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Epson Home Cinema 1080UB Projector Review - Image Quality

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Art Feierman

Before we get going, something new for you. Normally, in every review I point out the limitations of the photos I post, and why. To cut back on redundancy, going forward, I'm providing a link to a "short" page that will discuss limitations, of the images, and why. Click here to read about it. I strongly recommend everyone reading my reviews take a minute to look this page over.

Home Theater Projector: Skin Tones

f colors are off slightly on a projector, for example; a red that seems to have a touch of orange in it, and so on, most of us hardly notice, or never notice at all. On the other hand, if a skin tone is "off", and doesn't look reasonably natural, that is something most of us will take note of.

As it turns out, after the usual basic grayscale adjustments, the Epson Home Cinema 1080UB, turns in extremely good skin tone performance. In fact, after adjustments, I found it's skin tone handling to be almost identical to my JVC RS1, except that the Epson images tend to have more "pop" (eye-popping appeal), appear a touch more dynamic. Many will prefer that, others, might like the JVC's images as being less spectacular, and as some might say - "more film-like". Contast, saturation, and other aspects affect these differences. The key is, what you like.

I've got a quick analogy for you regarding the above. I've had a recent discussion with some people about the Panasonic PT-AE2000U. The theoretical "best" and dimmest mode, is their Cinema 1. They also have a significantly brighter Vivid Cinema mode. Purists would tend to favor Cinema 1, but many - dare I say most - would choose Vivid Cinema - for it's higher saturation, and brighter image. Even with Pure Cinema likely having less shadow detail, many will prefer it.

And the point of this, is, you can choose to go with the more perfect image, because you seek "perfection", or you can go with the image you enjoy watching most. Long time ago, i was involved in high-end audio. It was never surprising, but take two similar sounding, quality speakers, and play them both for someone, and if one is slightly louder than the other, almost all people will favor it. Even if one speaker is significantly better than the other, if the better one is played a little bit softer, people will pick the other.

And for that reason, many people will choose to ignore "best mode" and instead favor a almost as good, but brighter, slightly compromised mode.

Enough, let's look at some images, starting with the usual Gandalf (above) and Arwen photos from Lord of the Rings. These two, like the image following them - a sepia like image from Sin City, are all from standard DVDs (SD-DVD). After that, unless noted, everything is off of Blu-ray DVD (or HDTV).

Please remember, as well, that skin tones will vary, depending on the lighting (daylight, night scenes, florescents, incandescent lighting), not to mention the director's preferences. Many movies intentionally shift colors, consider The Matrix with its strong greens, or Lord of the Rings, where the color balance in the Shire, is different than in Gondor, which is again different than in Mordor, or Rohan, or Rivendale.

Ok moving to hi-def discs, let's start of with this image from Hitch, followed by one of Johnny Depp from the first Pirates movie.

Obviously the skin tones of each of the three images above of Aeon, varies radically from the others, based on the different lighting, plus the effect the director wants to show you.

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate is this next series of images from the most recent Bond flick, Casino Royale. I should note that the Blu-ray DVD has excellent production qualities making it a stunning movie for viewing.

Each of these four scenes above shows widely varying color structure to Bond's (Daniel Craig's) skin tones. Yet, each is very believable, considering the lighting environment. I think, in particular, the airport image, really makes the point. He looks like he's being illuminated in strong florescent light.

Before we move on, here are a coule more images, this time from House of the Flying Daggers - a movie with spectacular colors, but one that definitely has a look and feel to the color balance, that is not quite natural.

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