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Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Laser Projector Review

Posted on March 24, 2022 by Phil Jones

Epson Pro Cinema LS12000

The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 which retails for $4999 is a 4K HDR-compatible laser home theater. The Pro Cinema LS12000 uses native 1080P 3LCD panels but the projector is equipped with the latest version of Epson’s 4K UHD Pro technology. This feature combines advanced pixel-shifting technology and a new Precision Glass Shift Plate with three individual high-definition LCD chips to produce 4K resolution (3840x2160 pixels) on screen.

While native vs pixel-shifted resolution is still a heated debate among home theater enthusiasts, Epson's proven pixel shift technology does deliver an image that is visibly sharper than a traditional native 1080p projector.

The LS12000 has a rated brightness of 2,700 ANSI Lumens and can deliver over 2,500,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. The Epson LS12000 is also compatible with HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG content.

To take full advantage of the projector capabilities, it is equipped with two 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 (HDCP 2.3) so it can accept 4K HDR signals at up to 120fps.

The LS12000 is Epson’s most advanced Pro Cinema Series projector to date and it is designed to deliver the performance and features demanded by the most discerning video enthusiasts. The LS12000 is a great option for someone who wants to enjoy HDR movies and high frame-rate gaming in a family room or dedicated home theater.

  • Epson LS12000 From the front
  • Epson LS12000 Laser Projector from the rear
  • Epson LS12000 From the Top
  • Epson LS12000 From the front left
Epson LS12000 Specs
Price$4999
Technology3LCD laser
Native Resolution1920x1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)2700
Contrast2,500,000:1 (Dynamic)
Zoom Lens Ratio2.00:1
Lens ShiftYes
Lamp Life20,000 hours
Weight28.0
Warranty3 year

The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 is a 4K HDR-compatible 3LCD Laser home theater projector. Combining a laser light source with upgraded video processing and HDMI 2.1 makes the LS12000 a worthy replacement for the highly-rated Epson 6050UB.

With a rated brightness of 2,700 lumens which is more than enough to produce a good HDR picture on screens up to 120” and an excellent SDR image on screens that are much larger. As with all Epson 3LCD projectors, The LS12000 produces as many color lumens as it does white lumens, which ensures bright, vibrant color which is critical for good HDR picture quality. 

While brightness is important it is deep blacks and high contrast that separates a premium home theater projector from a standard unit. Like the older Epson 6050UB, the LS12000 uses Epson's finest ultra-high contrast 0.74" 3LCD panels along with their proprietary UltraBlack™ Technology to deliver a native contrast ratio that few competitors’ home theater projectors can match.

The only Sony SXRD and JVC DILA home theaters projector which utilized LCoS panels can deliver the same or better native contrast.  Epson claims that when laser dimming is enabled, the LS12000 has a dynamic contrast ratio of 2,500,000:1.

The Pro Cinema LS12000’s native resolution is 1080P (1920 x 1080). To provide a crisp and clear picture, the projector can accept 4K60p content and is equipped with Epson’s PRO-UHD chip, which pixel shifts the image for 4K enhancement.

To get the most out of the quality components used in the LS12000, it is also equipped with a new video processor called the ZX Picture Processor. This is Epson's most advanced video processor, and it handles real-time color and contrast adjustment, HDR tone mapping, frame interpolation, and resolution enhancement to ensure source material is reproduced the content creator intended.

Epson 4K PRO UHD Laser Projectors

In addition to the Pro Cinema LS12000 (MSRP $3999.99), Epson has also introduced the Home Cinema LS11000 (MSRP $3999.99). For an additional $1000, the LS1200 has a slightly higher claimed brightness of 2700 lumens but it delivers more than double the dynamic contrast.

The notable increase in native and dynamic contrast is due to the special high contrast 3LCD imaging system used in the LS12000. For the past several years, Epson has offered two different levels of 3LCD imaging systems in their home theater-focused projectors.

In the past, you would have seen a “UB” at the end of the model number (for example Pro Cinema 6050UB) to indicate the projector used Epson's UltraBlack™ Technology. This imaging system includes a proprietary compensation filter that controls the polarization of light which dramatically suppresses unwanted stray light to enhance the projector's native and dynamic contrast ratio.

This higher-end UltraBlack™ 3LCD system is one of the main reasons why the LS12000 retails for $1000 more than the LS11000.

While the LS12000 is bright enough to be utilized in a room with higher ambient light it would normally be used in a light-controlled space like a dedicated home theater where the user can take full advantage benefits of the additional contrast.

