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InFocus IN82 Projector: Black Levels and Shadow Detail

Posted on October 4, 2007 by Art Feierman
Black levels of the IN82 were, as mentioned at the beginning of this projector review, as very good. And that's a really good term for them, when compared to other 1080p projectors. They are superior to a number of less expensive 1080p projectors, most notable the LCD projectors already shipping (Epson Cinema 1080 series, Mitsubishi HC5000 and HC4900, and DLP projectors like the Optoma HD80 and HD8000. In fact, of the DLP home theater projectors reviewed so far, it's probably closest to the two Optoma step up models, the HD81, and the top of the line HD81-LV. The InFocus IN82, however falls a little short of the Sharp XV-Z20000, and a bit further behind the reigning champ, the DiLA (LCos) JVC DLA-RS1, and the other LCos, the Sony Pearl (VW50). Nevermind their announced replacements, the Sony VW60 and JVC RS2, which are even better than the current models.

So, where does that leave us? With a projector that combines very good black levels with a very bright image. Too small a screen, unless you damp down the brightness (lamp on low, closing down the iris), and the "blacks" become too light of a dark gray, and a bit annoying in a fully darkened room. Fortunately that's all under your control, including a screen choice, which we will discuss in the next page.

Let's look at a few images that will help you get a handle on black levels. Most of these images are in most recent reviews, and some, have been used for a couple of years.

The first image is from Space Cowboys (I love space images, as most of you have figured out by now), and looks pretty good. All the stars are there, and the blacks look very black, but not quite what I would call that magical "inky" black, that only a small handful of projectors can achieve.

IN82 Home Theater Projector: Shadow Detail Performance

While black levels were very good, the IN82 was definitely better in terms of revealing shadow details. To do so, you not only need some really good black level capability, but contrast, brightness and gamma all impact what you end up seeing.

The first image is from Space Cowboys, the re-entry scene:

IN82 spacecowboys re-entry lg
xzv20000 SpaceCowboys re-entry overLg
hc4900 SpaceCowoboys reentryOverLg




The purpose here is to see how much detail is there in the dark areas on the right and bottom right. Now, if you compare this image with the similar one on other reviews, you'll find that there are differences in exposure. Most are close, but not all. You'll have to "compensate" to figure out which ones are really best (or take my word)? The thumbnail image on the right is from the Sharp XV-Z20000, which has the best black levels of any of the single chip DLP projectors tested.

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