Projector Reviews

Home Projector Comparison Report – Performance-4

Epson Home and Pro Cinema 8500UB, 9500UB projectors:

We assume, of course that the Home Cinema 8500UB would test out exactly the same as the 9500UB, give or take the usual variation between units, as they are inherently the same projector.

The Epson combines a just slightly better than average “best” mode of 498 lumens, with the second brightest “bright mode” in this price class. It’s 1309 lumens have a bit too much green, but it’s not as serious as the BenQ. In doing battle with the W6000, let’s say that the Epson’s 1309 lumens are still not as pretty (due to the excess green) as the 1250 Standard mode lumens of the W6000.

But, as we all know, a healthy amount of lumens is a bonus for the Epson. Afterall these Epsons’ ultimate strength, is having the best black level performance of any projector near their price. The Epson’s got the juice to handle medium sized screens. It should prove comfortable with typical 110″ screens, and can be pushed a bit larger with the right setup. That said, the 9500UB has marginal brightness in “best mode” trying to fill my 128″ Firehawk, and that’s with the Epson having a shiny new lamp. That lamp will dim over time. Those of you thinking 120″ or larger to pair with one of these Epson projectors, should definitely be planning on a high gain screen, if you want to watch movies in “best” mode. No problem with smaller sizes, assuming the appropriate light control.

The brightest mode lumens are really nice. I pulled down my JVC projector and put up the Epson 9500UB for my annual Superbowl party. My JVC, with it’s lamp at around 1000 hours, is only doing outputting maybe 600 lumens in brightest mode at the time of Superbowl. I didn’t even need brightest mode on the 9500UB. I used an adjusted CinemaDay (that would be Living Room mode on the Home Cinema 8500UB), with 1168 lumens and it worked out just great, with a fair amount of ambient light in the room!

Epson Pro Cinema 9100 projector

Everything I just said about the two Epson UB’s holds for the Pro Cinema 7100. The key difference between projectors relate to the LCD panels, and ultimately, black level performance, not brightness! We actually worked with the virtually identical Home Cinema 8100. As it turned out, that particular Epson measured about

Mitsubishi HC6800 projector

The HC6800 is a little brighter than average in its “best” mode, which post calibration, measured 578 lumens , with only the Sony having significantly (about 25%) more lumens. For movie watching, that should mean its pretty comfortable with a 110″ screen, and maybe up to 120″ diagonal

When you want to tackle ambient light for that football game, though, the Mitsubishi’s “bright” mode, only measures 946 lumens, a bit below average, and if you go with a larger screen, that means not many lumens at all if you want any ambient lights on. The High Brightness mode of the HC6800 (where we recorded the 946 lumens) isn’t very pretty. And you cannot adjust the color. The next brightest mode, has good color, but a rather pathetic 687 lumens.

Mitsubishi HC7000 projector

Where have all the lumens gone? The HC7000 may physically look like the less expensive HC6800, but there may be a hole in the bottom of the HC7000, where most of the lumens have fallen out.

Seems that to get the HC7000’s very impressive black levels “best” mode brightness the HC7000 can’t muster more than to the second lowest in this group (278 calibrated lumens). Going to “brightest” mode, not much to write home about there, either. Although the lumens almost double, we’re still talking less than 550 lumens, and that makes the HC7000 the least bright projector in “brightest” mode, of this collection.

Bottom line: The HC7000, while an excellent performer in other areas, is the dim bulb of these mid-priced projector. The simple solution, consider the HC7000 if you are a small screen user. With a good room situation, the HC7000 should be fine on typical 100 inch diagonal screens, and great on smaller ones.

Optoma HD8200 projector:

Although definitely brighter than average in “best” mode, the HD8200 doesn’t do much better in “brightest”, making it one of the least bright in the group, for when you need the lumens. You can point the HD8200 at a pretty large screen for viewing movies, but if you want to switch to HDTV, TV and sports, you are still going to have to keep the ambient light to a minimum. The brightest projectors (in bright mode) in this group are roughly 2x to 2.5x as bright, and that’s a huge difference.

The HD8200, therefore, is a projector that will be best enjoyed (from a brightness standpoint) by those who are primarily movie watchers, and not overly concerned about other source material, or are willing to watch other material in a very darkened room.

Sanyo PLV-Z3000 projector:

Oh, if the PLV-Z3000 only had more lumens. In “best” mode, it measured the lowest of any of these projectors. That said, check out the brightness section in the Sanyo review. The PLV-Z3000 has three Cinema modes, and even the brightest – Brilliant Cinema is pretty good. That helps a lot, with about a 50% boost in lumen output, but that still leaves the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 below average in brightness.

The Sanyo, however, does better in brightest mode. Still not dazzling, but it’s 1000 lumens is about average.

Our best recommendation is to limit the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 to smaller screens, 100″ diagonal or below, although you can get respectable results up to 110 inch diagonal if your room conditions are very good (dark walls, etc.). Another way to help is to ceiling mount fairly close to the screen to get the extra lumens the lens passes when set up that way.

When you are sticking to those smaller screens, the PLV-Z3000 is capable of handling as much ambient light as, say, the Epsons can, with larger screens. (Figure the Sanyo on a 100″ screen will have similar brightness to the Epson on a 123″ screen, when both are at their brightest!)