BenQ MS517 Projector – Performance

MS517 Projector - Brightness

The BenQ MS517 performed well in the area of brightness. It didn’t measure up to the brightness specified by the manufacturer, but it still was plenty bright for large conference rooms, even with the lights on. The projector has a few different modes you can present in. Each one optimizes the image for the given situation. Presentation Mode is the standard default mode. The projector features a Eco Mode which drops the brightness of the lamp, also making the projector quieter. Eco Mode helps extend the life of the lamp. If you can project in Eco Mode and still find you have a bright enough image, it is recommended to use that setting.

Presentation Mode measured in testing to produce 2563 lumens of brightness. Srgb Mode with the brightness set to Normal Mode produced 1392 lumens. Oddly, Cinema Mode was brighter than Srgb Mode and produced 1457 lumens. Brightness typical drops in Cinema Mode because it helps produce a blacker looking black. Dynamic Mode exceeded the manufacturers rating in testing and produced 3194 lumens. Definitely a strong performer in the area of projector brightness. However, presenting in Dynamic Mode really changed color accuracy in a drastic way. The whites started to shift and not be as true as they were in Presentation Mode.

Moving to Eco Mode and putting the projector in Presentation Mode, we got a lumen output of 2088. Eco Mode does drop brightness as mentioned, but extends the life of the lamp. Srgb Mode dropped in brightness to 1097 lumens. Cinema Mode had a little increase in brightness as expected and came in at 1130 lumens. Dynamic Mode dropped as well, but was still a strong performer in terms of brightness. It produced 2661 lumens. Color accuracy was slightly improved when the projector was placed in Dynamic Eco Mode.

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News and Comments

  • dusjagai

    During brightness tests for non-RGBRGB dlp pj’s do you test color brightness as well?



      No we don’t measure color brightness. We however are a believer in the importance, and have been commenting on the result of low color brightness for a decade now. You will find we did a long video on the topic.

      From a practical standpoint, much of the color vs. white debate is one of projectors with color wheels, with those without. Thus, 3 panel (chip) LCD projectors and LCoS projectors all should have color lumens very close to that of “white” lumens.

      The big descrepancies are with projectors that use color wheels with a clear slice on them.

      As a result, the issue is one that mostly is realized on business/education/commercial projectors as opposed to home theater. That said, many, no, most of the sub $1500 home projectors (not all) and just about all under about $800), are cross-overs – that is they are similar to, and based on business portable projectors. That would cover most of the lower cost home Optoma, Viewsonic, BenQ projectors for home, below, say the BenQ W1070, or Optoma HD25…

      On a DLP projector with low color lumens (relative to white) you would expect in brighter modes, that you end up with dark, wine colored reds when bright rich red is called for. Also bright pure yellows tend to be muddy, mustardy yellow greens, and so on. Check out the video, as we show two projectors side by side, and do the measurements. The link for that video is here:


      • dusjagai

        Have you noticed that on some of those non-RGB dlp’s turning the brilliantcolor mode off seems to force the pj to use only the RGB segments; dimming the whites down to match the color brightness? I would have to guess this is how brilliantcolor works on all of them, but what does it change for RGBRGB dlp’s then?


          I think it varies a lot, and also, some companies like BenQ have Brilliant Color Off, or On, others may have 3 or even 10 steps.

          Among other things, engaging brilliant color often seems to cut back the color palette, usually the sign of some other type of processing going on. One seems to see that affect when looking at closeups of faces.

          There are multiple factors in play, regarding the practical side of color lumens equaling white lumens. Let’s just say that while I think the color lumen discussion is a good one, the bottom line is still how does a projector perform.

          You can have a projector with a giant clear slice, that claims 2000 (white) lumens, but the bottom line is it won’t calibrate properly until things are in order. Thus the wine colored pure reds, etc. A projector with roughly equal color and white, should calibrate not too far down in brightness from it’s brightest modes. By the time a clear slice DLP starts looking right, it may be down 40-50-60% in brightness.

          Interestingly, the Epson and Panasonic primary home projectors, the UBs and the Panny AE8000U, also drop way down in lumens, but there’s a separate reason. To the best of my understanding, the end result of current 3LCD panels, is that there are some “wholes” in their color spectrum, where certain colors – are in short supply. In such cases we’re talking very narrow ranges, perhaps only a fraction of a color range we might call teal. If I got it right they have inserted a filter that would pass all of that color range, while knocking down the rest of the range (or accomplished with algorithms and filter). I’m not aware of any LCoS designs that use filters like that so it’s a 3LCD thing.

          Again, getting a handle on all of this is a good thing, but at the end of the day, it’s the final image and what you like most, dislike the least about it. -art

          • dusjagai

            I wonder why LCD would lack anything in color that LCoS wouldn’t when they are so similar in how they create color..then again I don’t know any high-end LCoS that are terribly bright or non-HT, so maybe they are already set purely for better colors at the expense of brightness. I didn’t know LCDs had noticeable color gaps, but I guess it makes sense that there’d be limitations and tradeoffs.

            Unrelated, why do some DLPs have smaller inter-pixel gaps than others? Are there ways to tell which models will have better fill ratios before purchasing?