Projector Reviews

Epson Pro Cinema G6550WU Projector: Performance 2

EPSON PRO CINEMA 6550 WU PROJECTOR – PERFORMANCE PAGE 2:   Sharpness, Image Noise, Iris Action

Sharpness of the Epson Pro Cinema G6550WU Projector

As with previous G series projectors reviewed, there are no issues with the G6550WU when it comes to sharpness.  The G6550WU is inherently high res- WUXGA which is, of course means 1920×1200 pixel resolution. That means even the smallest type has plenty of pixels to create smooth, sharp text.  Type down to 8 point, which is very small on a WUXGA display – too small to be practical to use in meetings, is easily readable.  Of course Powerpoint type presentations are usually done with 18 to 48 point type, and typical spreadsheets are 10 or 12 point on the smaller type.

In other words, this projector delivers what high res /high def promises, – clear, sharp content.  Of course all projectors have some slight loss of sharpness from center of the screen to the corners, that’s really the laws of physics, since the distance from the lens to the center is closer than to the furthest corners (bottom corners if ceiling mounted. Typically we recommend setting the focus about 1/3 out from the center to insure maximum sharpness, but, honestly, with the standard lens the most you might detect with this projector, if it is focused on dead center, is extremely minor softness, as shown in the two consecutive images shown in this set.

Inherently all 3 chip devices – 3LCD, LCoS or 3 chip DLP projectors have to at least a minor degree, a convergence problem (it’s those pesky laws of physics again).  In that sense a good DLP projector with first class optics has an advantage, but…

In a business environment, that’s never likely to be an issue. In a home entertainment environment, this Epson is typically sharp for a 3 chip design.  It lacks the Super-Resolution detail enhancement feature found on Epson’s pure Home Theater projectors.

All considered, this Epson projector provides a sharp, clear image.  Pixel structure is a bit more noticeable than on Epson’s UB series projectors (different LCD panels I assume), but overall sharpness comparable.  A more visible pixel structure could be argued to even seem sharper, but at this resolution, no one’s seeing the pixels anyway.

BTW it should be noted that this projector also offers creative frame interpolation, that too, has impact, but on the smoothness of the image motion.  That CFI is offered on a projector that comes from a commercial background, is impressive.  Most “business” projectors do not have a “smooth motion” algorithm option.

Image Noise

Not bad at all, downright fine for a business class projector, and definitely a factor in having acceptable DICOM capabilities.  Mosquito noise was very minimal (tested with default noise settings), especially compared to what is exhibited by most single chip DLP projectors (one of their weaknesses – each technology has something to complain about).  Motion artifacts were also not a problem.

Slow panning with the Epson G6550 projector from films done at 24fps, was good, not exceptional, but, still good enough to hold its own or beat out out the pure home theater Sony VPL-HW55ES projector – that’s impressive for a business projector.  Faroudja processing is the key.  Faroudja was perhaps the first well recognized pioneer of high quality image processing in projectors and other displays going back 15 years.

Additional image noises can be detected when using dynamic features, such as medium and high settings of Frame Interpolation.  How does that saying go?  “All good things in moderation.”  Not a serious issue to report.

Pro Cinema G6550 Dynamic Iris

Now it’s time for a minor (or not so minor) complaint.  Well, you’ve already read in this review that the black levels could be better.  Remember though, they are good enough to meet DICOM standards for viewing medical X-rays, MRI’s, CAT-scans etc.  The Epson’s dynamic iris helps out with those black levels, but this is a projector built first for brightness. As such, it’s less likely to be used in a fully darkened environment.  When there’s ambient light present, that negates a good bit of the advantage of having better black level performance – as two different projectors both get their blacks washed out, despite differences.

The point I want to make here, however, is that the iris action isn’t as smooth as it should be.  I don’t know why that is, but one can see the iris moving in slightly visible increments when scene brightness changes slowly.  That is to say, it can be a bit noticeable. The average viewer probably won’t notice when watching a video clip, but when one gets critical (as I am paid to be), I can spot that lack of smoothness without difficulty on the right content.  I really only see this as an issue when the G6550WU is a home entertainment projector.   Will my wife or daughter notice (or care)?  Probably not, unless I point it out.   How bad is it?  Not bad.  Consider, for example that I’ve been complaining about the iris action on many Optoma projectors for years, and they still manage to get good reviews, and they are a top seller of home projectors.  Like many of those Optoma’s though, consider this Epson -when in a home environment like mine, as a home entertainment projector – not serious home theater, and by definition (mine anyway) the standards are lower.

A smoother dynamic iris action is an area where Epson could improve the  successor.  Obviously they have the technology, it’s in many of their home “theater” projectors. While likely no one would care in a typical commercial setup that the Powerlite Pro version would find itself, in the home, better would be… better – I mean, why not?

I don’t consider the Powerlite Pro G6550 as an ideal movie viewing projector overall, that’s for home theater projectors. You certainly don’t need a dynamic iris to watch sports or most HDTV in general.

Bottom line:  The iris could, and should be a bit smoother – smaller steps I imagine, but this is a small complaint relative to what this projector is designed to deal with.