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Mitsubishi HC3000 - General Performance 3

Posted on July 9, 2006 by Art Feierman

Lamp Life and Replacement

The HC3000's lamp is rated 2000 hours in full power mode, and 3000 in low power (eco-mode as many manufacturers call it). This is typical of most projectors in this price range, and, since it is brighter than most, especially LCD projectors, there's a good possibility that in your room, you might find that you can run the HC3000 in low power, whereas you would use high power for many other projectors. If that's the case, you get to enjoy a quieter projector, and extend it's lamp life.

Projector Screen Recommendations

Always a challenge! People's screen sizes vary, as do their room conditions, including whether their walls are dark or light colors, where people sit, etc.

With the HC3000, the black levels are extremely good, and that translates to less need for a light or dark gray high contrast surface. In fact, I found the Carada Brilliant White screen that I use in my testing room to work exceptionally well at 106" diagonal, and I'm confident that you can go a couple of sizes larger than that. I was extremely impressed with the black levels when viewing all kinds of content on that screen.

When I moved the HC3000 into my viewing room (my own home theater), I was filling my Stewart Firehawk's 128" diagonal. The Firehawk is a light gray high contrast surface, and I found the HC3000 to be able to do a passable job, with the iris stopped down and low power mode, etc. Opening the iris gave it some extra "oomph" which was appreciated, and the high contrast nature of the Firehawk, still gave me better blacks than I probably had on the Carada with the iris closed down.

Overall, the projector should be comfortable with anything from about 80" to 110" diagonal with a high contrast gray, like the Firehawk, a Da-lite HC CinemaVisiont, etc., but unless you also need those HC screen's ability to reject some side ambient lighting, I think I would stick to high quality white surfaces with modest gain, like the Stewart Studiotek 130 (pretty much the reference standard out there), the Carada, or other equivilent screens. (The Carada claims a 1.4 gain, and Studiotek, 1.3.)

One more thought for you. Lamps dim over time. Your projector will likely be visibly dimmer by the time you have 1000 hours on the lamp. As a result many users who use low power when they first install their projector, or have an iris closed down, may switch to full power, or open the iris to compensate for the lamp's lost lumens. When I say that the HC3000 did a passable job with certain settings, on my 128" screen, remember I'm using a virtually brand new unit. The same claim would not be fully true when the lamp is at 1500 hours, etc.

Calibration Of course, I have had to mention aspects of the calibration and settings previously in the review. Let's take it from the top. I found the HC3000 to have cool colors (stronger blues) out of the box, than it's settings would indicate. The goal for movie watching is a temperature of 6500K. Using the HC3000's Cinema mode, which should produce 6500K, the measurements yielded significantly higher temperatures. At full on white (100 IRE), the HC3000 measured 7629K, at 80 IRE (80% of white - light gray, 7633, and at 50 IRE (50% gray), 7565K. For the calibration, I had contrast at -1 (recommend -2 or -1), Brilliant Color set to On, and the projector was in Low power mode. (you can expect to measure slightly different temperatures in Low and High (Standard, as Mitsubisi calls it) power modes. To adjust the color temperature, I switched the Mitsubishi HC3000 to User Memory 1 (you can't make the individual color adjustments in their preset modes). I again set the color temperature to 6500K and adjusted from there. With the goal of getting as close to 6500K on medium bright (80 IRE) and fairly dark levels (30 IRE), I ended up with the following settings:

Contrast: Red: +10 Green: 0, Blue: -1
Brightness: Red: 2 Green 0, Blue: 0
80 IRE 6547K
50 IRE 6357K
30 IRE 6443K

This resulted in some very good results

However measuring full white, still gave me too much blue: 7390K. It is typical, I have found, for many home theater projectors to be very consistant in the 30 - 80 IRE range, but have a signficant shift in the brightest and darkest measurements. The good news, is that if you end up with measurements like this adjusted ones, you should be very pleased.

Click to enlarge. SO close

I also measured 20 IRE, which, is definitely at the limits of my light meter, the way I test. At 20 IRE (which I often don't bother to measure), the temperature dropped to 6143, still very respectable.

Overall, the calibration made for excellent results as you can determine from the images in the previous section.

Please note, What I do in my calibration, is set contrast, brightness, and then calibrate for accurate grays (6500K). This is a basic calibration, and does not deal with many of the adjustments that a professional calibrator will do (including calibrating the secondary (complementry) colors: Cyan, Yellow and Magenta. Having said that, I doubt that more than a tiny percentage of people buying a home theater projector, in the HC3000's price range will even consider the typcial $350 - $1000 that a professional calibrator may charge. (They may also calibrate for room conditions with additional ambient light, and may also calibrate for HDTV viewing, which does not use 6500K as the reference.

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