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Epson Powerlite Pro L1500, L1505 Projector Review - Summary

Posted on July 8, 2016 by Art Feierman
EPSON PRO L1500, L1505 PROJECTOR REVIEW - SUMMARY:  Highlights, Value Proposition, Pros and Cons The Epson Powerlite Pro L1500U and Pro L1505U, and the versions without the standard zoom lens, the Pro L1500UNL and Pro L1505UNL, receive our Hot Product Award!

Epson Pro L1500, L1505 Highlights

Time to summarize, which means restating the obvious, if you've already perused the rest of the review.

The Epson Pro L1500 and Pro L1505 are the current top of the line of Epson's L series of lasers.  They offer 12,000 color, and white lumens!

Because they use larger LCD panels than the less expensive L series projectors, the throw distances are a bit different for each lens, and these two, the L1500U and L1505U will not work with Epson's new ultra-short throw lens.  There will be a much more expensive "flagship" laser projector shipping this fall, although it's in a bit of a different class, weighing in over 100 pounds (over double these two), and huge by comparison, not to mention the expected right around $100K price tag, which is far more expensive than these two, which list for $21,999 with the standard 1.6:1 zoom, or $21,699 for the option without a lens (UNL designation).

Hot Product Award graphic

This is our top regular award for projectors. In addition we offer additional awards in our special reports

These Epson projectors are loaded with features, support for not only the 4K protocols and their pixel shifting ability, but support for edge blending, projection mapping, portrait and off axis mounting, multiple projectors can be stacked to increase brightness drastically, lots of fully motorized lenses to choose from, Lens Memory, and more.  (The Pros list below will add a whole lot more items.)

Networking is the usual "advanced" variety, with support for protocols from Crestron, AMX, Control4, Extron and more, and all the capabilities that implies (messaging, remote broadcasting, scheduling, monitoring, etc.), and let's definitely not forget the Auto Calibrate feature, which can be a wonderful ability especially in edge blending environments, but anytime color accuracy is highly critical.

Epson L1500 and L1505 - Value Proposition

There are any number of high brightness laser projectors out there today, from the likes of Christie, Barco, Sony, NEC, Panasonic, Digital Projection and a few others.  Other than the prohibitively expensive (for most applications), high brightness Sony laser projectors, none of the others are true 4K nor do those others offer the ability to both accept 4K commercial (copy protected) content, nor use pixel shifting to take advantage of that content to provide a visibly more detailed, and sharper seeming image than a standard WUXGA projector can resolve.

The short version, Epson vs. Direct Competition - other 2K Laser Projectors
  • The Epsons are much brighter than similarly priced competitors (which are all DLP projectors)
  • They can handle 4K content, and by using pixel shifting enhance the detail and perceived sharpness compared to standard 2K projectors
  • They have as many color lumens as white ones for best color handling (unlike single chip DLP projectors)
  • The L1505U and L1500U do not have an ultra-short throw lens (but you could buy any of the  less expensive Epson lasers which all do)

Although there are many features we've mentioned, it's the 4K content handling (including HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, support for HDR, BT2020 and DCI), that sets it apart from the vast majority of WUXGA laser projectors. Most of the competitors do offer edge blending, etc.

Pricing wise, it's hard to argue with the overall value proposition.  A quick search of an industry database (not that complete) found 9 other laser projectors with WUXGA resolution and at least 8000 lumens, the least expensive is a Vivitek DLP at $15,545 without any lens.  Also under $20,000 is a $18K Canon, and a $19,999 NEC.

There’s also a $26K Hitachi, and a $27.5K Dukane.

The thing is, all of these just mentioned are only 8000 lumen DLP projectors (so they will have 8000 white lumens, less color ones) a far cry from the Epsons 12,000 lumens, and none of those can accept 4K content or do pixel shifting to enhance the picture.  True, they all support active 3D which the Epson’s don’t but that’s the only obvious limitation, and few need 3D for their large venue applications.

