How does this Mitsubishi HC8000D
compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?
Mitsubishi HC8000D vs. Epson Pro Cinema 6020 UB and Home Cinema 5020 UB
Let's start by considering the HC8000D against the Epsons when they are calibrated. Note that both Epsons should produce identical pictures. Differences between those two Epson models are basically case color, warranty, and local vs online sales.
Skin tones - the Epson's are pretty darn good, but as was the case when the Epson took on the HC7900DW, Mitsubishi gets a win here. By the numbers, they calibrate similarly, but the Mitsubishi has the slight edge.
Black Levels: The Mitsubishi HC8000 may be better than the HC7900, and is really good at blacks, but the Epson is still a step up in that area of performance.
3D Picture. Both do a very nice job, with the Epson pretty clean, and the Mitsubishi even cleaner.
3D Brightness: Even with Mitsubishi's bright glasses, this is no contest. The Epson is more than twice as bright!
Brightest Mode: This favors the Epson. It can put more than double the watchable lumens on the screen, and that's a big factor in any environment, home theater or family room. When it comes to 3D, although we give the Mitsubishi a slight edge in picture, we give the Epsons a big win for 3D brightness - no comparison. The Epsons are projectors that people who love 3D and watch a fair amount, will want. The Mitsubishi in 3D is fine, but due to lack of brightness, only really viable on smaller screens.
Warranties are both great - 3 years on the Mits, 2 on the Epson, but Epson provides two years of "overnight" replacement program, a great feature (the HC5020UB). The Pro Cinema 6020UB offers three years, with 3 years of replacement, for the best of the lot.
Pricing. The online Epson HC5020UB is $2599, with 2 pair of 3D glasses. The Mitsubishi HC8000 is $2999, without glasses or emitter - so figure $99 for the emitter and $199 for 3D glasses (assuming good ones). The xPand universal 3D glasses Mitsubishi provided (with the HC7900), are heavier than the Epsons', and not quite as comfortable. The Mitsubishi proprietary glasses were slightly heavier than the Epson's but I'd say equally comfortable. Well, that's $3500 with the 2 glasses and emitter. The Epson Pro Cinema 6020UB is $3500 with 2 pair (no emitter needed, but also comes with a spare lamp, and ceiling mount for the price).
Mitsubishi HC8000D vs. Sony VPL-HW50ES
Skin tones. I'd love to see these two side by side, should be really close. Both are excellent.
The Sony HW50ES is the powerhouse of the two. Roughly 1000 lumens calibrated vs. 465 for the Mits. Comparing brightest modes is closer, but not much. The Sony is just much brighter.
Placement: The Sony has more zoom range, and full vertical and horizontal lens shift, vs. the HC8000's vertical only.
Black levels are won by Sony, which rivals the Epsons. The HC8000 is really good but not quite that good.
3D viewing: No contest. Got to go with the Sony for producing a brighter image in 3D. The DLP Mitsubishi will be cleaner (no official DLP crosstalk), but the Sony is close enough to crush.
Sharpness: The Sony has that great dyanmic detail enhancement that adds apparent sharpness to the image. By comparison, the HC8000 starts with single chip DLP - and an inherently sharper image before fancy processing. Ultimately the Sony can appear sharper.
The Sony is offically $1000 more at $3999, but that does include two pair of glasses and emitter, so that puts the Sony at $500 more.
Both have a three year warranty, so no advantage there.
Overall, most should go with the Sony. Again, though, the Mitsubishi is competitive in environments where you don't need the Sony's brightness.
HC8000D vs. Sharp XV-Z30000
Ah, DLP vs. DLP. I wish I had both at the same time, or even close to the same time. These two are pretty similar in several ways, starting with both being nice sharp DLP projectors. Neither is especially bright either. Street pricing probably slightly favors the Sharp as it's more available online. It sells well below its high list price of $4999 with two pair of glasses. A quick scan of the web seems to find prices in the low $3000s, up to about $3500, so that makes it a couple hundred less with 3D glasses.
While the Sharp isn't particularly bright, it is consistantly brighter than the HC8000D. Calibrated it's about 20% brighter at 532 lumens. In comparing "brightest" modes after Mike's quick-cal, it's the Sharp with an even bigger advantage; 1018 lumens vs. The Mitsubishi's 751 lumens.
That really comes in handy for 3D viewing. Even if the Sharp still didn't have enough 3D brightness for watching 3D sports the way I like to light the room with friends over, it was still better.
If you are hankering for a 2.35:1 wide screen, then it's all Sharp XV-Z30000 as it has motorized lens features and lens memory capability.
Calibration wise, we didn't do a CMS calibration of individual colors. The Mitsubishi is more accurate, but doing the full calibration on the Sharp may bring parity. As it was, the Sharp is just a little off. The Mits is great.
Not just lens memory, but overall placement flexibility is a strength of the Sharp.
The HC8000D likely has a small advantage at blacks, but I really mean small. Both have dual irises.
Tough call, they even both have 3 year warranties. The bigger the screen, the more you should favor the Sharp.