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Mitsubishi WD390U - Image Quality

Posted on July 20, 2013 by Art Feierman

Mitsubishi WD390U Picture Quality

Overall, the WD390U is a "classic" DLP projector when it comes to picture quality.  Color is acceptable in the brightest modes, gets pretty good in the mid-brightness Standard mode, and starts looking very good in the Theater mode which is the least bright. As color wheel based DLP projectors (all commercial projectors but the big 3 chip DLPs), tend to be thin on color lumens (see our video), no surprises here.

Business and Education DLP projectors may not typically have as good color as 3LCD projectors when comparing most bright modes but there's a very reasonable trade-off.  You get more lumens - more bang, so to speak, for the buck with DLP.  That is, for the same money, you'll have a brighter spreadsheet typically.  On the other hand, if you need great color accuracy, rather than just respectable color, a good DLP projector like the WD390U will not be as bright as, perhaps a 2500 lumen 3LCD projector doing comparable color accuracy.

Right, the WD390U projecting a .pdf file sitting on a MacBook Pro.   (Click image for larger version.)  Note, the PDF above is a mock up of how reviews will look after we launch our redesigned Projector Reviews site in June 2013.

Click Image to Enlarge

Mitsubishi WD390U Projector: Color

Color quality varies significantly depending on mode.  Naturally, the brighter modes are those with the least good color.  Still none of the modes look terrible, even if the brighter modes exhibit the typical DLP problems with bright reds and yellows.   The Theater mode is the best looking although Standard is brighter, still looks pretty good, and Auto is usually very bright.  Presentation mode is the brightest.

All these images were taken with the same exposure except Theater, which is the least bright.  The Theater mode image was taken with a brighter exposure so you can get an idea of the color handling. If at the same exposure as the others, the images would be too dark to really learn anything.

Presentation Mode
Auto Mode
Blackboard Mode
Standard Mode
Theater Mode
Whiteboard mode

Presentation Mode: This is the brightest mode, although User and Auto are normally right there.  Color is acceptable, although there is a bit of green/yellow cast. Bright reds tend to be dark wine colored (not unusual at all for DLP projectors, and bright yellows tend to be darker and have a strong green component.  Still, fine for your spreadsheet or even a typical pie chart.

Auto ModeAuto mode will vary, depending on the source, but typically it sticks to apparently the brightest modes.

Standard Mode:  The best blend of good color and good brightness.  The WD390U still has plenty of brightness in this mode which should be fine except when you need the most accurate color.

Blackboard Mode:   Don't worry about the color, if you are projecting onto a blackboard, what do you expect?  The attempt here is to punch up colors so they still are visible on a dark surface.

Theatre Mode:  Theatre mode on, the WD390U looks pretty good.  It would certainly do a respectable job if you brought one home for the evening.  Notice how by comparison, most of the other modes look too dark.

Whiteboard Mode: Perhaps most similar to Standard, but it measures a little less bright. The balance on images seems to be a touch less dark than Standard, making Whiteboard mode a good general mode, if not a bright one.

Here is the same interior image from the original .jpg file, for comparison.  I'd say Theater mode does a really good job in terms of color, for a "business and education" projector:

Click Image to Enlarge

Right are a pair of additional images, to give you a good idea of overall picture quality in Standard mode.

Our first image was taken while we were pushing content from my Mac Book Pro, which is communicating wirelessly via the network.  An iPad Mini is controlling the Mac Book, so all three displays are visible (projector in Standard mode):

The second image is a PowerPoint image from a presentation being run off of a server.  The WD390U was in Presentation mode (the brightest) for this image.  Note that the yellow beam coming from the projector does not look like the bright yellow it's supposed to be (typical of DLP projectors in brightest mode).

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