Mitsubishi HC7900DW Home Theater Projector Review
Mitsubishi HC7900DW Black Levels & Shadow Detail
The HC7900DW offers solid black level performance in its price range. Definitely not the best, but definitely what we call “ultra high contrast”. This projector is roughly comparable in handling blacks to projectors like the Panasonic PT-AE8000 and the BenQ W7000. It won’t, however, match the blacks of the Epson or the Sony. The Epson (HC5020UB) is slightly less expensive, the Sony a many hundreds of dollars more.
Mitsubishi HC7900DW: Pretty darn good. Like all the images below of the “starship”, it is intentionally overexposed by several f-stops. This raises the blacks so they can be easily seen as dark grays, and so that after mentally adjusting for the slightly differing exposures, you get a very good idea of how the HC7900 stacks up to the competition.
Epson Home Cinema 5020: Image more overexposed (slightly, but blacks are still blacker than the HC7900). Definitely has more “pop”, thanks to the better blacks.
PT-AE8000: More comparable to the Mitsubishi. This image is a touch more overexposed, but factor that in, and they are very similar in terms of black levels.
Sony VPL-HW50ES: A little more overexposed making it hard to compare, but still at least as black blacks as the Mitsubishi, so this again, indicates a projector with better black level performance than the HC7900.
Optoma HD8300: Very nice, offers slightly better blacks than the Mitsubishi, not quite up to the Epson or Sony. This is an older image not converted to grayscale, and definitely less overexposed.
Optoma HD33 (lower cost, $1499 3D capable projector): Blacks are not as good as the Optoma, the image is less overexposed.
JVC DLA-RS45: JVC’s $7500+ projectors have killer blacks. Even this RS45 is very good, and better than the Mitsubishi, although not by a whole lot.
Runco LS10d projector ($27,000+): This one is included to make the point, that a lot more money doesn’t mean any significant improvement in black levels. Think instead, that other things become more important.
Sharp XV-Z30000 (direct competitor): this is another good DLP projector. The image is a bit less overexposed. Blacks are roughly comparable, though I’d say they slightly favor the Sharp.
Shadow Detail Performance
Look at the shrubs on the right, on the far side of the tracks. Compare detail in the trees also on the right.
The HC7900DW’s dark shadow detail is really excellent. I don’t think any of the competing projectors can do better by a noticeable, visible amount. I can’t say which of several is the very best, but this Mitsubishii projector is definitely one of the ones that seems to reveal the most.
As alway, ignore color shifts, long time exposures (up to 30 seconds, create problems).
Epson Home Cinema 5020 UB: The Mitsubishi’s dark shadow detail is every bit as good, perhaps a touch better than this Epson which we find to be better than most.
PT-AE8000: Also very good dark shadow detail
Epson Home Cinema 3020: A lower cost projector ($1599), not an ultra-high contrast projector.
Optoma HD33: Another lower cost projector
Optoma HD8300: Nice blacks but not as good on dark shadow detail
Sony VPL-HW50ES: Better on blacks than dark shadow detail, but still very good.
Black Level and Shadow Detail Performance: HC7900 Projector - Bottom Line
Very good and Excellent. That’s a pretty good combination for a $2500 home theater projector. Although the blacks could be improved, they are good enough that further improvement, while desireable (say to the Epson’s level), is a legitimate trade off compared to the slightly better skin tones of the Mitsubishi. At the end of the day, you’ll have to decide between the projectors. Black levels and shadow detail are two important abilities, but not all of the important ones.
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