$2100 - $3500 1080p Home Theater Projectors
The W6000 is a UHC (ultra high contrast) projector from my subjective standpoint. Not the best in this class, it's black level performance will still come up shy of the two Epson UBs, and the Mitsubishi HC7000, but it's real close to the Mits, and probably the equal of the less expensive Panasonic PT-AE4000. The W6000's dynamic iris can close down pretty far. Feed it a really dark scene like the Casino Royale night train scene I use, and it can get right down there with the Epson UB, but on not a lot of dark scenes that aren't all very dark, it can't match the Epson. The large range of the W6000 was also responsible for the rough iris action on really dark scenes when I reviewed the pre-production unit. The fix to the iris that they released, made a huge improvement. So, great black levels for an under $2500 projector. No projector near its price can beat it's blacks by more than a little, and it easily beats most of the competition.
Shadow detail was very good. It not only easily bested the Epson UB projectors, but even slightly outdid the Sony VPL-HW15.
Strictly entry level blacks - right down there with the $999 projectors. Definitely disappointing blacks for a projector retailing for about $2500. Shadow detail was fine, as expected on any projector with not very good blacks. The black level performance is the weakest link of the HD700 projector.
Epson Home Cinema 8500UB
Now we're talking. Three years in a row, Epson has offered up projectors that have been truly superior to the similarly priced competition. Oh, there are one or two others in this group that give the Epsons a run for the money, but the Epson definitely finishes first when we're talking black level performance! The BenQ W6000, and the Mitsubishi HC7000 come close, but only compared to the rest of the field. The Epson is the black level champ, and you are going to have to spring for something almost twice the price to do better. Hey, most projectors twice the price still can't match the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB for blacks.
Epson shadow detail has never been the best. They always seem to lose just a touch more than most. I believe that, combined with the great blacks, helps give the Epson the rep of a lot of pop and wow.
Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB
Exactly the same as the Home Cinema 8500UB!
Epson Pro Cinema 9100
The Pro Cinema 9100's performance despite the 36,000:1 contrast ratio, doesn't make the cut as an ultra-high contrast projector. That is to say, its black level performance, while very respectable, isn't up in that top tier of performers where most really dark scenes still have a good amount of contrast and pop. Shadow detail is pretty good (better than the UBs), but still not among the best.
The best way to describe the Epson Pro Cinema 9100 in terms of black levels would be one as of the best non-UHC projectors.
if only the LG CF181D was better at black level performance. Still the LG didn't do badly, but not a UHC projector. As best I could describe them, I said they were a little better than the Mitsubishi HC3800, about half way between the 3800 and the Panasonic. It's not even remotely up there with the Epson UB, or the far more expensive JVCs. Shadow detail was not a problem, The dynamic iris itself was pretty smooth. Combine that with the not spectacular blacks and I conjecture that the LG's iris isn't setup to shut down as far as the irises on most other projectors.