Epson Home Cinema 8500UB Projector – Image Quality 5

For general black level performance examples we’ll start with my favorite, the Starship image found The Fifth Element. The first two are the Epson 8500UB, normal, and overexposed. Below it the older 6500UB, then the BenQ W6000, the others below them, are labeled. Unfortunately, brightness varies even more (than with the side by side images) on these photos, making accurate comparisons of black levels a little challenging, but doable, in most cases.

8500UB 5thelement starship large
8500UB 5thelement starship over large2
Epson 6500UB 5thelement starship large
W6000 5thelement starship large
VPL-HW15 5thelement starship large
HD8200 5thElement starship large
W20000 5thelement starship large
PT-AE3000U 5thelement starship large

Click to enlarge .  so close

Here’s another side-by-side dark scene from The Space Cowboys with the The Epson Home Cinema 8500UB on the left, Epson Home Cinema 6500UB on the right:

When you look at the image above, you can see the difference. The background is a little lighter on the older Epson, and picks up a redish hue (something you really don’t notice during normal viewing, but we’re overxposing these images intentionally). It may not look like much, but when I stacked the two Epson’s so they were both filling most of my 106 inch Carada screen in my testing room, and switched quickly back and forth, it is immediately evident that the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB is simply better at “blacker blacks”.

Click Image to Enlarge

Consider two additional (digital) images which are good ones for observing black levels. (look to the buildings and in the lower one, the sky). Note, both of these images have a fair amount of fairly bright information, and as such, would not allow the iris to be able to dramatically darken the blacks.

The image immediately below is from The Dark Knight. I’ve intentionally overexposed it to make a point. This is the type of scene where the difference in black level performance makes a huge difference. Because the outside areas of the scene, and for that matter the men’s jackets, are pretty black, with little detail at all, projectors with just “good” black levels look very flat. Immediately below the Epson image, is the same scene using the BenQ W6000, then the Sony VPL-VW15, both direct competitors.

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