Runco LS-10d Projector - Image Quality
Runco LS-10d 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-10d 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.
In the specific case of the Runco LS-10d, the images look generally rather accurate, but a touch oversaturated looking (actually a touch too contrasty) on some computer monitors like my MacBook Pro. Of course how it looks on your system is highly dependent on your computer, graphics card, and display, as well as browser. While we can demonstrate differences in black levels and shadow details of the LS-10d rather well, the photos are only decent representations of skin tone and color accuracy.
3/8/2011 - Art Feierman
LS-10d 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-10d. First time I set it up it just knocked my socks off. Why? The differences between the "out of the box" Cinema and Mike's calibration of Custom 1, are small.
Well, actually Mike calibrated the projector before I looked at it. I placed the scene in The Fifth Element featuring Zork's secretary, first, on the front page of this review, because, like with the LS-7, the LS-10 projector just blew me away on that scene. The richness of the colors of her hair, and her complexion, outfit, background, truly got my attention.
What's interesting, is that Runco's "out of the box" performance in terms of color is roughly the equal to must other projectors post-calibration. Here are some quick measurements - remember, ideal is D65, that is a color temperature of 6500K. A very well calibrated projector will probably measure the whole range +/- 150K of the 6500K.
Color Temp over IRE Range, Best mode, (6500 Color Temp):
30 IRE – 6496
50 IRE – 6425
80 IRE – 6422
100 IRE – 6423
And that, again, is pre-calibration
20 IRE - 6713
30 IRE - 6552
40 IRE - 6539
50 IRE - 6545
60 IRE - 6532
70 IRE - 6529
80 IRE - 6527
90 IRE - 6505
100 IRE– 6556
Note that all brightness levels are within 60K of D65, except 20 IRE, which is very, very dark gray. Most projectors tend to shift toward red or blue in the very low ranges, but even the "wide" deviation of 6713 from the rest of the numbers, is only the slightest inaccuracy. That all the other grayscales fall between 6505K and 6556K, probably is amazingly tight.
Bottom line - for this LS-10d, the color temp is excellent. And it shows. For all the measurements and settings, visit the calibration page.
The image immediately below is an all digital image from the DVE test disc.
Let's look at Zork's secretary's skin tones again. If you can imagine it looking a whole lot better than this, it's because of the loss of quality getting the image to your display - no fault of the Runco LS10-d projector. The image looks pretty great on my MacBook Pro display, but with a touch of reddish-purple cast that I can see in the background, that isn't in the projected image. Your display will be different, no doubt.
Sure skin tones look great, and that's not all that hard on brighter scenes, but maintaining that natural skin look in darker scenes is often a real challenge.
Here's the things that really worked for me:
The brightness combined with color accuracy on the admittedly only average sized 106" (16:9) screen, a Carada Brilliant White with claimed 1.4 gain, on darker scenes, to still render skin tones with clarity and without a feel of them being too dark. You'll see some images that should give you a good indication such as the darker scene Bond images of Daniel Craig.
A great image is more than color accuracy, color tables and brightness, it's gamma, and and other technical stuff. Maybe, if we fully understand all of it, we can define terms such as "film-like" and "natural", or "forgiving" scientifically enough that there won't be any subjectivity to judging projectors anymore. That time has not yet come. Much as vastly superior blacks will make a dark image really pop, it would seem that having an overall brighter picture will help the eye deliver what seems to me, to be more natural skin tones with darker scene lighting, than, for example, my JVC RS20 can deliver.
Next are three images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale, under different lighting conditions, shot with the LS10d projector, using my recently aquired Canon 60D, dSLR. It does a better job than the old Olympus, making comparisons with images shot in older reviews more difficult.
Again, as noted, the new Canon camera seems to be adding a touch of reddish purple, to all the images. Just a touch. Still learning the new camera.
Skin Tones Change with Lighting
It's not the Runco LS-10, or any other display. Light sources in the real world, and Hollywood vary dramatically, from natural to stage lighting, and everything from night to a fire in the hearth, to bright sunlight, will mean a different color temp and with it, skin tones will be affected dramatically. Correct skin tone appearance varies, depending on the lighting. Consider these four images, the first in direct sunlight, the second is an airport scene with fluorescent lighting, the third, a sunny day, but Bond is sitting in the shade - indirect lighting, and finally, a night scene!
