Projector Reviews Images

Sony VPL-HW55 ES Image Quality 2

Posted on December 7, 2013 by Art Feierman

Sony VPL-HW55ES Dark Shadow Detail


The Bond night train scene on the previous page is also an excellent test for dark shadow detail, in fact the image was originally used just for shadow detail comparisons.  There really is no significant bright areas to keep the iris from shutting down, or to do the same for your eyes when viewing.  Look to the the tracks on the right, especially the shrubs behind them.  Also in around the darkest areas of the forest behind.

Overall, I consider the Sony to be extremely good, but not the best among the serious competition.

More to the point though, is that the difference between this one and anything better is so slight as to be essentially a non-factor.

One strength of this Sony is the fine controls for brightness (and other settings).  That makes it easy for the Sony to deliver its best effort at revealing the darkest details.

Here are some additional images that have good dark shadow detail.

Shadow Detail Images

Star Trek Image - Shadow Detail

Darker areas of ship do well, gamma looks good, as gradations into darker parts of ship decend smoothly

Image From Skyfall

Good definition in the dark areas, limited bleeding

Grayscale from The Hunger Games

An excellent image for viewing dark shadow detail. Extremely good. There is a touch more detail in the dark area bottom center-right in reality, than the Sony reveals

Dark Shadow Detail Comparison - Hunger Games

Look for details in dark areas near bottom

In the slide player above (due to lower captions not working yet), you are looking at 3 images.  Note we only started using this image a few months ago, so have taken it for only a half dozen projectors so far.

One of the three images in the player  is a single image, from the Epson Pro Cinema 4030 (more than $1000 less).  That is followed by a comparison between JVC's top of the line $12K DLS-X95R, (left) and the directly competing JVC DLA-X35.

That's followed by last year's Epson 5020UB (left) vs. Mitsubishi's HC8000D (note Mitsubishi has exited the home theater projector market in the US, since then).

Then comes another single projector image, this time the Epson Pro Cinema 6030 UB by itself.

In the last image before it starts over, is the Epson Pro Cinema 4030 again (on the left) vs. the more direct competition, the Pro Cinema 6030UB (same performance as the Home Cinema 5030UB), on the right.  There isn't one mediocre performer between the this Sony, the three Epsons, the two JVCs and the Mitsubishi.

Also note the differences in how dynamic the different projectors do on an extremely dark scene like this one.  So, without captions, the sequence is single image, two side by sides, single, side by side, and then repeat, in case you are having trouble figuring out which are which. And of course, click on the rotating lower pane for much larger versions!  (Subscribers, to close large image viewer, the X is in the top right, but may be partially covered by our subscriber bar.)

You can note that some of these projectors do have slight problems with flattening (not enough  range of dark gray), that doesn't look quite natural.  Remember that all of these are overexposed intentionally.  That's not something you are likely to notice when viewing live.

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