The database also turned up an 11,000 lumen 3 chip DLP (the others are all single chip ones), but that one, a Digital Projection model (one of the true “ high end” brands, prices at $45,000 just over double these Epsons!  (and still no 4K content handling or pixel shifting, to the best of my knowledge).  For the same price you could stack a pair of Epsons to get 24,000 lumens!
Since we’re talking price performance, this is worth considering.  You could drop down to Epson’s L1300U laser projector - yes, it supports all those lenses (and the ultra short throw one), has the pixel shifting, edge blending, 4K content support, etc., but the L1300U only lists for $11,499 with a standard zoom lens - we’re talking more than 20% below the price of the least expensive 8000 lumen competition, and about half of some competitors.
The Bottom Line on Value:
Epson has been expanding its line into the larger venue category, from the lower cost, high volume projector market over the past several years. They are relatively late to very large venue projectors (10,000 lumens and up) - and laser projectors, but first doesn’t necessarily equate to “best.”
Epson added a 10,000 dual lamp lumen projector to its line-up, perhaps 4 years, ago, but that was about it until now, everything else less bright.  With the full line of lasers, though, Epson is definitely serious about carving out a large chunk of the large venue projector market.  It sure looks like these Epson’s offer an extremely affordable alternative to other nicely equipped 2K projectors.
Whether you have 4K content to work with or not, the Pro L1505 and Pro L1500 will likely meet your needs in terms of capabilities, as they are about as feature laden as projectors come (except for missing active 3D).   Tons of brightness (including lots of color lumens), pixel shifting, edge blending, projection mapping, 8 lenses, great warranty and support program, 20,000 light engine, Auto calibration, HDBaseT, advanced networking, 3G-SDI…plus, there are a lot more features below, listed in the “pros.”
I consider Epson’s 4K content/pixel shifting to be the highlight feature/benefit as you’ve probably already figured out, so it’s important that I do remind you again of one trade-off.  When you engage pixel shifting (2K or 4K), you will loose the ability to do edge blending, projection mapping, CFI, some noise reduction, etc.  Generally that won’t be a problem (you won't need pixel shifting in multi-projector arrays used for edge blending and projection mapping, for example), but there are times, where it would be nice if some of those features worked with pixel shifting.
 Given: These Epson’s can’t match the ultimate sharpness and detail of a true 4K projector, but consider the pricing difference:  Sony’s GT280 is a 6000 lumen, $50,000 true 4K Laser projector!   I quickly concede that there are applications calling for true 4K projection, where a pixel shifter like the L1505 just won’t be good enough. But, once you exclude that small segment, if you have 4K content and combine it with pixel shifting, these Epsons will provide a more detailed, image that is perceived as definitely sharper than other 2K projectors.
It may be that they provide enough extra clarity, that it makes far more sense to select these Epsons for many applications where true 4K would be ideal, but where the Epson’s output is definitely "good enough.”  In such cases, the Epson’s likely will be the best choice, especially with the drastically brighter image for well less than half the price of the true 4K competition.
These two Epson laser projectors are not just impressive, and feature laden, but appear to be the price performance leaders in their class.  That said, Epson's less expensive lasers, will no doubt sell better, especially since they start at $8499 for 6000 lumens!  No matter, the laser projector competition at this point should be very concerned.
OK, that’s a wrap!  All that’s left to this review are the lists below:  Pro’s and Cons
Also look for our videos of the EpsonL1505U, which should publish before the end of July (2016).

Pros and Cons

Since Pros is in part a list of useful features, the length of the Pros for this review is almost ridiculously long.  Because these projectors are so feature laden, it's also not surprising that the Con's list is pretty short, even though we came up with a few good ones.

Epson Powerlite Pro L1505U and L1500 Pros

  • 12000 wall melting lumens (color and white)
    • prelim measurements would indicate they beat claim
  • Improved contrast by using laser light engine as "dynamic iris"
    • Capable of pure black output on black (empty) frames
  • Impressively good color out of the box (full calibration controls available)
    • Auto Calibration maintains color consistency, white balance and uniformity over long periods of time, and is great for edge blending and other multi-projector applications
  • Very good black levels and dark shadow detail
    • In part thanks to the laser engine behaving like a dynamic iris
  • Accepts commercial 4K content including content using HDR, DCI,  BT.2020 and other superior image standards not available on projectors that can't accept 4K content
  • Pixel shifting to maximize detail, and perceived sharpness on both 2K and 4K content
  • Edge Blending, Projection Mapping for digital signage, museums, other multi-projector displays
    • Up to 9 Epson's can be used in an array (they would know their respective locations for calibrating and positioning purposes
  • DICOM Simulation mode for teaching quality display of medical (and engineering) films
  • Advanced Networking (includes support for Crestron, AMX...)
    • Can emulate some competing projectors, making it easy to integrate these Epson's into existing environments with other brand projectors already in use.
  • Optional Wireless ($99)
  • Powerful Apps, supporting software
    • iProjection app supports tablets and phones
    • Easy MP for command and control
    • Moderator for projecting up to four sources at once
  • 8 interchangeable lenses (standard zoom is only $300 more than buying without a lens)
  • Projector can operate off angle, and in Portrait mode
  • Split Screen Capability
  • Brightness can be adjusted in 1% increments from full power down to 30%
  • Constant Brightness feature maintains brightness over years of operation, if needed
  • Quiet mode reduces audible nose to 31db, a touch louder than the average home theater projector - absurdly quiet for a large venue projector
  • Built in sound
  • 3G-SDI and HDBaseT - run live video (up to 1080p) over coax and HDMI over low cost CAT cable,  up to 100 meters (optional HDBaseT transmitter)
  • Powering on or off takes only a few seconds
  • Excellent 3 year parts/labor warranty with 3 year overnight replacement program!


  • No 3D capability
  • When pixel shifting engaged, (2K or 4K content) some other features are disabled, including CFI, edge blending, projection mapping, and mpeg noise reduction
  • Black levels could be better still- despite the laser engine dimming with dynamic iris type action
    • In fairness, the L series models do a much better job than the lamp based G series projectors
  • Epson's new ultra short throw lens will only work with their less expensive laser projectors (which use smaller LCD panels
  • Only one HDMI (there is also a DisplayPort, and also another HDMI (over HDBaseT).   Having 3 regular HDMI jacks would make sense (in addition to the DisplayPort and HDBaseT (RJ45) network connector
  • Auto Calibration - isn't autonomous.  The projector calibrates itself when you press the button.  Having a scheduling option would be a plus
  • You would think at $22K, they'd throw in the $99 wireless module!


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