Optoma HD8300 - Review Summary
The HD8300 is a single chip DLP projector that will work out best in a theater type environment. Optoma has other models more suitable for a typical family room type arrangement, including the recently reviewed HD33.
Below we summarize key items written about in the previous pages of the review. Consult those pages for more details, including even our calibration settings.
9/24/11 - Art Feierman
Optoma HD8300 Projector - The Bottom Line
Optoma's shiny new 3D capable HD8300 is based on their 2D only, HD8200. The HD8300 is a classic single chip DLP projector. More full featured than the entry level DLP projectors out there, it offers solid performance as a 2D home theater projector, with 3D thrown in.
HD8300 Brightness: The HD8300 is typical of the majority of over $3500 (to $10,000) projectors. Post calibration it provided just over 750 lumens in "best" (measured with zoom at mid-point). At its very brightest, the projector reaches 1150 lumens, with lens full wide angle, in Bright mode. The picture in that mode, however leaves much to be desired. You can still get a very good picture, though about 20% brighter than "best" mode.
HD8300 3D Performance: Overall, 3D looked very good. Even sports viewing with CFI on lacked any annoying artifacts. I viewed 3D at a 100" diagonal on two different screens. With my 1.3 gain Studiotek 130, I found the image to generally be a bit dim. Bright content was fine to watch, but still often the material seemed to be too dark for the type of scene you are viewing.
Switching to a 3D screen with a lot more gain - and more hotspotting, narrower viewing cone - the center of the image definitely was brighter, and generally pretty acceptable. I just don't like screens with lots of roll off to the sides/corner, but it is a way to boost 3D brightness.
I watched a fair amount of 3D, parts or all of - Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D (my favorite), to Alice, and Tron Legacy, Monster house. I watched much of today's live 3D football game: North Carolina @ Georgia Tech. It was very cool.
My daughter is home for the weekend, and she stopped in the theater sat down for a bit and watched the game. (She doesn't share my enthusiasm for college football).
Overall, very nice on 3D, except for needing a bit more brightness, or an alternate solution such as a smaller, or high gain screen.
HD8300 Color and Overall Picture Quality
As I stated on the Image Quality page, the HD8300, after Mike's calibration, is pretty much dead on. Skin tones are excellent.
Thanks to the color fidelity, the HD8300 is most enjoyable to watch on pretty much any type of content I've tried. That is the HD8300's primary strength.
Black level performance is good, but hardly exceptional considering the mid $4000 price tag, and that there are a couple of projectors at least as good (at black levels), for half the price. Shadow detail is typical for a projector around this price.
Fancy features include CFI for smooth motion. It worked admirably on sports. Even in the low setting, as with almost all projectors, CFI is something I avoid when watching movies. It still is changing the "director's intent".
Pure Color, and Pure Detail, are two other dynamic features. Pure Color performs much like Brilliant Color, upping the "pop and wow" factor. Actually I never got beyond the Off or 1 (out of 5) setting, due to the HD8300 looking so good with it off. At the higher numbers it's over the top. Pure Detail can give the image some digital crispness. I've played with it on low setting or off. The HD8300 is plenty sharp enough when the content is good. Try it. You may like it.
The Very Bottom Line on the HD8300 projector:
The HD8300 might be considered a "poor man's" Runco LS5. For $2500 less than that Runco, you get another nice single chip DLP projector. The HD8300 lacks the Runco's precision - that is, smoother dynamic features, especially a great CFI and dynamic iris. Both, however have great color and just look really good. The Runco is simply the more polished of two similar projectors. Both have that DLP "look and feel."
Brightness of the HD8300 is typical, fine for 2D and basically adequate for 3D viewing on average sized screens.
Placement flexibility is very good with 1.5:1 zoom and a good amount of lens shift.
It comes down to this, the real strength of the HD8300 is the picture it puts on the screen, especially in terms of color and balance. Yes, the HD8300 projector could have better black level performance, and definitely, the dynamic iris could be further improved to make it invisible, but when you sit down to watch something, it really does look good.
All considered, the HD8300 certainly makes an interesting choice for those interested in some 3D, but, who really want, first - a picture that is most enjoyable to view - one that just looks really good. While the HD8300 isn't truly a standout in any one way, and while it does have a rough edge or two, ultimately, the HD8300 puts a great image on your screen. That's what it does best.
Optoma HD8300 Projector: Pros and Cons
Optoma HD8300 Projector: Pros
- One of the brighest 3D capable projectors so far, in the over $3500 price class
- With 750+ measured lumens in "best" mode, easily handles large screens for 2D
- Excellent overall color, and skin tones
- Respectable shadow detail
- Very good placement flexibility
- Edge Masking and Vertical digital image shift
- HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) allows for support for Blu-ray 3D content
- Optional 3D glasses use RF emitter for better reliability - no line of sight requirement. Or will work with DLP-Link glasses
- Dynamic features including PURE Detail, PURE Motion (CFI) and PURE Color (think Brilliant Color)
- Lamp Life is better than average, long term cost of ownership is very good
- Excellent warranty
- Great remote control
- Physically attractive, sculpted lines
- Very good menu layout
This outdoors - night shot, of Daniel Craig, in Casino Royle, does a nice job of capturing a good skin tone.
Optoma HD8300 Projector: Cons
- Dynamic Iris action occasionally visible
- ImageAI noticeable - prefer it off
- Black level performance could be better
- Fan can be a bit loud, with slight whine
- 3D glasses are optional (just a reminder)
- Could use additional user memory positions
- Definitely could use more lumens for 3D
Optoma HD8300 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Black Level performance
- Cost of operation
- Overall value
The HD8300 has some real strengths. If those strengths outweigh some of the negatives we also mentioned, in terms of what you are looking for in a projector, then by all means take the HD8300 seriously. No doubt there are authorized, local installing dealers in your area.
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