Optoma HD8600 - Performance
12/6/2009 - Art Feierman
Optoma HD8600 Brightness
The Optoma HD8600 is one of the brighter 1080p home theater projectors out there. Immediately below are the measured lumens of each of the preset modes, (and also the color temperature they produced at 100 IRE) (white)
Optoma HD8600 Projector - Uncalibrated:
Cinema 1= 579 @ 6451
Cinema 2= 787 @ 6529
Reference= 785 @ 6513
Photo= 801 @ 7548
Bright= 1132 @ 9021
Graphics= 1127 @ 8987
User= 785 @ 6499
After doing our calibration of "best mode" we measured Cinema 2 (set up for User 1) at 696 lumens. So far this year, only the JVC projectors have measured slightly brighter in "best" mode.
In "brightest" mode, (Bright) post calibration, we measured 1166 lumens, actually slightly brighter than any of the preset modes.
The Effect of zoom lens positioning on brightness: Our standard measurements reported are done with the zoom at its mid-point. Here are relative numbers from the Cinema 1 mode (lamp on low), for different lens positioning. From a percentage standpoint, the differences will be the same for any mode, as you change the lens angle. Note that the variation is very slight. This is in part do to the very limited range of this lens (1.25:1) and good optics, so there is little variation over the range.
Zoom out (closest position - wide-angle): 440 lumens
Mid-zoom: 427 lumens
Zoom in: 419 lumens (furthest from the screen - tele)
The Effect of low lamp (eco) mode on brightness:
Low lamp power, for Cinema 1: 427 lumens
High lamp power for Cinema 1: 579 lumens
That translates into a drop of approximately 26% when going from full, to low power lamp setting.
There are times when you need (or want) every last lumen. For this purpose we look at the brightest modes offered, and do a "quick - calibration" That calibration isn't designed for best color. Brightest modes are often very poor in color. Our goal in "calibrating" that mode, it so make the color respectable, not exceptional, while compromising brightness as little as possible. With most projectors, you could start with a very bright mode, calibrate it for the absolute best color, etc, but when you get it, and measure, it's now no longer brighter than "best mode", in which case, why bother.
So, we want bright and good color. Whether that's for watching sports with some lights on or some daylight coming in, or just a good amount of brightness while watching your favorite sitcom, some high quality HDTV content, news, or your favorite vampire show, doesn't really matter.
The Optoma HD8600 does extremely well. With our "quick-cal" the HD8600 measured in at 1166 lumens. That's a ton more lumens than the Planar 8150 DLP, but still about 80 lumens shy of the BenQ W20000, but the HD8600 is definitely brighter in "best" mode.
Better still, the picture quality turns out to be really very good. The Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB, by comparison, is about the brightest this year, with mid 1300 lumens, but the color accuracy is a good bit better with the Optoma which is within 150 lumens. For more perspective, The JVC RS25 has a touch more color accuracy in its "bright" mode, which is down in the mid-800 lumen range. In other words, the Optoma HD8600 in brightest, is significantly brighter than the JVC, and virtually as good in terms of color. By comparison the Optoma is a lot closer to the Epson's brightest, but still has better color. That's a good set of trade-offs for many. For example I have a large screen. The Epson doesn't have the muscle to fill it in "best" mode, but plenty in "brightest".
The Optoma HD8600, by comparison, definitely has the lumens to fill my screen, yet has enough extra to make me a happier for my sports viewing, than I ever have been with my JVC on sports.
The Optoma HD8600 is a classic, single chip DLP projector, and as expected, produces a very sharp image. In reality, even the 0 setting (lowest) for sharpness, is probably a little too high, as there is a touch of oversharpening appearing. Still, it's relatively slight.
For your consideration, our usual close up images
2nd row left: Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, left center: Panasonic PT-AE3000, right center: Optoma HD8000, right: InFocus IN83
Note, starting with this review, now that my DTS test disc died, for this sharpness demo, we will be using a closeup of the PS3 system screen, showing the Video icon
Below: Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right: Optoma HD8600, DLA-RS25, Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, and BenQ W20000. The DLA-RS25 holds its own against most, but not a few of the sharpest DLP projectors.
Optoma HD8600: Bottom Line Sharpness
No issues to report. Very little light detectable anywhere but out the back vent, and even that is minimal. There's even less out the side intakes.
Optoma HD8600 Image Noise
For reasons I've never understood, it seems like DLP projectors have slightly more visible image noise, than other designs. That said, the HD8600 seems as good as any of the DLP's. There's still more noise, say than my JVC, but I have no problem with the noise levels I see, and that's without using the Noise reduction control.
Optoma HD8600 Audible Noise
Optoma says 29db audible noise. They don't specify if that's high power mode or low, but the bottom line is that the audible noise of the HD8600, is a little higher than average, but still quieter than a number of projectors. A few people may be concerned with the background noise, but for most of us, it will be just fine. Remember, in a pinch, the HD8600 is a lot quieter in low power, and still has a good amount of lumens.