Projector Reviews

1080p Comparison Report – Image Quality10

Sanyo PLV-Z3000 projector

While the PLV-Z3000 has the least best black levels of the ultra-high contrast 3LCD projectors in the group, it still easily beat all the other projectors in this group, except for the Sony HW10 which was roughly comparable, though the Sony bests the Z3000. When it comes to shadow detail: “The Sanyo exhibits extremely good shadow detail. There may be a few projectors that can do a touch better, but I’d say that it is a non-issue.”

Sony VPL-HW10 projector

Black levels are pretty impressive, even if, overall, it comes up a bit short of the best. In its review, I stated: “The VPL-HW10’s black level performance puts it into that select group of projectors where I consider the differences to still be there, but all have good enough black levels that the differences between them, for the most point, are very secondary, when deciding between them.”

This Sony can’t match the Epson, but is comparable to both the Panasonic and the Mitsubishi HC7000. The Sony, on the darkest scenes, can beat those two, but it’s close enough as to, as indicated above, not be a final buying issue, between them.

Shadow detail on the other hand, is not among the best. It fits in to the mix, more like the Epson. Considering both black levels and shadow detail, what you end up with are very rich, dynamic dark scenes with lots of “pop and wow”. Not quite as sensational as the Epson UB, but similar in look and feel.

Viewsonic Pro8100 projector

The Viewsonic was reviewed before any of the other 3LCD projectors in this comparison and class. It is not an ultra-high-contrast projector, so in that regard, its black levels are more in line with the lower cost Mitsubishi, the Epson Pro Cinema 7100, and the Optoma. It is not a match for the others. Shadow detail is described as “extremely good”. Let’s say that black level and shadow detail are not the Pro8100’s particular strengths.

From Aeon Flux, Epson Home Cinema 6500UB. Below, from The Fifth Element, Sony VPL-HW10

$3500 - $10,000 Home Theater Projectors

Click to enlarge. So close. Despite this group being our “premium” price range, there is a huge amount of difference in black level performance among these projectors, in fact more than in either other category. The least of these come up short of the ultra-high-contrast projectors in the $2100 – $3500 range, while the best, are – well the best, and by no small margin.

From Casino Royale – Projector: InFocus IN83

Click Image to Enlarge

BenQ W20000 projector

Despite two irises (one dynamic, one manual), the W20000 does not qualify as a UHC projector. Black levels at their best, could beat the InFocus IN83 (Darkchip4), on very dark scenes, but overall, the IN83 has a slight advantage on mixed brightness scenes. It isn’t a match for the UHC projectors, but has some of the best black levels among those that I don’t classify that way. Then consider shadow detail, which I described in the W20000 projector review as “superb”. What you have, is a well balanced projector in regard to black levels and shadow detail combined, but the great shadow detail isn’t enough to make it a serious competitor compared to projectors like the JVCs, and we expect, the yet unreviewed Sony VPL-VW70.