FeaturePro Cinema LS12000Pro Cinema LS11000
Retail Price$4999$3999
Dynamic Contrast2,500,000:11,200,000:1
Brightness2700 ANSI Lumens2500 ANSI Lumens
Native Panel Resolution1080 X 19201080 x 1920
4K PRO UHDYesYes
Cinema KitYesNo
Case ColorBlackWhite
Warranty3 years2 years

Since the Pro Cinema LS12000 will probably be mounted on the ceiling in a dark room has a black case while the LS11000 case is white. The LS12000 is also bundled with a Ceiling installation kit that includes a ceiling mount and a cable cover. To meet the needs of home theater enthusiasts who often choose 2:35:1 screens, the LS12000 includes additional aspect ratio mode adjustments for compatibility with 3rd party anamorphic lenses.

Since the LS12000 is a Pro Cinema model it includes a three-year warranty with three years of Rapid Replacement. The warranty on a Home Cinema projector like the LS11000 is two years.

The LS12000 is one of the first Epson projectors compatible with HDR10+. The LS12000 includes 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 (HDCP 2.3) inputs to support 4K@120P HDR content from the latest gaming consoles.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • $4999 List Price
  • Native 1080P (1920 x 1080) 3LCD panels
  • 4K PRO UHD
  • 2,700 ANSI Lumens 
  • Laser Life of 20,000 Hours
  • 2,500,000:1 Contrast Ratio (Dynamic)
  • All-glass multi-element Lens
  • HDR10+/HDR10/HLG Compatible  
  • Two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1(HDCP 2.3) Inputs
  • Motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift
  • Full calibration controls
  • 3 Year Advanced Replacement Warranty

Notable Features

ADVANCED 4K PIXEL SHIFTING

A native 4K projector has a native resolution of either 4096 x 2160 (8.8 million pixels) or 3840 x 2160 (8.3 million pixels). While the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 (2.1 million pixels), the projector uses pixel shifting to display 3840 x 2160 onscreen.

The new version of Epson's 4K PRO UHD (pixel-shifting) utilized in the LS12000 is noticeable better than the previous versions due to a new Precision Shift Glass Plate that is quicker and quieter. Every pixel’s image is rapidly shifted 1/4 pixel diagonally and horizontally allowing each one to do the job of four pixels.

New Precision Shift Glass Plate is quicker and quieter quadrupling the visible pixels onscreen to 8.3 million

This new version quadruples the visible pixels onscreen whereas previous Epson pixel shifting projectors like the 6050UB only doubled them. The LS12000 can display 8.3 million pixels onscreen whereas old Epson models like the 6050UB and LS10500 could only reproduce 4.1 million.

When it comes to pixel shift, faster is better. The pixel wobbling is done so fast that it fools your eyes into seeing four times the LS12000 actual native resolution. In fact, the new system is so quick the pixel shifting is supported at refresh rates as high as 120Hz. This is great news for gamers who own the latest gaming consoles like Playstation5 or Xbox Series X

The latest version of 4K PRO UHD delivers 8.3 million pixels on screen

I had the opportunity to compare several modern pixel-shifting 3LCD and DLP projectors to native 4K SXRD and DiLA projectors.

When viewed from a normal viewing distance, it is difficult to differentiate between a 4K pixel shift image produced by the LS12000 and an image projected on a native 4K projector.

Factors like higher native contrast and better optics normally have a bigger impact on image clarity than the native resolution of the projector’s imagers.

It is only when you do a side-by-side comparison between a true 4K projector versus a pixel-shifting projector using test patterns that the resolution difference is truly noticeable. In many situations, the content, including movies, lack the fine detail required or the image is viewed so far away that the difference between 4K and pixel shifting cannot be perceived.

Also, keep in mind that native 4K projectors cost significantly more than their pixel shifting HD counterparts. For example, the new JVC NZ7 ($6,999 SRP) which is a very good 1,900-lumen lamp-based native 4K projector costs about two thousand dollars more than the brighter laser light source equipped Epson LS12000 ($4,999 SRP). For many customers, the higher brightest and years of maintenance-free operation provided the laser sources are a bigger benefit than native 4K resolution.

Combined with good image processing, The LS12000 does a very nice job emulating the original 4K content. In addition, the LS12000 utilizes a high-quality 12-element lens to deliver a sharp, crisp picture.

HIGH CONTRAST 3LCD PANELS

The Pro Cinema LS12000 is Epson’s flagship home theater projector so it contains three 0.74" high contrast LCD imagers. These 3LCD panels are a step up from the units used in their Home Cinema models.

The LS12000 is equipped with 3LCD panels

As with all Epson 3LCD projectors, the LS12000 produces as many color lumens as it does white lumens, which ensures bright, vibrant color which is critical for good HDR picture quality.

