Projector Reviews

HC720 Projector Brightness

I can start by saying the Epson is generally well endowed when it comes to lumens. Because it is one of the brightest projectors, I’ll start with Dynamic mode, its brightest. While this mode is anything but color accurate, it really does cut right through the ambient light, and with a little tuning, you can much improve picture quality with only a small loss of lumens.

Dynamic mode measured a healthy 1613 lumens with the lens set in the center position. I don’t measure closest and furthest zoom positions separately, but you can figure roughly 30% less for maximum zoom (smallest image from a given distance), and 30% more for full wide angle. So, even on long telephoto, the projector should kick out over 1100 lumens, and produce more than 2000 in closest position (wide-angle).

Epson, like most, pushes up green, as well as other things for their dynamic mode. I usually don’t bother creating a “better” brightest mode, but in this case, I decided to see if I could get a much better looking image without sacrificing lots of lumens. You’ll find those settings below in the Calibration section.

The retuned Dynamic mode was still very bright for a home theater projector, outputting 1337 lumens!

OK, now that we have brightest, out of the way, I’ll list most of the others, starting with best mode:

Theater Black 1: 371 lumens – This is technically the best movie watching mode (and quietest), although many people who aren’t perfectionists may prefer slightly brighter modes that don’t sacrifice significant picture quality.

BTW, after I fine tuned Theater Black 1 mode, it actually was about 12 lumens brighter.

Theater Mode: Unlike Theater Black 1, the fan runs louder. Surprisingly it wasn’t significantly brighter, measuring 392 lumens.

Natural mode, did much better in terms of brightness, with 476 lumens.

HC720 bond lake theaterblack1 brightness
HC720 bond lake theatre brightness
HC720 bond lake natural brightness
HC720 bond lake livingroom brightness
HC720 bond lake dynamic brightness

That takes us to Living Room mode, which for some reason was a real mess from a color temperature standpoint. As such, I won’t bother you with the lumen rating at default Living Room mode. However, I spent some time and significantly improved the picture quality. And, to my amazement, after adjustment, the Living Room mode ended up siginficantly brighter as well.

The final number for Living Room Mode: 929 lumens!

I don’t measure the sRGB mode as few will ever use it, and on most HT projectors that have it, they have very limited controls. There is also a Theater Black 2 mode, which per the manual is best primarily for black and white movies. I didn’t measure, but it is probably similar or a touch lower to Theater Black 2.

Here is a sequence of the same image, (from Casino Royale, Blu-ray), taken at the same exposure, to show the relative brightness difference between the various Color mode presets. As a result the darker modes are dark, the brighter ones appear much brighter:

Note: remember this is for comparing brightness, because the lower ones are brighter, they are overexposed and washed out looking. You can also see each mode correctly exposed, in the Image Quality section.