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Epson Home Cinema 8100 Projector - Performance

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Art Feierman

Epson Home Cinema 8100 Brightness

All considered, this Epson should prove to be just about average in brightness in its best movie mode (Theater Black 1). When you need maximum lumens, though, the Epson appears to be the brightest of the "serious" under $2000 projectors. This combination should make the Home Cinema 8100 a really good choice for those of us who plan to view a mix of movies, sports and general TV viewing, on average sized screens from 90 to 110 inch diagonal, with the extra lumens in its "Dynamic" mode, allowing the Epson to provide a very watchable picture with sufficient ambient light to get sports fans out of the "cave" and into an environment more suitable for watching sports and TV with friends.

This review is based on an early pre-production projector. Since there is really nothing about the Home Cinema 8100 compared to the 6100 it replaces, that would suggest that it not be the same in terms of brightness (same claim from Epson, same panels, same lamp...), I assume that a full production 8100 will match the brightness of the older unit. Our test unit, however comes in 10%+ less bright than the 6100 in last year's review. Until I get in a production version of the Home Cinema 8100, for final calibration settings and measurements, I'll assume that this unit is not as bright, by virtue of being pre-production.

Here are our measurements for the different preset modes:

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE:

Dynamic 1288 @ 7314
Living Room 1136 @ 8345
Natural 480 @ 6233
Theater 437 @ 7377
Theater Black 1 344 @ 6292 (low lamp) 2 (461 w/Normal Lamp)
Theater Black 2 325 @ 5526 (low lamp)
x.v.Color 352 @ 6303

Lumen Output (Low Lamp, Dynamic): 976 @ 7533

Note, we published measurements for Theater Black 1, and 2 for both low and full lamp power. While I expect most folks to run Theater Black 1 (best mode) at full power, Epson has those modes defaulting to eco (low) power, so we are showing lumen measurements for both.

Overall, eco-mode drops power output by just over 25%, compared to high lamp power. Note, unlike most other projectors, according to Epson, there is no significant increase in lamp life, by using low power.

Pre-calibration we measured these color temperatures (target is 6500K) over the grayscale range.

Click Image to Enlarge
30 IRE 6513K
50 IRE 6652K
80 IRE 6649K
100 IRE 6556K

That's pretty darn good for before a calibration, and for that matter pretty good for after a calibration too!

The Calibration page will provide the settings we used. That includes basic settings as well as gain and offset. We will revise, with numbers from a production projector when available, if there is a noteworthy difference.

Keeping in mind that this is a pre-production projector, the color temp range for Theater Black 1, was pretty "all over the place", not as good as we normally expect, nor as good as on any recent full production Epsons. I expect, once again, that the full production unit will measure much tighter, with its different color tables.

Color Temp over IRE Range (Pre calibration):

Theater Black 1:
30 IRE 7013K (dark gray)
50 IRE 7010K (medium gray)
80 IRE 6633K (light gray)
100 IRE 6292K (white)

The Home Cinema 8100 has the same Fujinon lens used on past Home and Pro Cinema series projectors, with its 2.1:1 zoom range - the greatest (by a little) of any projectors out there. Because of the wide range of the zoom, you can expect different lumen measurements depending on whether the lens is in wide angle (projector closest to the screen), mid-point, or telephoto (projector the furthest from the same screen size).

Wide Angle (zoom out): 560 lumens
Mid-zoom: 480 lumens
Telephoto (zoom in): 350 lumens

In other words, relative to the mid-point where we do all our normal measurements, if you are placing the projector closer, at the wide angle point, brightness will increase by 17%. If you place the projector at maximum distance, brightness will decrease by 27%.

Since wide-angle on the Epson lens is pretty much about the same placmement distance as mid-point on most DLP projectors, please consider that, if you are ceiling mounting fairly close (in about the same place you would mount a typical DLP projector with its 1.2:1 zoom), then this Epson projector will be brighter still, compared to the DLP, than the basic lumen measurements would suggest.

More information and measurements can be found on the Home Cinema 8100 Calibration page.

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