Epson Home Cinema 3010 Home Theater Projector Review-4

Home Cinema 3010 Dynamic Iris-2

A dynamic iris is the key on most projectors to improving overall black levels on darker scenes, and the resulting improvement in the viewing experience. We discuss the Home Cinema 3010’s black level performance on the Image page, but, since the dynamic iris was the only “real” issue with the engineering sample we started with, I thought it should be mentioned on the first page.

Unlike the 2nd Home Cinema 3010 I received, the engineering sample had a pretty noisy iris. Okay, you can at least faintly hear any dynamic iris at work if you have the sound turned off, and are relatively close to a projector. The thing is, a dynamic iris’s noise should not be easily heard above the fan noise (at full lamp power), and with audio turned fairly low. The clickty clackity sound of the original projector was too noisy. I could notice it throughout Hunt For Red October, a relatively quiet movie, mostly speaking. It was definitely something many owners would not care to have, although I suspect a large percentage of 3010’s will end up in family rooms/bonus rooms that can be noisy themselves.

The second unit more resembles the low rumbly iris of the Epson 8700UB. Over the years (1080UB, 8500UB, 8700UB) the iris has been cited by a very few folks as being too noisy on forums and our comment area of our blogs, but the vast majority seem to consider it a total non-issue, or one of the more minor things gladly traded for those projectors’ especially impressive performance.

In reality, the new Home Cinema 3010’s iris does seem to be slightly higher pitched (than the UBs), which is that clickity element it has, but all considered, it should be received as the UB series iris has been, a minor fault that is not often, if at all, noticeable to most. In other words, I figure 90+% simply won’t notice or care (they will may notice with no sound), and when switching sources (also no sound) they will notice, but, it’s not loud so, “who cares, when switching sources”). My guess is another 5-8 or 9% will notice from time to time, but consider it minor and a more than fair trade off for brightness, affordable 3D, good black levels, etc.

To wrap this up, again, shouldn’t be an issue for the vast majority, the new versions are reasonably quiet in terms of iris action. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of users, if given a choice, for example, of a slightly quieter iris, or a slightly quieter fan, would opt for the fan! End of conversation.

Please note the image below. Since we’re talking dynamic irises here, the image below is an example of where a dynamic iris won’t have an affect. There’s so much brightness in the scene, that the iris doesn’t dare shut down. It’s that same brightness overall, that will also mean that most folks wouldn’t notice any real improvement in the dark areas. It’s the darker scenes with almost no bright areas where you want the best blacks the most, and where dyanmic irises help the most. (End of lesson!) Next:

HDMI-Link

From the Home Cinema 3010 remote control, you can control other devices such as many Blu-ray players that support HDMI-Link. Note, you’ll find a full set of DVD type controls on the Epson remote

Home Cinema 3010 Lamp Life

It doesn’t get much better than this. In terms of lamp life. Epson is claiming that the Home Cinema 3010 lamp will last 4000 hours running at full power, and 5000 hours in eco-mode.

Zoom Lens

In an effort to pack more performance in the 3010 series while keeping the costs down, Epson has gone to a lower cost lens system. It offers less zoom range (the 1.6:1) than the Fujinon they’ve been using for years with its 2.1:1 zoom. The Home Cinema 3010’s zoom lens still has more range than most other under $2000 projectors. The lower cost, 2D only Epson Home Cinema 8350 remains in the lineup with its 2.1:1. None of the DLP’s can match it, except some far more expensive ones (most DLP’s are between 1.15:1 and 1.5:1). The Home Cinema 3010 lacks lens shift, as do all the projectors I can think of, under its price point, except for Epson’s own 8350. With 1.6:1 though, the Home Cinema 3010 – and the 3010e – there’s still plenty of front to back placement range, for either mounting or putting on a table.

Folks there are even a few more features, but most of those will be touched upon in the course of the pages of this review.

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