Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema LS11000 Laser Projector Review – Performance

COLOR REPRODUCTION

Like the Pro Cinema LS12000, I reviewed previously, the picture quality of the Home Cinema LS11000 was very good out-of-the-box. In fact, the color reproduction of the LS12000 and the LS11000 looked and measured similarly. There are five different preset SDR picture modes available, I found the NATURAL mode was the most accurate.

While the CINEMA and BRIGHT CINEMA modes both produced a good picture, the color temperature was a little cooler. In addition, BRIGHT CINEMA also delivered more brightness with boosted contrast which could be beneficial in a room with some ambient light.

The DYNAMIC mode was the brightest, but it was also the least accurate. There may be times like watching a sporting event during the day where the extra brightness is provided by this mode may be worth the sacrifice.

In the NATURAL mode, the color temp was closest to my 6500K target. In this mode, the Light Power is set to 75% but if more brightness is desired, increasing the Light Power to 100% had very little effect on color reproduction.

Whether looking at SDR or HDR content, the color reproduction was very good. While most users would be satisfied with the picture quality of the Epson LS11000 right out-of-the-box, I took the time to calibrate the unit.

In August 2022, Portrait Displays added auto calibration functionality for the Epson LS12000 and LS11000 projectors. Calibrating a projector optimizes its performance for your screen and room; however, it can take a professional calibrator several hours to do this manually.

Like many high-end flat-panel TVs, the LS11000 can communicate directly with the Calman calibration software to auto-calibrate itself. The software takes reading and adjusts the projector’s menu settings to fine-tune the onscreen image quickly.

While auto-calibration does reduce the time required to adjust grayscale and color tracking, it is still best to fine-tune things like brightness and contrast using your eyes. Even if you spend several minutes tweaking some picture settings, the time it takes to do a calibration is easily cut in half.

To utilize the Calman autocal feature, you will still need all the normal calibration equipment, including the CALMAN software, a test pattern generator, and a meter. Lastly, to connect the projector to the computer, you will need a USB to RS232 Serial Converter cable. Since I didn’t have one on hand, I calibrated the LS11000 manually,

Since your room and screen material has a major impact on the overall picture, we don’t recommend using someone else’s calibration adjustments. If your room is brighter/darker or your walls are a different color, copying someone else’s results can actually be detrimental to the picture quality rather than improving it. Just as an example, I include the before and after results of calibration for my specific room and screen.

To test the color accuracy of the LS11000, we use Portrait Displays Calman color calibration software.

Pre-Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

Epson Ls11000 Home Cinema Color Calibration Graph - Projector Reviews - Image

The picture from most projectors that utilize a blue laser phosphor light source is usually way too cool out-of-the-box, but the projector’s NATURAL picture mode was very close to my color temperature target of 6500K.

In addition, the pre-calibration RGB Balance and Color tracking were better than average. Lastly, the Gamma measurement pre-calibration was about 2, resulting in slightly elevated blacks.

We calibrated the NATURAL mode for SDR viewing in a room with low ambient light.

  • Picture Mode: Natural
  • Color Temperature: 6829K
  • Average Color Tracking dE: 3.23
  • Average Grayscale dE: 3.52
  • Gamma: 1.94

Post-Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

Epson Ls11000 Home Cinema Color Calibration Graph - Projector Reviews - Image

The color temperature was already very close to our 6500K, so we left COLOR TEMP at its default setting of 6500K. To produce good grayscale (RGB Balance), under the WHITE BALANCE sub-menu, I reduced the BLUE GAIN and GREEN GAIN. This also resulted in a color temp measuring closer to my target of 6500K.

To achieve our gamma target of 2.2, we change the GAMMA to -1 and reduce the BRIGHTNESS setting.

While the LS11000 offers CMS adjustments, after adjusting the projector grayscale (RGB Balance), the average color tracking dE was just 0.84 so we were not compelled to any adjustments.

  • Picture Mode: Natural
  • Color Temperature: 6488K
  • Average Color Tracking dE: 0.84
  • Average Grayscale dE: .85
  • Gamma: 2.23

Delta E as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy of 3 and under is considered ‘Excellent’ and imperceptible by the human eye. Even before calibration, the LS12000 had an average Grayscale dE of around 3.52, which is very good. After SDR calibration, the projector’s average Color Tracking dE was just .85, which is outstanding.

HDR RGB Grayscale

Epson Ls11000 Home Cinema Color Calibration Graph - Projector Reviews - Image

When we switched to HDR, the default SDR settings resulted in a very RGB Balance. We did use WHITE BALANCE adjustments to make some fine-tuning. 

The LS11000 has ten configurable picture setting memories, which can be quickly accessed from the remote control.

