Posted on November 9, 2020 By Phil Jones
JVC DLA-RS3000 4K Laser Projector Review – Special Features: All Glass Lens Assembly, Native 4K D-ILA LCOS Panels, Wide Color Gamut, Lens Memory, 3D Ready
Good optics have a major impact on picture quality. The better lens assembly is one of the major reasons why the RS3000 (NX9) costs $10,000 more than the RS2000 (NX7).
The RS3000 uses the same lens found in JVC’s laser-based RS4500, which retails for $30,000. The lens found in the RS3000 is 35 percent larger in diameter than the unit used in the RS2000. It also utilizes 18 all-glass elements set in 16 groups, with five of these elements featuring low dispersion optical coatings to prevent issues with chromatic aberration and provide a sharper edge-to-edge image.
The better lens and selected parts make the RS3000 more efficient than the RS2000. The RS3000 can deliver an extra 300 lumens of brightness and 20 percent more native and dynamic contrast than the RS2000 even though it uses using the same 265-watt lamp and light engine found in the predecessor model.
The RS3000 has arguably the best optics found on a projector anywhere near its price range. You would have to buy a more expensive Sony model like the VW995ES ($35,000 SRP) equipped with ARC-F lens for the same optic quality.
JVC has long been a major player in the home theater projector space primarily because of the strength of their panels. While Canon, Sony, and a couple of other manufacturers also make their own LCoS panels, JVC panels have significantly higher native contrast and that translates into superior black levels.
Last year, JVC introduced its first native 4K Laser Projector, the DLA-RS4500K. While this projector utilized a new set of D-ILA LCoS panels which provided more resolution, there was a reduction in native contrast. Since the DLA-RS4500K is a laser projector, its light output can be controlled instantly to produce amazing dynamic contrast and black level.
To improve the native contrast on their new lamp-based 4K projectors, all JVC NX-Series and RS-Series projectors use JVC’s new 3rd generation 0.69-inch native 4K D-ILA devices. These new panels offer a noticeable native contrast improvement over the previous generation 4K panels found in their flagship RS4500 laser projector.
JVC further enhances the DLA-RS3000 black level performance by using a good dynamic iris. It’s very smooth but can be caught pumping on certain mid-dark scenes, but even then, it was never jarring.
While the native contrast of the DLA-RS3000 is not as high as some predecessor models, the DLA-RS3000’s black level performance is the best I have personally experienced from a native 4K projector. In fact, it is the best I have seen under $50K.
The new HDR standard not only offers more dynamic range but also delivers a rich color palette. The older SDR format used the REC709 but HDR material uses the expanded color provided by the BT.2020 standard. No consumer display can reproduce 100% of the BT2020 standard, in fact most commercial devices can’t either. Even if the HDR content is mastered, it is probably shot in the DCI-P3 standard and BT2020 is just used as a wrapper.
While the color space of DCI-P3 is smaller than BT2020, it still has a much larger color space than REC709. The advantage of DCI-P3 is more possible colors and richer, more saturated colors.
Natively, the DLA-RS3000 reproduces approximately 96% of the DCI-P3 color space. To maximize color performance, some companies like JVC offer the option of adding a “cinema” filter to the light path to provide a wider and more accurate color palette. By using a color filter, the projector delivered about 99% of DCI-P3 and good portion of the much larger BT2020. Also note that when the DLA-RS3000 color filter is utilized, there is a drop in brightness.
This performance is superior to any lamp-powered 4K UHD projector. When you have 4K content serving up DCI-P3 or BT.2020, this DLA-RS3000 is one of the few lamp-based projectors that can take advantage of the step-up in color quality.
To have lens memory, the projector must have a motorized lens system which many home theater projectors still lack. With just a push of a button, you can quickly change between different aspect ratios like 16:9 and 2.35:1 by making pre-saved changes to the zoom and shift settings.
This is a useful feature if you have a self-masking projection screen. You can also use the Lens Memory to switch aspect ratios on a fixed 2.35:1 aspect projection screen but when viewing 16:9 material, you will see “black bars” on the left and right sides.
The DLA-RS3000 is also compatible with commercially available anamorphic lenses and ultra-wide format screens for an immersive movie theater experience. It also features a new scaling mode that is optimized for the full native 4,096 x 2,160 (17 x 9) resolution of the D-ILA device.
With lens memory, after you set it up, press one button on the remote and the image is sized to show the largest possible wide screen image on a 2.35:1 screen.
Beyond basic Lens Memory, the DLA-RS3000 is also equipped with a new “Installation Mode” that saves and recalls up to 9 different combinations of settings including Lens Control, Pixel Adjustment, Mask, Anamorphic on or off, Screen Adjust, Installation Style, Keystone, Pincushion of lens settings, different aspect ratios, lens presets, convergence, and screen masking positions.
If you have a big 3D library, you may have been disappointed to notice that most new 4K HDR flat panel TVs don’t support 3D. However, projector manufacturers like JVC, Sony, Epson are still making projectors that are 3D-ready. The RS3000 supports 3D so you can take advantage of your currently owned 3D content.
Since I didn’t receive an optional JVC 3D Synchro Emitter (PK-EM2) and a pair of PK-AG3 3D glasses, I didn’t get the chance to evaluate the 3D performance of the DLA-RS3000. The EM2 uses radio frequency, which is almost always better than IR-based systems, because moving your head to the side doesn’t cause the signal to drop out.
The last JVC we reviewed had respectable 3D but with a bit more artifacts than a comparable Sony or Epson. My understanding is JVC has continued to improve their 3D, even though I didn’t test it. I would recommend the PK-EM2. 3D may or may not have improved since I last tested, but either way, it should be fine for most.
3D calls for about twice the brightness of 2D. Since current projectors are currently stepping up to handle the increased brightness needs of HDR, they are well-suited to also tackle the increased brightness load of 3D. The RS3000 is rated for 2200 lumens so 3D performance should be acceptable.
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