Sony VPL-HW30ES Home Theater Projector Review

It’s time to consider the VPL-HW30‘s brightness (including full measurements), sharpness, and image noise of this Sony 3D capable VPL-HW30ES home theater projector. Also covered on this page,are the physical attributes of light leakage and audible noise of the Sony.

Sony VPL-HW30ES Brightness

This Sony VPL-HW30ES is fairly typical in brightness when compared to most other home theater projectors in its price range. Over the years, most of the over $3500, but under $10,000 projectors we’ve measured, have had “best mode” brightness in the 500 to 700 lumen range, and “brightest” is typically between 800 and 1100 lumens.

With that in mind, that makes this Sony a bit brighter (but not drastically so) than most of the LCoS and DLP projectors that it competes against. The Sony is best a projector for a home theater, or at least a room with good control of any ambient light.

With that in mind, there are also a couple of alternatives that are brighter. The old InFocus ScreenPlay 8602, as well as the new Panasonic PT-AE7000 and the Epson 5010, which both are a bit less, and the Epson 6010 which should be about the same price. We have yet to see the new Epson’s and Panasonic, although as of this writing, the Panasonic and Epsons are expected to arrive over the next 3 weeks.

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom):
Dynamic = 1016 @ 9608, Custom Color Temp 5 yields 1224 lumens, but more green in image
Standard 961 @ 8343
Cinema 1 867 @ 6715
Cinema 2 787 @ 5637
Cinema 3 863 @ 6712
Game 855 @ 6722
Photo 553 @ 5545, Using Auto iris 1 increases to 775 lumens
User 1 863 @ 6726
User 2 855 @ 6736

Those numbers are all “right out of the box”, without any adjustments.

The 1224 lumens represents the highest count that Mike measured, with the zoom at mid-point. Definitely heavy on green, it’s probably not a mode you will prefer, unless you need every last lumen.

Post Calibration: User "best" mode = 814 lumens

That’s a nice bright best mode. Note that the Sony measures brighter with the dynamic iris on, than it does when you switch the iris to manual mode. The difference is about 10% brighter in any dynamic mode.. Switch the iris to manual, leave it full open, and get 782 lumens uncalibrated in Cinema mode, or 867 with it on auto 1, or 2. After calibration, those 867 lumens drop slightly to a still most impressive for the class, 814 lumens.

The Sony 1.6:1 Zoom Has Limited Effect on Brightness

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Cinema 1 mode):
Zoom out 914
Mid-zoom 867
Zoom in 858

Must be good optical design, with less than a 7% drop in brightness going from full telephoto (back of room) to wide angle (closest to screen). Some of the 2:1 zoom lens home theater projectors can drop around 30%.

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