Projector Reviews

Epson Pro L1755UNL Laser Projector Review- Picture Quality

Epson Pro L1755UNL Laser Projector Review – Picture Quality: Color Reproduction, Black Levels & Shadow Detail, Pixel Shifting vs Native 4K Resolution, Incorporating Pixel Shifting With Other Features

The Epson Pro L1755UNL’s picture quality is excellent with most modes offering nice color right out of the box. There were no visible indications that the projector is using a laser light engine instead of a lamp based one. Early laser projectors’ imagery had “sparkle” that is not visible on this projector.

With an advertised 15,000 lumens, the projector was blazingly bright. At full brightness level, its light output was way more than what was required for my 120-inch screen, even under full ambient lighting. The projector’s brightness could be tamed in my theater by using its Cinema color mode and setting its Light Source mode to “Quiet”.  While the Pro L1755 was still much brighter than my reference 4K projector, the additional brightness really increased color saturation which made the projected image look similar to an ultra large flat panel TV.

Ultimately, the L1755UNL reminded me of most other Epson projectors, in terms of color handling and contrast (except for how the unit handles black frames). 

COLOR REPRODUCTION

As mentioned, overall color proved to be very good. The Cinema and BT709 color modes both produced very respectable skin tones. For those who want to further fine tune the Pro L1755UNL color reproduction, there are additional advanced color adjustments including color temperature and RGB balance (Gain, Offset).  While I am including sample photos, please be advised that it is difficult to truly evaluate color accuracy because some color information and details are always lost when photographing content that has been projected onto a screen. This is further complicated by massive photo file compression, and the ability of your display (computer or mobile device) to accurately reproduce color and contrast.

Looking at the images on the player above, the first are our test images of color pie charts and skin tones, for the different Preset modes. Next are images of a variety of videos and photos in 4K and HD resolution. Like all our photos, they remain unadjusted for color, so they do not look as good as what the projector produced. Note: Even Dynamic mode (the brightest) shows good reds and very respectable yellows, which is normally a huge challenge for many projectors in any of their brighter modes, especially all those single-chip DLP projectors that have relatively low Color Light Output (compared to white light output).

While cooler than Cinema mode the images that look especially good (best whites) were taken using Presentation mode. This shows that even when the Pro L1755UNL’s second brightest mode is utilized, it could still reproduced natural looking whites. In my home theater after a few quick picture adjustments (Cinema color mode, Quiet brightness mode, 6500K color temperature with a gamma of 2.4), the Pro L1755UNL was an excellent replacement for my reference home theater projector while delivering an incredible amount of brightness.

BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL

Overall, black level performance, is very good. While transmissive LCD panels, such as those in the L series, can’t match the native contrast of a DLP projector, these Epson’s have the equivalent to a dynamic iris (better really, in some ways). The laser light engine can brighten and dim to perform the same benefits on dark scenes as an iris. On black frames, that contain no content, the laser engine shuts down completely producing a true black frame, which lamp projectors just can’t do regardless of whether they are DLP, 3LCD or LCoS.  

Dark shadow detail could have been a touch better even after adjusting the projector. They weren’t bad but some far less expensive home theater projectors, including many Epsons, can do better job. However, in most large venue applications (churches, concerts, museums, etc.) ambient light wouldn’t allow you to fully appreciate any additional black level and shadow detail, so most would sacrifice little for the added dynamic range provided by Pro L1755UNL brightness.

While better blacks may be achievable, I believe this Epson has what it takes to display some pretty critical content such as projecting in a museum setting or for displaying photography/videography in general. Also, having so much brightness available increases visible dynamic range, especially in room with medium to high ambient light which really made the colors pop.

PIXEL SHIFTING VS NATIVE 4K RESOLUTION

We discussed this topic earlier in the Special Features section, but since it has a major impact on picture quality, I wanted to spend a little more time discussing the topic and provide some additional photos showing what a difference the pixel shifting can make.

This Epson projector, thanks to its ability to process and pixel shift 1080 and WUXGA (2K) content, produces images that simply look sharper than the typical WUXGA projector.

Having pixel shifting would enhance the Pro L1755UNL’s value proposition compared to other commercial WUXGA projectors, even if it couldn’t handle 4K content.

It is true that the sharpness and detail providing pixel shifting 2K content will not match the sharpness and detail of true 4K material, so it is great that the Pro L1755UNL can also accept a nature 4K signal at up to 60FPS. True 4K content is processed and pixel shifting is applied to produce a sharper looking image. Since the projector’s native resolution is approximately 2.3 MP, it won’t be as sharp/detailed as a true 4K projector (8.8 MP resolution).

So could the Epson’s ability to process and pixel shift true 4K content be enough for someone to choose it over a true 4K projector when the need is for projecting native 4K content? In many cases, the answer could be yes, especially when cost is considered an important factor.

The images above are screenshots of projected 4K material. First are close ups showing the same image with Pixel Shifting Off and On. They really highlight how much this feature increases the clarity and detail of a WUXGA projector. While most 4K material just doesn’t contain enough fine details to see the difference between 4K and Pixel Shifting at a distance, the difference is noticeable in 4K content containing thin lines and small text. While Pixel Shifting does provide more clarity the Pro L1775UNL still can’t match the resolution provided by my reference native 4K projector.

As also mentioned earlier, a 6000 lumen 4K projector is in the $50K and up range so due solely to cost it is likely that some AV/IT decision makers may choose the Pro L1755UNL over native 4K even if the content being shown is primarily 4K. In many situations, the average person, at most viewing distances, couldn’t discern the difference between a 2K pixel shifting projector and a true 4K unit. So, unless you are really close to the screen looking at highly detailed 4K material, a true 4K project may not be worth the price premium.

Tough call, but with current true 4K non-home theater projectors being as expensive as they are, I suspect that projectors like this Epson will win a high percentage of 4K capable projectors’ market share. This will be true until we see dramatic price drops in the true 4K large venue projectors to make them more price competitive. After all, the Pro L1755UNL is less than half the price of a current true 4K, 6000 lumen model, yet it produces 15,000 lumens making it 2 ½ times as bright! In many situations the benefit of extra brightness far exceeds the benefits of additional resolution.

Bottom Line: Epson Pro L1755UNL’s picture quality is obviously enhanced by all this 4K processing, and pixel shifting. While the difference seen in our example images varies from subtle to blatant, the content projected always looks better with pixel shifting On compared to pixel shifting Off. It is true that a comparable 4K projector does offer higher resolution, but they cost 4-8 times more than this pixel shifting 2K projector. True 4K projectors are going to be hard to justify in most situations even when 4K content will be used.

INCORPORATING PIXEL SHIFTING WITH OTHER FEATURES

All this talk about pixel shifting is great stuff when you are running a single projector. However, if you are going to run a multi-projector setup and utilize features like edge-blending or projection mapping, you can’t apply pixel shifting. 

Of course, if you have a 4×4 matrix of these projectors utilizing edge blending there is enough resolution to handle a true 8K image without pixel shifting (no harm, no foul).

Also, other features CFI, (smooth motion) and mpeg noise will not work with pixel shifting.

PIxel Shifting can not be combined with several features

Bottom line: There may be times when you have to trade the extra sharpness/detail provided by pixel shifting in exchange for benefits offered by a different feature. Overall, if it’s sharpness/detail you are after, the other limitations are not likely to be all that important by comparison.

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