BenQ W7500 Projector: Picture Quality

BENQ W7500 PICTURE QUALITY:  Out of the box performance, Skin Tones, Black Level Performance

On these pages we consider the BenQ W7500 in the following areas regarding its picture:

  • Performance right out of the box
  • Skin Tones
  • Black Level Performance
  • Dark Shadow Detail Handling
  • Overall Picture Quality
  • Sports and General HDTV Viewing
  • 3D

Let’s get started!

Out of the box the W7500 looks pretty good, but a proper calibration will further improve.  Mike, our calibrator, points out that the grayscale balance, right out of the box, is best in the Cinema mode.  I would agree with that just from watching.   Dynamic – the brightest mode, runs in native lamp, and does not have great, or even good color.  No worries, as Dynamic isn’t that much brighter than the BenQ can do calibrated.  Other “out of the box modes look a lot better while producing an image that’s within 20% of the Dynamic mode’s brightness.

Dynamic mode is cooler (white at about 8500K) than the other modes which are all fairly close to the target 6500K.  Dynamic has a strong green caste.  Use only in case of emergency.

I’m not 100% happy with the skin tones, or the overall color of the W7500 after Mike’s calibration.  When he returns to town I’m going to ask him to take another look at the W7500. On paper it calibrated great, but sometimes, calibrating it slightly differently – similar accuracy overall, yields better or worse color.  I think if Mike gives it another shot, it will come out a little better.

The images captured and displayed basically seem to have too much blue in the skin tones.  Note, though, that this is mostly the result of the photography and conversion.  Still, I found that bluish caste to be present, if far less noticeable, when viewing the W7500 in action.

At the moment, I don’t think the skin tones are quite as good as the older W7000 produced, and there’s no reason why the W7500 shouldn’t be at least as good.

Pending a 2nd look by Mike, let’s say skin tones are good, but could definitely be better.  But I expect we can improve on that.

Here, of course are a number of images to show off skin tone handling of the BenQ W7500 projector.  Toward the end are the usual grouping of “Bond” images, showing you how scene lighting plays a big role – with Bond in full sunlight, fluorescent lights, filtered sunlight, and night time.  The very last image is a duplicate of the bond plane image but from the W7000 predecessor.

Again, overall very good post calibration, but I believe the W7500 can do better.  I hope to prove that when Mike returns early April, tweaks the projector and I reshoot a few images for direct comparison.

W7500 Skin Tones

Black Level Performance: W7500 Projector

The  old W6000 and W7000 have this in common with the W7500:  All combine the very good native contrast of DLP projectors with a good dynamic iris to produce extremely good black level performance.  On a typical screen, the letterbox area of a movie is going to be very dark (not pure black of course), not just medium dark grays.  That is also true for blacks within dark scenes.

Remember that while blacker blacks improve all scenes, it’s the really dark scenes where black level performance makes a drastic difference.  So to speak, it separates the serious projectors from the wanna-be home theater projectors. A projector like BenQ’s lower cost and very popular W1070 overall does a great job, but the difference between it, and the better projectors in the $2000 to $3500 range in terms of blacks is almost “night and day”.  Looking at the W1070 and Epson 2030 images in the comparison below gives you a good idea.

The black level performance is good enough that other factors – color accuracy, brightness, features become more important, than further black levels improvement.  I’m not saying the BenQ is great – just that the blacks are “ultra-high contrast”.  Pretty darn good.  There are a number of projectors that can rival the W7500, such as the Panasonic PT-AE8000U, or the Epson Pro Cinema 4030 in this regard, but there are also projectors that a real step better.  Tthat group, for example includes the Sony HW55ES and the Epson 5030UB/6030UB, and all of the higher end JVC projectors…

For your consideration we have here the Bond night train scene, which we use for both viewing black level performance and dark shadow detail handling.

Black Levels Compared

Bond Night Train W7500
JVC DLA-X35 has great native blacks, no iris, overall, slightly better
Sony VPL-HW55ES Definitely offers better blacks $3500
The less expensive Epson 4030, is comparable
The Epson 6030UB/5030UB produces significantly blacker blacks on dark scenes
Optoma's HD25-LV - less expensive have better blacks but has other issues
The sub $1000 Epson 2030 is a good example of entry level quality blacks
BenQ's own W1070 (same blacks as W1500) lacks iris, no match

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