The LS12000 uses Epson's finest ultra-high contrast 3LCD panels similar to the units found in their older award winning Epson 6050UB, to deliver a native contrast ratio that few competitors’ home theater projectors can match.

While Epson doesn’t list the LS12000 native contrast ratio, based on my viewing, its contrast appears to rival the premium home theater projector like the Sony VPL-VW325ES and JVC DLA-NP5 which are LCoS equipped projectors. Combining these upgraded 3LCD panels with precision laser light modulation results in a rated Dynamic Contrast ratio of 2,500,000:1.

LASER LIGHT SOURCE

The LS12000 has a blue laser phosphor light engine. A portion of the blue laser output hits a yellow phosphor which generates red and green color elements while the remainder of the blue laser light output handles the blue component. As with all 3LCD projectors, a dichroic prism is used to re-assemble the three different colors into a single full color image.

Epson Blue Laser Phosphor Light Source

Epson says the laser light source in the LS12000 has a rated life of 20,000 hours at full power. This means owners can enjoy several years of nearly maintenance free operation.

As we mentioned multiple times the native contrast of the LS12000 is outstanding for an LCD projector, but projector dynamic contrast can be greatly improved by precisely and rapidly modulating the brightness of the laser light. For example, When the LS1200 encounters a “black frame” of information, it can shut down the laser engine completely projecting a true black frame.

The LS12000 doesn’t include a dynamic iris but the dynamic laser light dimming reacts faster making its application less noticeable.

48 GBPS HDMI 2.1 INPUTS

Support for 4K@120fps

The Epson LS12000 includes two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs so that they can accept both 8K@60fps and 4K@120fps. We should note that while the inputs can support up to 48Gbps, the HDMI inputs/outputs found on most A/V Receivers, video switchers, and gaming consoles are limited to 40Gbps. This is fine because the video information in a 48 Gbps signal far exceeds the capabilities of the 10-bit panels/imagers found in consumer TVs and projectors including the LS12000.

Dual 48Gbps HDMI inputs support 4K HDR at 120 frames per second

Currently, there isn't a lot of 8K or high frame rate video content available but 4K@120fps can help deliver a smooth high-quality gaming experience from a high-end gaming PC as well as the latest PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles. Also, when gaming 4K@120fps, input lag time is below 20 ms.

eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)

In addition, if you decide to connect a game system directly to the projector, one of the LS12000 HDMI inputs supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) and eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel).

While HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) format supports multi-channel audio, which includes Dolby Atmos, due to bandwidth limitations, it delivers a compressed audio signal, for example, Dolby Digital Plus.

The latest version of HDMI audio return is eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel). which can transfer a much higher bandwidth and it also supports uncompressed audio surround formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio. This ensures the external audio system receives the maximum quality audio signal from a source that is directly connected to the projector.

HDR COMPATIBLE – HDR10+, HDR10 AND HLG

The HDR provides a major improvement in dynamic range as well as color. It lets you see more detail in the shadows and the bright areas and delivers more saturated lifelike colors.

There are two HDR standards, with the first standard is PQ (ST2084). While there are three variations of PQ, most projectors are only compatible with HDR10 which is commonly used for UHD Blu-ray discs (4K movies) and recorded streaming content.

HDR10+ logo

The LS12000 supports HDR10+

The Pro Cinema LS12000 is one of the first Epson Home Theater projectors to support HDR10+. Like the more mainstream HDR10, both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision are also based on PQ (Perceptual Quantization) also called ST2084. The only difference between the three PQ based formats is what type of HDR metadata is delivered to a video display to help it tone map HDR content to fit a display’s brightness capabilities.

While the metadata in HDR10 content is static, in HDR10+ as well as Dolby Vision content, this metadata is dynamic. Since the luminance information for each scene is embedded into the content as dynamic metadata, tone mapping can be optimized scene by scene or frame by frame. This helps the projector faithfully reproduce the HDR images as intended by the creators.

While HDR10 and Dolby Vision is the main way HDR content is currently distributed, Amazon Prime Video has announced support for HDR10+. There is also a limited number of 4K UHD Blu-ray discs available and a select number of UHD BD players from companies like Panasonic support it.

The second HDR standard is HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and it was developed for live broadcast.

The Pro Cinema LS12000 supports HDR10+ and HDR10 and HLG. The LS12000 does not support Dolby Vision but most Dolby Vision content is either backward compatible with or available in HDR10 so owners will be able to enjoy 99% of HDR content available on the market now and in the future. 

FRAME INTERPOLATION

Every video company has some type of technology designed to reduce motion blur and improve the clarity of fast action content. Frame Interpolation compares consecutive image frames and inserts intermediate image frames between them resulting in smooth fast-moving video. While most manufacturers give it a proprietary name, Epson LS12000 just lists the feature as Frame Interpolation in its menu.

