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BenQ W1500 Projector - Picture Quality

Posted on December 25, 2013 by Art Feierman
BENQ W1500 PICTURE QUALITY:   Out of the Box picture, Skin Tones, Black Level Performance

W1500 Out of the Box Picture Quality

One of the things I really like about the W1500 is that for those not very interested in fiddling, tweaking, or calibrating their projectors, thisBenQ is one that looks really good in most modes, without any adjustment.

Don't get me wrong, Mike's calibration did further improve the picture, but, compared to say the Optoma HD25-LV, a slightly less expensive competitor that's also a DLP, that is similarly bright, you might think that the W1500 is calibrated, as it's "out of the box" color accuracy general picture is so much better than that Optoma's.

The two choice modes for unadjusted viewing would be Cinema and Reference.  Reference should be the technically more perfect of the two, but Cinema has more pop, and is right up there, in terms of accuracy.  Bright is brighter still, but not by that much, that most will need it.

But, on the other hand, we do provide the results of Mike's calibration, so I would say to many of you:  "There are three User areas - dump our settings into one of them.  If that doesn't look better (it should) than the default settings, then don't use our settings.  That said, I've heard from many readers that Mike's calibration numbers made for a real improvement, with their projectors.

All of our settings but the individual calibration of primary and secondary colors, are on the calibration page in this review, free for all to use if desired.   On the other hand, those individual color calibrations, which  I sometimes refer to as the last 5%, or last 10% of the whole calibration, along with CIE charts, other charts from the calibration, and additional comments from Mike, are on the Advanced Calibration page, which is only available to our subscribers.

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Skin Tone Handling: BenQ W1500 Projector

Skin tones which were already rather good, although a very slight bit to the warm side of 6500K.  Basically the W1500 in Cinema is just a touch strong on reds across the entire brightness range. (as our pre-calibration measurements predicted).

All of the images in this section are post calibration, but, I can safely say that there's probably more difference in the colors from what I see on the screen, to what you see on your display, than the difference between the W1500 calibrated vs. uncalibrated.

So basically what I'm saying is that even an uncalibrated W1500 will have more faithful color accuracy on your screen than you are likely to see in my photos shown here.

There's another thing to note.  Grayscale balance might be a touch warm at full power, but if you run in eco-mode, then the grayscale is almost dead on!

Skin Tones are Variable - Based On Lighting Conditions

For years I've included several images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, to demonstrate that great skin tones are perceived, not absolute.  The lighting conditions can make the same person's face look pale and bluish (under fluorescent or mercury vapor lamps), or perhaps with a lot of orange if early morning or late sunlight lit.  Night scenes have their variations as well.  So, for consideration, here are a few very different colored skin tones - all from the same face.

The point is, if your projector is well calibrated (or comes close, right out of the box), all these skin tones will look very different, but they will also be believable, based on the lighting around his face!

Black Level Performance - Match The Projector To Your Room and Viewing Habits

Black level performance might be my "holy grail" of performance for serious home theater projectors, but in theory, having deep black levels isn't important in a home entertainment projector. Let's spend a moment thinking on that before we start with some images.

For the absolute blackest blacks a projector can deliver, ideally you not only need a fully darkened room, but one with dark surfaces.  Hey, if you have off white ceiling and walls, they will reflect a lot of light back to the screen.  That means that if you have an image that is fairly bright on one side, the that light reflected back will help wash out the other side, which we'll presume is suppose to be black.

So, based on just that, you want a good dedicated theater for best blacks.   But many people have rooms with all kinds of differences, that just aren't that dark.

Given two projectors one with great blacks the other with average blacks, on a scene like our night train scene from Casino Royale, if your room is fully darkened, the difference between images would be huge.  But turn on a small light in the back of the room, and both will wash out significantly, but when comparing, the two projectors will seem closer to each other in terms of blacks, and pop on those dark scenes.

It's for exactly that reason, that although I could get my last "theater" (old house) pretty dark in the daytime, all serious movie viewing was reserved for night time when I could get the room really dark.  If you want to get the very best dark scene action, and your room isn't as "perfect" as a good home theater, you too will likely save movie viewing for night time.


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