Mitsubishi HC5500 1080p 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review:

Mitsubishi HC5500 Projector: Lens Throw and Lens Shift

As noted at the beginning of this review, the HC5500 has a more limited range zoom lens than their previous 1080p projectors. Featuring only a 1.2:1 zoom lens, the HC5500 has pretty much the same amount of zoom range as the typical DLP projector, even though it is a 3LCD projector. The average 3LCD home theater projector has about five times the adjustment range (2:1). This will mean that perhaps up to half of the folks who would like to shelf mount this Mitsubishi instead of ceiling mounting it, will find that their room depth and screen size combination won’t allow shelf mounting.

For a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the HC5500 can be placed as close as 10.5 feet and as far back as 12.8 feet, measured from screen, to front of the lens.

The HC5500 still has vertical lens shift, but again, the range has been reduced. With the HC5500 the projector can be positioned anywhere from even with the top of the screen surface, to even with the bottom of the screen surface (as measured from the center of the lens). For most folks, that isn’t a problem at all, but for those with high ceilings, the projector will have to be brought down to the top of the screen’s height. Most other 3LCD projectors for a 100″ screen, can be an additional 10 to 24 inches higher (or lower), thanks to more lens shift range. The HC5500 does not have horizontal lens shift, which means if you are doing a ceiling mount by yourself, be sure to compensate the mount’s placement for the lens being off center. (The same would be true for a shelf.)

Mitsubishi HC5500 Projector: SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility

OK, this is a 3LCD projector, so it lacks a spinning color wheel (like single chip DLP projectors), and therefore there is no Rainbow Effect at all. The HC5500 has newer 3LCD panels, which have noticeably less visible pixel structure than projectors of just a couple of years ago. At normal seating distances, the reduced pixel structure, combined with 1080p resolution also makes Screendoore Effect pretty much a non-issue. You’ll probably need some coarse non-HD TV source, and have to sit much closer than normal to detect screendoor effect. That’s not to say, at the close end of normal seating, that you won’t be able to make out the pixel structure in things like closing credits of movies, and types of “digital signage” employed on sports programming (scores, player info, etc.).

Bottom line: not an issue. For the very few who might not be happy, there’s always DLP or LCoS technology, as the DLP’s pixel structure is finer, and with LCoS, much finer than with 3LCD.

Mitsubishi HC5500 Projector: Brightness

Very nice! The HC5500 measured slightly brighter than it’s predecessor, the HC4900, with an impressive 640 lumens in “best” mode. This drops more than 26%, to 472 lumens, when the lamp is set to low power. The somewhat larger than normal drop (most are right around 20%), no doubt is at least in part, repsonsible for the excellent lamp life in Eco-mode (low lamp power), of 5000 hours!

You can figure that you will get that same 26.2% decrease in brightness in any mode, when switching to low lamp (eco-mode) power.

The HC5500 has a good, but not massive increase in brightness in its brightest mode, unlike some other 3LCD projectors. Epson for example is almost 4 times brighter in it’s brightest mode, than its best mode. Still, the HC5500 manages to output 1061 lumens, and that’s about average for a bright mode these days in 1080p projectors.

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