Projector Reviews Images

Epson MovieMate 60 - Image Quality

Posted on October 12, 2009 by Art Feierman
The MovieMate 60 performs well out of the box. Rather, it performs extremely well, as far as our expectations for a low cost all-in-one projector. This is a good thing, as the MovieMate doesn't really have a lot of ability to adjust color, beyond color saturation and tint.

The good news is that all the modes we worked with, from Theatre to Dynamic had pretty good color. Theatre did very well. LivingRoom and Dynamic both tended to be somewhat oversaturated, but that's an easy adjustment. It's not surprising for "brightest" modes like those to default to a bit too much saturation. The assumption is you are using those modes when some lighting is present, and that lighting would wash out the colors somewhat. Dial down the saturation, as needed.

Flesh Tones

One of the strengths of LCD technology is generally very good color. The Epson offers up that good color, resulting in very good skin tones. Gandalf, and Arwen, below, from Lord of the Rings exhibit quite believeable skin tones. The same is true for skin tones off of Blu-ray disc and HDTV!

The Arwen photo above was a scene deep in a forest with lots of green, which softens the skin tones. The MovieMate 60 picks up on that shift to green nicely, especially where it is more evident toward the top of her face.

A few additional images for your consideration:

Bottom Line: Skin tone performance is pretty impressive for a true, low cost, entry level home entertainment solution! I've seen less accurate skin tone results from a number of projectors costing a whole lot more. But, then, I did say skin tones were very good.

MovieMate 60 Black Levels & Shadow Detail

The 3000:1 contrast claim for this Epson (and yes, it does have a dynamic iris), is a low number by today's standards. While a high contrast number is no longer a really accurate indicator of black level performance, in this case, the relatively low number is.

LCD projectors do start out at a deficit compared to DLP projectors when it comes to natural contrast, and basic black level performance. Business LCD projectors, for example have very poor black level performance, as a group. This Epson does better than that, but mostly by the addition of a dynamic iris. The blacks are still weak, compared to any of the better 720p projectors and likely every 1080p model. Basically they are a moderately dark gray, but a long way from black. The typical entry level DLP projector will definitely do a bit better, although not drastically so. The better, more expensive DLP and LCD home theater projectors, however, will do far better. Is that important? To an enthusiast - absolutely. To a kid, or teenager, they couldn't care less, for the most part.

It's important, though, to keep in mind, that, in a family room or bonus room environment, with some lights on, or some light coming in from windows, black level performance of all projectors goes to hell.

While there is still a difference between excellent and medicre, the relative difference is minor with all but the most minimum amount of ambient light hitting the screen.

For this type of product, sure, better blacks would be nice, but, its hardly a disqualifying issue, considering the type of usage intended.

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