Sony VPL-VWPRO1 Projector Review

In this section we consider the brightness, sharpness, and image noise of the Sony VPL-VWPRO1 home theater projector. Also considered are the physical attributes of light leakage and audible noise.

Sony VPL-VWPRO1 Brightness

The Sony VPL-VWPRO1 (HW20a) projector brightness numbers below were recorded by Mike before and after calibration. They were taken using a full production VWPRO1 projector.

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom):
Dynamic 907 @ 11749, 1044 @ 9531 w/ Color Temp. on Custom 4
Standard 851 @ 8893
Cinema 857 @ 8684
User 1 910 @ 11745
User 2 857 @ 8918
User 3 771 @ 7147

Note that User 1 is identical to Dynamic (to start), and User 3, identical to Cinema. (yes, User 2 is identical to Standard.)

Above, however, we are showing User 3, after Mike made the simple (and highly recommended) change of the color temp setting to Low, so those numbers are dissimilar from the default Cinema mode. Note there is a drop in lumens, and a huge drop in color temp, to a much better looking range around 7000K down from mid-8000K.

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode, Custom 4):
Zoom out 1162
Mid-zoom 1044
Zoom in 827

The impact of the numbers above show that there is significant impact to where you mount, in terms of distance from your screen. If you are going large screen, a closer mount will give you more lumens, but there are other trade-offs. Also figure most lenses aren’t at their best at their absolute extremes.

The 1162 lumen measurement is the brightest combination of lens position, and settings we were able to obtain, and that is almost a perfect 10% below Sony’s 1300 lumen claim. Since the home theater projector that actually beats its claims is rather rare, we consider getting within 10% of claim to be better than most.

Header Content
Cinema w/ default Custom 2 color temp Cinema w/ Low color temp
30 IRE 9422 7512
50 IRE 9185 7356
80 IRE 8871 7122
100 IRE 8684 7003

As noted on the first page of this review, a “best mode” with an average color temp around 9000 is not a good thing!

But, change that one setting – Color Temp to Low, and bingo, though still touch cool (compared to drastically so), but a good looking “brightest mode”.

Before we talk post calibration, let’s also consider the Sony projector’s iris. It not only has two dynamic settings, and off, but can be put into a manual mode, for those not wanting the dynamic feature. Here are the effects of the different settings:

Effect of Iris settings on lumen output (Dynamic mode, Custom 4):
Iris on Manual (maximum opening) 960
Iris on Manual (50% open) 738
Iris on Manual (minimum opening) 388
Iris on Off or Auto 1 or 2 1044

Notice, that when in manual mode, the iris does not measure quite as bright as OFF or the “auto” (dynamic iris) modes.

Our “quick-calibration” of Dynamic mode ( which is designed to improve color as much as possible without sacrificing a lot of lumens), yielded 982 lumens, compared to 1044 lumens before Mike’s adjustments. Tell you the truth, though, the Sony color looks pretty good before Mike’s “quick-cal”. In other words, if you should need every last lumen, the Sony’s default, with Color Temp at 4, will get you by, when the ambient light is threatening.

User 3 – our calibrated Cinema mode, measures a whopping 763 lumens. Only two models ago, Sony was barely able to put out 400 lumens. Talk about stepping up! With mid-700 lumens, this Sony now is far brighter than the Epson UB’s it once couldn’t match, and it should be every bit as bright as the new JVC that is squarely in its price range, the HD250.

Here’s the post calibration color measurements. Not the tightest we’ve seen, and the Sony VW-PRO1 does have whites that are a touch cool, while the darkest ranges 20 IRE and below shift the other way, a touch too warm. With roughly a 525K spread, it still remains well balanced, even if we’ve reviewed other projectors that have calibrated the whole range within 200K. The bottom line is the picture quality, and the color looks really, really good, and natural! One might say “a sweet ride”.

Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration):
20 IRE 6268
30 IRE 6592
40 IRE 6559
50 IRE 6588
60 IRE 6568
70 IRE 6532
80 IRE 6460
90 IRE 6415
100 IRE 6794
Average gamma 2.22

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