The least of the JVC projectors, the RS15 can be thought of - when it comes to black level performance - a standard, that so far, perhaps only one other non JVC projector has bested. No dynamic iris needed, it can still do better - darker, blacks, than the Epson UB projectors at their best. Only the Sony VW85, and JVC's own more expensive projectors can do a blacker black. Shadow detail is good, not the very best.
Magnificently dark blacks, the RS25 does the best job I've ever seen. The RS25 seems to be just a smidgeon, or maybe even a bit better at blacks than my own RS20, its predecessor. And I do love the blacks of the RS20. Not only are the blacks really dark, they are very neutral, not visible slight presence of blue or red in the very darkest areas. Shadow detail is very good, although the darkest shadow detail is awefully hard to see because its so much darker than with most other projectors.
Exactly what I said about the RS25, except that the RS35 would seem to be even better. Although I didn't have the RS25 and RS35 here at the same time, I ran them both against my RS20. No question, the RS35 has blacker blacks than my RS20, and by a bit more than the RS25.
The HD8600 is no slouch when it comes to black level performance, but also, not a star. It qualifies as a UHC projector although its down at the bottom of the range. It can't quite match the blacks of the less expensive PT-AE4000. Shadow detail is very good. I would say typical for a projector with its black level performance.
I said last year that the PD8150 had the best blacks of any of the DLP projectors in the report. The Planar was impressive when I reviewed it. Compared to this years crop of projector, it should work out to being about equal to the InFocus SP8602. It relies on a dynamic iris, but still comes up short of the JVC RS15. Shadow detail is very good.
Impressive! Sony still hasn't figured out JVC's trick of outstanding black levels without the use of a dynamic irs, but they are improving their projector's performance, in the case of the VW85. The VW85 is outstanding! The blacks, on the scenes where irises are most effective (very dark ones - no bright areas), the VW85 comes close to the RS25. I can't think of a single other non JVC projector I can say that about. If other aspects of the Sony appeal to you more than the same features on the JVC, the difference in blacks won't be enough to convince you to go with the JVC. Sony has narrowed the gap. Of course, great blacks without a dynamic iris is still better than great blacks with one.
Overall Color & Picture Quality
Is the sum of the parts greater? These are my thoughs about the picture in general, including color, black levels, shadow detail, film like and other qualities. I'm going to keep this very short, since I consider this to a large degree to be subjective. Instead of going into each projector, and trying to describe its overall Color and Picture Quality, I'll comment on them together. In some cases I'll mention the brighter modes, especially for sports and general HDTV/TV viewing, where I see something special.