Vivitek H9080FD Projector Review

Vivitek H9080FD projector images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the H9080FD projector projects on the screen. There are color shifts (too much red, in this case), saturation differences, etc.

Picking up on the conversation about the poor color accuracy of the photos shot of the Vivitek H9080FD (and not of the Vivitek’s actual color performance), I have a theory to explain the huge shift towards red. Because of the different type of light source (LED), I suspect that color/light not in the visible spectrum, is tripping up the sensor chip in my digital SLR. (I’m not an engineer or scientist!). In other words, it may be that there is more invisible infra-red hitting the screen, that the eye doesn’t see, but it is causing the chip to record that extra, and it’s showing up in the visible spectrum. Now, that’s just my best guess for now. I’m exploring ways to improve the photoshoot for this projector, as well as future LED light source projectors. If I come up with a clean solution, I’ve already requested that Vivitek send me a unit back for a reshoot of many of the images.

H9080FD Out of the Box Picture Quality

Right out of the box, using the Film gamma, and Standard color temp setting (defaults), the Vivitek H9080FD produces good, not great color. The overall image is a bit on the cool side (too much blue), by about 600K color temperature average. That’s not, by any means, terrible, but it is off. Still, the overall picture looks very good, and is very watchable. Correcting the color temperature, however, does provide a real improvement. Your dealer is probably planning to calibrate the projector for you (and most likely charge for it), and for a projector of this calibre, that makes good sense. In a pinch, try our recommended settings on the H9080FD calibration page of this review.

There is another issue as well. The brightness setting is off, too low. As a result, there is a fair amount of crushing of near blacks, and a loss of dark shadow detail. This was a concern when I initially viewed the Vivitek, pre-calibration. You’ll note that we recommend changing the brightness setting from default 100 to 106. This solves the problem. There are further black crush issues with the dynamic iris engaged, as several of those settings also affect contrast. Turning on the Adaptive Contrast, really starts crushing the blacks. More on that elsewhere in this review.

Bottom line, for out of the box performance. Overall color and skin tones are good to very good, but definitely visibly improvable.

Click Image to Enlarge

Flesh Tones

Once calibrated skin tones turn out to be excellent. For reasons explained above, unfortunately, the photos do not reflect those excellent skin tones. Even in this Ganalf image from Lord of the Rings, where I increased the green, and dropped the red in my camera, there’s still too much red compared to the other primaries.

I imagine you’ll just have to take my word about the great skin tones, at least until I figure out how to compensate for the color shift in the photo shoot process. If (big if) I can come up with a good solution, I will try to get the Vivitek back in house, and at least reshoot a number of images, to show what the Vivitek more closely looks like.

Perhaps the best way to put the color shift in the images in perspective, is to look at this next image from Casino Royale. It’s a side by side, with the Vivitek H9080FD on the left, and the InFocus IN83 (best skin tones I’ve seen), on the right.

Now, here’s the thing: On the screen, the two images were near identical, with very little difference in the colors (though I would give the InFocus the slight advantage. In this image, however, the skin tones are radically different. (Bond’s gray suit looked gray, not pinkish gray, when viewed on my screens.

Next are our usual three images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale, under different lighting conditions. The point here, is that correct skin tones vary, depending on the lighting. You can expect significantly different looking skin tones, when switching from bright sunlight, to nighttime, fluorescent lighting, incandescent lighting, or even lighting in the shade, or a cloudy day. Consider these three images, the first in direct sunlight, the second is a scene with fluorescent lighting, and the third, a sunny day, but Bond is sitting in the shade – indirect lighting.

Sadly all three still show too much red, but you can see the difference lighting has on skin tones. Incandescent light would have still another look ot the skin tones.

Bottom line: The Vivitek H9080FD does a great job on skin tones. Not the very best I’ve seen when reviewing, but right up there. I grabbed the InFocus IN83 for comparison viewing, because the Vivitek was excellent. Sorry the images don’t reflect the reality.

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