Optoma HD20 Projector Review

One more time: I may refer to the black level performance of the HD20 as entry level by today’s 1080p standards, but it is comparable to most far more expensive projectors of just a few years ago.

Even with that in mind, for those of us who really appreciate the deep blacks of the more expensive “ultra-high contrast” 1080p projectors, it’s a significant and important difference. The real question is whether or not the black level performance of a projector like the Epson worth an extra $1500 plus to you. The Epson, by comparison, has no advantage in terms of handling of skin tones, and can’t match the shadow detail of the Optoma HD20!

You’ll find this next image in a number of reviews. It is a logo at the beginning of Batman Begins. With projectors with blacker blacks, I have to overexpose the image so much (to bring up, the blacks to a just visible gray), that the logo turns almost white instead of blue. Here, however you can still see most of the blue, as I barely had to overexpose the shot to get those grays.

HD20 space cow boys
Epson 6500UB
Optoma HD20
HD20
Sharp XV-Z15000
Samsung SP-A600:
Sanyo PLV-Z700
BenQ W5000
Mitsubishi HC5500
Panasonic PT-AE3000
Epson Home Cinema 6500UB

Shadow Detail Performance

In the two pairs of images below, the first is the Samsung SP-A600 (left) and the Optoma HD20 (right) – you can see the distinct black level advantage of the Samsung.

In the second comparison, the Samsung is again on the left, and the even more expensive and top rated Epson Home Cinema 6500UB is on the right. Note that the lower pair is brighter overall, and even with the Samsung in the lower image noticeably brighter than the first one, the Epson still has better black levels when compared to the Optoma HD20 above it. Now imagine what the HD20 blacks would look like if the first image pair was an extra f-stop or two brighter to match the lower pair (Samsung against Samsung).

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