Mitsubishi HC4900 LCD Home Theater Projector Review

Check out how the Mitsubishi HC4900 fared in our comparison report.

Overall, the Mitsubishi HC4900 (link to specs) does an impressive job in terms of overall image quality. It’s achilles heel, however is black levels, which are not as good as the HC5000, or, for that matter, most of the competition. In fairness, though, color handling, and especially fleshtones are extremely good. You’ve got to figure that when you are buying one of the very least expensive 1080p projectors, that it is going to have some weaknesses.

Mitsubishi HC4900 Projector: Flesh Tone Handling

I like to start with images showing skin tones, because I’m always of the belief that if flesh tones look unnatural, you have a real problem. Understand, the images here are “best” representations of what I see on the screen (I bracket the exposures, and choose the best, but never edit the color, etc.), but there are so many compromises (the digital camera’s capabilities, the monitor you are looking at (color shift, contrast), and so on. Right off the bat, you are probably looking at these images on a monitor with drastically inferior black levels and contrast compared to what the projector offers. So, take the images with a very large “grain” of salt. Overall, in this photo shoot, the images, as a whole, tend to be a little oversaturated. This is an issue relating more to the process, than the projector, and may not look that way on your computer.

Starting with my old favorites: Two images from Lord of the Rings, followed by two from The Fifth Element. All four are from standard DVD (SD-DVD). In the near future, I will start using Blu-ray versions of the Fifth Element images, and will do the same with the others, when Lord of the Rings finally makes it to Blu-Ray.

Now, I don’t know what this image above looks like on your display, but it really looked extremely natural on screen, and this image captures that, pretty well.

Time to consider other aspects beside image quality. We’ll next look at measured brightess, pixel visibility, remote control, menus, inputs, screen recommendations and more (not necessarily in that order) in the General Performance section.

Switching to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD disks:

One of the most spectacular Blu-Ray movies I’ve seen is House of the Flying Daggers. While this disk will make almost any projector look great, the HC4900 images are stunning:

I finally scored Pirates of the Carribean, on Blu-Ray, so I’m back to using this image going forward (similar to one I used on SD-DVD) for a couple of years).

One last image, but this time taken with a new digital camera. I finally “upgraded” and purchased, after much consideration (and trying several), the Olympus E-510 dSLR. I’ve been working with it for a couple of weeks, but still haven’t found the ideal settings to do the job properly, although, I will!

The image below was shot with the E510, from Space Cowboys on HD-DVD, but as you can see, there is a color shift – their shirts should be gray, and are coming out too blue. Despite that, the skin tones aren’t bad. It will be trial and error, but eventually, I’ll find the right white balance setting or custom one, to make my new camera look as good as my old one:

OK, enough of these images, time to move on. The bottom line is that the HC4900, with minor tuning, produces really excellent flesh tones. Overall, it has the edge on the competition. The Panasonic is close, with the Epson Home Cinema 1080, they tend to look a little hard, and not quite as natural, and the Optoma HD81 (and I assume, the lower cost HD80), should be competitive, but will require more tweaking to achieve really natural skin tones.

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