DLA-RS35 vs. InFocus IN83 and SP8602-2

That’s only until you hit the first dark scene, and the JVC RS35’s black levels just destroy the IN83’s best on those dark scenes. Black levels aren’t even close, as you can see from these three side by side images. The first is simply a black image (between scenes). Since neither projector uses a dynamic iris, what you see, is what you get. Remember we overexpose these images (to varying degrees) to make the differences easy to see (JVC is on the right side in all of these images):

Next is a scene with almost no bright areas, from Men In Black. This is an excellent example of the difference in black level handling between these two. The first pair is more overexposed to show differences, the second is closer to what you will see on your screen:

Click to enlarge. SO close

Reminder – all the images above are the IN83 vs. the older RS20. Back to the present and continuing on:

One advantage not mentioned above: The DLA-RS35, unlike the RS20, offers Creative Frame Interpolation, which the IN83 lacks. The SP8602 does have CFI and it works very nicely. I haven’t used it that much but, it seems for most of its work, it’s a slow moving iris – sort of the rubber band type. I tend to find it easier to spot on indoor scenes than on really dark ones. On indoor scenes, where it’s not too bright, and the iris has some flexibility, if, say a man wearing a white shirt crosses in front of the camera a few feet away, you can see the whole scene brighten slowly as the iris has to open all the way, then as the person passes.

Click Image to Enlarge

Click to enlarge. SO close

If you don’t care that much about outstanding black levels, but want a killer, razor sharp projector, with great skin tones and lots of bright, then… if you can still find an IN83 at a great price, definitely consider it. For those with more pocket change, look for my review of the SP8602 because it may be one of the few new projectors that can really give the JVC RS35 a run for the money.

The SP8602 with its much improved black levels has made great gains, but also gave up a bunch of lumens. We’re tracking it as noted at 570 “best”, mid-zoom and 936 max at wide angle, in “brightest” mode. InFocus says the projector we have should be doing no less than 1100 lumens as they have the quality control testing numbers in house. Thus, it’s on its way back. They will remeasure. If it turns out this one does perform as we have found, they will send another, swearing it will do at least 1100.

Click Image to Enlarge

And that folks, makes a big difference. Another 15% would make 570 “best” mode lumens into about 650 lumens, and of course about 870 in “brightest” mode (at mid-zoom. That would bring it a lot closer to the JVC in best mode, and put the two on about even footing in brightest.

Still the InFocus’es strength, compared to the RS35 is price. It’s half – at $4999. It’s still $3000 less than the RS25.

If the SP8602 InFocus ends up having the higher lumen amount, then you have a projector with good blacks vs. the best blacks, period. You have a projector that’s easily razor sharp, compared to the first LCoS projector I’ve seen that I can call “razor sharp” at all. Both have excellent color. The SP8602’s overall look though, does have a bit more “pop” to the colors, compared to the slightly softer colors and more “natural” feel to the JVC.

Think this way. You love the JVC RS25 but want the sharpness of an InFocus – that’s when you buy the RS35, if you can afford, because it gives you that, plus world class black level performance. Another way you might think of the SP8602, would be like having an RS35, but with just a little less placement flexibility, but limited (but very good) black level performance, instead of best possible blacks.

JVC DLA-RS35 vs. Panasonic PT-AE4000

If you forget about feature differences like the Panasonic’s Lens Memory (anamorphic) aspects, this is a straight case of very good projector vs. a far superior projector. (And an appropriate price difference.)

Consider the PT-AE4000 a poor mans JVC DLA-RS10, or RS15 projector. It can’t match the black performance of the RS10, even with it’s dynamic iris, nevermind the RS35’s. That said, the Panasonic still has very good black level performance.

They both have 2:1 zooms, lens shift (the Panny has more), both lenses are motorized (although the PT-AE4000’s lens shift is manual

Colors, Panasonic while most impressive is definitely not in the league of the RS35. The thing is, when I viewed them side by side, even dropping the JVC’s lumens down to match (with the manual iris), the JVC image just had more “pop and wow”!

And the RS35 (and RS25), have much better black performance than the RS10 or RS15, which means even more “pop”, especially on darker scenes.

It’s a case of two grand vs $10000.

And of couse, all the JVC’s (the old RS2 excepted) are at least 50% brighter in “best” mode, while being only about 90% as bright in “brightest” mode. That allows a much larger screen for people buying the JVC if they are only interested in movies, or don’t mind watching sports etc., with minimal lighting.

In a lot of ways the Panasonic reminds me of the JVC, but just not as good. I’m talking not so much about things like color, but “wow” factor. The JVC’s extra special blacks (and other lesser aspects), when viewed side by side, tend to make the Panasonic simply look a bit dull by comparison, especially on darker movies. I watched some Red October side by side, and it didn’t take long before I lost all interest in the Panasonic, as all those dark scenes with lots of bright lights inside the subs looked dramatically better on the JVC. On bright scenes, the difference is modest by comparison. Off topic: BTW, it’s that “dullness” (by comparison), that is probably why I like the Epson over the Panasonic. The Epson UB, by comparison isn’t as natural as the Panny, but like the JVC, has plenty of “wow” factor on those same scenes. Not as good as the JVC, but a whole lot closer than the Panasonic comes.

If you find yourself seriously deciding between these two, it comes back to what I said above. If some of the extra goodies on the Panasonic are not important to you, there’s really no comparison. It’s Really Good vs. Awesome.

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