Vivitek H5080 Projector - Image Quality
Vivitek H5080 images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). Because this is a "short" review, due to the similarities in picture quality, to the Optoma, I'm also using a few Optoma images to fill in. They will be duly noted. Since one big difference between these two projectors is black level performance, I won't be using any HD8600 images where we're discussing black level performance. As always: These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the H5080 projector projects on the screen. There are color shifts saturation differences, etc. Our standard explanation:
These images are provided to support the commentary. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews. From a color standpoint, my dSLR camera still adds a very slight green shift to some photo shoots that I have not been able to completely remove in most cases. I now visually attempt to adjust all the images to correct for major abberations in color between big screen and computer screen. In other words, while we can demonstrate differences in black levels and shadow details of the H5080, the photos are only approximations of skin tone and color accuracy. This is one case where "why use 1000 words, when a picture will do", won't do.
7/7/2010 - Art Feierman
H5080 Out of the Box Picture Quality
The H5080 look pretty respectable right out of the box, but none of the presets is really close to ideal. No worries, Mike gave the Vivitek H5080 a quick calibration and the projector got a lot better still. "Out of the box" color is definitely not the best color performance but watchable.
The image immediately below is from The Hunt For Red October, on Blu-ray.
After Mike got done calibrating the Vivitek, the skin tones looked great! (They still do!) That should be no surprise, after you look at the post-calibration color temp which is about as tight as one could hope for.
The two images (immediately above and below) are from Lord of the Rings, off of the Blu-ray release.
Below are a wide assortment of images to demonstrate skin tones. Remember, the same face will look markedly different under different lighting scenarios, such as full sunlight, filtered sunlight, gray overcast, nighttime, fluorescent lighting, and so on.
A few more images with good skin tones:
Good stuff. The Vivitek's skin tones look a lot better live than in these photos. Overall, definitely very good rendering of skin tones.
Vivitek H5080 Black Levels & Shadow Detail
To tell the same story, I told when reviewing the Optoma:
Years ago, DLP's were the first projectors to produce high contrast and dark blacks. Over the years, though, the advantage has been lost. Today, JVC's LCoS design seems to be the best for black level performance, although other LCoS brands don't fare as well.
It seems also that a couple of the 3LCD projectors, while still not up to the JVC RS25 and RS35, are able to produce slightly better blacks than the best DLP's I've reviewed of late. No matter, most of those better LCD projectors and the best DLP's (all using dynamic irises), are in the same overall performance class (ultra-high contrast). I had hoped the Vivitek, like the HD8600 would have good enough blacks to be categorized (by my subjective definition) as an "ultra-high contrast" projector. It turns out that it's really borderline. The first side by sides I shot, I was thinking, "hmm, the blacks are better than the LG CF181D," which surprised me. It wasn't until after I posted the first version of the review, that I realized I wasn't using the LG CF181D, but rather, the slightly lower performance LG AF115, which doesn't have as good a black levels as the CF181D. Still that leaves it on the border. Upon watching with the Epson 8500UB, side by side, I got a better "reference". The Vivitek is no match for the 8500UB, but based on that side by side, the Vivitek should be close, but not quite as good as the Panasonic PT-AE4000, and probably about on par with the Sanyo PLV-Z3000. Certainly it's better at blacks than some lower cost projectors like the Epson 8100, Mitsubishi HC3800, etc. Although, the Vivitek improves on black performance with image processing rather than a dynamic iris. It's borderline. I'm in a good mood (and this is a subjective call), let's call it an utra-high contrast, although it's just making it, and the other projectors I call ultra high contrast are at least as good as this one.
When I first posted this page, I said that Vivitek wasn't getting very much out of its dynamic iris, which of course resulted in smooth (not noticeable) iris action.
Well, I blew that. Optoma's got it's Dynamic Black which is always on one of two settings. That Dynamic Black shall we say, was playin with my head. Turns out, the big difference between the Vivitek H5080 and the Optoma HD8600 is that the Vivitek does not have a dynamic iris, only a manual one.
Folks, that was a major error on my part. Sorry!
Bottom line: The Vivitek H5080 projector achieves its blacks without dynamic iris, and does a respectable job. The whole point of defining some projectors as ultra high contrast, was to reach a point in black level performance, that improving it further, starts becoming a secondary, as other things, perhaps a brighter projector, or a sharper one, assume new importance.
Image time: We start with the starship image from The Fifth Element. The first photo is way overexposed to show the blacks in the letterbox as dark gray. As you can see, to lift the blacks that much, the starship itself is terribly overexposed. In the image immediately below that, you are still looking at the same image, but only slightly overexposed.
Below, same overexposed image - Optoma HD8600
And below is the Panasonic PT-AE4000, which, is a touch better overall, but it varies by scene, since they both use dynamic irises:
I've even got a couple of side by side images for you, comparing the Vivitek H5080 (left) to the LG AF115 (note, the image file names are wrong, indicating the CF181D, not the AF115). I have not yet published the AF115 review. It's a lower cost, slightly lower performance - including contrast and brightness) projector.
In the images above, the Vivitek (left) appears brighter (since we start out matching brightness on brighter scenes, that indicates the iris isn't closing down as much with the Vivitek). You can also see less difference in the star background between the first and second Vivitek images (that's due to the lack of a dynamic iris, but their Dynamic Black feature does have some impact. With the LG, the space background increases significantly in brighntess.
Here are two more dark scenes comparing the Vivitek (left) but this time, against the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB projector. This time, the Epson clearly has the advantage in black level performance, both on the darker first frame, or the 2nd one when the shuttle lights up the frame.
