Posted on November 16, 2017 By Nikki Zelinger
Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2150 Projector Review – Picture Quality: Out-of-the-Box Picture Quality, Skin Tones, Black Level Performance & Dark Shadow Detail
A scene from Ender's Game projected by the HC2150.
Katniss and Peeta at the Tribute Parade in The Hunger Games projected by the HC2150.
Katniss on stage at the tribute interviews projected by the HC2150.
Detective Gordon from the TV Gotham projected by the HC2150, which does well on dark scenes.
A scene from The Blacklist projected by the HC2150.
A scene from The Hunger Games projected by the HC2150.
An NFL sports show projected by the HC2150.
Bill Nye's new show projected by the HC2150.
Sports look very good on the Epson Home Cinema 2150, so if you're a sports fan, this is a projector to consider.
The Epson Home Cinema 2150’s color right out of the box is rather excellent. I expect this of Epsons, so I wasn’t really surprised, but was delighted all the same. All modes except Dynamic are pretty true to color. Dynamic, of course, has strong greens and yellows, as is expected of a brightest mode.
Bright Cinema leans slightly toward green and yellow, but that’s only noticeable when switching from either Natural or Cinema mode, which are the two best modes. Each has really great color, with Natural having a warmer tone, and Cinema being cooler. The main difference there is that, since there is more blue in Cinema mode, it will have whiter whites. This will come down to preference, but I favored Cinema mode.
The photos in the slider above were shot in Cinema mode, with the power setting set to ECO (as is its default).
The Epson HC2150 does a good job on handling skin tones, as you can see from the even tone in Katniss' face.
The detail in Cinna's face and facial hair looks even better in person.
Rue's skin looks smooth and even.
Lookin' good, Harrison Ford.
This photo of Ender from Ender's Game shows a different color correction choice from the others, and his skin looks just as good.
Casino Royale is inherently a yellow-toned film, but the HC2150 does a good job with keeping those yellow tones from being a "bit much" as it sometimes is on other projectors.
Raymond Reddington in The Blacklist projected by the HC2150.
This sports show host has an even skin tone.
Though there’s always a slight shift in color when shooting these scenes using a DSLR, the photos in the slider above are pretty true to color. Your screen will also influence the way you perceive the color. I shot these in Cinema mode, uncalibrated, and in person, the HC2150’s color looks pretty impressive, right out of the box.
I expected as much, as the HC2150’s predecessor, the HC2045, had great color as well. It has good color accuracy without having to tweak any controls or hire someone to calibrate. If you’re the plug-and-play type, you’ll enjoy this projector’s out of the box picture quality. In the slider above, I have photos from TV and movies as examples of the HC2150’s ability to handle skin tones. It is very capable.
All in all, the Epson Home Cinema 2150 has great color and is a pleasure to watch content on. Movies, TV shows, and sports all look awesome, and it is a definite upgrade from an LCD TV.
Epson Home Cinema 2150 Black Levels
Epson Home Cinema 2040 Black Levels
Optoma HD161X Black Levels
Epson Home Cinema 5040UB - reference for excellent black levels.
Epson Home Cinema 2150 Dark Shadow Detail
Epson Home Cinema 2040 Dark Shadow Detail
Optoma HD37 Dark Shadow Detail
Epson Home Cinema 5040UB image shows what dark shadow detail looks like on a projector with excellent black levels.
We don’t really expect sub-$1000 to have great black level performance, as that’s a right reserved for the $2000+ price range (though the higher price point isn’t always a guarantee). In the case of the Home Cinema 2150, and likely the 2100, black level performance is above average for a 3LCD in this low price range. Though not technically “great,” there were times that I was fooled into thinking the blacks were true black, and I had to cast a shadow over the area to confirm. They were never true black, but came close at times. Overall, for the price, I was really happy with the way dark scenes looked.
I did some playing around to try to get better black levels, and it’s possible to tweak it to get darker blacks with some of the simple settings like brightness and contrast. Turning on SuperWhite will get you better black levels, but you’ll also lose a lot of dark shadow detail. I was watching a scene where a man was wearing a solid black suit, only he wasn’t wearing black! When I turned the SuperWhite off, it was revealed that his suit jacket was actually pinstriped and navy. So I wouldn’t recommend that method for getting better black levels – you’ll miss the detail.
On the bright side, projectors that do not have great black levels commonly have excellent dark shadow detail – that is, you can see lots of details in dark areas. We use the Bond night train scene for analyzing dark shadow detail. In the slider above, we have images from the HC2150 alongside its predecessor and other competing projectors. As you can see, there’s tons of detail in the image being projected by the Home Cinema 2150, and not as much from the others. Another impressive feature of this Epson.
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