Mitsubishi HC8000D Black Levels & Shadow Detail
The HC8000D offers solid black level performance in its price range. Definitely not the best, but definitely what we call "ultra high contrast". This projector is roughly comparable in handling blacks to projectors like the Panasonic PT-AE8000 and the BenQ W7000. It won't, however, match the blacks of the Epson or the Sony. The Epson (HC5020UB) is slightly less expensive, the Sony a many hundreds of dollars more.
Let's start with a side by side image: Epson HC5020UB (left) vs. Mitsubishi HC8000D (right) We use the Epson as our primary reference for black levels. The Epson isn't unbeatable, there are a few more expensive projectors that can beat it at blacks, but it, so far, has taken on all comers under $3000 without fear. The HC8000 has very respectable "ultra-high contrast" blacks, close, but not quite up to the Epson.
Mitsubishi HC8000D Really very good blacks.. Like all the images below of the "starship", it is intentionally overexposed by a few f-stops. This raises the blacks so they can be easily seen as dark grays, and so that after mentally adjusting for the slightly differing exposures, you get a very good idea of how the HC8000 stacks up to the competition.
Epson Home Cinema 5020 Image more overexposed (slightly, but blacks are still blacker than the HC8000, as well as the HC7900). Definitely has more "pop", thanks to the better blacks.
PT-AE8000 More comparable to the Mitsubishi. Factor in the slight differences in exposure, then the HC8000D should prove to be a touch better at blacks.
Sony VPL-HW50ES A little more overexposed making it hard to compare, but still at least as black blacks as the Mitsubishi, so this again, indicates a projector with better black level performance than the HC8000D.
Optoma HD8300 Very nice, offers slightly better blacks than the Mitsubishi, not quite up to the Epson or Sony. This is an older image not converted to grayscale, and definitely less overexposed.
Optoma HD33 (lower cost, $1499 3D capable projector) Blacks are not as good as the Optoma, the image is less overexposed.
JVC DLA-RS45 JVC's $7500+ projectors have killer blacks. Even this RS45 is very good, and better than the Mitsubishi, although not by a whole lot.
Runco LS10d projector ($27,000+) This one is included to make the point, that a lot more money doesn't mean any significant improvement in black levels. Think instead, that other things become more important.
Sharp XV-Z30000 (direct competitor) this is another good DLP projector. The image is a bit less overexposed. Blacks are roughly comparable, though I'd say they slightly favor the Sharp.
Shadow Detail Performance
Look at the shrubs on the right, on the far side of the tracks. Compare detail in the trees also on the right.
The HC8000D's dark shadow detail, like the HC7900DW's is really excellent. I don't think any of the competing projectors can do better by a noticeable, visible amount. I can't say which of several is the very best, but this Mitsubishii projector is definitely one of the ones that seems to reveal the most.
To start, our Bond "Night Train" Epson HC5020UB on the left, HC8000D on the right. (Converted to grayscale) The Epson is a little bit brighter, so due to the massive overexposure, more bright area detail is lost on the Epson than the Mitsubishi in this photo. Both look rather great when not overexposed intentionally.
Epson Home Cinema 5020 UB: Both Mitsubishi projectors' dark shadow detail is every bit as good, perhaps a touch better than this Epson which we find to be better than most.
PT-AE8000: Also very good dark shadow detail, but perhaps not quite as good.
Epson Home Cinema 3020: A lower cost projector ($1599), not an ultra-high contrast projector.
Optoma HD33: Another lower cost projector
Optoma HD8300: Nice blacks but not as good on dark shadow detail
Sony VPL-HW50ES: Better on blacks than dark shadow detail, but still very good.
Black Level and Shadow Detail Performance: HC8000 Projector - Bottom Line
Very good and Excellent. For a $2999 "local dealer" projector that's rather good, but not exceptional. Although the blacks could still be better, they are very livable. Still, for those of us who truly demand great blacks, there are competitors that will win this battle. Just remember, after a certain level of performance, black levels and shadow detail remain two important abilities, but arenot all of the important ones.