These two all digital images images below are good ones for considering black levels and dark shadow detail. Look for the richness in the black part of some of the buildings and also, the sky, in the second image. Both of these first two, are digital hi-def images from the DVE-HD calibration disc.
Shadow Detail Performance
No problem with shadow detail. The Vivitek does very well. As I've pointed out many times, generally it's easier to see the darkest shadow details on projectors with less than the best blacks, because everything is a bit brighter.
From Space Cowboys; Vivitek left, and Epson 8500UB right:
The first sequence of comparison images is from Space Cowboys. This is a very dark scene with Clint Eastwood on Blu-ray disc. The photos are intentionally way overexposed. Look for the blacks in the shades, and the details in those shades in the form of the white trim. (At this level of overexposure, don't even worry about the skin tones, as in these types of overexposed photos they always look terrible).
First image is the H5080, followed by the Optoma HD8600 and the Mitsubishi HC7000. Next is the the Vivitek H9080FD, and extremely expensive LED light source DLP projector. The last two in the sequence are the Panasonic PT-AE4000 and the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB.
Again, from Space Cowboys, this is a cropped image. The right side is very bright (so dynamic irises will not be effective). The H5080 (top left) shows very good shadow detail in the dark areas of the satellite. Next to it on the first row, is the Optoma HD8600. 2nd row is the Epson 8500UB and the JVC RS25. The third row is the Mitsubishi HC7000 (left), and the Sony VPL-HW15.
On the left, is the H5080, the middle is the Epson 8500UB/9500UB, and on the right, the Optoma HD8600. The exposures are all a little different, but you should be able to appreciate the combination of shadow detail and dark blacks.
Click on left thumbnail image for the JVC DLA-RS25, Epson Home Cinema 8500UB in the center, and the right for the PT-AE4000U.
In our dark train scene, the H5080 performs extremely well. Look to the shrubs and trees on the right, especially those on the other side of the rails.
First, of course, is the Vivitek H5080, followed by the "related" Optoma HD8600. Note, please how similar the two images are in look and feel.
Next comes the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, followed by the Mitsubishi HC7000 and the Panasonic PT-AE4000.
Bottom line: The H5080 combines very good dark shadow detail combines with pretty good (but not exceptional) black levels at its price point.
Overall Color & Picture Quality
Brilliant! The H5080 is bright, it has excellent skin tones, and for the most part, the color is great. I'm not sure why, but it doesn't always seem to be really film-like, almost like there's some "Brilliant Color" type dynamic processing going on (there is - Dynamic Black is always on), even when I'm not using those features. Still, I'm quibbling. It is as film-like as the Epson 8500UB, but in a different way. Not the best, but "close enough." As an added bonus, the Vivitek has an very sharp image. I only regret that its black level performance isn't a little bit better, for that would make this projector downright formidable at its price point. Sports look particularly good, I should note.
Watching movies, I again, immediately appreciate the lumens, the H5080 has no trouble at all dealing with my 128" high contrast gray screen, something very few competitors can claim.
A mix of additional images to show off the H5080 home theater projector:
From the DVE-HD test disc:
And here are a few more images:
The very bottom line on overall image quality and color: The H5080 looks truly great. The dark scenes could, of course stand to have even blacker blacks but the H5080 delivers perfectly good black levels for a premium projector.
Only the dynamic iris action, on some darker scenes, blemishes the overall image performance. And that's primarily a technical complaint as you'll only occasionally notice it, and very few likely to overly object. Great picture!
Vivitek H5080U Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
With well over 1200 lumens at my disposal, I was able to do an impressive image on the 92 inch Screen Innovations Black Diamond 1.4. For the shot below, the recessed lights are on, illuminating the chairs on the left and right. I was able to watch with a pretty decent picture with both french door windows open. Keep in mind that the SI screen in many ways resembles my Firehawk G3. The Black Diamond 1.4, however, is better at "rejecting" overhead lighting, but not as good with side lighting. As such, the SI screen didn't do as well in my room in the daytime, but better in the evening... Still, no problems. This is a small screen, and could tackle even the door window shades up, fairly well.
Being brave, I opened the shade on the large window by the screen. With the gray day outside, the projector still looked pretty darn good, with reasonably bright colors, The ambient light is washing out any blacks and very dark colors a bit, but still very watchable as seen in the photo immediately below:
Now, we must all realize that if this was a bright sunny day, with sunlight coming in that window, the results would be completely different, it would be unwatchable. Having said that, with just over 1150 lumens, the H5080 is definitely one of the brighter home theater projectors around without getting up into the big bucks for a 3 chip DLP. Brighter, although not sensationally so. Just a good bright projector. Not quite as bright as, say the Epson UB projectors, but about half way between those, and the average home theater projectors. The Vivitek will deliver color better than those Epson's at their brightest.
The Vivitek H5080 image is very sharp. And the color and skin tones, even in "brightest" mode, with some ambient light, looked reasonably great.
While the H5080 does offer creative frame interpolation (CFI), it doesn't apply it when receiving standard 60fps content like a nice football game!
That's right, you've got CFI for your 24fps movies (when using it is questionable, as it "changes the director's intent"), but it's great for sports, where most folks appreciate having it. I hope they (and Optoma) get their act together for the next model.
We could wish for just about any projector to be brighter for watching sports, but few quality home theater projectors are significantly brighter, unless you are looking to spend four or five times the price. That said, I watched some recorded football, and, a few innings of baseball. The picture was bright and vibrant, and held up rather well under more controlled ambient light, than I can torture most other projectors.