Projector Reviews

Casio XJ-UT310WN LED / Laser Projector – Picture Quality

CASIO XJ-UT310WN LED / LASER ULTRA SHORT THROW PROJECTOR PICTURE QUALITY:  Color Demonstration, Color Modes, Optimizing A Bright Mode for Better Color, Viewing Photos and Videos and Overall Picture Quality

Editor’s note:  It is often a challenge to capture accurate colors when shooting photos of projected images.  I use a “pro” (smaller format) Canon 60D dSLR, because it normally does an excellent job.  Still there’s always minor shift.

That said, whether doing photo shoots of home or commercial projectors, I’ve found that projectors using conventional lamps tend to produce nicely accurate photo color, but in most cases, when working with LED, Laser, or hybrid light sources, the camera is somehow affected, and the accuracy of the color is visibly impaired.  In the case of this Casio, reds are definitely significantly thinner captured in these images, compared to how they look on the screen.  The result are skin tones that are definitely greenish – think Spock!

This is not the projector’s fault but probably due to these solid state light engines putting out some energy outside of our visible range that affects the dSLR.  The reason doesn’t matter, just know that in reality, these images look far better on the screen.

 

Color Demonstration

All considered this Casio offers up some respectable color when at its very best, which really is Theater mode, one of the five Eco mode presets.  The images in this slideshow were taken in Eco with Standard mode, Eco on 1.

In the issue of color lumens vs. white lumens, we do not measure projectors for that, but based on the dark reds in all of the brighter modes, the Casio will not have as many color lumens as white ones.  That said, the brighter modes of this Casio do better than a great many other DLP projectors.  That may be a blessing from the LED/Laser light source.  Also of note, while yellows are extremely strong, green, which is normally at least as strong as yellows in the brightest modes with conventional lamp based projectors, is much more tame, even a touch dark on this Casio.

Overall, I would say you’ll get better color going with a 3LCD projector or an LCoS one (no LCoS projectors compete with this Casio, they are well more expensive), but the Casio is at least as good as almost any DLP competition, and in brightest modes definitely better than most DLPs.

Generally, I found the colors on the Casio to be slightly undersaturated.  That’s unfortunate, because there’s no Color (saturation) control to compensate.  It’s also not great because when you have a lot of ambient light present, increasing saturation makes the colors stand out better.

 

Eco Color Modes

Not a pretty sight, these five color modes, but, again, that’s because the camera is capturing far more green/yellow, than appears “live” on the projected image.  Strangely only the coolest mode – Blackboard, doesn’t have a significant green/yellow caste to skin tones.

Editor’s Note:  What Ron is reporting is not unusual for solid state light engines – that is a camera that normally does a very good job of capturing what’s on the screen, color wise, with typical lamp projectors, often shows significant shifts with LED and especially Laser based projectors.  This Casio of course uses both LED and Laser.  Myself I had a similar problem with my pro Canon dSLR when shooting images of Epson’s top of the line, dual blue laser LS10000 home theater projector.  What was gorgeous color on the screen definitely appeared a bit thin on reds in my photos.  That Ron “simulates” what’s on the screen in one of those images above (see below) you should find helpful.  -art

Even Theater mode which looks rather good projected, with a respectable amount of red in faces, comes out greenish here.  Theater, as captured by my dSLR is the 2nd last image.

The last picture in the LA Times  sequence is an “optimized image” of Theater mode”  It is the same original Theater image, but I’ve taken the liberty to Photoshop it, so that it looks much closer to the same image being projected.  In other words the last image is a far better representation of Theater mode.  I did my photoshopping on my computer while projecting the image so that I could compare!  My Photoshopped version is a far more accurate representation of this projector’s abilities!   Obviously, all the other modes are affected similarly.

Finally, a repeat, this time the five eco modes but using our test spreadsheet image.  Again, the last image in the sequence, like the one before it is Theater mode, but the last one, I photoshopped to look like the projected image.

Optimizing A Bright Mode For Better Color

If you do want to tame the color while getting near maximum brightness, here’s my recommendation.  Theater mode is going to get you less than half of maximum brightness, but you can fine tune the Bright and Normal modes.  When you select Bright – or Normal, and in this case I chose Normal (Eco Off), you then get a choice of three color temp settings:  Warm, Normal, and Cool.  Warm’s not bad, but not great.  Normal lacks the reds to do a reasonably good skin tone, and Cool is very! (thin on reds)

But of those three choices:  Warm/Normal/Cool, only Normal can be modified.  It offers grayscale balance with one control each for red, green and blue.  While Warm uses +10 Red, 0 Green, and -10 Blue, it could be better, but you can’t adjust it.

I got far better results by selecting Normal, and adjusting the sliders to Red + 12, Green -16, and Blue -11.  That will give respectable color (still strong yellows), but should still serve up over 2000 lumens.

Note that the same color settings of red, green and blue when you select Bright, produce completely different, and not pretty results.  Normal (brightness) was much easier color to work with.  Bright would require very different settings. The controls make adjusting color pretty easy.

Videos and Photos - and Overall Picture Quality

Overall, the slightly under saturated images the Casio produces make it less than ideal for presenting photos, and especially video content.  I did feed the projector some “home” content – I watched a few minutes of Hunt For Red October, and some of the Thursday Night Football game.  As you would expect, Theater mode was, for the most part the best choice for these, however, the experience was underwhelming.

Even the football game had me switching to a different projector, for the lack of pop to the image, unless I used Bright mode, whose colors were not very pleasing for this type of content, despite lowered expectations.

For the business and education videos and photos in presentations the Casio will do well enough, but not if your presentation demands especially good and accurate color.

Bottom Line:  Fine for most business and education presentations, but not if you need excellent color.  Of course in well lit rooms, everything suffers.