Sony VPL-HW10 projector
For movie watchers, the Sony has the muscle, in fact, it measured the brightest of the group, in "best" mode. That means you can watch movies on a large screen without complaint. On the downside, though, the Sony is basically the same brightness in its "brightest" mode, so forget tackling ambient light if you choose a large screen. Overall, that makes the VPL-HW10 an excellent choice for those whose only real interest is movie watching, and want a medium to large screen size.
Viewsonic Pro8100 projector
The Pro8100 is right smack in the middle of the pack in terms of brightness, its 453 lumens in "best" mode is perfectly average, and with 922 lumens measured in its brightest mode, again, it's right in the middle. Interestingly, from a brightness standpoint, the Viewsonic Pro8100 projector is closest overall, to the BenQ W5000 even though the BenQ is DLP and the Viewsonic is 3LCD. It's an excellent choice for medium sized screens, and if you are not dealing with very much ambient light, it should be very comfortable with a 110 inch diagonal screen.
$3500 - $10,000 Home Theater Projectors
It's interesting that in this category, the "best" mode brightness as a group, is much brighter than the mid-priced group. At the same time, collectively, these are not quite as bright in brightest mode. These differences are primarily due to there being no 3LCD projectors in this group, instead, a balance of DLP (6) and LCoS (3) projectors.
The Optoma and Sony have not been tested, but we will manage to conjecture about them below.
* The BenQ W2000 "best" mode measurement is with the manual iris closed down to default position. Opening the iris increases the brightness to 557 lumens, with only a slight loss of black level performance.
** The Sharp XV-Z20000's "best" mode is shown at 264 lumens, but that's with the manual iris in its middle position. In its low position, it loses almost 30% in brightness. We consider the performance at 264 lumens to be almost as good in black levels as the low iris setting.
BenQ W20000 projector
One of my favorite DLP projectors, the BenQ is average in terms of best mode brightness, with the manual iris stopped down. Open it up, though, and there's an extra 82 lumens available (557). The W20000 had no trouble at all with filling my large Firehawk G3 screen, in "best" mode, even when my walls were off-white (iris open). When you need maximum lumens for sports and HDTV, the BenQ again performs very well, with the second brightest measurements (we presume the Optoma will also be brighter, however).
Anyway you slice it, the BenQ W20000 is well balanced for larger screens, regardless of your mix of content.
InFocus IN82 projector
The IN82 measured the brightest of all of this group's projectors (again, we don't know about the Optoma) in its "best" mode, and for movie watching, it effortlessly handled my large screen. With above average brightness in "brightest" mode, no problem there at all.
All considered, the IN82 is one of the "light canons" of these more expensive projectors.
JVC DLA-RS20 projector
Surprisingly, the JVC RS20 actually tested slightly brighter than the RS10. I say "surprisingly" because the older RS2 it replaces was significantly less bright than the RS1 that the RS10 replaced. JVC promised more lumens with the RS20 (compared to the RS2), but I was skeptical. Thankfully, they delivered, and that allowed me to buy an RS20 for my main theater.
With a measured 775 lumens in "best" mode, the RS20 when watching movies, cruises on my screen. That's not an easy feat. I now run it consistently with the manual iris partially closed (not quite to the mid-point).
In my hoping and waiting for JVC to deliver the lumens I needed, when the RS20 was announced, I was more concerned with brightest mode. As expected, the JVC RS20 is not much brighter in "brightest", in fact just about 10%.
No worries, though, it's doing just fine in my theater for my sports and HDTV viewing. Oh, I'd like more lumens, but I have my recessed lighting dimmed to fairly low when watching HDTV, and it still looks great.
Still there are limits to how much ambient light the JVC DLA-RS20 can handle on a large screen, and thus, for my superbowl party, I did move it aside, and used the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, which has almost twice the lumens.