I found the out of box performance to be extremely good. Though not perfect, the color balance is more than good enough to produce very enjoyable flesh tones, and overall very good color. Most will be thrilled with the out of box performance, but I still recommend, a basic calibration, as it allows you to slightly improve on that. I would say that, out of the box, it does a better job (of being "right on") than 90% of the projectors I have reviewed in the last year. As a result, for those that just want to buy one and enjoy it, and not fiddle, it is an excellent choice.
At the same time, it is also especially well equipped with image controls and has its three main User memory settings, plus user settable controls in gamma, and color temp. Overall, a bit more flexibility than most projectors offer.
I have my usual, slight reservations about dynamic irises. I prefer a Darkchip3 solution for consistently producing the blackest blacks, to an iris, which will have black levels changing from scene to scene. Like most LCD projectors with dynamic irises, you can occasionally detect its operation if being observant, however, there are three different Auto Iris settings and I didn't get a chance to really explore the performance differences between them.
That said, I was able to detect the iris at work in several scene changes, and within scenes, in Phantom, and also Serenity, the two movies that I spent the most time with on the HC5000BL (both off of HD-DVD). I didn't find it annoying at all, in fact, it was mostly noticeable only when I was looking for its affect.
Seriously, the Auto Iris/black level issue is the only real complaint I have with the Mitsubishi HC5000BL projector! When the Auto Iris does its thing, on scenes without really bright areas, the HC5000BL delivers really excellent black levels, rivaling my BenQ PE8720. On the scenes mostly dark, but with some very bright areas, those Darkchip3 DLP's do blacker blacks.
Perhaps the really important point here, is that it really was a pleasure watching Phantom, and the 5th Element, and even Sin City (a real challenge for dynamic iris projectors).
The only real downside to the HC5000BL is in brightness where it is only average, and therefore best if you keep the screen size to 110" diagonal or under. Only you know if your room ambient light situation or if your choice of content (like sports and general HDTV viewing) demand more lumens. If you do need more, however, it looks so far, like none of the 1080p projectors will meet that requirement.
Time to look at the Pros and Cons, to see how good the HC5000BL really is, and its strengths and weaknesses: