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BenQ HT6050 Home Theater Projector Review - Special Features

Posted on November 17, 2016 by Art Feierman
BenQ HT6050 DLP Projector Review - Special Features: Interchangeable Lenses, High Speed Color Wheel, Extensive Lens Shift, Dynamic Iris, CFI

Interchangeable Lenses

Perhaps the most distinguishing special feature of the BenQ HT6050 is the choice of lenses. Generally projectors that offer multiple lens options tend to be more expensive, and for that matter, rather rare among home theater projectors if not spending $10,000 or more.

This means that for some people with non-typical setups, that the HT6050 is one of the few choices they have when looking at home theater projectors. That would be the case, whether you needed a long throw lens to place the BenQ in the back of a pretty deep room, or when it has to be placed only a few feet from the screen, with a very short throw lens.

All totaled, BenQ offers a choice of five lenses, from a very short throw fixed, to a long zoom lens.

Wide Fix (5J.JDH37.002) 0.778:1
Wide Zoom (5J.JDH37.011) 1.1~1.3:1
Standard (5J.JDH37.022) 1.54~1.93:1
Semi Long (5J.JDH37.032) 1.93~2.9:1
Long Zoom1 (5J.JDH37.041) 3.0~5.0:1‎

The HT6050 currently comes with a standard zoom lens bundled at a list price of only $3799 and that should work out to a street price under $3000. Or rather, that's the deal thanks to a promotion BenQ is running through 12/31/16.  Checking things out, I suspect that BenQ will renew that promo or come up with a different one.  That's not an uncommon strategy, because companies want to create urgency.

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That said, it sounds like If you need one of the other lenses though, your extra spend will likely be about $1000 or so more based on conversations with BenQ.  That would indicate less expensive lens prices than most competitors.  Is there competition with lens options? Not really. Epson’s Bright Room home projectors start about the same price and offer interchangeable lenses, but they are not direct competition. This projector is primarily for use in good rooms, not bright ones. Those Epsons are really crossover business projectors, which have lots of lumens but lack finesse as a home theater projector.

One potential advantage of having multiple lens options, even if you only need the standard lens, is that the standard lens has far less zoom range than the typically found, such as 1.6:1 zooms (Sony and others), or even 2.1:1 zooms as found with Epson and JVC. Creating a lens with less zoom range makes it easier to design lenses with less elements, less distortion, and also lenses that are brighter – helping deliver more lumens.

The last home theater DLP projector we reviewed with interchangeable lenses, was a Vivitek – at $9999. High end companies like SIM2 and Barco offer home models with interchangeable lens options, but they are relatively uncommon among “big consumer names, like Optoma, BenQ, Sony, Panasonic, etc.

Bottom line on lenses – if the standard lens is all you need, then the BenQ directly competes with a number of projectors. You’ll have to decide if it’s the best fit for you. But if you do need a lens throw that’s not typical among home theater projectors, and want something more “theater” than “bright room and sports,” this BenQ is one of the very few choices out there.

BTW, each lens has different F ratings, that is, the 2000 lumens applies to the standard zoom other lenses will be slightly brighter or darker, overall depending on their design. No surprise there.

High Speed Color Wheel for minimal Rainbow Effect

The faster the color wheel, the less likely those of us who are Rainbow sensitive, will notice those rainbows, and when we do, the less noticeable they will be. Only a small percentage of folks are rainbow sensitive to begin with, but figure, even if you are not, you’ll have a friend or family member who might be.

The HT6050 claims a blazingly fast 6x wheel – as fast as I’ve seen claimed. Low end projectors typically have 2X or 3X, (I would never personally own a DLP projector with 3X or lower speed, the amount of rainbows becomes truly annoying to me.)

Let me mention that 6X is the speed in places where the electric is 50hz such as Europe.  Here in the US where we use 60hz it is a 5X wheel. That’s not necessarily changing its performance, but you get different numbers because one of the numbers in the calculation relates to the cycles per second.

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No matter – I barely ever noticed rainbows with the HT6050. But I have seen a few on the right type of scenes typically with something white moving fast across a black background. Compared to a 3X wheel though, it's a night and day improvement.  Let’s put it this way: For someone rainbow sensitive like myself – I could own this projector despite the really infrequent flash of a rainbow, if it overall was otherwise the best choice for my money.

Lens Shift

Offering a healthy amount of lens shift has always seemed more challenging for single chip DLP projectors than other types, which is why most have none, and a number of DLP projectors offer just a minimal amount for “fine tuning” – allowing only inches of variation. The HT6050 however has a lot of vertical, and a little horizontal lens shift as well, again, setting it apart from its DLP competition. That said, 3LCD and LCoS projectors in its price range tend to offer as much or more lens shift, so count this feature – extensive lens shift, as primarily a feature benefit that sets it apart from other DLP projectors. Or perhaps I should say that being a rare DLP with a healthy amount of lens shift makes it competitive with the LCoS and 3LCD projectors in its price range – something competing DLP’s can’t claim.

The HT6050 offers unequal vertical lens shift for all lenses, varying with 15%-55% range, plus there’s +/-5% horizontal. Note that vertical number is still less than many LCoS and 3LCD, but typically “close enough.”  This allows for significant vertical adjustment, handy for high ceilings, and possibly.

The BenQ HT6050 has a dynamic iris (as did the W7500 and other predecessors), but BenQ's implementation is very different.  Normally you expect to use the dynamic iris in projector's best modes when you are in a fully darkened room (or very close).  There it can lower the overall brightness, and the darkest areas, on relatively dark scenes without any fully bright areas - a very common thing in movies.

The HT6050 dynamic iris, on the current firmware version only operates in the HT6050's Bright mode - its brightest, and one you would only use when there's a lot of ambient light - exactly when a dynamic iris serves little purpose. Strangely, apparently an earlier version of the firmware had it working in all modes.  Since this is a brand new projector perhaps this hasn't been settled yet.

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