I never recommend using it when watching movies since it creates “soap opera” like video which changes the director’s intent. While motion processing normally isn’t required for 24P movie material, CFI can be beneficial when viewing sports.

While I normally wouldn’t turn on frame interpolation when viewing normal HDTV, when sports content there is definitely a benefit to smoother, clearer motion. The nice thing is that the feature includes multiple settings so you can dial in the effect to suit your personal taste.

On previous Epson pixel shifting projectors, this feature could not be combined with Pixel Shifting so it is only available when viewing 1080P content with 4K Enhancement set to OFF. The projector’s version of 4K UHD PRO was not fast enough to display double the visual frames and pixel shift at the same time.

However, the newer and far faster version of Epson's 4K UHD PRO technology built into the LS12000 allows simultaneous pixel shifting and frame interpolation for content below 120 Hz.

Frame Interpolation is only available when IMAGE PROCESSING is set to Fine in the projector's menu. When IMAGE PROCESSING is set to Fast, features like Frame Interpolation, Noise Reduction, and MPEG Noise Reduction are disabled to reduce input lag when gaming to as low as 20ms.

Hardware

While the LS12000 is larger than many single-chip DLP projectors, it is more compact than the native 4K home theater projector on the market. The LS12000 is approximately 20.5" wide x 21.9" deep x 16" high and it weighs about 28 pounds.

  • Epson LS12000 From the left
  • Epson LS12000 From the right
  • Epson LS12000 From the front
  • Epson LS12000 From the front left

The projector’s lens is located center of the front panel. To right and left sides of the lens panel are the air exhaust vents. The window for the IR remote receiver is located on the lower right side of the front panel as well. The top of the projector has status lights. On the left side of the chassis, there is an air intake vent. On the right side of the chassis, along with the power and input buttons, there is another air intake vent covered by an air filter.

The rear of the projector holds the power connector, a second IR remote receiver, the inputs, and connections. along with the projector’s control panel.

Epson LS12000 From the rear showing connection panel

The LS12000 includes two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs

There are dual 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 (HDCP 2.3) inputs that support 4K HDR at up to 120fps. There is a LAN connection and a single 12V trigger output which can be used to control a screen, the sled of an anamorphic lens, or motorized shades.

A traditional serial RS-232C port (DB9 connector) is also included for “old school” command and control. There is also a service port and security cable attachment point. There is a USB-A input with 5 Volt- 2.0A which is enough output to power/charge a streaming media player. The second USB connection is 300mA power port designed to power an active copper or optical HDMI cable.

As with many newer home theater projectors, many of the older “legacy” type inputs are gone, including a VGA input or component video and S-Video.

The Pro Cinema LS12000’s control panel is simple, but most people will only use the control panel for initial setup then rely on the remote control or a home automation system for those types of functions.

There’s a MENU button along with an ESC button that takes you back one level in the menu. You can use the four arrows for navigating the projector’s menu with an Enter button located in the center. Pressing the lens button toggles through the motorized Zoom, Shift, and Focus lens functions.

LENS

Epson VRX Cinema Lens Assembly

The Epson VRX Cinema Lens used in the LS12000 has a 15-element precision glass lens structure. It is designed to eliminate light leakage and deliver great edge-to-edge focus uniformity while maximizing image clarity. The lens on the Epson LS12000 has a zoom range of 2:1. Below are the throw distances for the LS12000 for filling a 100” 16:9 screen (measured from the front of the lens to the screen):

Closest: 118 inches (300 centimeters)

Furthest: 248 inches (630 centimeters)

The LS12000, like most premium 3LCD and LCoS based home theater projectors, offers a good amount of lens shift range while most DLP projectors usually offer less.

Lens Shift: -/+96.3% Vertical and -/+ 47.1% Horizontal

Vertical and horizontal lens shift is great if you can’t line up the projector lens with the center of the screen (left to right). Just remember, like most projectors, the more horizontal shift you use, the less vertical adjustment you will have available.

16:9 Aspect Ratio Throw Distances

Screen Size DiagonalThrow DistanceOffset From Lens Center
100 inches118 to 248 inches (300 to 630 cm)–71.7 to 22.7 inches (–182 to 58 cm)
150 inches178 to 373 inches (452 to 947 cm)–107.6 to 34 inches (–273 to 86 cm)
200 inches238 to 498 inches (604 to 1264 cm)–143.4 to 45.4 inches (–364 to 115 cm)
250 inches297 to 623 inches (756 to 1582 cm)–179.3 to 56.7 inches (–455 to 144 cm)

More lens adjustment (zoom and shift) increases installation flexibility making it easy to utilize projectors like the LS12000 in a variety of applications including ceiling or shelf mounting.

