Epson Pro Cinema 810 Projector Review – General Performance3

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Light Leakage

No issues here, virtually no leakage of extraneous light through the lens and virtually none through the venting. I’ll give the Epson an “A”.

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Audible Noise Levels

Hmmm. Quiet is not the strength of the Epson, which is surprising. Generally LCD projectors are more efficient than DLP (more lumens output from the same wattage lamp), and LCD projectors usually, therefore, manage to be much quieter than DLP’s. The Pro Cinema 810, in full power modes, is quieter than almost any DLP projector, but not significantly so. In low power mode, it is very quiet, no one should have an issue. In full power though it is only a couple of decibles quieter than most DLP projectors (a good thing), but may be slightly audible in your room. Don’t panic, very few buyers are adverse enough to fan noise to reject this Epson, but, again, I’m a bit surprised that it isn’t quieter still. Officially Epson claims 26 db in low power, and and unimpressive 33 db in full power.

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Projector Brightness

Brightness has always been a key strength of Epson home theater projectors and certainly the Pro Cinema 810 is no exception. Now I mentioned at the beginning of this review, that there is an issue with this review unit. As a result, the brightness and color temp is not as consistant across the screen as one would expect. And this makes the measurements I did, somewhat questionable. As a result, I plan to remeasure with the newer projector coming in next week, and will update. Also, this projector, as noted is not new, and although the lamp counter was reset to 0 when I received it, that is a typical practice for review units. It doesn’t however, mean that the lamp was replaced. A lamp with a couple hundred hours on it could be as much as 20% dimmer than a new one. The replacement projector will be brand new, so I will know it has a new lamp.

For my measurements the zoom lens was set in the center position – which means that in full wide angle the projector should measure almost 35% brighter, and about 35% dimmer in full telephoto. This is typical of projectors with wide zoom ranges, which also includes the Panasonic PT-AX100U and the Sanyo PLV-Z5.

In Vivid Mode, the 810 produced a very impressive 1605 lumens (remember Epson only claims 1600). That means that in full wide angle (projector placed as close as possible to the screen) lumens should hit about 2150 lumens! Whoa, that’s even slightly better than the Panasonic PT-AX100u which is rated 2000 lumens and rated brightest in class. Vivid mode, of course is tricked out for maximum brightness to fight ambient light, and has expectedly less color accuracy than other modes. Not surprising, Vivid mode is strong on greens (an easy way to get out a few more lumens), as is typical of the brightest mode on most home theater projectors.

I could list the lumens for all the modes, but, as I said, I’ll be updating with new numbers next week. Here are a few of the more interesting ones, in the meantime:

Best modes

HD – L ow power – best suited for HDTV/Sports, etc. (too cool an image for movies: 421 lumens
Silverscreen – Low power – best suited for movies: 341 lumens (pretty impressive for a “very best” mode)

Other modes

Cinema Day – despite the name, better for TV/sports, than movies: 832 lumens
Standard – excellent color temp for movies – out of the box, fan/lamp in high power: 506 lumens
Cinema Night (better than Cinema Day, for movies, but not as bright: 418 lumens

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Lamp Life and Replacement

Epson rates their lamp at 1700 hours in full power, and 3000 in low power (HD, Silverscreen) modes. That is fairly typical.

Also fairly typical, is that, if you ceiling mount your projector, you are going to have to unmount it to change out the lamp. As I said, fairly typical, but there are definitely a number of home theater projectors that don’t require unmounting. Something to think about if you projector needs to be mounted in a precarious position.

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Projector Screen Recommendations

The Epson in best modes generates very good blacks. As a result, you would not need to go with a gray surface HC screen, except for two reasons: First, to reject a lot of side ambient light, and 2nd, if you are going with a fairly small screen (under 100″ diagonal) since the Epson has plenty of lumens. I found the 810 to be extremely impressive filling my 106″ Carada Brilliant White screen (1.4 gain claimed – probably 1.3), and in Silverscreen mode the blacks were plenty black. I would say the Carada BW, the Stewart Studiotek 130 (the industry reference standard – also 1.3 gain) and similar screen surfaces from other brands are a natural match.

Still, the Epson had no problem with my 128″ Firehawk, an advanced HC gray surface with a claimed 1.25 gain. Much of the watching I did on the Firehawk was in the Standard mode, putting out about 600 lumens to the screen (zoom was close to wide angle, thus the extra lumens). It looked great watching Phantom, and AeonFlux on HD-DVD.

As usual tough call, your room is going to be a key determining factor, but the combination of lots of lumens, and very high contrast (dynamic iris aspects notwithstanding), give you lots of flexibility. My own two cents – generally, if you are not a movie fanatic – but as much into sports, HDTV, etc., I would lean toward the positive gain white surfaces. I was very tempted to run the 810 at my annual Superbowl party last week but, of course it would have been temporarily on a table, and little kids would be staring into the lens, etc. I had to “settle” for my shelf mounted, but somewhat dimmer DLP BenQ PE-8720 (a competitor of the 810, I should note.)

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Calibration

Color Temperatures for different Color preset modes (at 100IRE – white)
Vivid 6480K (but heavy on green
Cinema Day 8483K
Natural 6342
HD 7135K
Standard 6425K

This section will need updating, so I’m only going to give you limited numbers.

SilverscreenColumn Content Before adjustment: 6070K, after calibration: 6441K
80IRE – before, 6355K, after 6633K
50IRE – before, 6317K, after 6642
30IRE – before, 6479K, after 6799

Epson rates their lamp at 1700 hours in full power, and 3000 in low power (HD, Silverscreen) modes. That is fairly typical.

Also fairly typical, is that, if you ceiling mount your projector, you are going to have to unmount it to change out the lamp. As I said, fairly typical, but there are definitely a number of home theater projectors that don’t require unmounting. Something to think about if you projector needs to be mounted in a precarious position.

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Image Noise

Overall very good processing. General noise levels very good, motion artifacts extremely good, jaggies very, very good. Nothing to complain about here. I basically ran the usual HQV test disk at the 810. All passes except for a few of the tougher cadences, nothing to worry about.

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