Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 3200 Home Theater Projector Review – Calibration

Epson Home Cinema HC3200 Home Theater Projector Review – Calibration Settings: Calibration Notes, Best Mode SDR Calibration, Best Mode HDR Calibration

Calibration Notes

The Home Cinema 3200 picture modes are applied for both HDR and SDR (Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Natural and Cinema).  I performed two calibrations on the Home Cinema 3200 (Best SDR Mode & Best HDR Mode). Since this projector’s strong suit is brightness and it would probably be utilized in a room with some ambient light, I set my SDR target gamma at 2.2. I also set the lamp power to Medium to maximize brightness when watching SDR.

Best Mode Calibration for SDR

Natural (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)
Natural (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)

For my Best SDR Mode calibration, I chose Natural Mode and increased the Contrast from 50 to 55 which clips whites just above 235.  Prior to calibration, the DeltaE measurements were between 6 to 10.

I left Sharpness along with Color and Tint at their defaults. The color temp pre-set was Medium which measured an 8500K average (plus blue / minus red). Setting the Color Temp to 6000K resulted in a white balance just under 6500K so I made some small adjustments to the Red Gain and Blue Gain to raise it back to a 6500K average.

Speaking of white balance, the Home Cinema 3200 offers only 2-point white balance adjustment. There was a multi-point grayscale adjustment menu which I utilized as well. In the end, I was able to achieve a DeltaE of less than 2. However, having more points of adjustment would have allowed me to fine tune the white balance even further. Post-calibration white balance was very good with a 6500K average.

The HC3000 Gamma settings are described using Gamma numbers. The settings are listed as -2 to 2. In Natural Mode the default Gamma setting is 0 which measured as Gamma 2.0. None of the factory Gamma presets allowed me to hit my target of 2.2. The -2 setting was too dark, while the -1 setting was too bright.

The HC3200 does offer a custom Gamma curve setting. Using the nine adjustment points, I was able to achieve a linear 2.2.

Natural (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration Gamma Log 2.2 Average Gamma (target 2.2)
Natural (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration Gamma Log 2.2 Average Gamma (target 2.2)

IRE Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
10 IRE 8750K 7223K
20 IRE 8146K 6743K
30 IRE 8019K 6611K
40 IRE 7979K 6532K
50 IRE 7967K 6495K
60 IRE 7970 6528K
70 IRE 7997K 6543K
80 IRE 7917K 6509K
90 IRE 7916K 6516K
100 IRE 7796K 6550K

Measurements taken at Mid Placement with Normal Lamp.

Average Gamma Pre-Calibration: 2.04 (target 2.2)

Average Gamma Post-Calibration: 2.17 @ 2855 Lumens

Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Contrast 50 55
Brightness 50 41
Color 50 50
Tint 50 50
Sharpness 5 5
Thin Line Ehancement 5 5
Thick Line Enhancement 5 5
Color Temp 6500K 6000K
Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
G-M Correction 4 4
Image Preset Mode Preset 1 Preset 1
Noise Reduction OFF OFF
MPEG Noise Reduction OFF OFF
Color Gamut Auto Auto
Gamma 0 Custom
Power Consumption ECO Medium
Auto Iris OFF ON
RGB Gain Offset
Red 49 51
Green 50 50
Blue 50 49

White Balance calibration settings for Night mode.

Natural (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)
Natural (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)

Final post-calibration looked and measured very well. After calibration, the projector’s brightness output was 1942 lumens which produced 36.1 ftL on my 120” screen.

After calibration, to increase perceived resolution, I set Image Enhancement (pixel shifting) to ON and selected Preset 2. Since pixel shifting was set to ON, frame interpolation was automatically switched to OFF. During calibration I set Auto Iris (Dynamic Contrast) to OFF but I turned it back ON after to improve dark scene black levels.

Delta E is a metric for understanding how the human eye perceives color difference. The term delta comes from mathematics, meaning change in a variable or function. The suffix E references the German word Empfindung, which broadly means sensation. Simply put, look at Delta E as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy. 3 and under is considered ‘Excellent’ and imperceptible by the human eye.

Best Mode HDR Calibration

For my Best HDR Mode calibration I chose Cinema mode. Pre-calibration HDR white balance was very similar to SDR Cinema with a heavy blue cast pushing the white balance to the 8100K range. DeltaE ranged from near 12 on the bright end down to 2 at the low end.

When in Cinema Mode the color temp adjustments are not listed in Kelvin but with a numeric value of 1 to 8.  Setting the Color Temp adjustment to 6 once again brought the WB down to the 6300-6400K range.  I raised the red gain slightly and reduced the blue gain a bit to bring the WB back up to a 6500K average. During HDR calibration I set Contrast to its max setting of 100. I left Sharpness along with Color and Tint at their defaults. Since most HDR content is 4K, the Image Enhancements settings are locked out. Since pixel shifting defaults to ON, Frame Interpolation was automatically switched to OFF.

Cinema (Best HDR) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)
Cinema (Best HDR) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)

The Home Cinema 3200 did a good job tracking the HDR EOTF right out of the box. The HDR10 Setting was used to adjust HDR EOTF tracking. The HDR setting has a total of 16 steps. Lowering the HDR10 setting, raises screen brightness but clips more highlights. Raising the setting maximizes highlight detail at the expense of overall screen brightness.

I raised the Brightness to 60 and left the Contrast at the default of 50. When adjusting the HDR Setting to 5 it results in good tracking of the EOTF in CalMAN (see EOTF chart). When viewing real world content, adjusting the HDR10 Setting between 6-14 (depending on how bright the content/scene was mastered) resulted in the best balance of picture brightness and highlight detail. For example, I usually set the HDR10 Setting between 6 to 9 for content mastered at 1000nits and as high as 15 for content mastered at 4000nits.

Overall, I was pleased with the 4K/HDR white balance and EOTF performance after calibration. Final lumen output measured 2664 lumens which produced 61.7ftL on my 120” screen.

Cinema (Best HDR) HDR setting at 16 Post-Calibration (Electro-optical Transfer Function)
Cinema (Best HDR) HDR setting at 16 Post-Calibration (Electro-optical Transfer Function)

IRE Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
10 IRE 7189K 6694K
20 IRE 7156K 6724K
30 IRE 7111K 6555K
40 IRE 7193K 6559K
50 IRE 7050K 6601K
60 IRE 6854K 6265K
70 IRE 6856K 6185K
80 IRE 6872K 6297K
90 IRE 7191K 6255K
100 IRE 7220K 6687K

Measurements taken at Mid Placement with Normal Lamp.

Average Gamma Pre-Calibration: 2.43

Average Gamma Post-Calibration: 2.30 (target 2.20) @ 4949 Lumens

Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Type 50 60
Brightness 50 50
Color 50 50
Tint 50 50
Sharpness 5 5
Color Temp 6 6
G-M Correction 4 3
Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Sharpness 5 5
Power Consumption Low High
Auto Iris OFF ON
Color Gamut Auto Auto
HDR10 Setting 5 10
RGB Gain Offset
Red 49 51
Green 50 50
Blue 50 48

White Balance calibration settings for Day mode.

Cinema (Best HDR) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)
Cinema (Best HDR) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)