Projector Reviews

Viewsonic Pro8200 Projector – Image Quality

These Viewsonic Pro8200 images below are either Blu-ray or HDTV. Consider that by the time these Viewsonic Pro8200 projector images get to your eyes, processed by digital SLR, software, browsers, and your monitor, there are definite color shifts, saturation differences, contrast difference… The Pro8200 images are here to support the commentary, but keep in mind these limitations when trying to compare images from the Pro8200 projector with other home theater projectors. Take them with a grain of salt. Those images relating to black level performance and sharpness, however, are pretty reliable. By comparison, getting accurate color to you, and with the correct saturation and contrast, are the challenges.

Different projector technoogies noticeably affect the pictures I shoot. This is the first full shoot done with a new Canon D60 camera. This first attempt, with this camera, looks a bit cool (a bit thin on reds, especially since the projector, if anything, is a touch strong on reds.

I think it’s safe to for me to say that all home theater projectors, including the Viewsonic Pro8200 definitely look better live, than in even the best looking images here might suggest

Viewsonic Pro8200 Out of the Box Picture Quality

Right out of the box, you’ve got a number of modes to choose from. There’s Brightest, which is just that, looks pretty good, and Standard, is closer, but a bit over saturated out of the box. Unfortunately, none of the modes is particularly close to the ideal 6500K color temp. Standard, is likely the most pleasing, overall, but in this case, we suggest you try our calibration settings listed on that page.

Viewsonic Pro8200 Projector - Flesh Tones

Once Mike calibrated the Pro8200 projector, the Standard mode looked a great deal better. The picture, overall, is a touch warm – as would be expected by the shift toward lower color temp in the brightest ranges.

Skin tones aren’t quite ideal. On a lot of content, they look really good, but, the Pro8200 sometimes is a little over the top, a bit redish. Dropping the color saturation slightly really helps.

As noted earlier, this isn’t really an enthusiast’s projector, but for most of my family and friends, they just don’t notice the difference. Overall, they like it, because it’s brighter than most.

Above our usual suspects – Gandalf and Arwen, from Lord of the Rings, on Blu-ray.

Below are our three James Bond images from Casino Royale. Each has a different lighting scenario, the first – full sunlight, the second image; indoor fluorescent, and finally, filtered sunlight in the third image. And as one would expect, that causes each image of James Bond – Daniel Patrick – to have different looking skin tones. All look pretty good!

More images we like for considering skin tones:

From the DVE-HD calibration disc (digital source material, not film):

Viewsonic Pro8200 Black Levels & Shadow Detail

Pro8200 Black Level Performance

This Viewsonic Pro8200 performs pretty much as expected, when it comes to blacks. Performance should be typical of the sub-$1000 1080p DLP projectors such as the Optoma HD20, the Vivitek H1080FD, and the BenQ W1000+.

And that is to say, that black level performance is not enthusiast quality. The Viewsonic projector’s blacks are entry level. Not bad, in fact, on really dark scenes, like those space scenes below, the Pro8200 had a bit more pop than the Optoma HD20 or the Vivitek H1080FD. Still, pretty much everything else out there but a few all-in-one projectors, and those tiny pico projectors, can do blacks as well, or better.


The only low cost projector we had in for comparison is the somewhat more expensiveMitsubishi HC4000. The Pro8200 projector is similar in a number of ways, including size, and placement flexibility, but the Mitsubishi HC4000, as you can see in the side by side images below, definitely has blacker blacks. Note that the HC4000 (on the right) is slightly brighter (more over-exposed) in these pictures, yet the letterbox is slightly darker than the Pro8200’s: (click on images for larger versions)

Below, we have two versions of our satellite image from Space Cowboys. The first is normally exposed, the one below it, a good bit overexposed so you can see where the shadow detail is…

The overexposure lets you see some dark detail that is there, which otherwise would be hard or impossible to dis. At least as important is that it raises the black of the sky to grays you can compare. You just have to compensate for the differing exposures.

Pro8200 projector
BenQ W6000
Mitsubishi HC4000:
Optoma HD20
Epson Home Cinema 8350

Next, is the starship image from The Fifth Element. Again, we start of with a close to normal exposure, and one overexposed. That’s followed by the same frame on a number of additional projectors.

Viewsonic Pro8200
Viewsonic Pro8200
Mitsubishi HC4000
Mitsubishi HC3800
Sony VPL-HW15 (LCoS projector under $3K)
Vivitek H1080FD ($899)
BenQ W6000, which costs almost twice as much.
Optoma HD20

Consider two additional (digital) images which are good ones for observing black levels.