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Sony VPL-HW55ES Projector - Performance 2

Posted on December 7, 2013 by Art Feierman


Effect Of Iris Settings On Lumen Output (Brightness)
Auto Fill 944
Auto Limited 673
Manual (Maximum opening) 843
Manual (50% open) 673
Manual (Minimum opening) 422
Column Content 944

As discussed in the Special Features section, this Sony projector has  a dynamic iris. One that can be used dynamically - adjusting frame by frame to the scene changes, and manual, where it can be used to lower overall brightness. (Do you have a smaller screen?)

There's more though, and that's one of three reason's this iris design is impressive.  Note the Auto Limited mode.  This works just like regular dynamic iris function (Auto Fill) but you can limit how open the iris gets.  Thus the home theater owner with a 90 inch 1.3 gain screen, who might find 950+ lumens calibrated a bit too bright, can still get the dynamic iris affect on black levels, while gaining the advantage of limiting overall brightness like a normal manual iris. Well done!  (In fairness, this is nothing new for Sony ES series projectors.)

The third strength of this iris is its iris action.  I don't know that it's smoother than the Epsons, for example, but both are pretty smooth, rarely noticeable except on unusual content, and things like flashing credits.

Bottom Line, the VPL-HW55ES projector has a flexible, well designed iris, and delivers deep blacks on dark scenes that rival anything at or around the price, and better than a number of more expensive projectors.

Sony VPL-HW55ES Projector - Sharpness

I never touched the Sharpness control.  Reality Creation is much smarter.  If you missed the section on Reality Creation in Special Features, check it out.  I've picked out a few images for your consideration.  The first two, however deal with Reality Creation itself, showing the difference on an image between off, and a modest setting of 20.  20 is the setting for all of these images except the football image where it was set for 50.

All 3 panel/chip projectors (including 3 chip DLP projectors) have some degree of misconvergence, which is why single chip DLP projectors are known to be the sharpest (assuming good lens, good optical design of the projector).

The combination of Sony's excellent panel alignment solution (which truly impressed me), and the thoughtful use of Reality Creation, however, could easily fool you to think that you are looking at a single chip DLP projector.  In some cases it might even look sharper.  As noted previously, we're not actually seeing more detail, but rather the impression of that, which if the eye can't discriminate between those two, is effectively just as good.

The bottom line, is that Reality Creation which is very "smart" in analyzing and improving the image, gives you a sense of clarity, without a noticeable loss of naturalness to the image, when used properly!

Below is our usual very close up look as some of the Sony PS3 start up screen icons.  Enjoy!


Comparative Images For Comparing Perceived Sharpness

The Sony VPL-HW55ES with Reality Creation on 20, Sharpness at 0
Epson Pro Cinema 4030
Runco LS7 (3 chip 720p DLP)
Optoma HD8300
Panasonic PT-AE8000U
Sony VPL-VW1000ES (true 4K)

The reference image rotating through will be the one where the icons are very green, that's the true 4K resolution Sony VPL-VW1000ES projector at roughly 6 times the price.

Others of interest:

The perceived sharpness of this Sony is really second only to that true 4K Sony projector.  How's that for impressive!

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