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Epson Powerlite Pro Cinema G6550 WU Projector - Picture Quality

Posted on June 12, 2015 by Art Feierman
PRO CINEMA G6550 WU PROJECTOR - PICTURE QUALITY PAGE 1:  Out of the Box Performance (including color modes), Skin Tones, Black Level Performance

Pro Cinema G6550 WU - Out of the Box Picture Quality

The Pro Cinema G6550 WU has multiple modes, and to be honest, not a bad looking one in the batch.  Oh, there's variation, and certainly none looks quite as good as could be expected if the projector was properly calibrated, but they do look close.  That said, even Dynamic, the brightest mode, looks pretty good, untouched and even better with just slight adjustments.  Like most brightest modes it tends to be too green yellow.

The first sequence runs through all the modes, one image at a time, same exposure.  The image is a frame from a CNBC program.  Vibrant colors, and skin tones.  The last three images in this image player use our text spreadsheet with primary and secondary colors, and also a woman's face for considering skin tones.   Those three are, respectively, Dynamic, Presentation, and Theatre modes.

All the modes but one, Presentation, have color temps near the theoretically ideal 6500K specified for movies, etc., but that doesn't mean R,G, and B are in perfect balance. Presentation mode, compared to the others is a bit cooler, with the color temp at 100 IRE (white) tending to be a bit thin on reds, strong on Blues and also a bit too much green, but not a whole lot.  The image player here shows our test spreadsheet, with it's color charts showing primary, secondary, and in between colors, as well as a woman's face for viewing skin tones.

One mode:  Multi-Projection appears to be essentially the same as Theatre mode.  Theater mode, Mike determined to be the best one to base his calibration on.  That mode is normally used when more than one of these projectors is used together in an edge blending environment, not something that you find in a home (more likely a museum, or art gallery, or…)

While calibrating a projector with the colors just about dead on, almost any of these modes is fine for casual viewing, including sports, gaming, and less than critical movie viewing.

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G6550WU Projector - Reproducing Skin Tones

These image were taken without a calibration being done. For the Theatre mode images, I copied in the settings from the G6900WU calibration.  Close but not on the money, a touch too much red in skin tones, and too blue in the darkest shadow ranges.  Also the brightness settings are different. Theatre mode is especially good when color accuracy is demanded, but Presentation mode should be everyone's usual favorite for presentations (of course).

There's probably more color shifting from our processing, and your computer/tablet/smart phone display, than between the default Theatre mode and what it would look like if calibrated, so know that skin tones are going to look at very respectable, more than fine enough for a typical presentation, without calibration.  For home viewing, again, color is good, and can be improved further by calibration the projector.  As is typical though of home entertainment, the assumption is that viewers are a bit less critical than hard core home theater enthusiasts.

Black Level Performance: G6550 Projector

Black level performance is rather basic, but then black levels while very key to the best image quality in fully darkened rooms, tend to be mostly neutralized by ambient.  Of course this projector is likely to be used when ambient light is present, making great black levels not very relevant.

For home use, this is no home theater projector.  It is home entertainment.  Yes, its for use with ambient light present, and rooms that don't have dark surfaces.

No matter what you would do - putting the projector into eco mode, plus using the least bright mode, when in a fully darkened room such as a home theater, this projector would just be too bright for most folks.  Even on my 124" screen (1.3 gain), I run eco mode, and with all lights off it is a little too bright for my taste, and I'm one of those that really likes bright.  Placed in my living room and hitting an 86" 1.2 gain screen it's still really bright.  As a result, in the evenings I keep just enough room lighting on so it's not too bright.

So, back to the blacks.  Epson claims a 5000:1 contrast ratio. That's in conjunction with it's dynamic iris.  All and all, that means we have a projector just a little better than typical business projector black level performance.  As I previously said, if you've got any ambient light at all, it's going to make huge differences in black levels seem like minor ones, as all the darker areas get washed out a good bit but he ambient light (even small amounts).  All considered its black level performance is certainly no better than a DLP projector without an iris.

Those of you who do want to, and can, fully darken your room, to watch a movie, who are hoping that the black level performance is something akin to Epson's famous UB projectors like the 5030UB and 6030UB, will be very disappointed.  Rather, expect blacks to be rather entry level, something along the lines of Epson's 2000 and 3oo0 series projectors.  Or perhaps a DLP projector without an iris, such as the BenQ W1070, all under $2000 projectors.  Of course this projector is far brighter than those, and far better equipped.

All's fair, considering that this was first, and foremost built as a large venue commercial projector.  Note that the dynamic iris isn't as smooth as found on Epson's Home Theater projectors, but works reasonably well.  You sure don't need it to watch sports, or most HDTV.

The gallery here shows some darker scenes to demonstrate black level performance.  As is usual we converted the Casino Royale night train scene to grayscale.

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