Shadow Detail Performance
Dark shadow detail of the Epson Home Cinema projectors has never been stellar. I'm not sure why, but the Epsons always seem to have a touch less dark shadow detail than most of the competition. In the quest for better blacks (a normal Epson tendency) compared to having better shadow detail, I favor the blacker blacks, so I don't really mind the slight loss. It may bother some, but quite honestly, the Epson 8100, on dark scenes, tends to have a good amount of "pop", which may be mostly due to the blacks. While more shadow detail would be better still, the Epson did very well on that silhouette image above, better than some other more expensive projectors with better shadow detail. Again, we're quibbling about very slight differences. Those of you just getting into projectors, don't let all this "critical" talk scare you off. These projectors all look great, but some folks really want to know all the subtle differences.
One more time with the Epson vs. the Mitsubishi HC3800, on this dark scene from The Dark Knight. Look to the buildings behind and to the left of the blue skyscraper. You can see more buildings, and detail with the HC3800 on the right. Would you notice, however when casually watching the movie, or would you be watching Batman there on the ledge?
Next one of our satellite images from Space Cowboys, look in the dark interior brown area near the left, and other dark areas on the satellite. Epson Home Cinema 8100:
Below is a heavily overexposed scene from Lord of the Rings. The overexposure lets you see all the details in the shed on the right, the structure on the left, and the plants and ground along the lower right. The Home Cinema 8100 doesn't reveal as much detail as the others, but it's close.
Click on left thumbnail image for the Epson 8100, Sony VPL-HW15 in the center, and the right for the Panasonic PT-AE3000U.