Motorized lens cover opens and closes when the unit is powered on and off

The LS12000 is also equipped with a motorized lens cover which automatically opens and closes when the projector is powered On and Off. This is a great feature because helps keeps the lens clean and dust free.

LENS

The Pro Cinema LS12000 includes a large backlit remote control. You have source input buttons along with all the normal buttons commonly used to navigate a projector’s menu.

In addition, there are several buttons to directly access many of the projector’s picture settings including Color Modes, Light Output, Image Enhancements.  Frame Interpolation and CMS adjustments just to name a few. It was nice not having to dig through several menu layers to make the most common setting adjustments.

Since the LS12000 does not have Dynamic HDR tone mapping, the HDR button is especially convenient for making quick on-the-fly adjustments to the HDR10/HDR10+ Setting menu to compensate for big swings in HDR scene brightness.

 

For customers with 2.35:1 screens, there are two lens memory buttons to quickly adjust the image position when switching from widescreen to 16:9 content. There are even buttons to control the playback of connected devices that support the HDMI CEC standard. While there were tons of buttons, due to its size, the remote control didn’t feel crowded.

LENS

The images of the menu shown in this section represent only a small number of all the sub-menus available. I tried to show a couple more notable sections found in the sub-menus (image, setting, and networking, etc.).

  • Epson LS12000 menu
  • Epson LS12000 menu

LS12000 has an extensive but well-organized menu

The menu system of the LS12000 is well organized and easy to navigate. There are a lot of settings on multiple pages so I like that many of the picture adjustments can be directly accessed via discrete buttons on the remote control.

AUDIBLE NOISE

While we do not measure audible noise, this LS12000 seems to be quieter with most of the Home Theater projectors. The noise level is on par with other premium home theater projectors from manufacturers like Sony and JVC.

There is a noticeable increase in fan noise when switching from ECO (22dB) to high (30dB). Since the LS12000’s chassis is big enough to utilize larger slower moving fans this helps muffle the exhaust noise. Most of the time, even when watching HDR, I didn’t find the LS12000 fan noise distracting.

PERFORMANCE

COLOR REPRODUCTION

I would rate the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 picture quality out of the box as great. Most of the picture modes were accurate. Of the four different preset SDR picture modes available, the NATURAL mode was the most accurate.

  • Epson LS12000 color depth
  • Epson LS12000 color depth
  • Epson LS12000 color depth
  • Epson LS12000 color depth

The Epson LS12000 color reproduction was great out of the box.

CINEMA and BRIGHT CINEMA both produced a good picture, but the color temperature was a little cooler. In addition, BRIGHT CINEMA also delivered more brightness with boosted contrast which could be beneficial in a room with some ambient light.

The VIVID mode was the brightest mode, but it was also the least accurate. While out of the box. There may be times like watching a sporting event during the day where the extra brightness provided by the VIVID mode is worth the sacrifice.

To achieve the best out-of-the-box SDR picture, I chose the NATURAL mode which the color temp was closest to my 6500K target. In this mode, the Light Power is set to 75% but if more brightness is desired, increasing the Light Power to 100% had very little effect on color reproduction.

Whether looking at SDR or HDR content, the color reproduction was very good. Most users would be satisfied with the picture quality of the Epson LS12000 right out of the box. However, like all Home Theater projectors, I took the time to calibrate the unit.

Since your room and screen material has a major impact on the overall picture, I don’t recommend using someone else’s calibration adjustments. If your room is brighter/darker or your walls are a different color, copying someone else’s results can actually be detrimental to the picture quality rather than improving it.

Just as an example, I am including the before and after results of calibration for my specific room and screen. To test the projector’s color accuracy, we use Portrait Displays Calman color calibration software.

Pre-Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

The projector’s NATURAL picture mode was very close to my color temperature target of 6500K. In addition to very accurate Grayscale out of the box. The projector color tacking was also outstanding out of the box. Lastly, the Gamma measurement pre-calibration was very close to my target of 2.2.
We calibrated the NATURAL mode for SDR viewing in a room with low ambient light.

  • Picture Mode: Natural
  • Color Temperature: 6742K
  • Average Color Tracking dE: 0.84
  • Average Grayscale dE: 3.52
  • Gamma: 2.11

Post-Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

The color temperature was already very close to our 6500K, so we left the COLOR TEMP at its default of 6500K. To produce good grayscale (RGB Balance), I reduced the BLUE GAIN and GREEN GAIN and I made a small adjustment to the GREEN OFFSET. This resulted in a color temp much closer to my target of 6500K.

