Optoma HD8300 Home Theater Projector Review

In a perfect world, our photos would perfectly reproduce the Optoma HD8300 image on my screen. In the real world though, the HD8300 projects onto my Studiotek 130 screen, and the photos are captured on a Canon 60D professional dSLR. Even so, there is always some minor color shift. From there, software (Photoshop), your browser, and your monitor, are also in the path, each adding some “color” to the image, changing it from the original HD8300 projected image. As a result, while the photos can give you a good idea of picture quality, the accuracy of the color on your screen is not going to be accurate enough for really close comparisons of, say the HD8300 projector’s skin tones, compared to some other excellent projector. Take our images, therefore, with a grain – or pound – of salt.

For all of that, I believe that the HD8300 images came out very well, in terms of representing the color the Optoma HD8300 projector is capable of. I do detect a slight shift to red – or rather “salmon” kind of pink. The skin tones do look better “live” than on these images, at least when viewed on my MacBook Pro.

I repeat again, for the record: All home theater projectors, including the Optoma HD8300 definitely look will look better live, than in even the best looking images here might suggest.

Optoma HD8300 Out of the Box Picture Quality

Cinema mode looks overall the best, with Reference not far behind. Photo has punch, and Bright is often too bright in the mid brightness range, and its high color temp means very thin reds. Overall, Cinema is but a touch thin on red, but skin tones still look very respectable, before calibrating the projector.

Click Image to Enlarge

ptoma HD8300 Projector - Flesh Tones

Excellent! The HD8300 photos don’t look as good in these images as when I’m viewing, but you can still appreciate the potential. As Mike mentioned to me several times, the HD8300 calibrates rather beautifully, and it shows in terms of both skin tones and overall color performance.

Gandalf image from the Optoma HD8300 projector.

Above and below, as always – Gandalf and Arwen, from Lord of the Rings, on Blu-ray.

Arwen image from the Optoma HD8300 projector.

Below are our three James Bond images from Casino Royale. Each has a different lighting scenario, the first – full sunlight, the second image; indoor fluorescent, and finally, filtered sunlight in the third image. And as one would expect, that causes each image of James Bond – Daniel Patrick – to have different looking skin tones. All look pretty good!

James Bond image from the Optoma HD8300 projector.

Casino Royale image from the Optoma HD8300 projector.

Shot of Bond image from the Optoma HD8300 projector.

More images we like for considering skin tones:

Skin Tones

Gandalf

Skin Tones

Arwen

Skin Tones

James Bond

Skin Tones

James Bond

Skin Tones

James Bond

Skin Tones

Skin Tones

Skin Tones

Skin Tones

Skin Tones

Optoma HD8300 Black Levels & Shadow Detail

HD8300 Black Level Performance is not a particular strength of this projector. It makes the cut as an “ultra high contrast” projector, with respectable blacks, but not a match for a couple of less expensive projectors and several in and around its price.

The HD8300 relies on both a dynamic iris and lamp dimming to enhance black level performance. Unfortunately, I find the lamp dimming to tend to be noticeable too often, so don’t use it. Without it, the dynamic iris still does a very good job by itself (though also not the smoothest iris action around). Last year – mid-product, Optoma upgraded the iris algorythms in the firmware, which resulted in a real improvement from prior performance. This HD8300 seems to be about the same as that HD8200, not surprising, since the HD8300 is technically supposed to be a 3D capable, and slightly brighter version of their existing, and still current HD8200.

Starship image from the Optoma HD33 projector.

Optoma HD33 (lower cost, $1599 3D capable projector):

JVC DLA-HD250:

 Runco LS10d projector ($27,000+):

 Sony VPL-VW90ES ($9995):

 Sony VPL-HW15 (LCoS projector under $3K)

 Sharp XV-Z17000 (direct competitor):

 BenQ W6000, a “perennial favorite” lower cost DLP

 Epson Home Cinema 8700UB ($2199):

HD8300
Optoma HD33
JVC DLA-HD250
Runco LS10d projector ($27,000+)
Sony VPL-VW90ES ($9995):
Sony VPL-HW15 (LCoS projector under $3K)
Sharp XV-Z17000 (direct competitor)
BenQ W6000, a "perennial favorite" lower cost DLP
Epson Home Cinema 8700UB ($2199)
HD8300
+Optoma HD33

Shadow Detail Performance

Our primary comparison image is the night train scene from Casino Royale. Look to the trees and shrubs on the right, especially just above the tracks. The first image is the Optoma, followed by the lower cost Optoma HD33, Epson Home Cinema 8700UB, the JVC DLA-HD250, Mitsubishi HC-4000, the BenQ W6000, then Sony VPL-VWPro1, the Sharp XV-Z17000.

The HD8300 comes across about average in terms of revealing dark shadow detail. We make this determination based on viewing, after contrast and brightness has been adjusted as part of our calibration.

Note the rather dramatically better dynamics of the HD8300 above, compared to the HD33 below. The HD33 just looks a bit washed out by comparison!

Below, the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB. Note the much increased dark shadow detail in the shrubs on the right, and the trees on the right, that the Epson offers.

The JVC HD250 below is a bit more overexposed than most of the others. Consider its dark shadow detail to be about average, comparable to the Optoma HD8300. In terms of blacks, on really dark scenes, the two seem about comparable. On mixed brightness scenes, the JVC (as expected) which doesn’t use a dynamic iris, will show blacker blacks. Of course you appreciate great blacks most on those overall very dark scenes without any bright areas. (That folks is why we use this night train scene, as one of our most critical test images.)

Sony VPL-WVPro1:

Sharp XV-Z17000 (similarly priced, 3D capable, and with similar black level and shadow detail performance:

HD8300
HD33
JVC HD250
Mitsubishi HC-4000
BenQ W6000
Sony VPL-WVPro1:
Sharp XV-Z17000
HD8300
+HD33

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