Samsung SP-A600 Projector - Performance
8/10/09 - Art Feierman
Samsung SP-A600 Projector Brightness
I do love bright projectors. When it comes to the SP-A600's brightness in its "best" mode, it is one of the brighter ones out there. Most 1080p projectors measure between 300 and 600 lumens in best mode. Only rare (and expensive) models exceed 1000 lumens in best mode.
These were the measurements for all modes, pre-calibration. Shown along with the lumens are the color temperture measurements for white (100 IRE):
Vivid= 1017 @ 9583K
Dynamic= 638 @ 8399K
Standard= 702 @ 7235K
Movie 1= 738 @ 6155K
Movie 2= 669 @ 5034K
User 1= 729 @ 6145K
User 1 seems to be virtually identical to Movie 1, with the small measured differences within the margin of error of our equipment.
Post calibration, Movie 1 (User 1) 715 lumens measured @6467K.
Switching to low lamp, brightness drops to 522 lumens, a larger than typical drop of 27% (20-25% is most typical). That percentage drop should hold in all modes.
With a measured 1017 lumens in Vivid mode, that puts the Samsung SP-A600 projector in the high side of average range for a bright mode for projectors in this price range. (Note, a few, however can get much brighter, such as the Epson Home Cinema 6100, which is about 50% brighter in best mode, even though the Epson is over 200 lumens less bright when comparing best modes.)
Going from mid-point on the zoom to full telephoto (it's really not far to go) drops the brightness by about 12.5%. Going from mid-point to full wide angle increases brightness by 4.5%
Image above from The Dark Knight (gamma set to Video, mode Movie 1 (User 1) ).
To give you an idea of how the various "bright modes" compare, below are the same image shot with the same exposure. The first is Vivid, followed by Dynamic, then Standard:
Samsung SP-A600 Sharpness
Today's single-chip DLP projectors are typically a little bit sharper than most 3LCD or LCoS projectors, due to the other technologies being 3 chip devices. And with that, there's always at least a tiny bit of misconvergence to unsharpen the image. The Samsung SP-A600 projector, as expected, does provide a very sharp image.
Some DLP projectors are a touch sharper, and one recently reviewed, the Sharp XV-Z15000, seems similar, but the Z15000 has more trouble with edge to edge sharpness than most others. That is to say, both the Sharp and Samsung projectors will look very sharp at the point where you have focused it, but look towards the corners, and the SP-A600 would hold its sharpness better than the Sharp.
Top left: Samsung SP-A600, Top Center, Sanyo PLV-Z3000, Top right: Mitsubishi HC6500
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AE3000, middle: Optoma HD8200, right: InFocus IN82
Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right SP-A600, Epson Home Cinema 6100, Sanyo PLV-Z3000, and Sony VPL-HW10.
Samsung SP-A600: Bottom Line Sharpness
Overall, the SP-A600 is sharper than average. It can't quite match the "razor sharp" look of the best in the price range, such as the BenQ W5000, but does a very good job overall, and, upon close inspection, comes across a little sharper than several of the best selling 3LCD competition, including the Epson and Panasonic.
Light leakage is generally pretty good. There does seem to be a slight amount coming through the lens, but not enough to be noticeable without a black image on the screen. Looking at the projector from the rear, however, there is a fair amount of light coming out of the right side venting. If you are ceiling mounting that will be on the left side (looking from the rear). it's bright enough that if your side walls are light colored you are likely to notice it. It's not a lot but could definitely be a minor distraction, especially if your room isn't that wide, and the wall is less than 6 feet away.
I better mention that it mostly illuminates a small area, so people sitting below it to the left side won't notice the light from the projector hitting their eyes, but may see the light hitting the wall to their left, and above.
Image noise, overall is very good. In this regard the SP-A600 seems like a typical DLP home theater projector, with a bit more noise than other technologies. But we are talking slight differences.
A projector can't be too quiet in a home theater setting. The Samsung, as a DLP projector, would be expected to have a bit more fan noise than some of the quieter 3LCD projectors.