We set the GAMMA SETTING to Custom and made some multipoint adjustments to achieve a flatter 2.2 gamma measurement.

While the LS12000 offers CMS adjustments, after adjusting the projector grayscale, the average color tracking dE was just 0.84 so there really isn’t a need to make any adjustments.

  • Picture Mode: Natural
  • Color Temperature: 6488K
  • Average Color Tracking dE: 0.84
  • Average Grayscale dE: .75
  • Gamma: 2.16

Delta E as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy of 3 and under is considered ‘Excellent’ and imperceptible by the human eye. Even before calibration, the LS12000 had an average Grayscale dE of around 3.5 which is good. After calibration, the projector’s average color dE was just .75, which is outstanding.

The picture from most projectors that utilize a blue laser phosphor light source is usually way too cool out of the box but the LS12000 was very close to my 6500K target.

You may have noticed that color tracking measurements in the pre and post-calibration images above look nearly identical. This is because, once the RGB balance was adjusted, the color tracking was outstanding with an average dE of just 0.84, so we didn’t feel the need to make a lot of CMS adjustments. We just increased the red, blue, and magenta color saturation slightly.

Like SDR, the color reproduction and grayscale of the Natural mode when viewing HDR content was very good right out of the box. However, adjusting a quick adjustment to the BLUE GAIN produced a good RGB balance (Grayscale). The color tracking of DCI-P3 was excellent as well.

The LS12000 does not have Dynamic HDR tone mapping, however, there is an HDR button on the remote control. This is especially convenient for making quick on-the-fly adjustments to the HDR10/HDR10+ Setting menu to compensate for big swings in HDR scene brightness.

HDR Post-Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

Epson LS12000 color calibration

HDR measurements were great after calibrating SDR

From the remote control, you also have access to the ten configurable picture setting memories. These memories can be used to store picture settings after calibration such as “SDR Bright”, “SDR Dark Room” and “HDR” mode.

While there was some improvement to the picture after calibration, the difference was not dramatic. The colors and skin tones looked great the instant I turned the unit on. I would be satisfied with the picture quality of the LS12000 whether it was calibrated or not.

BRIGHTNESS

  • Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Brightness
  • Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Brightness
  • Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Brightness
  • Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Brightness

The LS12000 has a related brightness of 2700 ANSI lumens

The Pro Cinema LS12000 is rated for 2700 lumens and like most Epson projectors, in its brightest mode, the projector delivered close to the manufacturer’s claimed brightness.

We measured its brightest mode, DYNAMIC, at wide-angle – this is with the iris wide open, so the most amount of light gets through. We took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens.

Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Brightness (wide zoom Dynamic mode): 2673 Lumens

The DYNAMIC mode measured 2,673 lumens in wide zoom while still delivering good out the box picture quality. We also measured the other preset picture modes with the Light Output set to 100%.

Brightness Per Picture Mode

Color ModeLumens (100% Light Output)Color Temperature
Dynamic26737561K
Vivid17899701K
Bright Cinema18977817K
Cinema18347627K
Natural18056742K

When the NATURAL picture mode which is the most accurate mode is selected, the Light Output is reduced to 75% however, the output can be increased to 100% when very little impact of color reproduction.

Switching the LS12000 lamp to ECO reduces audible noise and further increases laser life at the expense of light output. However, the image on a 100” screen was still bright enough for SDR viewing in a darken environment.

Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 picture qualityEpson Pro Cinema LS12000 brightness 1

While many 4K capable DLP projectors at this price point can produce higher max brightness, their brightness advantage quickly disappears once those projectors are calibrated.

In addition, single-chip DLP projectors that have relatively low color light output (compared to its white light output) don’t often produce bright rich colors. However, the LS12000 can deliver an equal amount of color and white lumens. This ensures the bright colors of your favorite team’s uniform look vibrant and realistic.

BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL

In a dark environment, the ability to produce more contrast offers a massive benefit. The native contrast of the Pro Cinema LS12000 was well above average. When the Dynamic Contrast feature is engaged the LS12000 has rated Dynamic Contrast Ratio of was just 2,500,000:1.

The high contrast 3LCD panels delivered excellent black level and shadow detail

While the black level was great, details in the dark areas of the screen were still visible. I would say the blacks and contrast are on par with Sony SXRD and JVC DILA models which are LCoS equipped projectors. There are very few single-chip DLP projectors that can match the native contrast of the LS12000.

In a room with higher ambient light, since our eyes are less sensitive to blacks, the contrast benefit is greatly reduced. In a bright room, higher brightness provides a higher perceived level of contrast. The Pro Cinema LS12000 rated brightness of 2700 lumens will make both SDR/HDR images pop in a family or game room.

