Sony VPL-HW15 Projector - Performance
9/9/09 - Art Feierman
Sony VPL-HW15 Brightness
The Sony VPL-HW15 Brightness is better than the older HW10 it replaces, but this Sony still isn't a particularly bright projector. For your consideration, here are a number of measurements from different modes, pre-calibration:
Dynamic= 664 @ 9793K
Dynamic w/ color temp on Middle yields 617 lumens @ 7637
Dynamic w/color temp on Custom 4 yields 837 lumens @ 10015
Standard= 602 @ 7594K
Cinema= 540 @ 6266K
Cinema (Iris on Manual, fully open)= 493
Cinema (Iris on Manual, fully closed)= 231
Cinema (Iris on Manual, 50% open)= 395
Cinema (Iris on Auto 1 or 2)= 536
Lumen Output (Low Lamp, Cinema, Iris open): 340 @ 6171K, which is down over 30%.
Basically, the key numbe for movie viewing is with the Auto Iris on, and that translates to 536 lumens (pre calibration), and is almost identical to the 538 lumens measured post calibration.
When it comes to brighest mode, the Dynamic, combined with Custom 4 gamma gets a still below average 837 lumens, and that's at 10K color temp which is, by any measure way, way, too blue. None of the other combinations we tested enabled the Sony to get over 664 lumens, making it one of the least bright projectors in "brightest mode", and an achilles heel for this projector, for those that are shopping for a projector that is a good mix between watching movies, and watching sports with some lights on.
Pre-calibration we measured these color temperatures (target is 6500K) over the grayscale range, for
Color Temp over IRE Range (Pre calibration):
Cinema, Iris Off:
30 IRE – 6574
50 IRE – 6490
80 IRE – 6382
100 IRE – 6266
NOTE: Precal color temp numbers aren’t bad, but red is very high throughout the upper half of the IRE range, which among other things, indicates not enough green. (No worries, that's why we calibrate the projectors.)
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
Zoom out: 721
Zoom in: 542
OK, here's what it looks like, post calibration:
Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration):
Cinema, Custom 1 Color Temp, Iris on Auto 1:
20 IRE - 6426
30 IRE - 6521
40 IRE - 6548
50 IRE - 6571
60 IRE - 6525
70 IRE - 6464
80 IRE - 6534
90 IRE - 6502
100 IRE – 6444
Average gamma, iris off = 2.1
Note, the default gamma 4, produces a significantly low 1.8 gamma.
Sony VPL-HW15 Sharpness
Top left: Sony VPL-HW15, Top Center, Sanyo PLV-Z3000, Top right: Mitsubishi HC6500
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AE3000, middle: Optoma HD8200, right: Vivitek H9080FD (pricey LED source DLP projector)
Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right VPL-HW15, Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, Sanyo PLV-Z3000, and Sharp XV-Z15000.
Sony VPL-HW15: Bottom Line Sharpness
Light leakage is not a problem with the VPL-HW15. There is minor light leakage through the lens, especially if you are using the full lens shift, but the levels are low enough not to be a factor.
The Sony HW15 is very good, when it comes to image noise. Background noise is less than most projectors, especially compared to a couple of DLP projectors recently reviewed. While one can always detect minor flaws, especially when looking, overall, the VPL-HW15 performs well in this regard.
The VPL-HW15 is about average (or a little better) at audible noise as well. The Sony claims 22 db in eco-mode (low lamp power), which is better than most projectors. Sony does not provide a spec for full power operation, but it probably isn't more than an extra 5 or 6 db. The noisier home theater projectors at full power, tend to be up in the 31-34 db range, so this is a sonically quieter unit than many. Even for those who are the most noise adverse should be able to live with the HW15 at full power, and certainly, at low power.