Runco LS-7 Projector - Image Quality
Runco LS-7 images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with Lord of the Rings now available on Blu-ray, we no longer show standard DVD images. These images are not overly accurate representations of the image the LS-7 projects on the screen. There are slight color shifts, saturation differences, etc.
These images are provided to support the commentary. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews. From a color standpoint, my dSLR camera still adds a very slight greenish shift to some photo shoots that I have not been able to completely remove. In other words, while we can demonstrate differences in black levels and shadow details of the LS-7, the photos are only fair approximations of skin tone and color accuracy.
In the specific case of the Runco LS-7, the images you see all are a bit too strong on yellow-green. It's not a lot, but when you see some gray walls etc., and notice that yellowish or greenish tinge, figure that the Runco itself lacks any such shift in color.
6/22/2010 - Art Feierman
LS-7 Out of the Box Picture Quality
Stunning! While with most projectors, hooking them up, and turning them on, I'm sometimes impressed, but mostly I'm settling in, getting my take on the picture quality. Not so with this Runco LS-7. First time I set it up it just knocked my socks off. Why?
The out of the box color is just gorgeous. And powerfully bright. The short scene in The Fifth Element featuring Zork's secretary, just blew me away. The richness of the colors of her hair, and her complexion, outfit, background, definitely made for a bonafid WOW moment. I don't have too many of those, when watching the same old movies on new projectors.
Funny thing is, the way I'm watching the projector now, about 100 hours later on the lamp timer, is almost identical to the first look.
Bottom line - for this particular LS-7, the color temp seems almost dead on, if perhaps just a touch warm. (Again, note that the images are coming out a little strong on yellows and greens.
The image immediately below is an all digital image from the DVE test disc.
I still can't get over the image of Zork's secretary from The Fifth Element:
I'm not sure that the overall color/grayscale as I've been watching this projector, is as dead on as some others. All's fair, though, and, of course that can be fixed with a proper calibration, (that's something - I remind you - that we didn't do for the LS-7).
Skin tones never disappointed. They always looked excellent (and without the slight yellow-green tint found in all these images). I would say that that the naturalness of the skin tones was consistent whether scenes were average, brightly, or poorly lit.
If you like the phrase "film-like" well, film-like applies nicely to every movie I watched, when it comes to those skin tones.
Next are our usual three images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale, under different lighting conditions.
The point here, is that correct skin tone appearance varies, depending on the lighting. You can expect significantly different looking skin tones, when switching from bright sunlight, to nighttime, fluorescent lighting, incandescent lighting, or even lighting in the shade, or a cloudy day. Consider these three images, the first in direct sunlight, the second is a scene with fluorescent lighting, and the third, a sunny day, but Bond is sitting in the shade - indirect lighting.
Next are images from Hunt for Red October
From Men In Black:
Quantum of Solace:
The two images immediately below are from Blazing Saddles and Dark Knight, projected by the Runco LS-7.
Lau, above, from The Dark Knight, has a very natural looking skin tone on the screen. He still looks good here, but you can again make out that tiny bit of extra yellow and to lesser extent green.
JVC LS-7 Black Levels & Shadow Detail
Image time: First is a normal shot of the starship in The Fifth Element. It's followed by the usual heavily overexposed version. Even with the heavy level of overexposure, the blacks in the image and the letterbox are still pretty dark gray. That's what happens with two projectors both extremely good at blacks! This side-by-side features the Runco LS-7 projector on the left, and the Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB is on the right. Overall, a slight - advantage goes to the Runco on the is image.
In this first image below, I have left in part of the letterboxing, so you can see the basic black level more easily.Immediately below, from The Fifth Element, our favorite starship image - overexposed. There are slight differences in the overexposures. Certainly, the JVC is a touch more ovexposed than the Runco or Epson, although all three are close (hint, look at the "blown out" pause indicator in the lower left side of the screen, the more smearing, the more overexposed.
The point here, is that all offer great black levels. Without having a JVC RS25 here, my take is that the RS25, like my RS20 will only have a slight black level advantage over the Runco. The Runco image definitely has more pop than the other two projectors, which to me, more than compensates in this case. Note, the blacks on the Runco look blacker than the RS25 below it, but also note that the RS25 image is definitely the more overexposed of the two. The easiest way to tell is to look at the pause marker in the lower right. See how it's more blurred on the RS25. From much back and forth between my RS20 and the Runco, yes, the RS20 (and therefore the RS25) does do a blacker black on this scene (ok, all scenes) than the LS-7. That they are close enough that I need to clarify, is good indication that the LS-7 is where it needs to be, a first class - ultra-high contrast projector capable of excellent black levels, based on DLP chips and a dynamic irs.
