Posted on March 16, 2020 By Phil Jones
Christie LWU530-APS Projector – Picture Quality: Color Reproduction, Black Levels and Shadow Detail, Text Readibility
With an advertised 5,000 lumens, the Christie LWU530’s light output was more than what was required for my 120-inch screen, even under full ambient lighting. The projector’s brightness could be tamed in my theater by setting its Light Source mode to Quiet. This reduces fan noise substantially while still delivering nearly 2,500 lumens.
In Normal (high) power the LWU530 was so much brighter than my reference projector, it really increased color saturation which made the projected image look like an ultra large flat panel TV. It produced a good-looking picture and its high brightness and good black level made images, text, and graphics pop on screen.
The LWU530 offers 6 preset picture modes along with three additional customizable user presets. The presets include DYNAMIC, NATURAL, STANDARD, CINEMA, WHITEBOARD, DICOM. Each factory preset has a predetermined gamma and color temperature setting.
While I am including sample photos, please be advised that it is difficult to truly evaluate color accuracy because some color information and details are always lost when photographing content that has been projected onto a screen. This is further complicated by massive photo file compression, and the ability of your display (computer or mobile device) to accurately reproduce color and contrast.
The images in the player above are our test images of skin tones for the different Preset modes.
The most accurate picture modes out of the box were delivered by the STANDARD, CINEMA and the three USER preset modes. The NATURAL mode which is normally one of the most accurate picture modes on a projector was overly warm delivering skin tones that were greenish.
The CINEMA mode was the best picture mode when viewing content in a darker environment while STANDARD worked well in room with higher ambient light.
The DYNAMIC mode is the brightest but also the least accurate. Even in bright situations I would sacrifice the few hundred additional lumens of brightness provided in the DYNAMIC for the more accurate color produced in STANDARD mode.
Being that this is a commercial business class projector I didn’t expect it to provide the color reproduction and deep black levels found on a high-end home theater projector.
Above are images of a variety of content including 4K, and HD. As mentioned previously all our photos remain unadjusted for color, so they do not look as good as what the projector produced.
For applications where color accuracy is critical, the LH878 has a full suite of calibration adjustments including 2-Point White Balance, Grayscale, and CMS which would allow a calibrator to further dial in the picture quality. After calibration, you can store all adjustments made in the Image Setting menu under one of the LWU530’s four setting memories.
Like many business class projectors, the LWU530’s blacks were just a dark shade of grey. The projector does offer a dynamic laser lamp mode which increases its rated dynamic contrast to 3,000,000:1 it still can’t reproduce the contrast and blacks of a good cinema projector like the JVC NX5 that I reviewed earlier this year.
To be fair, I have yet to come across a business class projector that can match the black level of a good home theater projector, but a home theater is nowhere near as bright as this projector. Unless you are watching a dark scene in a blacked-out room, you probably won’t miss the reduced black level and shadow detail. In most applications like in a classroom, the ambient light wouldn’t allow you to fully appreciate any additional black level and shadow detail, so most would sacrifice a little for the added dynamic range provided by LWU530 brightness.
In an environment where the LWU530 might be utilized, like a classroom or small auditorium, brightness is probably more important than absolute black level.
While better blacks may be achievable, I believe this Christie has what it takes to display some pretty critical content such as projecting presentations and imagery in a conference. Also, having so much brightness available increases visible dynamic range, especially in rooms with medium to high ambient light which really made the colors pop.
The LWU530 image resolution and text clarity are only limited by its native 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. Even 8-point text was very easy to read in both black text on a white background and with white text on a black background. When my attached laptop PC was set to the projector’s native 1,920 x 1,200 resolution you couldn’t really ask for any better readability of the projected text.
There was no visible color fringing on the text indicating the projector’s lens does not exhibit any significant chromatic aberration. I was able to get sharp focus over the entire image. LWU530 is well suited for displaying presentations with lots of small text and fine details in the graphics.
For maximum sharpness, the LWU530 can accept up to a 4K@30P and projector’s scaler did a great job downscaling the higher resolution image to the projector’s native resolution.
© 2019 Projector Reviews (V0625)