Sony VPL-HW50ES Home Theater Projector Review

Here we will discuss the picture quality of the Sony VPL-HW50ES home theater projector, in terms of “out of the box” color, shadow detail, and black level performance. From that we assess overall Picture Quality (which in this case is truly impressive).  Also found on this page of the VPL-HW50ES projector review, is a section on HDTV and Sports viewing. This page also includes a variety of images from movies, HDTV, Sports, for you to view, to get a better feel for this Sony projector.

Sony VPL-HW50ES 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, had the best picture, and color, without calibration.

Overall, 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 it on, and enjoying.

Click Image to Enlarge

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.

About these photo images: The images in this review can give you a very good idea of the VPL-HW50ES 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, they 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 HW50ES, 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.

Sony VPL-HW50ES Projector - Flesh Tones

Before calibration they are pretty good. Post calibration The HW50‘s reproduction of skin tones becomes really excellent. If you don’t plan a full calibration of the VPL-HW50ES, 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..

Of the movies I viewed and took images of, many provide skin tones that I can only call natural and easy. Lord of the Rings and the modern Bond flicks I use, fit that description. By comparison, movies like Red, and Star Trek (the new one), the Bourne movies, and many action movies in general, seem to push the dynamics, and therefore provide a projector with less accurate, and less forgiving skin tones to reproduce.

Below are our three James Bond images from Casino Royale. Each has a different lighting scenario, the first – full sunlight, the second image; indoor fluorescent, and finally, filtered sunlight in the third image. And as one would expect, that causes each image of James Bond – Daniel Craig – to have different looking skin tones. All look pretty good!

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Sony VPL-HW50ES Projector - Flesh Tones

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