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Projector Reviews - General Performance-5

Posted on October 14, 2006 by Art Feierman

HD70 Projector Brightness

Very interesting! I suspected that the HD70 would perform (in brightness) similarly to the Mitsubishi HD1000U. I was wrong, at least in "best" mode.

The out of the box performance, in Cinema Mode, with lamp at low power, and with BrilliantColor at its default of 3, etc. yielded a decent, but not particularly bright 417 lumens. After calibration that dropped a bit, to 363 lumens.

Note, for the measurements the zoom lens was in the middle, neither wide angle nor telephoto. Since the HD70 has only a 1.2:1 lens, there is little brightness difference between wide angle (always brighter) and telephoto. With some of the LCD projectors with their zoom ranges of up to 2:1, however, full wide-angle can be over twice as bright as full telephoto.

Switching the lamp to High Power, lumens increased to 454 lumens, an increase of 25%. (Inversely, dropping from full power to low power is a drop of approximately 20%.)

By comparison, the HD1000U was exceptionally bright in it's best (and dimmest mode) cranking out 768 lumens by comparison.

But back to the Optoma HD70 projector. Again, the brightness in best mode was about average, but there is a significant jump in lumens (as is normal) in brightest mode. Here the results were very impressive.

With the projector set to Bright mode and lamp at full power, and the much higher default settings for BrilliantColor and TrueVivid, the HD70 cranked out an especially impressive 991 lumens. This is still below the 1115 lumens, the HD1000U reported, but the color accuracy of the HD70 was better than the Mitsubishi. With the color looking pretty good, I wanted to see how many lumens I could get out of the Optoma HD70, and still have respectable color, to fight serious ambient light. I was extremely surprised by the much higher than rated 1424 lumens! Not great color, but if the lights are on for football, you'll be happy to have all those lumens.

Note, when I measured the Mitsubishi HD1000U, I didn't spend as much time pushing the lumens (I'm sorry now), but as I wrote in the review, I was able to get over 1300, but estimated that I could still maintain 1200 lumens and have very respectable color.. I had been disappointed that it's 1115 lumens were well below the 1500 claimed. I now realize that I probably could have pushed out the full 1500 lumens with more adjusting. Whether the colors would be acceptable to most, even with problem lighting conditions, I can't tell you. Therefore, I can't actually tell you which projector can do the most lumens with the best color, but my best guess is that they are pretty close, probably within 100 - 150 lumens and that would be a barely noticeable difference

In summary, the HD70 is very good in terms of brightness and color handling in its brightest mode. For best movie watching, however, it is pretty average. (When I say average, remember that there are a number of projectors that in their best modes produce only between 200 and 300 lumens, so the HD70 is no slouch!

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