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Sony VPL-HW50ES Projector Calibration and Settings

Posted on July 25, 2013 by Art Feierman

Virtually every home projector we review gets calibrated. Note we do not calibrate many all-in-one, and gaming projectors. This Sony VPL-HW50ES is no exception. Mike got to calibrate it before I really started watching the VPL-HW50ES.

Our calibrations, including this Sony VPL-HW50ES, are normally limited to a grayscale calibration, along with brightness, contrast, color saturation, tint (where applicable), etc. Only in very special circumstances will we calibrate the individual colors, in which case we discuss why.

Here are some pre-calibration numbers for the Sony VPL-HW50, our calibration settings, and the final results.

Sony VPL-HW50ES Color Temperature

Color Temp over IRE Range (Best Mode, Pre calibration)
Reference Cinema Film 1
30 IRE 7357 7050
50 IRE 7342 7087
80 IRE 7339 7057
100 IRE 7369 7360

Before we provide our settings, lets see what we started out with.

The default setting, Cinema 1 comes in just a little cool (shift towards blue), Reference was a bit cooler still but consistant from white to blacks.


Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom)
Reference 1044 @ 7369
TV 1054 @ 7356
Cinema Film 1 1047 @ 7360
Cinema Film 2 773 @ 6112
User 1054 @ 7357
Game 1281 @ 7815
Photo  794 @ 6121
Bright Cinema 1132 @ 8477
Bright TV 1131 @ 8480

According to Mike, the variation in brightness is tied to the different color temperature settings in the modes. In other words, changing the color temp of a mode, will cause the measured brightness to change, as well as the color.

Sony VPL-HW50ES Basic Settings

 Settings for measurements (default values are in parenthesis):
Reference TV Cinema 1 Cinema 2 User
Contrast  -90   -90   -90   -90  (90) 91
Brightness (50)  51
Color  -50  -50  -52  -50  -50
Tint  -50  -50  -50  -50  -50
Color Temp (D65) (D65) (D65) (DCI) (DCI)
Color Space (BT.709) (Color Space 1) (Color Space 3) (Color Space 3) (D65)
Gamma  (Off)  -2.4  -8 (Off)  -2.4
iris (Off) (Auto Full) (Auto Full) (Auto Ltd.) (Off)

In addition to calibrating the HW30's 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), need to be done first. Color saturation and gamma also need adjustment.

Settings for measurements (default values are in parenthesis).

Lamp Mode=High (unless noted otherwise).
All other settings at default (untouched).

 Settings for measurements (default values are in parenthesis):
Photo Bright Cinema Bright TV Game
Contrast  -90   (Max) 90   -90   -  (Max) 90
Brightness (50)  51
Color  -50  -55  -55  -55
Tint  -50  -50  -50  -50
Color Temp (D55) (D75) (D75) (Custom 5)
Color Space (BT.709) (Color Space 3) (Color Space 2) (Color Space 3)
Gamma  (Off)  -9  -10 -9
iris (Manual - 50) (Off) (Off) (Off)

Sony VPL-HW50ES Post Calibration Grayscale: User Mode

Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration)
20 IRE = 6396
30 IRE = 6545
40 IRE = 6494
50 IRE = 6514
60 IRE = 6517
70 IRE = 6504
80 IRE = 6479
90 IRE = 6432
100 IRE = 6804
 Average gamma = 2.22

Mike's notes:  A number of modes are almost identical when it comes to default grayscale. Reference, Cinema Film 1, TV and User modes all have roughly the same RGB balance that has a lot of green and blue and a deficiency of red (see graphs).  Some use different color spaces that make overall picture look different.  The RGB balance is also consistent across the entire IRE range.  It might be the case that with a different lamp, you could have little need for calibration.  The User mode calibrated extremely well, with a Delta E of less than 1.0 from 20 to 90 IRE, rising above 5 at 100 IRE.  There are some uniformity issues with red tinting along the sides of an all white screen, but it’s not noticeable in normal scenes.

As usual, Sony provides a range of color spaces that tend to make using a CMS unnecessary.  BT.709 is pretty close to the Rec. 709 standard.  Color Space 1, 2 and 3 expand the gamut to varying degrees, with Wide 3 being the largest gamut of the three.

Really nice picture with almost 1000 lumens calibrated and still has decent blacks.  Motion artifacts are pretty noticeable but can be eliminated by turning on MotionFlow.

VPL-HW50ES RGB Settings

HC5020 Post Calibration settings
Custom 3 Color Temp
Offset R 3
G 0
B -4
Gain R 11
G -16
B 11
Lumens at 100 IRE 992 @ 6814

Color Temp on Custom 3, Iris off, Gamma on Off, Color Space on BT.709, Color on 44, all other settings on default or as previously stated.

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