Sony VPL-HW10 Projector Review

Sony VPL HW10 Lens Throw

As noted above, the lens is a manual, 1.6:1 zoom lens. According to the user manual lens allows the projector to be placed as close as 10 feet, 1 inch, or as far back as 16 feet 4 inches. Note, that the manual indicates the furthest as 15 feet, four inches which is a typo. The moderate throw range in full telephoto (16 feet four inches), is less than many other shelf mountable projectors, which, for the same sized screen can be as far back from a 100 inch screen as 20 feet. Some owners will not be able to place the Sony far enough back in their rooms to be shelf mountable.

Lens Shift

The VPL-HW10 has both vertical and horizontal lens shift. Both functions are manual, and controlled by the adjustment wheels on the top of the projector, just behind the lens. For a 100″ screen, the center of the lens can be placed as high as approximately 7.5 inches above the top of your screen surface Actually Sony quotes, in their manual a maximum of 31 – 7/8 inches above the center of the screen, which is about 49.5 inches high, so top of the screen is about 24.3 inches above the center of the screen.

Anamorphic Lens

The Sony HW10 does not inherently support an anamorphic lens and motorized sled, for those wanting to go with a 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) shaped screen. You will need an outboard processor that can provide the necessary stretch aspect ratio to make it work. As outboard processors typically start around $1000 and go up from there, if you are really serious about going that route, you might want to consider the more expensiveSony VPL-VW70, as you will be getting a better projector, and the cost differential isn’t great, compared to an HW10 and external processor.

As an additional note, there is no 12 volt trigger for controlling a lens sled, but the most popular anamorphic lens/sled combination is Panamorph, and they provide what you’ll need to control the sled.

Sony VPL-HW10 - Image Quality

Sony VPL-HW10 Out of the Box Picture Quality

This Sony home theater projector is pretty good out of the box, but, with calibration, performance improvement is readily apparant. That said, you can definitely enjoy watching the Sony VPL-HW10, although in Cinema mode, the image is a little too warm – a bit too much red. Dynamic mode, out of the box, is just the opposite, a heavy shift to blue, with weak reds, but again, watchable. To get the most out of this Sony projector, we recommend either a professional calibration, trying the settings we have come up with, or calibrating it with a consumer friendly calibration disc, such as the DVE-HD disc, or the AVIA disc. Many online dealers sell one or both of these.

Please note, each photo shoot is different. You’ll find the Sony images to appear a little undersaturated. That is a result of the setup used. The VPL-HW10 definitely does not have undersaturated colors when viewing it directly!

VPL-HW10 Flesh Tones

VPL-HW10 Projector Black Levels & Shadow Detail

I am most impressed. The VPL-HW10′s black level performance puts it into that select group of projectors where I consider the differences to still be there, but all have good enough black levels that the differences between them, for the most point, are very secondary, when deciding between them. Other factors – brightness, color accuracy, etc., are more critical for most buyers, than the small differences in black levels. The other projectors in this group (of excellent black levels), which also includes the oldEpson Home Cinema 1080 UB, and almost certainly the soon to be released Home Cinema 6500 UB, and Pro Cinema 7500 UB, the Panasonic PT-AE3000, and the Sony and JVC LCoS projectors. The JVC’s are still the best, but, all of these others are close. Of the best, the JVC RS2 and soon to be released RS20, are still a step up from the rest, but unless you are a fanatic, that can’t live with black levels any worse that the JVC RS2, any of these should make you very happy.

Note, of the projectors mentioned above, the one with the least great black levels is the Panasonic PT-AE3000. Below you’ll see a side by side, between the Panasonic and this Mitsubishi.

We start this group of images with the starship image from The Fifth Element. First, is the Sony VPL-HW10. With the VPL-HW10 image, I have decided to overexpose enough so you can make out the letterbox above and below, and on the bottom, you can also see the “real” black of the screen frame, below the letter box. Going forward, I’ll try to have the letterbox area have the same amount of gray, on all projector’s version of this image. That way, the more overexposed the starship itself, relative to the same level in the letterboxes, would indicate an improvement in black levels.

VPL-HW10
VPL-HW10
PT-AE3000U

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