Sony VPL-HW30ES Home Theater Projector Review

Here we will discuss the picture quality of the Sony VPL-HW30ES home theater projector, in terms of “out of the box color”, shadow detail, and black level performance. Post calibration, we take a closer look at the HW30′s handling of skin tones and overall color.

Sony VPL-HW30ES Out of the Box Picture Quality

We found Cinema 1 to offer up the best color, right out of the box. Overall, Cinema 1, after adjusting the brightness and contrast slightly, to have the best picture, and color, without calibration.

Over all, for those of you not planning to have your projector calibrated, and aren’t even planning to try out our recommended settings, then consider this one of the better projectors out there for just turning on, and enjoying.

The color shift from an ideal 6500K, is slight, and only slightly cool (a touch more blues than red strength), with the color temp ranging from just over 6700K to just over 7000K.

Click Image to Enlarge

About these photo images: The images in this review can give you a very good idea of the VPL-HW30ES picture quality, but with some reservations. First, as with all other projectors, when you get this Sony projector home, it is going to look a lot better than the images. In general though, there is noticeable shifting of color and dynamics as the process goes from the projected image, to my 60D Canon dSLR, though Photoshop (for resizing, cropping), jpg compressing them for web, your graphics card in your computer, and your display’s own lower contrast, and color shifts.

It’s almost amazing the pictures look this good, all considered. Nonetheless, hey do provide you with a very good representation, just not a dead on one suitable for comparing the exact color balance of different projectors.

So take these images with a grain of salt (or several). On the bright side, images designed to show black levels and shadow detail work effectively when compared to other projector’s images.

With the Sony HW30ES, the images as seen on my MacBook Pro, tend to show just a slight touch more yellowish tint in the colors than were on the screen. Such shifts are not unusual in our images, and we tend to identify them.

I mentioned that some projectors are better right out of the box. Let me simplify for you. Some projectors offer a THX mode, which from past experience on a number of projectors, generally provides default color as good as this Sony, or better. That said, the same type of people not into “tweaking”, are probably fine with the Sony, without doing any tinkering.

With the brightest modes, you can get a bit more than 25% more brightness out, but greens get too strong (typical of most projectors), and the image gets cool (thin on reds).

Sony VPL-HW30ES Projector - Flesh Tones

Before calibration they are pretty good. Post calibration The HW30‘s reproduction of skin tones becomes really excellent. If you don’t plan a full calibration of the VPL-VW30ES, then please try our calibration settings found on the Calibration page. If you like those better than the defaults (you should) let us know.

Above and below, as always – Gandalf and Arwen, from Lord of the Rings, on Blu-ray to start off our skin tones images..

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