Viewsonic Pro9000 Home Theater Projector Review

Pro9000 Black Levels

No real surprises here.  The Pro 9000 combines a standard DLP chip with a dynamic iris, for improving black level performance, as do most DLP home theater projectors.

Overall, black level performance is fairly typical for most under $2500 DLP projectors.  Compared to 3LCD projectors, there’s a price gap, due to the rather limited number of 3LCD projectors.  As such, those under $1800 are roughly comparable to this Viewsonic projector.  Then, over $2500, the 3LCD projectors will mostly be visibly superior in terms of black levels.  There really aren’t any LCoS projectors down under $2500 unless you consider closeouts, such as Sony’s HW30ES, which should prove to be slightly better on blacks.

I don’t consider this Pro 9000 to quite make it to being “ultra-high-contrast,” but all considered the blacks are respectable, but definitely not up to the Panasonic PT-AE8000, Epson 5010, Sony HW50ES  Consider them better than the DLP Mitsubishi HC4000, and close to the Optoma HD33, or the LCD Epson HC 3020 and HC3020e.

Below, the Viewsonic Pro9000 and other projectors, with most photos converted to grayscale.  For comparing:  If two projectors have the starship equally overexposed, then the one with the darker letterbox, is the one that has the blacker blacks.  You might also notice that in the starfield, comparing the letterbox is easier, as differences in gamma have less affect. Looking at the pause bar (bottom left) gives another indication of how overexposed each image is.

Click Image to Enlarge

Pro9000 Black Levels

Pro9000
Sony VPL-HW50ES
Sony VPL-HW30ES
Optoma HD8300
Epson Home Cinema 5010
Optoma HD33
JVC DLA-RS45
Viewsonic VPL-VW95ES

Viewsonic Pro9000 Shadow Detail Performance

Shadow detail on this pre-production projector – after applying Mike’s recommendations for Brightness and Contrast, is about average.

I notice that the amount of dark shadow detail you will be able to make out will also depend a good deal on which of the many gamma settings you choose. With some, shadow detail isn’t good at all, others are far better.

Viewsonic Pro9000 Shadow Detail Performance

Viewsonic Pro9000
Viewsonic VPL-HW50ES
Optoma HD8300
Optoma HD33
Epson Home Cinema 5010
Mitsubishi HC4000
Sharp XV-Z30000

The standard “Bond” night train image does a great job for checking out shadow detail as well.  This too is a very dark scene overall. Look to the shrubs on the right, especially behind the tracks, and also look for shadow detail in the wood behind them.

Viewsonic VPL-HW50ES:  This projector below reveals more detail in the shrubs and the dark areas of woods on the right of the image.  Note also, the much better black level performance of the Sony.  The Sony is a more expensive projector – a significantly more expensive one, once you figure in the long term savings of a LED/laser light engine.

Optoma HD8300: A higher priced DLP projector- better blacks, but comparable shadow detail.

Optoma HD3:  $1499  Similar dark shadow detail, plus the blacks are definitely better than the Pro 9000.

Epson Home Cinema 5010: Note the improved dark shadow detail in the shrubs on the right, and the trees on the right, that the Epson offers. We’ll be reviewing this Epson’s replacement, the Home Cinema 5020, within weeks of this review.

Mitsubishi HC4000: One of our favorite lower cost projectors (under $1500):  This is probably the closest overall, in terms of the combination of shadow detail and blacks. This image below, though is not near as overexposed as the Viewsonic’s.

Sharp XV-Z30000: A DLP projector with fairly similar street pricing, but 3D capable, similar shadow detail, but better blacks

Black Level and Shadow Detail Performance: Pro9000 Projector - Bottom Line

Shadow detail is acceptable.  Black levels definitely could be a lot better for a projector likely to sell for just below $3000, but then, as pointed out above, once you “adjust” for the cost of the light source, this really has to be considered an under $2000 projector.

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