Viewsonic Pro8200 Projector - Image Quality
These Viewsonic Pro8200 images below are either Blu-ray or HDTV. Consider that by the time these Viewsonic Pro8200 projector images get to your eyes, processed by digital SLR, software, browsers, and your monitor, there are definite color shifts, saturation differences, contrast difference... The Pro8200 images are here to support the commentary, but keep in mind these limitations when trying to compare images from the Pro8200 projector with other home theater projectors. Take them with a grain of salt. Those images relating to black level performance and sharpness, however, are pretty reliable. By comparison, getting accurate color to you, and with the correct saturation and contrast, are the challenges.
Different projector technoogies noticeably affect the pictures I shoot. This is the first full shoot done with a new Canon D60 camera. This first attempt, with this camera, looks a bit cool (a bit thin on reds, especially since the projector, if anything, is a touch strong on reds.
I think it's safe to for me to say that all home theater projectors, including the Viewsonic Pro8200 definitely look better live, than in even the best looking images here might suggest.
1/31/11 - Art Feierman
Viewsonic Pro8200 Out of the Box Picture Quality
Right out of the box, you've got a number of modes to choose from. There's Brightest, which is just that, looks pretty good, and Standard, is closer, but a bit over saturated out of the box. Unfortunately, none of the modes is particularly close to the ideal 6500K color temp. Standard, is likely the most pleasing, overall, but in this case, we suggest you try our calibration settings listed on that page.
Viewsonic Pro8200 Projector - Flesh Tones
Once Mike calibrated the Pro8200 projector, the Standard mode looked a great deal better. The picture, overall, is a touch warm - as would be expected by the shift toward lower color temp in the brightest ranges.
Skin tones aren't quite ideal. On a lot of content, they look really good, but, the Pro8200 sometimes is a little over the top, a bit redish. Dropping the color saturation slightly really helps.
As noted earlier, this isn't really an enthusiast's projector, but for most of my family and friends, they just don't notice the difference. Overall, they like it, because it's brighter than most.
Above and below, our usual suspects - Gandalf and Arwen, from Lord of the Rings, on Blu-ray.
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 Patrick - to have different looking skin tones. All look pretty good!
More images we like for considering skin tones:
From the DVE-HD calibration disc (digital source material, not film):
Viewsonic Pro8200 Black Levels & Shadow Detail
Pro8200 Black Level Performance
This Viewsonic Pro8200 performs pretty much as expected, when it comes to blacks. Performance should be typical of the sub-$1000 1080p DLP projectors such as the Optoma HD20, the Vivitek H1080FD, and the BenQ W1000+.
And that is to say, that black level performance is not enthusiast quality. The Viewsonic projector's blacks are entry level. Not bad, in fact, on really dark scenes, like those space scenes below, the Pro8200 had a bit more pop than the Optoma HD20 or the Vivitek H1080FD. Still, pretty much everything else out there but a few all-in-one projectors, and those tiny pico projectors, can do blacks as well, or better.
The only low cost projector we had in for comparison is the somewhat more expensive Mitsubishi HC4000. The Pro8200 projector is similar in a number of ways, including size, and placement flexibility, but the Mitsubishi HC4000, as you can see in the side by side images below, definitely has blacker blacks. Note that the HC4000 (on the right) is slightly brighter (more over-exposed) in these pictures, yet the letterbox is slightly darker than the Pro8200's: (click on images for larger versions)
Below, we have two versions of our satellite image from Space Cowboys. The first is normally exposed, the one below it, a good bit overexposed so you can see where the shadow detail is...
The overexposure lets you see some dark detail that is there, which otherwise would be hard or impossible to dis. At least as important is that it raises the black of the sky to grays you can compare. You just have to compensate for the differing exposures.
Next, is the starship image from The Fifth Element. Again, we start of with a close to normal exposure, and one overexposed. That's followed by the same frame on a number of additional projectors.
And here, again, a bit more overexposed, for comparison:
Sony VPL-HW15 (LCoS projector under $3K):
Vivitek H1080FD ($899):
BenQ W6000, which costs almost twice as much.
Consider two additional (digital) images which are good ones for observing black levels.
Shadow Detail Performance
As is typical with projectors lacking stellar black level performance, shadow detail is pretty good.
In our seriously overexposed scene of Clint Eastwood in Space Cowboys, you can make out plenty of detail in the dark shades.
Below is a heavily overexposed scene from Lord of the Rings. The overexposure lets you see all the details in the shed on the right, the structure on the left, and the plants and ground along the lower right. The Pro8200 offers a great amount of dark shadow detail.
Click on left thumbnail image for the Viewsonic Pro8200, Mitsubishi HC4000 in the center, and the right for the Optoma HD20
Our last comparison uses the night train scene from Casino Royale. Look to the trees and shrubs on the right, especially just above the tracks. The first image is the Viewsonic, followed by the HC4000, the BenQ W6000, then Sony VPL-HW15, the Sharp XV-Z15000.
All considered, the Pro8200 reveals more of the dark shadow detail than just about any other projector we've recently worked with. Most impressive. In reality it was essentially identical to the HC3800, but our photo of the Pro8200 is a little darker.
Bottom Line, regarding shadow detail and black levels: When it comes to the shadow detail abilities of the Pro8200, there's nothing to worry about. The Viewsonic reveals most. The lack, however, of blacker blacks, translates into a lot less pop to those dark images, but you should still make out all that detail, even if it doesn't pop.
Viewsonic Pro8200 - Overall Color & Picture Quality
If you don't know if you ever took your LCDTV off of the default color mode (usually a Vivid type of mode with pumped up, just slightly over the top colors), in favore of normal, or theater settings, then this Pro8200's picture quality will be just fine for you. If, on the other hand, you occasionally like to tweak settings, look elsewhere. As I have said, this isn't an enthusiast's projector because we just couldn't calibrate it to look nearly perfect when it comes to colors.
That said, I've got The Dark Knight on the screen now, as I am writing this, and the city scenes look great. Skin tones aren't as perfect as I would like, but most won't notice.
Daytime scenes, really do look good, the brightness and vibrant colors do the trick. The darker scenes are where the Pro8200 no longer impresses. This is where those of us who notice, want blacker blacks, and dark scenes that pop.
The Viewsonic Pro8200 does OK, especially since it seems to do a little better than the Optoma and Vivitek on the blacks. But, the three are very close.
Spend a few hundred more and you can move up a step in black level performance. Otherwise, for the price, picture quality isn't bad at all.
A mix of additional images to show off the Viewsonic Pro8200:
From the DVE-HD test disc:
And here are a few assorted, additional images, some of which can be found on other recent reviews: