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Epson Pro-Cinema LS9600e Projector Review - Performance

Posted on March 13, 2015 by Art Feierman
EPSON PRO-CINEMA LS9600e PROJECTOR:  Brightness, Effective of Lens Position and Iris, Contrast, Pre-Calibration Greyscale and Color
Dynamic 1147 @ 6928
Living Room 745 @ 9203
Natural 898 @ 7079
THX 708 @ 7076
Cinema 779 @ 8201
B&W 776 @ 5868

* Note:  The light meter that I used to make the above measurements produces lumens values lower than for the home theater projector reviews (from 2014 and 2015) that were written by Art and for which the lumens measurements were done by Mike. 

It appears that my meter produces values that are at least 10% lower than the meter being used by Mike.  While my meter has produced reading consistent with manufacturer's published maximum lumen specifications for perhaps 10 other Epson projectors that have tested and/or reviewed over the past year (several were business or classroom projectors), my maximum measured lumens for the LS9600e, even when the projector was configured for maximum light output, fell about 8% short of Epson's claimed 1300 lumens (see below). 

This may have something to do with this projector using a laser light source and the spectrum of the light having somewhat different characteristics than produced by conventional lamp-based projectors.  My best assessment is the actual lumens values are probably about 10% higher than those shown in the table above.


All of the  measured lumens shown in this table are with the zoom lens set to its mid-point, with the power set to high mode (for max. laser light output), the manual iris fully open and with the various other picture adjustments at the factory default settings.  Some addition a lumens can be obtained by setting the lens for maximum zoom (see below).

The laser light source has different 3 power settings.  The highest output mode is called "Extra Bright" in some picture modes but "High" in other picture modes.  Then there is a Normal or Middle brightness mode that reduces the light output by about 20% and an Eco mode reduces the light output by 40%.  I did note these values are a little different to what we (actually Mike) measured for the LS10000 and perhaps this was the result of using a different picture mode or just a difference between these two models.

Effect of Zoom Lens Position and Iris Setting on Brightness

Effect of Zoom on Lumen Output in Dynamic Mode
Zoom Setting Lumen Output*
Zoom Out (Max. Zoom) 1202
Mid-Zoom 1147
Zoom In (Min. Zoom) 946

* Note:  As discussed above, the actual brightness values may be approximately 10% to higher than listed in this table (for comparison to other reviews), due to differences in the light meters being used.

The optics of this Epson seem to be very good to excellent.  It’s interesting that Epson states that the zoom range is 2.1:1 same as many other Epsons (like the UBs), but the specs are otherwise different.   Per the specs, there should be slightly less difference in brightness between wide angle, mid-zoom, and telephoto, and the measurements in this table back that up.    It is clearly marked as a Fujinon lens, which is what Epson’s been using for years on their UB and some other projectors.

Since we primarily use mid-zoom brightness in most discussions, and there’s often a 10-25+ percent drop from closest to mid-zoom, then in this case if you can use the closest placement you won’t see as big a jump in lumens.  In this case, only about 5%, and just 27% drop going from maximum to minimum zoom, while most previous Epson’s dropped over 35%.

For those mounting further back in their rooms, that also means that the projector hasn’t lost as much brightness, say on a rear shelf compared to up front, as most projectors that feature a lens with a zoom ratio of 2:1 or more.

The LS9600e also has a mechanical iris that can be adjusted through the projector's menu.  This is not an automatic nor dynamic iris, rather, the user just manually sets to the either fully open position (i.e., a zero setting) or to setting of -1 to -11, where each additional step closes the iris down a little more.  Going from setting the iris to fully open to the maximum closed position reduces the projector's light output by 22.4%, as measured in calibrated mode.

Based on a comment sent to me by a LS10000 owner, I have verified one odd characteristic for adjusting the iris. In the 1st case when moving the setting from 0 (fully open) to a setting of 8 and measuring the light level from the projector, then for the 2nd case starting with a setting of -11 (max. closed) and then moving the setting to again -8.  The measured light level for the 1st case will be about 5% higher than for the 2nd case.  Not really a big difference, but just an odd thing about how the projector's adjustment is operating the iris.

Pre-Calibration Greyscale and Color

I selected the projector's Natural Picture Mode as the starting point for the calibration as this mode had similar color accuracy as the THX mode, but with higher lumens output.  Below are the pre-calibration grey scale and color gamut that I measured for the Natural picture mode.

Pre-Calibration Grey Scale for Natural Picture Mode

Pre-Calibration Grey Scale for Natural Picture Mode

The average color temperature in this mode was 7079K, or more than 500K too high.  The grey scale dE value averaged 5.5 and varied between 3.3 and 7.3 over the range of 20% to 100%.  Gamma averaged 2.19 and varied only between 2.15 and 2.24.

Pre-Calibration Color Gamut for Natural Picture Mode

Pre-Calibration Color Gamut for Natural Picture Mode

The color gamut with the out-of-the-box settings for Natural mode were actually very good as measured at 100% color saturation levels.  The dE measured no more than 2.5 with Blue and Cyan being the only two colors with dEs of greater than 2.0

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