Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 3700 Projector Review – Performance

HC3700 Projector Review – Performance:  Brightness, Color Balance, Power Modes

Home Cinema 3700 Brightness by Mode

Home Cinema 3700 Brightness in Lumens – Mid-Zoom, Full power
Mode Lumens / Color Temp @ 100IRE
Dynamic [email protected]
Bright Cinema [email protected]
Cinema [email protected]
Natural [email protected]

Eric measured the HC3700 and calibrated it.  As you can see from the table, this Epson didn’t have any trouble topping its 3000 lumen claim, coming in at 3119 lumens in Dynamic mode, mid zoom.

The HC3700 doesn’t vary brightness very much with its 1.6:1 zoom, between wide angle and mid zoom.

Maximum brightness:  With the zoom at  full wide angle on the zoom the Epson came up just a few lumens shy of 3400 lumens.   In other words, full wide angle (closest placement possible of the projector to your screen) is about 9% brighter than mid-zoom.

Color Temp performance - Pre-Calibration

HC3700 Color Temp, pre-calibration, Cinema vs Bright Cinema
Cinema (medium lamp) Bright Cinema (Full Power)
100 IRE (white) 6918K 7039K
80 IRE 6957K 7057K
50 IRE 6860K 6943K
30 IRE 6729K 6887K

Note that pre-calibration, both Cinema mode (at Medium power) and Bright Cinema at Full power, are slightly cool – with grayscale temperatures above the 6500K target.  That said, red green and blue are nicely balanced in both modes, but for the slight extra blue creating the slightly higher temperatures.  I’ve always liked the slightly the slightly cooler temps (around 7000K) for my sports viewing…

I had Eric measure and calibrate Bright Cinema at full power, because that makes sense.  Generally you would use the slightly less perfect (color wise) Bright Cinema, when you need more brightness – primarily to fight ambient light. Conversely, when watching movies in the dark, Cinema makes more sense, and with plenty of brightness, no need to run the lamp at full power.

Let’s see what the calibration results look like for both modes.

HC3700 Post-Calibration Color Temperature
IRE Cinema (Med. Lamp) Bright Cinema (Full lamp)
100 6449K 6507K
90 6507K 6495K
80 6465K 6516K
70 6466K 6494K
60 6508K 6471K
50 6437K 6421K
40 6439K 6354K
30 6388K 6332K
20 6610K 6335K

As you can see in this chart, Cinema overall, post calibration, provides a slightly tighter temperature range, but both stay within 300K from 20 IRE all the way to 100 IRE.  Overall, the Cinema mode came out, on average, closer to the 6500K target.  Still, consider both calibrations very good as far as greyscale balance goes.

Here you can see the post calibration CIE charts for both Cinema and Bright Cinema:

HC3700-post-calibration-Cinema-CIE-chart
Post Calibration CIE chart, for Cinema mode shows significantly more accurate results than pre-calibration
HC3700-post-calibration-Bright-Cinema-CIE-chart
Bright Cinema Mode – post calibration

Now let’s look at the RGB balance of Cinema, before and after calibration.  The difference is rather visible:

HC3700-pre-calibration-Cinema-RGB-balance-chart
Pre-Calibration Cinema mode shows a significant tendency for the brighter ranges to be cooler, – more blue, and overall, green to be a little light.

Now look at post calibration, by comparison, the RGB balance is almost dead on the money:

HC3700-post-calibration-Cinema-RGB-balance-chart
Post Calibration Red, Green, and Blue are almost consistently within 3-4% of each other across the entire range. Few projectors will do much better than that.

Effects of Lamp Power on Brightness

Brightness drops off about 25% when switching from full power to medium.  Eco mode measured a 32% drop from full power.  That means little difference between Medium and Eco.

I have noticed some minor flicker in Eco mode whereas that has not been a problem for medium, which I use a lot.  Flicker in lamps that are running in eco mode, well below full power  is nothing new.  As both Medium and Eco run the projector nice and quietly, I’d recommend using medium and not eco.