Projector Reviews

Epson HC1080UB Projectors: Black Levels and Shadow Detail 2

The first image, from The Fifth Element, of the starship, just slightly overexposed, shows not only a beautiful star field, revealing virtually all the stars in the scene, but still demonstrates that the blacks are those “inky” blacks that are so desireable, rather than showing the slightly lighter grays, that most projectors produce on this scene. Remember, this as a standard DVD, so there is definitely softness in the enlarged version):

Now, here’s an interesting side-by-side shot, of the two new Epson projectors. The image on the left is the HC1080UB, while the one on the right, is the less expensive, 720p resolution, Home Cinema 720. This image, the default startup screen of the Sony Playstation 3, has been dramatically overexposed to show you the levels of the “blacks”. The difference, as you can see, is startling. While the Home Cinema 720 has good black levels for a 720p projector, it is not even close, in performance to the Home Cinema 1080UB. The images are sufficiently overexposed, that, the whites are “blown out” and smearing – looking overlarge, and very blurred. Here’s another pair, this time from Casino Royale, again, in fact, the same image as shown earlier. It is easy to see, in these overexposed images, what a startling difference in the quality of the picture, because of the Home Cinema 1080UB’s much lower black levels. You can also see the loss in shadow detail on the HC720 by comparison, but look at the overall image for “richness”. The HC1080UB still is keeping the blacks very close to black, while the HC720 has nothing on the image that remotely resembles black, rather medium dark grays

Another good image is this one from Casino Royale. The first image is just slightly overexposed, trying to capture the overall look of the scene, while the second image is significantly overexposed. In the second image, you can make out details in the furniture in the background, lost by most projectors. Yet, despite the significant overexposure, again, blacks remain nice and black!