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Review: Sony VPL-VW1100ES 4K Projector: Picture Quality

Posted on November 22, 2014 by Art Feierman
VPL-VW1100ES 4K PROJECTOR PICTURE QUALITY:  Out of the Box Picture Quality and Modes, Skin Tones, Calibrated Reference Mode Image Libraries, HDTV and Sports

Out of the Box Color - and Color Modes

With lots of modes there's plenty of good, to exceptional picture quality to choose from, pre calibration.  Reference is the best starting mode though, for calibration per Mike.  Mike only calibrated Reference mode.  After the first couple of images in this player, you've got one image for each of the nine modes.  There isn't a whole lot of difference in brightness between the modes, but a couple, including TV are less bright.  I tried to adjust brightness a bit.

"Out of the box," I preferred Reference mode, followed by Cinema Film 1 as the two best modes for movie viewing, but for extra "umph" for sports and when ambient light is present, my first choice is Bright Cinema.  Bright TV is cooler and should be more fun for sports, but I don't like the overall balance as well as Bright Cinema.

The images of Tris are in this order:  Reference, TV, Photo, Game, Bright Cinema, Cinema Film 1, Cinema Film 2, Cinema Digital.

At least five of these modes would be considered gorgeous by the average consumer, even if only the Reference image is the result of calibration.

Skin Tones

Post calibration skin tones are excellent, but they weren't far from that in the better modes.  The calibrated Reference mode, however, produces a picture that is both accurate, and extremely natural looking on skin tones.  (All images above are 1080i or 1080p, except the last which is 4K from a video from the  download service).

As great as these photos look, the projected image on my screen is way better, and more natural.  As many of you know, I usually have Epson's far lower cost 5030UB here as a sort of reference projector.  While that Epson calibrates very nicely, I still encounter some scenes in some movies - especially when the director is affecting color, where that Epson just doesn't look quite right even considering  the circumstances.  Somehow, though, the Sony never seems to have that issue.  In those same scenes, the Sony's skin tones remain believable and right, within the affects of "lighting" adjustments.  I'm watching Ender's game right now.  It's an excellent example.  There's a strong lighting caste (actually several different ones), yet  Ender, and Mazer, and Capt Graff (Harrison Ford), manage to be completely believable in different setups.

In other words I keep waiting for the Sony to show some failing in naturalness re skin tones, but haven't found it yet.  Of course there are other ways to affect skin tones - by using controls like Reality Creation, crank them up, and affect naturalness (of textures and contrast) that way. That "detail enhancement" creates minor trade-offs, in the form of contrast and minor artifacts seen under close examination.

Sony VPL-VW1100ES Picture Quality - 1080p/1080i Images

These images are all from satellite, or Blu-ray disc, so 1080i or 1080p.  There's no real difference in accuracy between these images and the ones in the player below, which are true 4K images downloaded from the 4K service, and other 4K content provided.  More thoughts about the picture will be covered in the Overall Picture Quality section on the next page.

Sony VPL-VW1100ES Picture Quality - 4K Content

Talk about "wow" factor.  Every one of these images above look killer even on my MacBook Pro.  The original 4K footage, projected onto my 1.3 gain Studiotek 130 screen, by this Sony, is far more dramatic.  The nature footage is so stunning when projected that I've had a great many hours of this type of content on, with my sound system playing favorite music, while I'm writing.  I would have liked to see some compatible 3D 4K content.  But that's something that's going to have to wait a bit longer it seems.

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