These memories can be used to store picture settings after calibration, such as “SDR Bright,” “SDR Dark Room,” and “HDR” modes.

While there was some improvement to the picture after HDR and SDR calibration, the difference was not dramatic. The colors and skin tones looked great the instant I turned the unit on.

I am confident most users would be satisfied with the picture quality of the LS11000 whether it was calibrated or not.

BRIGHTNESS

The Pro Cinema LS11000 is rated for 2500 lumens, and like most Epson projectors, in its brightest mode, the projector delivered close to the manufacturer’s claimed brightness.

We measured its brightest mode, DYNAMIC, at full wide angle – this is with the iris wide open, so the most amount of light gets through. We took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens.

Epson Pro Cinema LS11000 Brightness (wide zoom Dynamic mode): 2673 Lumens

The DYNAMIC mode measured 2,673 lumens at in wide zoom. We also measured the other preset picture modes with the Light Output set to 100%

Brightness Per Picture Mode

Color Mode Lumens (100% Light Output) Color Temperature
Dynamic 2465 7746K
Vivid 1704 9685K
Bright Cinema 1653 7873K
Cinema 1601 7879K
Natural 1726 6828K

When the NATURAL picture mode, which is the most accurate mode, is selected the Light Output is reduced to 75% however, the output can be increased to 100% with very little impact on color reproduction.

Switching the LS11000 light source to ECO reduces audible noise and further increases laser life at the expense of light output. However, the image on a 100” screen was still bright enough for SDR viewing in a dark environment.

While many 4K capable DLP projectors at this price point can produce higher max brightness, their brightness advantage quickly disappears once those projectors are calibrated.

In addition, single-chip DLP projectors have relatively low color light output compared to their white light output. Since the LS11000 is a 3LCD projector, it can deliver an equal amount of color and white lumens. This means colors projected by the LS11000 appear brighter than many DLP projectors with a higher brightness rating.

BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL

In a dark environment, the ability to produce more contrast offers a massive benefit. While Epson doesn’t list the LS11000’s native contrast ratio and we don’t measure it, the Home Cinema LS11000 appears better than most single-chip DLP home theater projectors I have reviewed. The LS11000 delivered good black levels without crushing shadow details.

When the Dynamic Contrast feature is engaged, the LS12000 has a rated dynamic contrast ratio of 1.200,000:1. While the rated dynamic contrast of the Home Cinema LS11000 is half that of the Pro Cinema LS12000 (2,500,000:1 Dynamic), in a room with some ambient light, our eyes are less sensitive to blacks, so the difference contrast would be hard to see.

SDR PICTURE QUALITY

Most TV shows and live broadcasts will be in HD for at least several more years so good 4K upscaling is still critically important. The LS11000 includes Epson’s new ZX Processor, so the projector did an excellent job upscaling. Whether I was watching 720P sports from ESPN or 1080p Blu-ray content, everything looked very good.

Most 4K movies do not have enough fine detail to make the difference between watching 4K SDR and upscaled HD noticeable. You can even fine-tune the amount of detail displayed using one of the Image Preset modes or the Super-resolution / Detail Enhancements settings.

The ZX processor combined with improved faster pixel shift results in better frame interpolation for smoother clear motion, this has real benefits when watching live sports.

While most Blu-ray UHD content is available in HDR10, a lot of 4K streaming material is still only 4K SDR. The LS11000 is equipped with Epson’s latest version of their pixel shifting technology called 4K PRO UHD, so it does a very good job emulating the original 4K content.

If you do a side-by-side comparison with a native 4K projector, the resolution difference might be visible up close looking at 4K test patterns. However, it is doubtful it would be noticeable watching most movies, streaming, or broadcast content, especially from a normal viewing distance.

HDR PICTURE QUALITY

The Home Cinema LS11000 does not have the ability to dynamically measure and tone map HDR10 content, but its default adjustments do a good job maintaining bright highlight details while delivering good full-screen brightness. The LS11000 has adjustments so you can manually change the projector’s HDR tone mapping to fit your taste. Increasing HDR10/HDR10+ SETTING makes bright highlights more visible at the expense of overall screen brightness.

I choose an HDR10/HDR10+ SETTING of 8 because it offered the best balance of highlight detail and screen brightness on the 100” matte white screen in my lab.

The Home Cinema LS11000 can reproduce 87% of DCI-P3, which is like the Pro Cinema LS12000. While some home theater projectors equipped with color filters can reproduce a wider color gamut, this feature noticeability reduces brightness. I believe when viewing HDR on a projector, higher brightness is more impactful than a wider color gamut.  

Since the Pro Cinema LS11000 is a 3LCD projector, it can reproduce an equal amount of color lumens as white lumens, which results in brighter, richer-looking colors, which is beneficial when viewing HDR.