Projector Reviews

Epson Pro Cinema G6900 WU Projector: Performance 2

PRO CINEMA 6900 WU PROJECTOR – PERFORMANCE PAGE 2:  Calibrated brightness, Affect of Lens position on brightness, Sharpness, Image Noise, Iris Action

Pro Cinema G6900 Projector - Post Calibration

The Pro Cinema G6900 measured 3796 lumens after Mike finished calibrating it.  His calibration of this Epson projector started and modified the settings in the Theatre color mode.  Ultimately, those settings changes were saved into User 1.  3796 lumens is a whole lot of calibrated lumens.  I can’t think of any projectors we’ve previously reviewed that even exceeded 2000 lumens, except perhaps an old Runco or SIM2 that sold for upward of $20,000.  With most projectors heading to people’s homes.

The point is that the G6900 can produce 3800 great looking lumens in the same way that most home “theater” projectors produce 400 to 1000 lumens.   Even the low cost home entertainment projectors we’ve reviewed, aren’t even remotely close.  Some of those are very bright – uncalibrated, but not after calibration.

Click Image to Enlarge

Sharpness of the Epson Pro Cinema G6900 WU Projector

No issues with the G6900 WU when it comes to sharpness.  The projector is WUXGA which means 1920×1200 resolution. This makes small type display even smaller than with lower resolution projectors (bigger desktop).  As you can see from the cropped image of our test file, type that’s small enough that you would have to sit very close to the projected image (a large image), is very readable.  That’s despite the fact that we are using images only 1000 pixels wide (when you enlarge), which means roughly 1/4 the resolution of the projector itself (and the image it projects.)  That’s why the browser image appears soft – that the photo is lower res than the projector!

Take a close look at Spiderman’s wrist gadget.  The image is still only 1000 wide, but this time, on the close up, the camera has more pixels to use than there are on this very small part of the original image.  Look to the gears, and the texture of the cloth.  This image can be found in a number of reviews, for comparison.  Then there is a browser image from myYahoo, and a close up of a section of the text and graphics.   The last image is a cropped image of one of the Epson menus.  Because it too is 1000 pixels wide, it provides a good idea of small type sharpness.

The Pro Cinema G6900 offers Epson’s dynamic detail enhancement feature – Super-Resolution.   moderate settings of Super-Resolution of 3 or less (on a 5 scale) add an appearance of greater detail and sharpness.  For the close up of Spiderman’s wrist control and for the PS3 logo image, Super-Res was set to position 2, which provides a slight perceived improvement but without any significant artifacts.

Hard core enthusiasts will point out that if you want the sharpest possible image, the solution is a single chip DLP projector.  That is typically true.  That said, this G series projector does a fine job, comparable to most other 3 chip (panel) 3LCD and LCoS 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 is comparable.

Super-Resolution is a plus, I like it a lot for sports (2-4 setting), and even engage it for most movies (setting 2 or 1).

BTW since this projector has creative frame interpolation, that too, has impact, but on the smoothness of the image motion.

Effect of Lens Zoom on Brightness of the G6900 Projector

Zoom Lens Positioning vs. Brightness (based on Dynamic mode)
Position Lumens Percentage Drop In Brightness
Wide-angle 5288 0%
Middle 4744 10.3%
Telephoto 3402 35.7%

For a 1.8:1 zoom lens a drop in brightness from full wide angle (placing the projector at it’s closest possible to the screen with that lens), to telephoto, results in a drop of about 36% of brightness, which is about what we would expect for a lens with that level of zoom ratio.

Note however, that at mid-point, the drop is barely over 10%.  That means a lot of placement range without suffering in a significant decrease in brightness.  Other lenses (which we did not get to work with), will have their own characteristics.

Image Noise

Not bad at all. Mosquito noise was very minimal (tested with default noise settings), especially compared to what is exhibited by most DLP projectors.  Motion artifacts were also not a problem.  Slow panning with the Epson G6900 projector from films, was good, not exceptional, but, still good enough to hold it’s own or beat the pure home theater Sony VPL-HW55 projector.  Additional image noises can be detected when using dynamic features, such as medium and high settings of Frame Interpolation, or by cranking up Super-Resolution.  How does that saying go?  “All good things in moderation.”  Not a serious issue to report.

Pro Cinema G6900 Dynamic Iris

Well, you’ve already read that the black levels could be better.  The dynamic iris helps out with that, but this is a projector built first for brightness, so it’s not surprising that black levels could still use significant improvement even with the iris engaged.

More to the point, though, 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 noticeable.  Will my wife or daughter notice (or care)?  Probably not, unless I point it out.  Still, I did notice it, on a number of dark scenes I use for viewing.  How bad is it?  Not that bad.  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.

A smoother dynamic iris action is an area where Epson can improve this projector or its successor.  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!

Of course the G6900 isn’t really destined for an ideal movie viewing environment, and movies (or at least the dark scenes within) are where you want the iris working.

I don’t bother using a dynamic iris for my sports viewing, first of all, because it rarely would come into play, as you can usually count on sports being well lit.

On more general TV, there are some dark scenes (ok, perhaps not sitcoms), so there’s use for the iris, but it’s for movies.  If you are placing the Pro Cinema G6900 in a relatively bright room, you’ve already compromised your movie viewing, as discussed elsewhere.  (The difference between poor and great black levels is mostly gone when there’s even moderate ambient light.)

Bottom line:  The iris 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.