Posted on March 14, 2008 By Art Feierman
Black level performance:
As great as the Epson does black levels (definitely the best of any of the projectors in its class), better than most of the more expensive ones, the JVC is unmatched at any price (short of a CRT projector). The Epson, on dark scenes without any significant bright areas produces stunning blacks, dark, inky, and so good that few would be disappointed. In mixed scenes, the Epson’s dynamic iris can’t close down as far, and black levels won’t be as good. On bright scenes, well, the iris won’t be in use, so black areas won’t be as dark. Still, keep in mind that black level performance is by far, most critical on dark scenes. The eye is drawn to the brighter areas. Let’s say you have a black helicoptor in front of a brightly lit building, the blacks on the Epson may not be as black as the JVC,, but you aren’t likely to notice, or even care, or have anything to complain about, regarding the difference on that scene.
On the other hand, once again – the JVC is the best there is. Blacks are close enough to black that the letterboxing on movies is dark enough that you don’t even notice the bars (at least not with a good HC gray screen). This may be a solid win for the JVC, and a key reason you would spend the extra for the DLA-RS25, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that I can only think of two other projectors in the report, regardless of price, besides the RS25 (and RS35), that can beat the Epson, and those two are the less expensive JVC RS15, and the Sony VPL-VW85. The first being $5000 and the other, even more expensive. In other words, JVC – best, Epson – one of the next best choices.
In the image above (Epson is on the left in all these side-by-side comparisons), Both do pretty great blacks. In the image below, with a slightly brighter exposure, you can see that the Epson’s blacks are now noticeably lighter than the JVCs. That’s the Epson’s dynamic iris at work. With the bright shuttle in the the image below, the two projectors separate in terms of black level performance. The shuttle’s brightness is enough that the Epson’s iris can’t shut all the way down, thus the starfield and planet get a lot brighter. The JVC’s starfield only gets a little brighter due to the slightly different exposure. Thus, on dark scenes, as I’ve said, they are close. On scenes mostly dark, with some bright areas, the JVC pulls away from the Epson in performance.
Still the Epson does a pretty impressive job considering it’s less than 1/3 the price, and when you consider how excellent the JVC RS25 performs (and how easily it also beats all the other projectors around its price range).
Neither projector fits into the “very best” performance levels in terms of revealing dark shadow detail. I have to say these two are extremely close, and a tie, for all practical purposes. If you get up close and are looking
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