.
Runco LS-10d (A nice 3 chip $27K projector) Very good shadow
My personal thoughts - regarding dark shadow detail: The older Epson UB projectors weren't that great at dark shadow detail, but excellent on blacks. I found shadow detail to be more than good enough (I'd rather have blacker blacks and a touch less dark shadow detail). With the Mitsubishi being more like the newer improved 8700UB, with really good dark shadow detail, that simply says: No problem! Very nice job!
Mitsubishi HC9000D - Overall Color & Picture Quality
While I had several projectors here, I could have done side by side images with, I only shot the HC9000D against the JVC HD250, a less expensive projector (not 3D capable). The other two - the Epson 8700UB, and my own RS20, weren't practical, due to brightness. My RS20 with a new lamp should be almost as bright as the Mitsubishi, but I have over 1900 hours on my 2000 hour lamp, so I'm lucky to have almost 400 lumens. The Epson puts out (now) just under 500 lumens in "best mode", so it too, is significantly dimmer. Even using the low lamp setting on the HC9000, it was too bright for side by sides.
Three images above from Bond movies. I'd expect the color performance of the JVC HD250 on the right, to also be similar to the RS40, while the higher end JVCs offer a CMS for better calibrating. Remember, the HC9000D also has a CMS, but here, at Projector Reviews, we only do the basics and gray scale calibration, not full CMS. Point being, calibrated, the HC9000D has excellent color. The JVC, as you can see, isn't quite as bright as the Mitsubishi, but they are obviously very close.
Black level performance is first class UHC - ultra high contrast. It's not the best, so if you are on a quest for the best blacks (this side of CRT projectors), you'll still have to look to the two top end JVCs, but this Mitsubishi, is like so many others - The Epson UB, the JVC RS15/RS40, the Sony and Sharp. All offer excellent blacks, fine enough, that other aspects become more important!
For your consideration: Here are additional images, some of which can be found on other reviews:
The bottom line, on overall picture quality:
Pre-calibration, very good. Post calibration, great. Other than the tendency to oversaturated colors, which reducing the color saturation tends to address, there's really nothing to complain about. I've got over 50 hours now logged, watching the HC9000D in 2D, and I've enjoyed all of it. Oh my old JVC can do better blacks still, but at the moment, my JVC is underpowered if I want to watch a movie filling my full 124" diagonal 2.35:1 screen, whereas the HC9000D handles it no problem, in terms of brightness!
Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
Other than having twice as many lumens (2000 thousand instead of the 1005 maximum we measured), I'm perfectly happy with sports on the HC9000D. Colors are dynamic, the CFI works nicely and smooths motion. Shadow detail and black levels really aren't an issue for sports as sports is rarely dark, but the abilities of the HC9000D come into play for other HDTV content, be it concert videos (I'm a huge fan), or travel and education type material from the likes of Discovery HD, History HD, SyFiHD, Nat Geo HD, and so on.
Below a mix of NFL images, music videos, and shots from Peter Lik's (photographer) show on the Weather Channel.
Bottom line for HDTV on the Mitsubishi HC9000D Home Theater Projector
Beautiful. honestly, in my theater - with its dark surfaces, and lighting control, I can have a goodly amount of light in the back of my room, and still was able to take all these images with some ambient light, and filling about a 98" diagonal 16:9 screen. For all these images but the one immediately below, (shot at a different time, at night), I had 7 recessed LED lights on in the middle and back of the room, and the back shutters just partially open (no sunlight coming in)!
Even this image below was taken with some ambient light on in the room
This works for me. Mind you, if I was trying to use this projector in a room with off white walls and ceilings, I'd be running out of lumens much faster, but in the theater type situation the HC9000D is normally heading into, sports and HDTV should be just fine, even with some company.