Posted on December 12, 2017 By Nikki Kahl
Optoma UHD60 Review and Comparison to UHD65 – Performance: Brightness, Affect of Zoom Lens on Brightness, Difference In Brightness and Behavior of Light Modes, Image Noise, Sharpness
Here’s how the UHD60 and UHD65 stack up in terms of brightness. In most modes the UHD60 measures about 10 to 20% brighter. (Note, I measured the UHD60, Eric did the UHD65.)
Interesting that one of the very best modes – Reference, the UHD60 measures less, which may well be due to the different color wheels, but I suspect an error on my part, that Reference and User may have been in Eco mode. If I had still had the projector here I would remeasure. Without being sure, I recommend you figure that is the problem, so that Reference will therefore measure closer to 1050 lumens at full power. Sorry for not being sure.
Conversely, the UHD60 measured far more than the UHD65 in Bright mode (which most likely no one will use). That too could be the color wheel, or, I suspect the UHD65 has a different default color temp than the UHD60 has (or Eric decided the default color temp was just too ugly. I had noticed that the UHD60’s ugliest mode – Bright – is by far at its brightest, and by far worst in Warm color temp. In the others the brightness drops off a good deal, but, at the same time, the color improves dramatically. I would say on the UHD60 that Bright / Warm is a native lamp mode – that is, Optoma is doing little or nothing to tame the heavy greens.
Switching to Eco mode reveals a drop of just just over 32%. Figure that’s +/- 2%, so in all modes expect a drop in the 30-35% range. Even in the least bright modes, using Eco, that means the UHD60 has enough lumens to fill a 100″ screen (not 4K HDR) to movie theater brightness. But the brighter modes (but not Bright mode) work best for 4K HDR, which demands a lot of lumens.
As mentioned in the Picture Quality section, the mosquito/background noise is a little more obvious than with most projectors. First, that’s a DLP projector tendency, and second, this is an extremely sharp DLP projector.
If you don’t sit particularly close, you are less likely to notice. I do find it more noticeable when viewing 4K content, and I do sit close – about 8-9 feet to the screen when viewing 4K content at 124” diagonal.
No issues with other types of motion noise. For example, the neighborhood scene near the beginning of RED consists of a slow pan that tortures most projectors. This Optoma behaves about the same as most, a little better than the Epson 5040UB, and noticeably better than almost any 1080p or 4K Sony – all which really hate that scene. That said, I’ve only found three scenes, in many years and at least a hundred+ movies, that seem to torture the Sonys. By comparison, the elevated mosquito noise is there all the time, even if slight. Not hard to spot on large bright areas like sky and clouds.
The single chip DLP 4K UHD projectors, in general – at least these low cost ones under $2500, do not seem to have the greatest optics (not a surprise really at the price point), but they are reasonably good. Maintaining sharpness from center to corner on the UHD60 (and UHD65), they get a little soft in the corners if you focus dead center. I recommend you go for best focus about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way between the center and and the corner, to maintain a sharper overall image.
Better optics would also offer a more “clear” picture. (Think charity of diamonds if you are familiar.) But again, respectable. The BenQ HT9050 – at 4.5 times the price of the UHD60 definitely has better optics, but then, it is $9000 they can afford to throw more money at the lens.
Getting past the optics, though is the more critical resolution of the projector itself. On 4K content, the higher resolution chips (higher than 1080p pixel shifters like the Epsons), combined with the single chip design, give the Optoma a distinct edge in sharpness of the content. Conversely, the lowest cost true 4K projector, the Sony VW285ES (which doesn’t have as good optics as some of their more expensive 4K projectors), still will reveal more sharpness and detail in the finest, smallest elements. That’s fair!
For your consideration, here are images to demonstrate the sharpness. You will find full screen images, and then close ups (at higher resolution), with the ability to see the differences on those close ups. I’ve included the same images on some competitors for you to compare. Of course, something is always lost in resizing, compression etc., yet you can spot some differences in sharpness.
UHD60 close-up of Bigalow space station rendering
Sony VW285ES - true 4K
BenQ HT9050 - another 4K UHD DLP but more expensive
Epson 5040UB - a 1080p pixel shifter
Sony VW285ES close-up of Bigalow space station rendering
As a general rule these 4K UHD projectors will have a native sharpness advantage over the one step down 1080p pixel shifters, and also a general rule is that 4K UHD isn’t going to resolve as much detail/sharpness as true 4K. After that, it’s up to the implementations of the various manufacturers.
Of course all of these projectors offer some sort of sharpening/detail enhancement, which like other forms of processing comes with some trade-offs.
The better the image processing the more sharpening and detail enhancement you can get, before other, undesirable, artifacts become visible. Our “cautionary tale” would be Epson’s 5040UB. It is lower native resolution being a 1080p pixel shifter, but they offer extensive, and very good image processing when it comes to sharpness. Still, while the 5040UB, say at Image 4, can look as sharp as these 4K UHD projectors, there is some trade-off, which I often describe as being sometimes most noticeable on close ups of faces.
I do use Image Enhancement 4 sometimes, but mostly limit that control to 2, which easily eliminates most of the hardness, but still appears crisper than not using the control at all, or even the 1 setting. This, folks, is what it’s all about – trade-offs. Still, with the Epson using settings of 2 or less, compared to the Optoma UHD60 or 65, the Optomas are definitely noticeably, if only slightly, sharper than the Epson! Clear?
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