Projector Reviews

Mitsubishi HD1000U Home Theater Projector Review – Image Quality-3

Above “hands” is from Phantom, off of HD-DVD. It is my intention to start using this image on most of the forthcoming reviews, to reveal how well projectors handle the background, as well as detail in the Phantom’s glove and jacket.

Since the camera cannot properly expose the projected image, and still show any details in dark areas, the first image is “normally exposed”, while the second one is the same frame overexposed. In the overexposed version you can clearly see the level of details in the shed on the right and along the bottom.

All that detail you see in the “dark areas” is readily visible when watching this scene on the HD1000U home theater projector.

As noted above, the kind of enhancements many projectors are using to improve black levels and shadow detail, are dynamic. Projectors using these techniques, can get great black levels on scenes lacking extremely bright areas, but those techniques mostly cannot affect images with a really bright area.

Overall, the Mitsubishi HD1000U impressed me with better than expected shadow detail. Although slight, it was better than the Panasonic PT-AX100U, and I suspect it to be better than the Optoma HD72, although I no longer have that one around for direct comparsion. I’m expecting Optoma’s lower cost HD70 to arrive in a week or so for review, and will then report how it compares to the HD1000U, although Mitsubishi has traditionally done better on blacks and shadow details than Optoma (and Optoma traditionally a bit less expensive).

Since I had the Panasonic here when I started this review, I played around and have come up with some images to reveal how the two projectors stack up in terms of black levels on scenes with and without bright areas.

In summary, black levels overall were suprisingly good relative to the claimed contrast spec, and very good relative to what would be expected for a good DLP projector without fancy irises, etc. The HD1000U uses a seven segment color wheel, adding a “white” filter (clear). This allows for extra brightness that is reflected in the HD1000U’s performance. It also doesn’t help black levels at all.

That said, the Mitsubishi should match the black levels of the very popular and bright (one of my favorites) Optoma HD72, which is more money, but is also the projector most similar to the HD1000U in design and performance. (The Mitsubishi is the brighter of the two as well).

Comparing to the new Panasonic LCD PT-AX100U, in terms of black levels. As noted, the Panasonic uses AI and a dynamic iris. As a result the Panasonic, on scenes without really bright areas, does reduce black levels well below the HD1000U. On scenes with lots of dark areas, but with some bright spots, the two are almost identical, with my best estimate being that the HD1000U has a slight edge.

Want to further enhance the black levels of the HD1000U? Match it with a high contrast gray or high contrast light gray surface, such as the Stewart Firehawk, that I use, or less expensive screens like Elite’s ezFrame high contrast gray, Da-lites HC Da-Mat, Elite’s CinemaTension HC gray, etc.