Posted on May 24, 2019 By Eric Pfoutz
Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K Capable Home Theater Projector Review– Calibration Settings: Calibration Presets Notes, Best Mode 1080p Calibration, Best Mode 4K/HDR Calibration & Brightest 4k/HDR Calibration
Normally I do two calibrations for 1080p and one for 4K/HDR. For this review however, Art wanted me to do two calibrations for 4K/HDR (Best & Brightest Mode) and one calibration for 1080p (Best Mode)!
The 5050UB has 6 presets (Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Natural, Cinema, B&W, Digital Cinema) plus 2 for 3D. The lamp had over 124 hours on it before I made any measurements or performed my calibrations.
For my Best Mode (1080p) calibration I started with Natural mode (lamp medium) and saved it to memory 1. With Contrast set to its default value of 50 the whites clip around 229. I’d like to see white detail to be resolved beyond its max target of 235 to 240 or so. As with previous Epson’s, lowering the Contrast did nothing to improve the clipping. I used to use Super White to remedy this but for some reason Epson has decided to remove this feature. The idea of Super White was to give you white levels up to the PC max level of 255. So, with it gone I have to live with a tiny bit of white clipping.
With the color temp set to 6500 and skin tone to 4 the pre-calibration white balance was a little bit plus blue and minus red and green on the high end of the grayscale with the DeltaE ranging from 1.25 on the low end to 5 at the high end. The 2-point white balance calibration controls (called Custom) work fine but are a bit course especially the lower (offsets), but I was still able to achieve good results with a DeltaE (error) ranging from 1 on the low end to 2.5 on the high end.
Now with the 5050UB Epson has added a new set of adjustments right next to Custom RGB called Grayscale. What we have here is an 8-point white balance control. Wait what? 8-point not 10. Yeah, I tried reaching out to Epson for an explanation as to why 8-points and what would be the best procedure but I never heard back in time. Calibrating 8-points is a challenge and took me a while to figure out. Here what I discovered: level 1 = 0 to 5IRE, level 2 = 20IRE, level 3 = 30IRE, level 4 = 40IRE, level 5 = 50 & 60IRE, level 6 = 70IRE, level 7 = 80IRE & level 8 = 90 & 100IRE. Now after wresting with that the DeltaE’s fell to 1 at 100 & 10IRE with the rest ranging from .1 to .4. That is insane accuracy! Now I did post my Grayscale settings but I do warn you that they may not work for you. It’s really best to have a professional calibrator do this work for your projector and screen. Stopping at my 2-point white balance may be the way to go.
The default gamma (0) was a little on the bright side at a 2.08 average. With my target set for 2.4 I lowered gamma to -2. After the 2-point and 8-point calibration the gamma curve was a super linear 2.4. When it comes to sharpness controls Epson never fails to give you many adjustments options, I recommend you just keep them at their default values. Overall, I was extremely happy with my post Best Mode (1080p) calibration and its 1846 measured lumens.
Measurements taken at Mid Placement with Medium Lamp.
Average Gamma Pre-Calibration: 2.08
Average Gamma Post-Calibration: 240 @ 1846 Lumens
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.
For my Best Mode 4K/HDR I used Digital Cinema Mode (high lamp) and saved it to memory 2. On the 5050UB It is necessary to use either Digital Cinema or Cinema because they employ a color filter that allows the projector to achieve near P3 color gamut used for 4K/HDR content. The down side of this filter is that you lose more than 50% of light output (compared to Natural) which we so dearly want for HDR. So, one could make an argument for using Natural for 4K/HDR. Which is why we did exactly that for this review. (see below)
The default white balance (color temp 8, skin tone 3) had a blue push to 7500K in the upper IRE’s. I found setting the color temp to 7 and skin tone to 4 got me the closest to D65 but was still a bit blue. After adjusting the 2-point RGB controls the white balance improved a bit with DeltaE measuring from 1 to 3. As with my Best/1080p calibration I also performed the 8-point grayscale adjustment. Again, the post results were awesome with the DeltaE .1 to .9 except for 70IRE which hit 2. This is not because of white balance inaccuracies but because the lumen output rolls off before it should. I raised the contrast to 60 to try and improve this aspect. I would not raise contrast past 60 as doing so will cause clipping of the brightest detail.
With HDR set to 8 the EOTF (gamma) tracked quit well with the low end overly bright and the lumen output dropping a little at 70IRE as I just mentioned. With that said, most viewers will prefer the brighter image you get with HDR set to 7 but your mileage will vary due to screen size, distance & gain. Overall, I am very happy with my Best Mode 4K/HDR and it’s 1104 measured lumens.
Measurements taken at Mid Placement with High Lamp.
ETOF (gamma) Post-Calibration: HDR Mode 8 tracked flat except for the low end which was slightly brighter and the high end rolling off at 60 -70IRE @ 1104 Lumens.
My last calibration was a Brightest Mode for 4k/HDR. I used Natural Mode (high lamp) and saved it to memory 3. I kept the color temp to 6500 and skin tone to 4 just like I did for my Best Mode (1080p) calibration. This combination gets you the closest to D65 but it still runs a little blue on the high end of the grayscale. After using the 2-point RGB controls I was able to improve grayscale and achieve a DeltaE that was similar to what I got doing my Best Mode 4K/HDR calibration using Digital Cinema with its P3 filter. The high and low end was excellent averaging around 1.5 but 40 to 60IRE bumped up to 3. Also like with my Best Mode 4K/HDR the 8-point grayscale improved both the white balance and EOTF to an insane degree of accuracy. As you can see in my DelatE chart, 70 and 80 IRE measure a 1 (more do them rolling off) and the rest at .1 to .9.
Like with my Best Mode 4K/HDR calibration I increased contrast to 60. With HDR set to its default of 8 the EOTF (gamma) tracked a little brighter (than Best Mode 4K/HDR) on the low end and also rolled off around 70 and 80IRE. Since this Brightest Mode 4k/HDR calibration is brighter I found keeping the HDR set to 8 was the best for my screen. Colors are good but not excellent like we see with Digital Cinema and its P3 color filter. See the Advanced Calibration page for more on that and CMS performance.
ETOF (gamma) Post-Calibration: HDR Mode 8 tracked flat except for the low end which was slightly brighter and the high end rolling off at 60 -70IRE @ 2263 Lumens.
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