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Mitsubishi HC1500 Home Theater Projector Review - Image Quality

Posted on August 4, 2007 by Art Feierman

There are now a few under $1000 720p resolution home theater projectors on the market, plus there are plenty of models between $1000 and $2000. The HC1500, being one of the four least expensive 720p projectors on the market, is certainly priced right. So the question is, how does the HC1500 perform, in terms of image quality, and how it stacks up against the primarily more expensive competition.

Please note, that some of the images (primarily those doing side by side comparisons with other projectors regarding black levels and shadow detail), are from the HD1000U review. Performance in this area, of the older and newer Mitsubishi projectors should be the same. Any images from the HD1000U are so noted!

Let's start with how well the HC1500 projector handles flesh tones. I have always been a proponent of the belief that, overall, this is perhaps the most important single aspect. If flesh tones look unnatural, it is going to immediately be far more annoying than, say, some loss of shadow detail, or less than stellar black levels.

As you can see from the image of Gandalf, above (HC1500) from Lord of the Rings, the flesh tone appears very natural.

Also from Lord of the Rings, (by the way, this is from standard DVD), is this image of Arwen (HC1500), which exhibits an almost grayish caste to the skin color, which compares very well with my recollection of the movie in the theaters. (Lord of the Rings does have different color castes in use for almost every different part of Middle Earth, where the story takes place). It does seem a little softer in terms of reds, but that, in part, is the result of inaccuracies in a quick calibration, and easily corrected.

Quicktip: There are real limits to what you can get out of photos of projected images. My digital camera lacks the dynamic range to get all the details from brightest to lowest, and, even more importantly, what the camera sees, what I see on my laptop display while cropping and resizing, and what you see on your monitor, are all going to be different. There is no viable way to calibrate your monitor to display accurately the colors that were projected, and even with a good camera, it too, is not going to precisely and accurately capture the colors seen on the screen. Nor can your monitor match the black levels these projectors produce. Bottom line: especially for color balance, take the images with a "pound of salt". These images should impress, and sometimes can show flaws that exist, but they are there to complement the commentary and opinions put forth, not the other way around. As nice as they look, in this case, for accuracy, one might change old saying to "why use a picture, when a thousand words will do". That may be the best advice.

Just remember: No matter how good these images may look on your computer monitor, the projector will look better in your house when properly set up, in an appropriately darkened room!

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