Now let's turn to a more normally exposed image from the Runco LS-7 projector.
Below, the Runco again, but normally exposed, and for comparison, a number of other projectors, the first being the Sony VPL-WV85.
For comparison, here's the same image more normally exposed, from the JVC RS25.
Next, the low cost Panasonic PT-AE4000, which has the best blacks of any projector reviewed so far, of those selling for under $4000 in the US:
Below are two more dark scenes comparing the Runco (right) and Epson (left) from Space Cowboys. Why compared to a roughly $3000 projector? Easy, two reasons. At the moment, besides the LS-7, I have several other projectors here, but, the two best are my own JVC RS20, and the Epson 9500UB. The JVC is better than the Epson (and doesn't use an iris), but the Epson's black levels are still better than most projectors selling for under $10,000. More to the point, the two are fairly comparable in terms of black levels. Overall, my RS20 should do slightly better than the Runco, on most scenes (no iris), but truth is, it sits up high on it's shelf and I rarely ever bring it down to take into the testing room (only once since I installed it).
Below our usual two images from space cowboys. This shows the effect of the iris action. If you look closely at the first image, the two projectors are pretty even in brightness (the planet looks a touch brighter on the Runco (left), but the pause bar (of the PS3) in the lower left, would indicate that the Epson is a touch more overexposed. Certainly the Runco, though, looks a little brighter, withbrighter starts but similar blacks for space. On the lower image, though, where the iris is mostly open, the Runco's space, is darker and the starts stand out more.
This is typical when comparing dynamic irises. With two projectors that are otherwise close in black levels it's quite possible, if not likely that at some points in terms of the brightness of scenes, that one projector may do better blacks on one type of scene, and then the other projector may do better on a similar but slightly brighter or darker scene.
Before I discuss the images above, and LS-7 vs. Epson, let me finish the above about the RS20, RS25. Consider the two images above, in the first one, had that been a JVC "2" series on the right, it would have had slightly blacker blacks than the Runco. Where the difference is impr
Overall, my point is that the LS-7 is comparable, and typically just a touch bettter when it comes to black levels, compared to the already excellent Epson. I have no doubt that the LS-7 is quite visibly superior to some other ultra high contrast projectors in terms of blacks. Those others would include the BenQ W20000, InFocus SP8602, Optoma HD8600, Panasonic PT-AE4000. It should be still better or equal to the Mitsubishi HC7000, and Planar PD8150 (Planar owns Runco).
Ultimately though, I again say, while better blacks are always welcome, we've reached the point where further improvement, while good, is probably secondary to more accurate color, more lumens, advanced features, etc.
More side by sides with the Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB. These others are from The Fifth Element. First is a spacecraft approaching lights, pretty normally exposed, next the same image overexposed quite a bit. Then, in the 3rd image, the spacecraft's engines fire. Look how blown out the engine whites are, and how much lighter the background has become. And I actually had to reduce the exposure of the 3rd image, by a full f stop, compared to the second image. (The image with the same exposure as the second one was so overexpsed at the same setting as to be useless.) That gives you some idea of how much a dynamic iris can darken an entire scene. Even with the loss of one f-stop of brightness, note how much lighter the space background is, in the third image! Also note that the Runco does better blacks in all but the first of the three. Finally, the last image is another fairly normally exposed image several seconds later in the film.
Next: These two all digital images images are good ones for considering black levels and dark shadow detail in mostly dark scenes but with some pure 100 IRE content. Look for the richness in the black part of some of the buildings and also, the sky, in the second image. Both of these first two, are digital hi-def images from the DVE-HD calibration disc.
Shadow Detail Performance
Keeping in mind that the LS-7 does very dark blacks, it also does particularly well on dark shadow detail. It's certainly right up there with some of the best. I note frequently, that projectors with poor black level performance, in elevating the "near blacks" so they are above the black level "floor", means that those dark details are already being raised up in brightness, and no longer really that dark. Projectors like the Runco, which have great blacks have to lift the near blacks barely at all, and as a result, those dark shadow details are hard to see, because they are, so close to black.
Certainly call the LS-7's shadow detail performance to be really very good, when everything is in perspective. No issues here!
Below, the Space Cowboys / Clint Eastwood very dark image. First is the Runco projector, of course, then the JVC RS25, the Sony VPL-VW85, and the Mitsubishi HC7000. The last two in the sequence are the Panasonic PT-AE4000 and the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB.
