Viewsonic Pro9000 Projector - Performance
10/11/12 - Art Feierman
Below, we consider the Viewsonic Pro9000 projector's brightness, sharpness, and other factors including light leakage, image noise and audible noise, with additional commentary mixed in.
Viewsonic Pro9000 Brightness
This Viewsonic Pro9000 is rather typical in brightness for a single chip DLP projector for home theater. Let me clarify: There are a number of very bright DLP projectors for the home, but almost all of them are around $1000 or less, targeted as home entertainment projectors - with more focus on brightness, than other features more useful in a dedicated home theater.
Well, this Viewsonic Pro9000 may share a number of features of the recently reviewed, somewhat similar business version, the Pro8300. As one would expect, the biz version is a lot brighter, but contrast and blacks suffer as a consequence. (For example, the Pro8300, has a 4,000:1 contrast ratio.) The Pro9000's contrast ratio is: 100,000.
Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom):
Bright= 1257 @ 6205
Presentation= 724 @ 6172
Standard= 548 @ 6422
Theater= 407 @ 6956
Dark Room= 409 @ 6986
Game= 410 @ 6993
Sports= 522 @ 6544
User 1= 675 @ 6438
While the Bright mode produces a very impressive 1257 lumens measured (via our conservative methods), and a max of 1380 lumens, it is typical of many "Dynamic" or "Bright" modes, in that color leaves a great deal to be desired. That mode as it is, is helpful, if you need every last lumen, ie. sports with lights on in a less than great room, but you sure wouldn't use it if you have lighting reasonably under control.
The rest of the modes vary from 407 to about 724 lumens. 400 is enough for a 100" diagonal screen in a good room. For comparison, that puts it in the same brightness class as a couple of Mitsubishi projectors (old and new), the new Sharp XV-Z30000, a few Optomas, etc. Most of the rest, including the Sony, JVC Epson and Panasonic, are more like 500-700 lumens calibrated (the Sony almost 1000).
Less lumens isn't bad, it just limits screen size and, when you need to, how much ambient light you can handle. This is one of those projectors that is best reserved for the half of the market that buys smaller screens. In general, this projector is a good fit for screen sizes up to 110" diagonal, and best at 100" diagonal and under.
Post Calibration: User 1 "best" mode = 448 lumens
The Viewsonic's 450 lumens calibrated, is also just fine on screens to 110" diagonal.
With the right screen and room, you can even go a little larger.
Remember, while a hybrid light engine will also dim over time, the time is long. As a result, over the first few years of ownership, this Viewsonic might average 20%-40% brighter than a projector starting with the same brightness, but running conventional lamps instead of a laser/led light engine.
Intermediate modes can do a very nice job, and up your brightness into the 700 lumens range. That will give you some horsepower to spare, for those same sized screens, for a sporting event, or TV
The Viewsonic 1.2 Zoom Lens Position Brightness
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Bright mode):
Zoom out: 1380
Zoom in: 1142
For your basic 1.2:1 zoom lens, the drop from wide angle to telephoto is about 17.5%, which is fairly significant for a lens with that little zoom range. But, ultimately, it's a small drop if you are at the back of that range. It will encourage you to mount the projector as close as you can - why not, where a difference of 2 feet can buy you 20% more brightness.
Pro9000 Projector Low Lamp Mode
Switching to Low lamp, the Pro 9000 loses almost exactly 30%. As seen in the two images below. It's not a huge drop in brightness, but it can make a difference.
Lumen Output (Eco Lamp, Bright mode): 873
That's down from 1257 lumens at full power.
Viewsonic Pro9000 Pre-Calibration Color temp, User 1 Mode:
We are working with a pre-production projector here. We understand that full production projectors are due to arrive in the US about the time this goes online. Viewsonic has let us know that there will be several changes to the firmware. From that we would expect better color performance than with this unit.
Color Temp over IRE Range (Best Mode, Pre calibration):
30 IRE 7479
50 IRE 7723
80 IRE 7771
100 IRE 6956
First of all, Theater is "cool" out of the box. More to the point, are Mike's comments about calibrating this projector, found a couple of paragraphs down, in italic.
Keep in mind that this is - I say again - an engineering sample, or early Pre-production. We expect some things are not finished, which is why we'll do a follow up in a few weeks when a full production projector arrives.
Mike calibrated and came up with the results below which he placed in User 1mode.
Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration):
20 IRE 6705
30 IRE 6519
40 IRE 6693
50 IRE 6844
60 IRE 6719
70 IRE 6835
80 IRE 6842
90 IRE 6829
100 IRE 6849
Average gamma= 2.11
While the final numbers are rather good, the underlying balance between RGB is off per Mike. This explains why the color, while acceptable to most, is going to disappoint those really wanting great color.
In fairness we do not do an individual color calibration (CMS), which may well have helped improve the picture a good bit.
All were taken with the same exposure, which works nicely since the brightest mode isn't even close to double the least bright. Here goes:
Above, Bright mode, unaltered, is exceptionally green. You won't want to use this mode unless you need every lumen. Our pre-production projector has two User modes, but only one worked correctly (an issue Viewsonic has already said, has been fixed).
Since when you start altering some key settings in a color mode, it requires you to put it it one of the two user areas. We did our best mode into User 1, had to forego putting changes to Bright mode. We expect production projectors to be a bit different in terms of the colors, which may result in a more usable Bright mode.
Viewsonic Pro9000 Sharpness
We have here a classic single chip DLP projector. I tend to think of the Pro9000's most direct competition as being lower cost DLP projectors that run on conventional lamps.
That said, the Pro9000 is nice and sharp. It is comparable to other single chip DLP projectors in that price range. Remember, one reason you will be paying around $3000 is for the long life light source. For example, the Panasonic PT-AE8000 (which is selling for slightly less), for a moderately heavy user, will be spending about $1000 on lamps over 4-5 years. ($379 x 4000 hours).
For a 40 hour a week type, that's a lamp needed every two years, of course to last two years at that rate, the lamp will be down about 50% in brightness before you are replacing it.
Back to sharpness. There is also a detail enhancement feature with this projector. It did not seem especially smart. The default setting was fine, but push it too much and it becomes grainy..
Top left: Viewsonic Pro9000, Top Center: Sony VPL-HW50ES, Top Center:: Epson Home Cinema 5010
Top Right:: Sharp XV-Z30000 Bottom Center: Runco LS-5, Bottom Right: Optoma HD8300
Of note, above. Reality Creation was on, setting 20. For this type of image, I believe it actually detracts from the sharpness of the text, but still looks really sharp.
No significant light spilling out of the vents. Minor leakage out the lens, around the picture is faint and of little consequence. Not worth concern.
Basic image noise is just about what expect for single chip DLP projectors. Motion artifacts were also good. In terms of slow panning, the Viewsonic did slightly better than the Sony VPL-HW50ES, and comparable to the Epson Home Cinema 5010.
We looked for image tearing, 1 for 1 pixel mapping. The Viewsonic Pro 9000 had no issues: First image below, very small type. The second image shows vertical and horizontal lines 2 pixel thick in the center of the test pattern. They are clearly produced.
Viewsonic claims 22db in eco-mode, and 28 at full power. That won't make it the quietest home theater projector around, but it will make it one of the quietest. Few projectors claim below 20 db. Many of today's projectors, including others in this price range can be in the 30 - 34 db range at full power, which is a bit of noise. Really noise adverse people seem to demand 25 db or less.
Overall, even at full power, in my room, sitting just about 4 feet away, I almost never noticed the fan noise, even on quiet scenes. Although I barely used eco-mode, it should be quiet enough to make everyone happy.