Black Level and Shadow Detail Performance: HD8300 Projector - Bottom Line
Solid yet not spectacular black level and dark shadow detail performance is how I must describe the HD8300. As you can see from the images above, several projectors offer blacker blacks. When it comes to dark shadow detail, the HD8300 is very average, with a number of the images above showing more dark detail in the shrubs above the tracks and the trees, than the HD8300 could do. Still, as I just stated, solid performance. As a black level fanatic I would have liked to see a bit better blacks. Using ImageAI, Optoma's lamp dimming technology probably delivers that extra I would like, but I find the ImageAI (as I have in a number of previous Optoma reviews), as being often noticeable as scenes change brightness signficantly. As a result, I consistently ran the HD8300 with ImageAI disengaged.
From a practical standpoint - let's say that the HD8300 in terms of blacks, comes up short of the Epson 8700UB, but is probably roughly comparable (or close) to the Panasonic PT-AE4000. Those are the two less expensive projectors as good or better in this regard. The 2D (no 3D) JVC HD250 also does slightly better than the HD8300, the more expensive new DLA-RS55 (X70), and DLA-RS65 (X90) will easily best the HD8300 in blacks, but they cost a lot more: $7499 and $11,999.
Optoma HD8300 - Overall Color & Picture Quality
Color is great. Skin tones, football fields, action flicks, romantic comedies, Lady Gaga, neon signs, starships, even beer commercials, all look pretty impressive.
When I consider the HD8300 overall, the projector has some shortcomings, but, when I think of the image itself, the HD8300 does a great job. Seems like a reoccurring experience. Most of the time when I start saying that I really enjoy the picture quality, it turns out to be a DLP projector. Oh a pricier JVC can do blacker blacks, but I don't know that the picture has that something extra. I've found DLP's to be particularly good at having rich darker colors without being over the top. That's probably part of it.
End result is the Picture quality here, is sufficient for you to consider that benefit as the offset to some more performance issues like a dynamic iris that is could still be improved. A lot of owners of DLP projectors swear by them, having tried others and switch back. That doesn't make this HD8300 the best around, but it means that when you get one home, it's got a picture you really can appreciate.
A mix of additional images to show off the Optoma HD8300:
Yes, it's a Corona commercial
Optoma HD8300 Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
Most photos for this section were taken with back lighting on, and the rear window shutters partially open (shown here). Images of non-sports were mostly taken with those lights still on, but the shutters closed (and leaking only very minor light).
PUREMotion, Optoma's CFI, works very nicely when running 3D. I believe it smooths out the action, and maybe even the 3D itself. For 3D use, I used the highest setting while watching the live U of Miami vs. Clemson football game.
Click Image to Enlarge
Most of the time I viewed sports using User. I found the Bright mode to be over the top, and in my room I just didn't need it, even tamed down a bit. Using bright settings with color temp at D93 or Native (over 10000K) means real thin on reds. Nonetheless, you've got about 40% more maximum brightness in "brightest" mode, if you need maximum horsepower. Or, after a "quick-cal" you can get an extra 100-150 lumens or so, and still have pretty good color.
Since all the modes are relatively similar in brightness, though, that's hardly a concern.
3D content looked very good, with the caveat that I still would have liked more lumens when trying to fill a 100" diagonal image (16:9). Not bad, though, at that size, though many times I still craved more brightness. This projector is as bright as any of the other DLP or LCoS higher end, 3D capable projectors we've seen so far. Will it be enough for you? Perhaps, with a 100" screen. For someone really into 3D, it's still going to be tough to recommend a projector with this level of brightness, for a 100" screen size, unless you've got a very high gain screen, and/or, an ideal room.
In that regard, the also recently reviewed HD33, the most lower cost 3D capable projector from Optoma was a bit more satisfying for 3D viewing thanks to about 25% more brightness in comparable modes.
Optoma HD8300 Projector: Bottom Line on HDTV and Sports
The HD8300 does well for sports and general HDTV viewing. Not only does it do a respectable job in 2D, but, I'd rather watch 3D on my screen, on the HD8300, than the $12,000 JVC that came though here eariler this year. The difference - this HD8300 is almost twice as bright, and its lumens are needed.
The Optoma HD8300 - a good single chip DLP projector, offers a very nicely sharp image on digital content, whether my favorite football game, or concert, or DiscoveryHD, (or even the DirecTV Guide with football game inset).
Overall, the HD8300 is at the least, a very good projector for sports, and HDTV content, combining sharpness, good CFI for sports, and rich colors. There's extra horsepower in brighter modes, but even in "best" mode, the projector does over 750 lumens. All but those who really need the extra brightness will likely stick with "best mode". If you are in a family room, with light walls and ceiling, etc. the HD8300 with its just slightly better than average maximum brightness, may leave you wanting more. In a cave, however, with good controlled lighting, such as my place, the HD8300 really is great for HDTV.