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Home Cinema 720 Projector: Black Levels and Shadow Detail

Posted on October 5, 2008 by Art Feierman

Black Levels

Despite the substantial increase in the contrast spec to 10:000:1, I don't see the Epson Home Cinema 720 as being exceptional on black levels. They are probably best described as typical of the LCDs and still not quite up to the DLPs in the price range. Blacks just aren't that "jet black" one would really like, but you won't find dramatically better in this price range. I can say that top of the line performance DLPs like BenQ's far more expensive PE8720, definitely do a significantly better job, and most likely that's true of the Optoma HD73, as well, which is more in line price-wise. Overall, it's about the same as the PT-AX200U, but the advantage goes to the Panasonic, and it comes close to projectors like the Mitsubishi HC1500 on very dark scenes, but not on those with some bright areas. That's due to the Epson, like all of the LCD projectors, relying on a dynamic iris to help out, and they are ineffective on a frame with really bright areas.

This next image is from Space Cowboys, Clint in a very dark room. The image is good for looking at black levels and shadow detail. The images below are somewhat overexposed, to reveal details in the blinds in the back. The first image is from the Home Cinema 720, and the second from the projector with the best black levels of anything (tested so far), under $10,000, the JVC RS2. The third image is the Panasonic PT-AX200U, and the last is the Mitsubishi HC1500.

By the way, don't worry about the differences in skin tone colors or contrast in these shots. This scene is extremely dark, and the time exposures are long (up to 10 seconds), at those levels the camera tends to exaggerate what are relatively minor differences to the eye.

HC720 SpaceCowboys clintdarkroom lg
DLA-RS2 spacecowboys clint dark lg
PT-AX200U spacecowboys clintdark large
hc1500 spacecowboys clint dark

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