Projector Reviews

SIM2 Nero 3D-2 Projector – Image Quality

All of the SIM2 Nero 3D-2 screen image photos below are from either Blu-ray or HDTV source material.

In truth, virtually all projectors, including this Nero 3D-2, will look a lot better projecting on to your screen, than in these pictures. Although the images can reveal some things and support some points I make, they are mostly for “entertainment” for the following reasons:

These SIM2 Nero 3D-2 projector images come to you, through a Canon 60D dSLR camera, software, browsers, your computer’s graphic card, and even your monitor, all with their own color and contrast inaccuracies. There are color shifts, saturation differences, etc. Take them all, “with a grain (no, make that a kilo) of salt”.

I report when I notice a visible shift in the colors compared to what is on the screen. In this case the camera did a really good job. If there is any shift at all, it’s mostly a smidgen too much yellow, but these images – at least on my MacBook Pro, are pretty good as these things go.

Due to all of the points above, the images of the SIM2 Nero 3D-2 are provided to support the commentary, but keep in mind all these major limitations when trying to compare images from the Nero 3D-2 with other home theater projectors, when it comes to color accuracy.

Nero 3D-2 "Out of the Box" Picture Quality

No one is likely to view a Nero 3D-2 projector that is uncalibrated, except the folks selling one to you. With that in mind, I didn’t bother to spend any real time viewing the uncalibrated modes. The Native mode was visibly the brightest, yet looked pretty good without any serious color imbalances. It would be the one you might use if you need every last lumen. Again though, your dealer will no doubt set up more than one calibrated or optimized mode.

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Nero 3D-2 Projector - Skin Tones

Ahh, the Nero’s skin tones are about as believable as I’ve seen. Even the photos here look great. Mike did a fabulous job of calibrating the Nero 3D-2, although he did say it was rather easy.

Skin tones were just symptomatic of overall color handling, once calibrated. The Nero looked particularly right in terms of color, be it skin tones, or grass, or the colors on a flag.

Here is our usual collection of Daniel Patrick as James Bond in Casino Royale. The point is that his skin tones look very different in each picture because the different lighting: sunlight, fluorescents, and filtered sunlight:

Immediately below are some additional images we typically use in reviews, that should give you a good feel for overall skin tone handling:

Nero 3D-2 Black Levels & Shadow Detail

Black level performance is not a real strength of this Nero model. With a 30,000:1 contrast claim and a Darkchip4, one expects at least very good blacks, and that, folks is what you get: Very good blacks. They are extremely neutral (lacking any color shift), but not overly black. This is an ultra high contrast projector, but it’s not a match, say, compared to the $10,000 Sony VPL-VW95ES we reviewed immediately before this SIM2.

If I had to provide my take on what it’s comparable to in terms of blacks, it might be the Panasonic PT-AE7000. I’m not convinced it can beat, for example, the Optoma HD8300.

OK, let’s look at some screen images, practical for considering black levels. And, as usual, we’ve provided the same image from a number of other projectors.

If two images have the starships equally bright, but one has blacker blacks in the letterbox, that projector is the one with the better blacks. Alternately, and logically, (since the exposures do vary a bit): If two projectors have letterboxes equally black/gray, then the one with the brighter starship, has the better blacks. It’s that easy. The hard part is the brightness variations from one image to the next. Even a 1/3 stop difference in exposure is rather significant.

Here we again start with the Nero 3D-2, and the Sony VPL-VW95ES. Note: We will be converting most recent “starship” images to grayscale to remove the distraction of varying colors. I also have side by side images which will be posted on the competitor’s page.

Nero 3D-2
Mitsubishi HC9000D (uses Sony LCoS panels)
Sharp XV-Z17000
Epson Home Cinema 5010

Finally, a little side by side imagery. On the right is the Sony VPL-VW95ES (which has truly excellent black level performance), on the left is theSIM2 Nero 3D-2. In the images below, you can easily see that the letterbox on the SIM2 is a lot lighter than on the Sony, indicating blacks not as dark.

Let’s say black level performance is basic ultra-high contrast, but not a match for quite a few projectors. While the SIM2 has a number of real strengths, black levels isn’t one of them.

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