SDR PICTURE QUALITY

Most TV shows and live broadcasts will be in HD for at least several more years so good 4K upscaling is still critically important. Due to Epson’s new ZX Processor, the projector did an excellent job upscaling. Whether I was watching 720P sports form ESPN or 1080p Blu-ray content, it looked very good.

Most 4K movies do not have enough fine detail to make the difference between watching 4K SDR and upscaled HD noticeable. You can even fine-tune the amount of detail displayed using one of the Image Preset modes or the Super resolution / Detail Enhancements settings.

The ZX processor combined with improved faster pixel shift results in better frame interpolation for smoother clear motion, this has real benefits when watching live sports. The LS12000 can produce 2,673 ANSI lumens which allow for daytime viewing of live sports or TV shows in a room with higher ambient light. Even though I have a 75” flat panel in my media room, choose to use LS12000 for daytime viewing on my 120” Screen Innovations Slate ALR screen.

  • Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 SDR picture quality
  • Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 SDR picture quality

4K SDR and upscaled HD material looked outstanding right out of the box

While most Blu-ray UHD content is available in HDR10, a lot of 4K streaming material is still only 4K SDR. The LS12000 did a good job delivering a detailed 4K image. The LS12000 is equipped with Epson’s latest version of pixel-shifting (4K PRO UHD) so it does a very good job emulating the original 4K content.

If you did a side-by-side comparison with a native 4K projector, the resolution difference might be visible up close looking at 4K test patterns. However, it is doubtful it would be noticeable watching most movies, streaming or broadcast content, especially from a normal viewing distance.

HDR PICTURE QUALITY

With the introduction of the Apple 4K TV, the amount of HDR streaming movie content has increased dramatically. 4K HDR content can deliver expanded color space with better highlight and shadow detail, but even the brightest HDR projectors can struggle to faithfully reproduce HDR.

  • Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 HDR picture quality

Even though the LS12000 is not equipped with dynamic HDR tone mapping, HDR10 content looked very good of the LS12000

The Pro Cinema LS12000, like most HDR projectors, utilizes tone mapping which attempts to maintain bright highlight details and deliver decent full-screen brightness. The Pro Cinema LS12000 has adjustments so you can manually change the projector’s HDR tone mapping to fit your taste. Increasing HDR10/HDR10+ Setting makes bright highlights more visible at the expense of overall screen brightness.

For example, the images below are from the Meg which is a challenging movie to playback in HDR10. They show how increasing HDR10/HDR10+ Setting from to 13 reduces the number of clipped highlights making the clouds in the sky more visible.

Increasing HDR10/HDR10+ Setting reduces clipping of bright highlights (clouds in the sky) at the expense of overall screen brightness

While the LS12000 doesn’t have the ability to dynamically tone map HDR10+, for most HDR10 content, I choose an HDR10/HDR10+ Setting of 9 because it offered the best balance of highlight detail and screen brightness on the 100” matte white screen in my lab.

The Epson LS12000 can reproduce 87% of DCI-P3. While some home theater projectors equipped with color filters can reproduce a wider color gamut, colors still look rich and vibrant.

Engaging a color filter on a projector can reduce the unit’s overall brightness by 25% to 30%. When viewing HDR, I think the benefits of higher brightness out weights the advantages of a wider color gamut reproduction, so I normally do not utilize the color filter anyway.

Since the Pro Cinema LS12000 is a 3LCD projector, unlike most single-chip projectors, it can reproduce an equal amount of color lumens as white lumens which results in higher color volume which is also beneficial when viewing HDR.

SUMMARY

Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 hot product award

Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 deliver outstanding performance at less than $5000 dollars

Improved 4K pixel shifting, HDR compatibility combined with high brightness provided by its laser light source makes the Pro Cinema LS12000 a great value. The ability to deliver a rated 2700 lumens ensures that HDR and SDR content looks good even in rooms with higher ambient light.

While the blue laser phosphor light source delivers high brightness, the high contrast 3LCD panels produce a great black level and excellent shadow detail.

LS12000 has dual HDMI 2.1 (48Gpbs) so it can accept 4K/120fps HDR content. It can also playback not HDR10 and HLG but also HDR10+ so you can enjoy both prerecorded and live HDR content.

48Gbps HDMI Inputs support gaming in 4K HDR at 120 frames per second

Epson’s proven pixel-shifting technology has been improved so delivers more visible resolution than a standard 1080P 3LCD projector. A new Precision Shift Glass Plate is which is quicker, and quieter can reproduce double the on-screen resolution of older Epson pixel shifting Pro Cinema projectors like the award winning 6050UB and LS10500. The pixel shifting is so fast it is difficult to differentiate between a native 4K projector and the LS12000.

