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Mitsubishi HD1000U Home Theater Projector Review - Image Quality-4

Posted on October 6, 2006 by Art Feierman

HD1000U home theater projector vs PT-AX100U home theater projector

black level comparison on scenes with and without bright areas

In the image above, with the projectors recieving a frame that is supposed to be fully black, with no areas with anything but black, you can see easily that the Mitsubishi HD1000U projector on the left, puts more light on the screen than the Panasonic, on the right. The image is slightly overexposed so that you can see these near fully dark "blacks". The Panasonic projector and the Mitsubishi projector in the modes (cinema) they were in for this shot, are nearly identical in brightness, so that would not be a factor here.

In the images below, I cropped the images and seriously overexposed them. You are looking at the same two projectors side by side again (HD1000U on the left, as always). You are seeing the very top of a scene that had some very bright areas, so that the dynamic iris was barely able to stop down, thus the Panasonic's black levels are far worse than the image above. As you can see if you look closely along the top, you will make out the letter boxing of both projectors.

In the image you can make out that the two are very similar, but the Mitsubishi HD1000U's blacks are just a little bit darker.

In the image below this is a closeup of a frame with some bright areas. What you see on the two projectors is different, since you are seeing the top right of the Mitsubishi HD1000U, and the top left of the image of the PT-AX100U.

Again, the black levels are virtually identical, with the Mitsubishi being - just the tiniest bit darker. A truly, I repeat, truly, insignificant amount, that the eye would not normally be able to discriminate even side by side, because of the brightness below, on the actual image frame.

So the bottom line, on the darkest scenes, the more expensive Panasonic can deliver blacker blacks, but not on more typical frames where there are some bright to very bright areas.

Please note, that dynamic iris action can often be visible to the eye, in some scenes, such as a fairly dark one where a bright object enters the scene. As soon as it does, the iris has to open and all the objects get a little brighter. (It's sort of like someone is playing with a dimmer on the lights in the room - when the white object enters the image the walls all get slightly lighter). Note: The PT-AX100U did a particularly good job of minimizing the visibility of the iris opening and stopping down, but if you are looking for it, you can spot it - on the right scenes, or on scene changes in some cases. Not a real issue in this case.

Click to enlarge. So close. HD-DVD from the movie Serenity (based on the sci-fi series Firefly), was absolutely stunning. Of course the camera and your display can't capture the full effect, any more than watching a commercial for a HD plasma can be fully appreciated watching on a old tv off of a regular non HD broadcast. Regardless it was so impressive I included a larger resolution version, so you can click on the image above.

Click Image to Enlarge

The standard DVD image of Gondor, from Lord of the Rings, above, brings out all the detail in the buildings and rocks, and you can even make out some details below the arch on the bottom right, despite, (and I apologize) this image being slightly underexposed.

You'll find this image above (standard DVD) also used on most other reviews published in 2006.

OK, sports fans, your turn. This first image along side, gives you an excellent idea of how the room lighting was when the sports images were photograph.


Click to enlarge. So close. By now you should appreciate that the HD1000U produces overall, an excellent image. Fleshtones and colors in general are very accurate even right out of the box, without any tweaking of the settings. While black levels are very acceptable, they cannot match the best of class, which are more expensive DLP projectors, without the clear filter on the color wheel, and those that may also have a dynamic iris.

Click Image to Enlarge

The Mitsubishi HC3000 comes immediately to mind, being very similar, except that it does have an iris, and only a six segment wheel. the HC3000's black levels are easily a step up, if you have the properly darkened room to fully appreciate the difference. In tradeoff, the HD1000U is definitely brighter! Other projectors with significantly better black levels include the Optoma HD7100 (being replaced by the 7300) with its Darkchip3 DLP chip. Of course the Optoma is twice the price. Sony's HS-51A, an LCD projector also will have a significant advantage, but it too costs significantly more. By comparison, the Panasonic's advantage is there, but it is not that great a difference as with the others mentioned.

I am pleased for all you out there in the market, that, for less than a thousand dollars, there is now a projector, that overall, performs this well. Certainly my old BenQ 8700+ from a year and a half ago, couldn't compare in color accuracy, shadow detail, and certainly not in brightness, yet it was selling (if I recall correctly) for more than $3000 in mid-2005!

Time to consider other aspects beside image quality. We'll next look at brightess, pixel visibility, remote control, menus, inputs, screen recommendations and more (not necessarily in that order) in the General Performance section.

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