Mitsubishi HC7900DW Home Theater Projector Review
HC7900DW Color and Overall Picture Quality
Skin tones are excellent. When I did do side by sides of best modes compared to the Panasonic PT-AE8000, I have to say that as good as the Panny did, the HC7900DW looked a touch better. (That DLP “thing” I suppose.) Consider: Panasonic (calibrated) on the left, HC7900DW on the right.
Overall, once calibrated (try our settings if you aren’t going to spend to calibrate), it’s going to be tough to find better skin tones.
Shadow detail is also excellent.
For a projector in the price range, my only real complaint is with black level performance. This projector certainly does well enough, but black level performance while being “ultra-high contrast” (good blacks) is not a match for the best projectors in the price range. For those of us really into blacks, consider this projector just acceptable, compared to, say the Sony or Epson.
HC7900 DW Projector - Brightness for 2D viewing
The HC7900 was measured at701 lumens calibrated, with the zoom at mid-point! That’s pretty good. It’s almost 15% brighter than the Panasonic and a few % brighter than the Epson competition. Most of the other DLP projectors in the price range, as well as some of the LCoS projectors (Mitsubishi’s own HC9000D and most JVCs), are in the same ball park or less bright.
That 701 lumens is in full power mode (a little noisy, but not exceptionally so), is with Brilliant Color Off. The HC7900DW is definitely visibly better with BC turned off if you are looking for the best possible picture. But if you turn it on, the HC7900 still looks pretty good, although definitely less natural. Still, Brilliant Color gets you an extra 35% more brightness, when needed.
That’s basically what we use for brightest mode – turn on Brilliant Color – say for sports viewing, using the calibrated Cinema mode (in AV Memory 1). You then, I suggest, save the version with BC on and a boost in contrast, in AV2 as your “Brightest” mode.
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). Too bad, really. If they provided enough control, maybe the ugly 1300+ measured lumens, might have yielded a more watchable 1200 or 1250 lumens, more than we can find in other modes.
So, with good calibrated brightness, why the “smaller room” theme? That’s due to maximum brightness. If you forget its ugly brightest mode, this projector is about average for a brightest picture, and that means, in family room / living room type settings, you really don’t have much to work with to deal with any real ambient light. Consider that you have choices in the price range that are up to about twice as bright (also uncalibrated modes).
HC7900 Projector - 3D Brightness
First of all, in a family room, even with a smaller screen, figure you will want save your 3D viewing until nighttime if you have any real ambient light present in the day time. Every projector gives up more than 50% and up to about 75% of brightness in 3D. Each year 3D gets brighter, but let’s assume the loss is still 2/3 (last year we assumed 75% loss). That takes 1100 lumens and knocks it down to under 400 lumens, which technically is barely enough for a 100″ screen with no ambient light.
With a basic white screen with typical modest gain: 1.3 to 1.4, I think the HC7900DW 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.
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