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Sony VPL-HW10 Projector Calibration

Posted on October 21, 2013 by Art Feierman
We calibrate each home theater that is reviewed. It is a pretty standard calibration, there's always more that can be done by some of the "hi-end" calibrators.

Sony VPL-HW10 Projector - Color Temperature

Let's start by looking at the color temperature range from white to dark gray, as measured in best (Cinema) mode, right out of the box, without any adjustments. Here are the measurements:

30 IRE (dark gray) 6915K
50 IRE (medium gray) 6820K
80 IRE (light gray) 6630K
100 IRE(white) 6502K

Not bad at all, just a little cool, in the medium to dark ranges.

Below we get into the various settings and adjustments, and report on the grayscale balance, post calibration.

Basic Settings

In addition to calibrating Red Green and Blue for a correct grayscale balance (6500K), there are a number of other settings that come into play. Typically Contrast and Brightness (white balance and black balance), should be done first. Color saturation and gamma also need to be adjusted. With some projectors even Tint comes into play, although with most, the Tint control only works with the lower quality inputs (composite and S-video).

Our settings (numbers in parens are the default numbers):
Gamma Gamma 3 (averages an ideal 2.2 gamma) (gamma 1: 2.0, gamma 2: 1.9)
Contrast 90 (90)
Brightness 50 (50)
Lamp Mode Standard (unless noted otherwise)
Iris On (we have it off for brightness measurements but on for movie watching)
Color Saturation 47 (50)
Hue 50 (50)

Zoom at mid-range, All other settings at default

As you can see, Sony nailed the Contrast and Brightness with their default settings

Sony VPL HW10 Post Calibration Grayscale

The only downside to calibrating the projector, is that you cannot choose to start the calibration from the defaults used for Cinema mode. There are 3 Custom areas, and each starts with a different color temp, but none is as low as the Cinema default, which creates a small problem. When calibrating the Sony HW10, white (100 IRE), basically isn't affected by the individual RGB Contrast (gain) or Brightness (offset) controls.

As a result of that, everything looks really great after calibration, right around 6500K, except for white, which is up around 6900K. This is a small shift, where it doesn't seem to have significant effect.

The end result of our calibration:
White (100 IRE) 6956K
Light gray (80 IRE) 6464K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 6541K
Dark gray (30 IRE) 6541K

We normally just report on those 4 levels of grays, but for this review, here are the measurements of one additional level - 90 IRE - which measured 6412K. As you can see, as soon as you drop down from white (100 IRE), the measurements are all very close to the ideal 6500K.

The inability to have any real effect on white, may not be absolute. We do not calibrate the individual colors - which is the next level of calibration. it's possible that a professional calibrator who gets into that area can knock down the very slight shift to blue of pure white.

Bottom line: While we often get much better post calibration measurements than the Sony (just due to the high value on 100 IRE), based on extensive viewing of the Sony, this slight shift is not impacting the overall image quality in any significant way.

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