Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 5020 Projector – Image Quality

Great news for all you enthusiasts.  I have taken more comparative images in doing this Home Cinema 5020 UB review, than in any previous review.  Most of these will be found on the Competitor’s page, which is coming soon. I will have side-by-sides featuring the Home Cinema 5020 against the Panasonic PT-AE8000 and the Sony VPL-HW50ES, even a couple comparing to the older Home Cinema 5010.

Epson Home Cinema 5020 Out of the Box Picture Quality

It’s BAAACK!  No, not the Terminator, but rather, the THX mode is back.  Without debating reasons, last year’s Epson lacked the THX mode that had been on its predecessor, the HC8700UB.

Before I go on, the usual warning about the photos in this review:

A lot goes on in delivering these images to your eyeballs:  There’s the projected image, and any shifts due to the camera, (a Canon 60D professional dSLR), a Mac laptop for cropping and resizing, etc, using Adobe Bridge and Photoshop, then saved “for web” (super compressed), and displayed with your graphics card, monitor, and browser all, further coloring the HC5020 photos. In other words, they are useful, only to a point, as colors are not going to be all that accurate. Rest assured, the Epson Home Cinema 5020 will look far better in your darkened theater, than these images on your computer monitor.

Click Image to Enlarge

Back to the Epson Home Cinema 5020 review:

What does THX mean to you? The THX mode is a mode who’s color performance meets THX quality standards.  Only a few projectors offer this.  Lacking a THX mode, doesn’t mean poor color by any means.  Last year’s Cinema mode was pretty darn good.

Still, the THX mode looks excellent. It is a touch cool, measuring on average about 7000K, rather than 6500K (the ideal), but the primaries are all nicely balanced and it looks great.  Mike’s calibration lowers the color temp, but overall, the quality difference is very slight.

Dynamic mode definitely has that classic over the top green, so typical of projectors in their brightest mode.   Also very bright, but not that bright is Living Room mode which is very cool, but looks great on sports, etc.  Simply lowering the color temp setting a bit, further improves Living Room, without any calibration.

Epson Home Cinema 5020 Projector - Flesh Tones

Skin tones looked really good in THX mode.  Post calibration (which is based on THX) for the “best mode” is even better, with reds having a bit more strength.

Skin tones look very natural.  Perhaps not the absolute best (I’ll give the Sony HW50ES the slightest edge based on some side-by-side viewing, but without side by side, I’d have a tough time finding fault with the Epson.  If anything, the Sony is a touch stronger on reds, than the Epson, but it really is two projectors both calibrated very close to the ideal.  Neither looks perfect side by side, while both look very close to that, when viewed alone.

Epson Home Cinema 5020 Flesh Tone Slideshow