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Mitsubishi HC7000 - Image Quality-1

Posted on November 19, 2008 by Art Feierman

Mitsubishi HC7000 Out of the Box Picture Quality

Picture quality is respectable, but hardly great, out of the box. In that regard the HC7000 is probably about typical. Very few projectors offer excellent out of the box color accuracy. The color temperature (Warm setting), is a bit warm, averaging a little less than 6150K instead of the ideal 6500K. The other Color Temp settings are all significantly off, on the cool side (stronger blues, weaker reds). A basic calibration is recommended, whether you buy a user calibration disc, or hire a professional. I suspect that most of the dealers selling the HC7000 (link to specs) either will have a calibrator on staff, or can recommend one. The third option is to plug in the settings we list in this reviews Calibration page. Due to lamp variation, each projector calibrates a bit differently, but our settings should get you very close to where you want to be.

HC7000 Flesh Tones

Pre-calibration, skin tones tend to be a little too redish. This is most noticeable in darker scenes when faces aren't well lit, as the color temp dips to around 6000K in the darker ranges.

Post calibration, flesh (skin) tones are excellent. I found the HC7000 to really look good on all types of skin tones, in a wide variety of movies and other content. You can tell from our images that these skin tones do look good. Remember, there are a number of reasons why our photos are not fully accurate, making it difficult to make a direct comparison. Those reasons include the slight shift in color brought about our digital camera, the limited contrast of your monitor, the fact that monitors - yours and the one I use, are not color calibrated. Bottom line, the images are helpful, in supporting commentary, but have limitations. Take them with the proverbial "grain of salt" (or more).

As is usual in our reviews, these first two images are from standard definition DVD, from Lord of the Rings. The first is Gandalf, followed by Arwen.

The rest of the images in this section are movies and other content on hi-def Blu-ray disc. We start with the three images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale. Scene lighting, and the director's intent (intentional changes), means that skin tones will vary, depending on the type of lighting, such as full sunlight (first image), fluorescent lighting (2nd image), and filtered sunlight - shaded on a sunny day (3rd image), as well as night time scenes, incandescent lighting and so on. In all three images here, the HC7000 provides realistic skin tones.

HC7000 Projector Black Levels & Shadow Detail

I am most impressed. The HC7000's black level performance puts it into that select group of projectors where I consider the differences to still be there, but all have good enough black levels that the differences between them, for the most point, are very secondary, when deciding between them. Other factors - brightness, color accuracy, etc., are more critical for most buyers, than the small differences in black levels. The other projectors in this group (of excellent black levels), which also includes the old Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, and almost certainly the soon to be released Home Cinema 6500 UB, and Pro Cinema 7500 UB, the Panasonic PT-AE3000, and the Sony and JVC LCoS projectors. The JVC's are still the best, but, all of these others are close. Of the best, the JVC RS2 and soon to be released RS20, are still a step up from the rest, but unless you are a fanatic, that can't live with black levels any worse that the JVC RS2, any of these should make you very happy.

Note, of the projectors mentioned above, the one with the least great black levels is the Panasonic PT-AE3000. Below you'll see a side by side, between the Panasonic and this Mitsubishi.

We start this group of images with the starship image from The Fifth Element. First, is the Mitsubishi HC7000. With the HC7000 image, I have decided to overexpose enough so you can make out the letterbox above and below, and on the bottom, you can also see the "real" black of the screen frame, below the letter box. Going forward, I'll try to have the letterbox area have the same amount of gray, on all projector's version of this image. That way, the more overexposed the starship itself, relative to the same level in the letterboxes, would indicate an improvement in black levels.

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