Some additional excellent examples of skin tones, starting with Nicole Kidman - and Hugh Jackman, in Australia.
From Quantum of Solace:
Impressive, are they not?
Runco LS-10d Black Levels & Shadow Detail
Not surprisingly, the LS-10d projector seems to perform almost identically to the LS-7 when it comes to both black level and shadow detail performance. And that is going to shorten this review quite a bit. Below find the usual black level and shadow detail images.
For those really wanting to see some comparative black level images, I had put together an extensive set in the LS-7 review. They compared the Epson UB with the LS-7. The bottom line on that comparison: The Epson slightly bests the LS-7 (and therefore, we assume, the LS-10) in terms of blacks on darker scenes. Close? Yes. I might note you can also see that the Runco's optics are superior on a space shuttle shot where you can see more light blooming around the shuttle's nose (from optical issues) on the Epson than the Runco.
Now, should we be concerned that a $2000 and change projector can slightly out black, the LS-10? Not a chance.
And that is to say, the LS-10d is real good at both. Despite the wimpy number Runo claims for contrast, 10,000:1, black level performance is easily that of what we call around here - "ultra high contrast" projectors. As is also the case with the lower cost Runco, this LS-10 projector cannot match the deep blacks of the JVC RS25 and RS35 (and we presume their RS50 and RS60 replacements). To deliver the blacks it does on those darker scenes, the Runco LS-10 does rely on a dynamic iris.
The black level performance of the LS-10 projectors is more likely that of the best of other projectors with dynamic iris solutions, such as the Epson 8700UB, Optoma HD8600... As noted above, based on the LS-7, does come up just a bit less capable than the Epson, but, close enough! I say that because the Runco LS-10 projectors have a very nice, smooth iris action, about as good as it gets, something those other projectors cannot equal. That's because Runco doesn't want their iris closing down as far - for the sake of invisibility. They've succeeded. I could even be wrong, the LS-10 may very well match the Epson. It's just that it's so many times brighter in "best" modes that it's really hard to compare. After all, if the brights are 3 times as bright, so are the blacks and letterboxes, if the black performance is the same.
I haven't had a problem at all with the blacks of the LS10d, beyond the desire to always appreciate better still. The point is, the black level performance is really, really, good, considering the brightness of what you are watching if on a screen smaller than say 130 inch diagonal.
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 projectors both extremely good at blacks! 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 overxposed 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 RS50 here, my take is that the RS50 (and RS60, like my RS20) will have a slight, but real, 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-10d. That they are close enough that I need to clarify, is good indication that the LS-10d 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-10d projector, followed immediately by the LS-7 image (different cameras)!
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. COMING SOON:
Runco LS-10 Shadow Detail Performance
Keeping in mind that the LS-10d 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-10d'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 LS-10d projector, then, of course, the LS-7, then the JVC RS25, the Sony VPL-VW85, the Mitsubishi HC7000, and the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB.
Note the noticeable difference in color is due to the different camera used for the LS10 shoot.
Again, from Space Cowboys, this is a cropped image. The right side is very bright (so dynamic irises will not be effective). The LS-10d (top left) does very well, in terms of shadow detail. 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, below, is the Runco LS-10d, 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 Runco LS-10d projector performs very well, but keep in mind, when looking at these images, that the JVC RS35 (center and left) was not only shot with a different camera, but was taken from the standard DVD version, not Blu-ray like the Runcos.
Click on left thumbnail image for the Runco LS-10d, PT-AE4000 in the center, and the right for the JVC DLA-RS35.
And finally, perhaps the most revealing of the images:
Our Casino Royale night train scene,the first four examples: The LS-10d, the RS35 followed by the RS25 and the Sony VW85. (The LS-10d is slightly more overexposed than the others.)
True, the Runco LS-10d does very nicely, but it is not the best of the projectors at revealing the darkest shadow detail. A slightly different gamma in the darkest regions might reveal a touch more, but there is almost no crushing the way Mike set the brightness. Still, looking at the shrubs on the right on the far side of the tracks, and some of the woods behind them, you can find more detail on a few of the other images (projectors). That said, in the real world, on similar sized screens,the LS-10 seems to reveal more, simply by virtue of everything - including the darkest details being 2-4 times brighter than most other quality home theater projectors we review.
The remaining three are the Epson UB, the Mitsubishi HC7000 and the Optoma HD8600.
Overall Color & Picture Quality
I uttered quite a few gushing descriptions of the less expensive Runco, and really only "gave it a hard time" for being a 720p projector. OK, problem solved, the LS-10 projectors are certainly 1080p. Everything else is similar, at least from a picture quality standpoint. My problem is figuring out if the more expensive Runco's can really do a better picture, or are mostly just more featured (in some cases), and brighter still.
Figuring though, that Runco, SIM2, Digital Projection and projectiondesign all have far more expensive home projectors in their line-ups that are even better, it's hard to gush too much, knowing that there is better out there. That said. I'm only giving the Runco LS-10d back to Runco, if they insist. If they don't mind my keeping it as a reference projector for the next 6 months or year, though, I vote for that.
From my perspective, superior blacks of, say the top of the line JVC projectors just isn't enough to make up for the even better skin tones, (especially in darker scene lighting), and the sheer extra brightness that makes you feel like you can feel the heat, when the sun's shining.
A mix of additional images to show off the Runco LS-10d:
From the DVE-HD test disc:
Back to movies - here's a couple from Star Trek and a couple more from Casino Royale:
Those into technical perfection will no doubt find something less than perfect to get excited about, but for those simply looking for a premium performance projector that will blow you away, something a magnitude or so better than most far lower priced projectors, this one should do the trick. Because when it comes to the image, and color, the LS10 projector has the natural look, and plenty of "pop" to the image I supose that earns it a "Wow".
Runco LS-10d Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
Nothing like having a projector like the Runco LS10d or LS10i. These projectors are not the least afraid of a little ambient light. With the Runco spewing out about 1800 lumens, it can tackle a really large screen, or on something more modest, say a 110" diagonal, in a fair amount of ambient lighing.
What you won't get from this Runco, is Creative Frame Interpolation (CFI) often known by names like Smooth Motion. That's too bad, for I do like and recommend CFI for sports viewing. It's a minor loss, though. While I like having CFI, there are a lot of other things far more important, even to most sports fans.
I like the image above. We're so used to astroturf in one color or another, this field has a natural, not over the top look to it.
I will say the same thing as I did about the LS-7. The LS-10d offers up some fine, saturated, and accurate colors, dynamic image, plenty of lumens. The one real complaint I had about the LS-7 had been sharpness. Not a fault of the optics, but rather the limits of being a 720p projector. Well, that's not a problem this time, and this projector just looks extremely sharp on digital content.
Of course I viewed more than just football games. We gathered a group to watch the Grammys, which I recorded. These next images are from the show. After all, can I say this projector is really good, without having seen Lady Gaga perform in my theater?
Bottom line for HDTV, and Sports Viewing with the Runco LS-10d Projector:
Bright, great image, but for lack of "smooth motion" (which shouldn't be a deal breaker for most of us), it's a superb HDTV projector. I'm told by Runco, that one of the advantages of the LS10d's DHD4 processor is that it delivers better, cleaner interlaced video such as 1080i. Nice. (Not that the LS10i, is going to be poor at it.)
One last image from the Grammys:
Interestingly the LS10i offers a feature the "d" lacks, and that's Picture in Picture, which I discuss in the LS-7 review. In this case, only the "i" version gets it, since the DHD4 doesn't support it. In Runco's high priced world, someone wanting something like that probably will want it done first class, with support for several sources and images sizes, setup as needed. 3rd parties make devices like that for command and control centers. For those curious, one such company that makes such gear, for "command and control" displays, is RGB Spectrum.
The power and the punch, the dynamic colors... really sharp... Next question?