Optoma HD803 Shadow Detail
Even though some projectors have blacker blacks than others, it doesn't mean that the same projector will do better on shadow detail. There are a number of factors that come into play, including the gamma. As a result a projector with good, but not great, black levels can provide more shadow detail.
In the following images, we concern ourselves only with shadow detail performance. The first image is from Space Cowboys, the re-entry scene. The first thumbnail image, when clicked on, shows the HD803 significantly overexposed to reveal shadow detail on the right side of the planet.
The Optoma HD8000, but was taken with a different camera. The exposures are also slightly different (as is the frame itself), however the shadow detail is rather similar.
The third thumbnail, when clicked upon is from the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB. If you put them both up on your screen (HD803 and Epson), note the following. The Epson is more overexposed, and you would expect it, therefore to reveal more detail in the darkest areas, yet, the HD803 actually shows more. (Remember I was not using default gamma on the HD803 because I thought it was giving overly dark looking images, and that too may have come into play.)
Still, based on these images, I have to give the Optoma a slight advantage. On the other hand, look at the black of space on the left side. Even with the Epson being overexposed by an obvious amount, the blacks on the Epson are still just a slight bit darker.
Here are two pair of side by side images. In the first, it is The Optoma on the left, and the Sony VPL-VW40 on the right. On the second pair, the Optoma is again on the left, but the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB is on the right.
In this image, we are primarily interested in the shadow detail in the roof. At normal exposure my camera can't begin to capture the roof at all, so by overexposing we get a look at what appears normally on my screen, in terms of roof detail, but the buiding itself is badly overexposed.
still you can still determine that the Epson (right side), in this case is doing a better job on shadow detail