We normally calibrate each home theater that is reviewed. This time due to my own foolishness, we have little to report on the calibration front. I've explained that all on the first page of this review. On the bright side, if you can afford an LS-7 projector, new, or used, I'm confident you can afford a calibrator, if you are like the vast majority and don't do your own.
Runco LS-7 Color Temperature
OK, no accurate color temp readings were taken. That said, based on running the projector along side my JVC RS20, who's readings are pretty well known, I'd say, out of the box, the Runco probably stays within a 300 degree range from about 6300 to 6600. It may, however spike a little up by 100 IRE, perhaps hitting 6700.
No, my eyes aren't that good, but the similarities in color balance between the image of the JVC and the Runco are tremendous. Unfortunately, I no longer know where my RS20 is balanced, since it's been about 1000 hours since the last calibration. (I'm replacing the lamp shortly). Still, the RS20 is very close to right on, just a tad warmer than when calibrated.
Runco LS-7 Basic Settings
This was easy, not much to change here. In our using the LS-7 there are no specific pre-designed color modes. About the only thing you can do to get more lumens out, is up the Color Temp setting, and hike the contrast slightly.
Defaults are in ()
Brightness: 93 (100) For this LS-7, 93 or 94 is optimum. I like to go the one lower for the deeper blacks (however slight the difference)
Contrast: 103 (100). There's a little extra bang in brightness at 103, without crushing whites. You can get more overall brightness with even higher numbers up to about 128, but as you go up there, you are mostly crushing whites, not adding much to maximum brightness. Still, for sports with a lot of light, go for it.
If you turn on Adaptive contrast, there goes your Contrast setting 103, with Adaptive on, is crushing everything even close to whites, on a 255 scale, probably everything over 210 is going pure white. On one scened from Quantum of Solace (speed boats, and big white wave spray), I had to drop contrast to below 72 to preserve the near whites, when Adaptive was selected. Be warned!
Saturation: Fascinating (to quote Spock, of course). With a digital source (HDMI) the LS-7 does not allow access to the color saturation levels. Hmm, that didn't bother me in the least. They look pretty much dead on and definitely well saturated, but without looking over the top. (Well, unless you also turn on Adaptive contrast.)
We recommend using Constant Contrast, which is the Runco's dynamic iris control. It should not affect the settings above. There is also adaptive contrast, which ups the dynamics of the picture at its discretion (as some Brilliant Color implementations seem to do, as well as other "dynamic" contrast circuits).
This projector has a lot of punch, thanks to all those lumens. Check out the adaptive contrast, you may like it for a lot of digital content, but it's probably a little over the top of movies if you tend to favor "right" over "spectacular (with no highlight detail)"
Runco gives you several choices for gamma settings. I did not notice any controls to customize gamma. I believe the LS-7 actually came in set for the 2.5 gamma, but I did view it both at 2.5 and 2.2 settings. The 2.2 may have been a little lower in reality, but I preferred it to the darker 2.5. Although the 2.5 is tempting, there's so much brightness behind this projector on my "mere" 128" screen, that the scenes don't feel "too dark". There's also a Video gamma, which is very similar to the 2.2 gamma but seems to brighten up the lower IRE ranges a bit more than the upper ones. There's also a 2.0 gamma, which you might like for sports or sitcoms when there's some ambient light present.