LG AF115 Projector Review3

LG AF115 Lens Throw

For the classic 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the front of the LG projector can be placed as close as 9 feet 10 inches, or as far back, as 17 feet 10 inches. Note, that means the lens is relatively short throw. Few home projectors can get any closer to a 100 inch screen than 9 feet 10, but, on the other hand 17 feet 10 inches as a maximum distance, puts the projector in the same class as the Sony projector competition, which also can’t be placed particularly far back.

Thus, a significant percentage of folks who might want to rear shelf mount, likely won’t be able to. Still, plenty of those folk will be fine, as long as their rooms aren’t too deep, or their screen sizes small. By comparison, the Epson and Panasonic projectors can get out to 21 feet, and 19.8 feet respectively (that’s from memory). That extra 3, or 2 feet can make a difference.

Still, one must consider placement flexibility to be very good.

DLA-AF115 Lens Shift

The AF115 offers vertical lens shift only, which, for 97% of people should be just fine. According to the manual, which has the minimum to say on the subject, the LG projector can position from 20% of a screen height above the top, to the same 20% below the bottom, of the screen surface.

For a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen, that works out to just a tiny bit less than 10 inches above or below the screen surface (screen height is over 49.5 inches tall).

That’s a good amount of vertical lens shift. Better than many, but not as much as some of the most flexible (Panasonic and Epson come to mind), but there are plenty of others that can at least slightly beat the LG (including, I think, the JVCs, but, those are close enough to probably not matter).

AF115 Anamorphic Lens Support

The LG AF115 does not support an anamorphic lens, best I can tell from the lack of any mention in the manual, or appropriate aspect ratio.

LG AF115 Projector - Image Quality

LG AF115 images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the AF115 projector projects on the screen. There are color shifts (too much yellow, in this case), saturation differences, etc.

These images are provided to support the LG AF115 commentary. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews. From a color standpoint, my dSLR camera (Olympus E-510) still adds a very slight green shift to some photo shoots that I have not been able to completely remove in most cases. I now visually attempt to adjust all the images to correct for major abberations in color between big screen and computer screen. In other words, while we can demonstrate differences in black levels and shadow details of the AF115 rather well, but when it comes to color, the photos are only approximations of skin tone and color accuracy.

LG AF115 Projector: Out of the Box Picture Quality

The LG AF115 turns out to be pretty good, right out of the box. That said, the grayscale temp is either too warm, (too much red), or with different settings, a bit too much blue. Better to have this projector calibrated, but non-critical folks, like my wife, (and anyone who thinks “vivid” mode on an LCDTV is accurate color), will enjoy the color balance and forgiveness of the picture.

The most notable thing, out of the box, is that Cinema is defaulting to a manual iris setting of 3. That makes it dark for the LG’s maximum “best” mode brightness, but still average compared to the competition. I suggest the first thing you do, is to switch the iris to Auto 1 mode, for better blacks and more brightness both. What a difference – far brighter, and better blacks…

The brighter modes of the AF115 are all very, very cool. Change the color temp to a warmer one for immediate color improvement with no dramatic loss of brightness.

There was no point in doing a full calibration – I merely adjusted color by “eyeball” (using a color chart helps a bit). As this is not a production unit, no doubt full production AF115’s will have newer, more improved software, and therefore, most likely publishing our settings would probably not give you the same color on a full production AF115 home projector.

Flesh Tones

I really like LG’s handling of skin tones, and that’s 2 LG projectors in a row. I am extremely pleased, once again. I’ve watched hours of Olympics with the other LG, and plenty of sports with the AF115. I’ve also watched at least as well as at least 35 hours of movies on the AF115! Not the very best, but up there. I’ll take this LG’s skin tones, say, slightly, over the Epson 8500UB’s. I was going to compare the AF115 to the PT-AE4000, but, even with the AF115 being dimmer than the CF181D projector, there was still no way to have the LG dynamic iris engaged, and have the image be anywhere near as “dim” as the Panasonic’s.

The skin tones most likely are why the LG is oneof those particularly pleasing to watch projectors. In “best” mode, the LG seems to be rather forgiving – looking good over a wide range of HDTV and Blu-ray content.

While there are a few projectors that are able to best the LG in terms of skin tones, it’s never by much. The “best” mode abilities of the LG are very, very good, when it comes to natural looking skin tones.

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