While Pro Cinema LS12000 motorized lens assembly utilizes a high-quality multi-element structure to ensure a crisp sharp onscreen image.

Overall, the LS12000 provides a good balance of performance and value. It proves that a good projected image doesn’t have to be overly expensive. Just add a projection screen and for under $6000 total, you can bring a compelling home theater experience to any room.

Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 features

The Pro Cinema LS12000 strikes a fine balance between performance and value. Yes, Epson sells projectors with better black levels, higher contrast, and more features but the Pro Cinema LS12000 is not designed for those customers.

As I mentioned earlier, many higher-end home theater projectors like the Home Cinema LS12000 have better black levels and higher contrast which is beneficial in a darkened theater or room with lighting control.

Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 picture quality

High Contrast 3LCD Panels deliver great black level with excellent shadow detail

In a family or game room, where brightness is probably more important than black level, the Pro Cinema LS12000’s rated brightness of 2700 lumens ensures that images pop even in rooms with high ambient light.

The Pro Cinema LS12000 uses high-quality lenses with motorized focus shift and zoom. The projector also includes lens memory so picture position (zoom, shift, focus) can be adjusted based on the content aspect ratio at the touch of a button. Motorized lens memories are vital when utilizing a masking screen or an external anamorphic lens.

The one feature that has been removed from the LS12000 is 3D support. While most movie studios have stopped distributing consumer 3D content in order to focus HDR, there are many enthusiasts with large collections of 3D material. Most flat-panel TV manufacturers stopped supporting 3D several years ago so it was only a matter of time before projector manufacturers stop supporting the format as well. However, the feature will be missed by many home theater enthusiasts.

The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 includes most of the features that customers looking for a premium home theater would need at a price far lower than the competitive Sony and JVC models. Currently, you would have to spend double the price of an LS12000 for a native 4K LCoS laser projector like the DLA-NZ7.  Epson’s ultimate goal is to deliver the best bang for the buck, and I believe they succeeded.

Epson LS12000 and LS11000

Pro Cinema LS12000 ($4999 SRP) and Home Cinema LS1100 ($3999 SRP)

For those with smaller budgets, Epson has also introduced the Home Cinema LS11000 which retails for $3999. For an additional $1000, the Pro Cinema LS12000 has a slightly higher claimed brightness of 2700 lumens and more than double the dynamic and native contrast. It also includes additional aspect ratio mode adjustments for compatibility with 3rd party anamorphic lenses. 

The Pro Cinema LS12000 projector's black levels are better and its contrast is higher than the Home Cinema LS11000 contrast, but these things are only beneficial in a darkened theater or room with lots of light control. The Home Cinema LS11000 is a great option for someone who wants to enjoy HDR movies and high frame-rate gaming in a family room or multi-purpose space.

Overall we were incredibly impressed with the LS12000 and I would be happy to have this projector as part of my personal home theater system. Due to its performance, feature set, and price point, we are giving the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 a hot product award.

EPSON PRO CINEMA LS12000 - PROS AND CONS

Pros

  • 2,400 lumens (color and white)
  • Laser Light Source rated to 20,000 hours
  • Native 1080P 3LCD Panels
  • Latest version of 4K PRO UHD deliver 8.3 million visible pixels onscreen
  • Excellemt black level and shadow detail
  • Support HDR10+
  • Great color out of the box (calibration controls available)
  • Dual HDCP 2.1 (48Gbps) compatible with 4K@120p HDR content
  • Good motion performance and 4K upscaling
  • Picture Setting Memories (9 memories)
  • 3-year parts/labor warranty

Cons

  • 3D is not supported
  • Lacks dynamic HDR tonemapping

EPSON LS12000 – SPECIFICATIONS

Epson LS12000 From the front right

Epson LS12000 Specs

Projector ModelLS12000
Technology 
Price$4999
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 
Brightness DescriptionLaser
Contrast Ratio 
Projection 
Native Resolution 
Max Resolution4096x2160
3DNo
Blue RayNo
Ultra Short ThrowNo
Native Aspect Ratio18
Video Compatiblity720p, 1080i, 1080p, UHD, 4K
HDTV720p, 1080i, 1080p
Lamp Life20,000 hours
Noise Level (-db)22dB (Eco)
AudioNone
DVI or HDMIYes
Power Zoom FocusYes
Lens ShiftYes
LAN NetworkingNo
Zoom Lens Ratio2.00:1
Optional LensNo
ClassroomNo
SpeakersNo
Special FeaturesHDR10/HLG compatibility, 4K PRO UHD
Wireless NetworkingNo
Dimensions27.8" x 21.9" x 7.6"
Weight28.0
Warranty3 year
Year2022

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