Optoma HD8300 Home Theater Projector Review
Optoma's HD8300 projector is Optoma's flagship 3D capable, single chip DLP, 1080p resolution home theater projector. It is built on the HD8200 platform. The primary difference that matters is that the HD8300 is 3D capable as well as being foremost, a 2D projector.
9-22-2011 - Art Feierman
Optoma HD8300 Projector Overview
The Optoma HD8300 is Optoma's flagship 2D single chip DLP projector with 3D capabilities. A second version of the HD8300, which we have not seen, is the HD83, which seems to be the same projector marketed through a different channel.
Similar to the HD8200 previously reviewed, this is a solid single chip DLP projector with very good color capabilities and a host of features including CFI, dynamic color and dynamic sharpness features (Pure Engines). With a $4499 price, it comes in a bit lower pricewise, than a number of other higher end single chip DLP projectors and most of the LCoS projectors out there. It also will compete with the similarly priced Sharp XV-Z17000 (another single chip DLP with 3D abilities, which we've previously reviewed).
The HD8300 will also have to compete from a higher pricepoint with some new, bright, 3LCD based projectors that also offer 3D abilities but will be priced about $1000 lower.
All considered, I enjoy watching the HD8300 for both 2D, and with the usual caveat about brightness, it is a good choice for those wanting 3D as well.
Please consider the HD8300, as, first and foremost, a 2D projector. It is one with typical brightness and black level performance for projectors around its pricepoint. The HD8300 projector will particularly appeal to folks who really like that DLP "look and feel."
Let's take a closer look at the Optoma HD8300.
Optoma HD8300 Projector Highlights
- 3D capable, includes supporting both 720 and 1080i/1080p 3D, including Blu-ray 3D and all DirecTV 3D we tested with
- Medium sized, good looking projector
- Two remote controls (no control panel)
- Very good color controls - calibrates well
- Black level performance typical of DLP projectors
- ISF Certified
- Very good lamp life - longer than most, up to 4000 hours
- Excellent warranty!
- Creative Frame Interpolation for smooth motion
- Sold through authorized local dealers
- Consider HD8300 as a very good 2D projector with 3D abilities
Specs for Optoma HD8300
Technology: Single chip DLP
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: Manufacturer claim: 1500 lumens; 992 highest measured
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.5:1 Manual zoom and focus
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 3000 hours at full power, 4000 hours in eco mode
Weight: 18.5 lbs. (8.4 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Year Parts and Labor (2 years. on lamp), with Express program
View full specifications: Optoma HD8300
Optoma HD8300 Special Features
HD8300 Lamp Life
Very good lamp life. There are still plenty of companies in this price range that offer only 2000/3000 hour (full power/eco mode). With 3000/4000 hours, that's a big improvement, and major cost saver for those who watch a lot of hours a week.
On the other hand, some projectors offer even longer lamp life, including 5000/5000, 4000/5000 and other combinations. That puts the Optoma HD8300 projector about in the middle of the pack in terms of how lamp life affects long term cost of operation.
1.5:1 Zoom Lens
The manual 1.5:1 lens provides very good placement range, more than is typically found in less expensive DLP projectors, and at the shorter range of the LCoS and LCD projectors which mostly have 1.5:1 up to 2.1:1.
HD8300 Projector 3D
The HD8300 home theater projector is fully 3D capable. It can use IR or RF based active glasses. Optoma provided me the RF glasses, but I've also been using the IR glasses Optoma has sent me with Optoma gaming projectors we've been reviewing.
3D performance is very good from a crosstalk and other artifacts standpoint. One of the best I've reviewed so far.
Color is also very good, with two color modes selectable - 3D mode, or you can use your calibrated User mode.
Brightness was my primary issue with the HD8300 projector when it came to 3D. Of course brightness has been my number one complaint all along for 3D viewing, as 3D, at best, so far, may be able to deliver at most, 25% of the brightness to your eyes that you would get when viewing 2D.
With our calibrated User mode, the projector produced close to 700 lumens, about as good as any of the more expensive LCoS and DLP 3D projectors we've seen under $12,000. That said, many will find the HD8300 projector a bit dim for viewing on a normal 100" diagonal screen. I can stand it, but wish for brighter. As with some previous experience with other projectors doing 3D, some friends have not enjoyed watching some movie content in 3D (including Alice in Wonderland), due to the lack of brightness.
On the bright side (pun intended), the projector can put out more than 1000 lumens if you take advantage of the brightness of the lens when in wide angle, brighter modes. Most recently I've moved the HD8300 so it is in full wide angle, and I find enough extra brightness to make a bit of a difference. Let's consider the HD8300 one of the brightest of the over $3500 home theater projectors we've seen when doing 3D. Just remember, some less expensive competitors will be shipping soon, which claim to be almost twice as bright.
Consider 3D to be pretty acceptable, especially for those with smaller screens or going with high gain screens. In both cases, that can give you enough brightness to really enjoy some 3D.
The HD8300 looked great on digital content in 3D. I loved Revealing China 3D, Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D, and other "Discovery HD" type content in 3D. Of course most of that content is inherently bright. It is the dark scenes in Alice, and other movies, where some folks are most likely to complain about the 3D brightness.
HD8300 Creative Frame Interpolation - CFI - smooth motion
CFI performance of the Optoma HD8300 is fairly typical of today's projectors that offer this feature. In the low setting, you do get a bit of the soap opera, "live digital video" type look to 24fps movies, which most of us enthusiasts do not care for. The CFI works pretty well on the sports programs I've watched. On other types of medium, it generally performed very well, with some minor artifacts occasionally detectable on some high speed motion. There are a few projectors with exceptionally good CFI, where you can barely detect it even on movies (in the low setting), but the HD8300 is not one of them. Those are very few, and include a couple of Runcos, but also some less expensive projectors, including, I believe, the Panasonic PT-AE4000. The Epson 8700UB I'd also say is slightly better, (though the Panny is best of the three).
All considered, you get good CFI for sports and some other things, and as usual, I don't recommend using CFI for movie viewing as it definitely changes the "director's intent". Of course, a lot of folks don't care, including many of my college age daughter's friends.