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Epson Pro Cinema LS10000 Projector Review - Picture Quality

Posted on September 9, 2014 by Art Feierman
PRO CINEMA LS10000 LASER PROJECTOR - PICTURE QUALITY:  Out of the Box Picture, Skin Tones, Black Level Performance, Black Level Comparison

Pro Cinema LS10000 Out of the Box Picture Quality

Right out of the box, the color in best modes - THX and Natural was very good.  It's nice to see projectors that don't desperately need to be calibrated.  Mike reports that officially, green is a touch thin at most brightness levels.  (See our calibration pages), but overall, skin tones were very good, and so was the picture in general in those modes.

Dynamic mode - the brightest, looks a lot like one would expect a lamp based projector to look, which is a bit strong in yellow and greens.  That surprised me, since we're working with dual blue lasers.   Like Dynamic modes on the Epson 5030ub/6030ub, you can correct a good deal of that shift away, without sacrificing too many lumens.  Dynamic also has other settings "punched up," for example, the image seems like its default color saturation is a lot higher to cut through ambient light.

Mike's "quick-cal" of Dynamic tames the color a bit, providing a much better looking image especially for my sports viewing.

Note that in this image player only the last image is 4K source material.

Skin Tones

Overall skin tones were excellent. They look much better in real life than in these photos.  The photos seem to be a little pale with a touch of green/yellow that wasn't on screen.  t can't say that the calibration had the tightest results, but for those into the numbers they are pretty good.

More to the point, skin tones were what I expected.  They looked natural (a little less so with heavy processing engaged).  If there was anything to note, it's that skin tones in darker scenes look a touch more on the money than very bright scenes.  Still, people in day in the park type scenes still look great.

I've included the usual Daniel Craig as Bond in Casino Royale pictures, to illustrate that skin tones vary greatly with different types of scene lighting.  The Bond skin tones look very different from one picture to the next. The question is, do they look right in their setting.  From the first one:  Full sunlight, Fluorescents, Night, Filtered sunlight.

Black Level Performance

The Pro Cinema LS10000 has the deepest black levels I've seen yet from Epson.  From a practical standpoint it does better than Epson's less expensive UB series, which set the standard for under $4000 projectors several years ago, and those haven't been bested yet for under that price point, although there's serious competition.

I do not believe that this Epson is a match for the projectors with the very best black levels out there.  I'm talking about the $8000 and $12000 JVCs, they remain the champs, but, that said, the black level performance is better than the Sony HW55ES and JVC X35, and even Sony's $15K VW600ES true 4K machine.  How it stacks up against Sony's $27,000 VPL-VW1100ES is a good question, one I expect to answer soon as I'm expecting that Sony to arrive shortly after the Cedia show (9/2014), so I'll be able to do side by side comparisons.  Editor's note, the update includes a direct comparison with Sony's flagship 4K projector the VW1100ES.

As I have always said, great black levels have been the "holy grail" of home theater performance.  That's the difference between good $2000 projectors (or good $5000 projectors...) and great ones.  But I've also said that once black levels achieve a certain level of excellence, while even better is always desirable, that's the point where other aspects of the projector become more important than further black level improvement.

When I reviewed the Sony VW600ES I said black levels were very good, but not truly great (for $15,000), yet, thanks to true 4K projection the projector earned our top honors in our 2014 Best Home Theater Projectors report.  Why?  outstanding color, amazing sharpness, and so on.  With the Epson LS10000 I believe we have a projector here with better black level performance on those dark scenes (where it's fully appreciated) than that Sony, so that's pretty darn good!  Ultimately though since there really isn't a dynamic iris, it means that black level performance on brighter scenes is also better.  Of course, immediately below, we've cued up the Bond night train scene image from several top projectors for comparison.  On other images such as the starship from The Fifth Element, the Epson does even better compared to the competition using dynamic irises, because those other projectors find enough brightness that the iris does stop down, but not all the way.

Black Levels Comparison

Note that the first image is the Epson LS10000, each comparison image has the projector model in the upper right hand corner.  If you click to enlarge, you can quickly click to go between any image and the first one (or each other) by clicking on which ever one you want to view next.  The more overexposed the image, relative to the darkest areas, the better the black level performance.  The Epson's performance is excellent.  Perhaps the VW1000ES is the closest of these projectors, and that true 4K projector is $27,000.    That said, as I have mentioned, there are a pair of JVC's at $8000 and $12,000 with legendary black level performance.  No laser light engine, and at least as expensive, but my point is the Epson does great, but there are a bit better.

I have fewer images of Kitness and Rue sleeping in the forest, but the results are similar when viewing.

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