Again, from Space Cowboys, this is a cropped image. The right side is very bright (so dynamic irises will not be effective). The LS-7 (top left) shows impressively good shadow detail in the dark areas of the satellite. Next to it on the first row, is the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB/Pro Cinema 9500UB, Those images are followed by the InFocus SP8602 and the JVC RS-35 (second row). The third row is the Mitsubishi HC7000 (left), and the Sony VPL-VW85.
On the left, is the Runco LS-7, the middle, the JVC RS35, and on the right, the VPL-VW85. The exposures are all a little different, but you should be able to appreciate the combination of shadow detail and dark blacks
Below is a heavily overexposed scene from Lord of the Rings. The overexposure lets you see all the details in the shed on the right, the structure on the left, and the plants and ground along the lower right. The LS-7U performs very nicely, but, watch out. The LS-7 version is from the new Blu-ray version of LOTR. The other two are from the standard DVD. This is no doubt affecting what you see.
Click on left thumbnail image for the Runco LS-7, PT-AE4000 in the center, and the right for the JVC DLA-RS35.
The First four images for our Casino Royale night train scene: The LS-7, the RS35 followed by the RS25 and the Sony VW85. (The LS-7 - unintentionally, is slightly more overexposed than the others.)
The remaining three are the Epson UB, the Mitsubishi HC7000 and the Optoma HD8600.
Overall Color & Picture Quality
Almost outstanding! OK, I'm picking on the LS-7 because it isn't a 1080p resolution projector. If it was, Outstanding would exactly be the way to describe the overall color and picture quality. Consider: Natural, film-like skin tones, really excellent black levels thanks to 3 chip DLP technology paired with a good dynamic iris, very good shadow detail, and lots of horsepower. Really, my biggest complaint is the slight softness of the image, and I can hardly blame Runco, they offer many (if more expensive) 1080p projectors as alternatives.
The Runco usually cruises. Like the LG I recently reviewed, for a small fraction of the price, this Runco is comfortable projecting a big bright, almost plasma like image (in terms of brightness).
I mostly treat sharpness and brightness as performance aspects of a projector, but only partially consider them when discussing picture quality (favoring color, black levels and shadow detail).
With that in mind, it would seem that Outstanding is an excelent way to describe the LS-7's overall picture quality.
A mix of additional images to show off the Runco LS-7:
From the DVE-HD test disc:
Back to movies - here's a couple from Star Trek:
And here are a few more images, the two from Dark Knight, followed by two from an old favorite movie of mine: Blazing Saddles, plus a few assorted scenes from movies and digital video sources:
I've got nothing at all to complain about when it comes to overall picture quality. The colors are right on, the black levels are rather excellent - a pleasant surprise, and skin tones are gorgeous. I am going to so hate shipping this sucka back tomorrow!
Runco LS-7U Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
Watched a bit of Lakers NBA playoffs with the LS-7. I loved the roughly 1600 lumens hitting my screen. In my larger theater, where the LS-7 sits, I'm able to use full wide angle on the lens, to get every last extra lumen.
I've watched with the setup being the same as for movies, and also switching the lamp to 9300K, for the extra couple hundred lumens. It wasn't worth it to me. Better to use the 7500 lumen setting which gets a bit more brightness than 6500K but not quite what 9300K (native) can deliver. At 7500K, though, you've still got some decent reds, that otherwise start getting rather pathetic at 9300K.
So, for me, I'd just leave untouched, or move the color temp up one notch. I don't think 9300K is worth it for just an extra 100 lumens.
Rich colors, dynamic image, plenty of lumens. The only downside is image sharpness. Hey, first and foremost, remember the Runco is "only" a 720p projector, and it's also a 3 chip device which like 3LCD and 3 LCoS panel projectors, are never perfectly aligned.
So you have a great image, but it certainly is a bit softer than, say, any respectable 1080p projector and particularly the sharper DLP ones. Too tell the truth, it was better in sharpness than I expected, and I really didn't have a problem with the image in the same way I feel about my RS20 not being a sharp as some others. I'd like more, but I can live with it. OK, I can't live with the LS-7 quite as easily as my RS20 which is a touch sharper appearing.
Where I really miss the sharpness is on the really high quality digital content from sites like Discovery HD...
Still, the LS-7 is one helluva fine projector for watching sports and most HDTV. If only it was a 1080p... but that's a story for a different review.