Sony VPL-FH30 WUXGA 3LCD Projector Review
Welcome to our projector review of Sony's new VPL-FH30 Projector.
August 2012 - Mike Rollet
Sony VPL-FH30 Projector Overview
The Sony VPL-FH30 is a high brightness (4300 lumen rating), high resolution (WUXGA - 1920 X 1200) LCD projector that is targeted for use in a large venue like an auditorium. The VPL-FH30 has a complete set of connection options for a PC, Mac and other video sources, including the traditional VGA cable, DVI-D, HDMI, 5-BNC component video, S-video and composite video. In a break from the normal location on the rear panel, the FH30 provides all connections on the front panel, along the bottom.
The VPL-FH30 is network connectable (through its LAN input) allowing for control of the projector, as well as monitoring the projector’s status, scheduled maintenance and problem notification remotely. As likely uses of this projector would include medical school training and medical imaging presentations, Sony has included a gamma setting that conforms to the grayscale requirements of the DICOM standards. This is routinely used to provide a clearer picture of X-ray images (see details in the Special Features section).
The FH30 comes with a standard 1.6x manual zoom lens, but Sony also offers two optional lenses and a (required) lens adapter. These lens options are explained in more detail in the “Special Features” section below.
The VPL-FH30 is one of a family of similar projectors. These include (from bottom to top in features and price) the VPL-FX30 - an XGA (1024 X 768) projector rated at 4200 lumens, the VPL-FX35 – also an XGA projector rated at 5000 lumen and the VPL-FH35 – a WUXGA projector like the FH30, but rated at 5200 lumens. All of the above projectors have vertical and horizontal lens shift, can use the same interchangeable lenses and have the same networking capabilities. Only the VPL-FH30 and FH35 have an HDMI input.
Sony VPL-FH30 Projector Highlights
Very Good Brightness – 4300 lumen rating
Wired networking control capability
Flexibility of installation – Vertical and horizontal lens shift, plus choice of two optional lenses
DICOM medical imaging gamma mode
Relatively compact and lightweight for a high output WUXGA projector
Specs for the Sony VPL-FH30
Click here for full specifications: Sony VPL-FH30
MSRP: $4810 w/standard lens (street price - $3999)
Native Resolution: WUXGA (1920x1200)
Brightness: 4300 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.6:1 (standard lens)
Lens shift: Horizontal and Vertical
Lamp life: 3000 hours (High brightness), 4000 hours (Standard brightness)
Dimensions: (Including feet): 15.34”W x 18.78"D x 5.81"H
Weight: 17.88 lbs.
Warranty: 3 years Parts and Labor on projector, 90 days on lamp
Sony VPL-FH30 Projector Special Features
For more flexibility of installation, Sony offers two optional lenses to choose from, depending on your installation needs. The standard lens (which comes with the projector and was used for this review) has a throw ratio that ranges from 1.39 to 2.23 (this means the projector can be placed at a distance from the screen that equals 1.39 to 2.23 times the screen width). For those who need to mount the projector at a greater distance from the screen, the two optional lenses offer greater throws at 2.34 to 3.19 or 3.18 to 4.84. What does this all mean? It means that by choosing the appropriate lens, the projector can display a 100” wide (125” diagonal) image at distances ranging from as little as 11’-7” (139”) or a far as 40’-4” (484”).
Use of an optional lens also requires a special lens adapter. These lenses don’t come cheap however. Each lens is $2199.95 and the adapter is $48.95.
DICOM Gamma Mode
When used with a computer input, Sony has added a special gamma mode to the VPL-FH30 that displays images approximating the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine) GSDF (Grayscale Standard Display Function) used with B/W medical imaging (such as X-rays). This mode optimizes black/gray/white detail by providing a custom gamma curve. Like other projectors that include such a mode, it is not intended for actual medical evaluation, but it allows for more accurate training of medical students, as well as more detailed medical imaging presentations.
Horizontal and Vertical Lens Shift
To facilitate ease of installation, the Sony VPL-FH30 has manual lens shift in both the horizontal and vertical directions. There is a maximum of +60% vertical lens shift (upward if table mounted) and +/- 32% horizontal shift (left and right).