Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-HW65ES – Picture Quality 2

SONY VPL-HW65ES PROJECTOR – PICTURE QUALITY PAGE 2:  Dark Shadow Detail, HDTV and Sports Viewing, Overall Picture Quality

Sony VPL-HW65ES Dark Shadow Detail

The Bond night train scene on the previous page is also an excellent test for dark shadow detail.  When I first started using that image it was for dark shadow detail comparisons.  Typically on that scene, there are no significant bright areas to keep the iris from shutting down, or to cause the same for your eyes when viewing.  In this case, though, the Sony’s iris algorithm is sensitive enough that when I pause to shoot a scene, a pause icon (lower left of the screen) appears. it affects the iris action, opening it a very visible amount.

As for the dark shadow detail, look behind the tracks on the right, especially the shrubs behind them.  Also look around the darkest areas of the forest behind.  The also converted to grayscale image of Katniss and Rue sleeping in the forest is another good test.  You can compare the HW65ES against a number of competing projectors, and even one entry level projector which is there to give you an idea what a huge difference there is between the Sony and it’s competition, vs sub $1000 projectors!

Overall, I consider the Sony to be extremely good, but not the best among the serious competition when it comes to revealing the darkest shadow detail.  I can find by looking at these scenes, an occasional not quite black area on some others that appears black on the Sony.

But, it’s “close enough!”

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

Sony VPL-HW65ES Projector For HDTV And Sports

I like my sports and most HDTV viewing to be bright!  True, I have a dedicated theater, but for my NFL football I usually have guests on Sundays.  Most HDTV is viewed with some lighting on or, in the daytime, my  window shutters are normally at least part way open, depending, (of course) on the projector de jour!

These are the typical room conditions for my viewing of a lot of HDTV content on the Sony:  The first image of wolves (overexposed), projected by the HW65ES, shows one of the windows with open shutters.  The second photo is optimized for the image on the screen and in a brighter mode.

VPL-HW65ES_hdtv_wolves_light
Daytime ambient light – vs HW65ES in Cinema Film 1 mode
VPL-HW65ES_hdtv_wolves
Exposure adjusted for best looking image under ambient light conditions, in Bright TV mode (more punch, than Cinema Film 1).

Because the Sony projector is rather bright, if I set the exposure when shooting my room, so that the picture looks as bright as it is, the rest of the room looks much darker than it really is.  For these two photos the back right window’s shutters are about half open and light comes in from the skylight in the next room.

Overall Picture Quality: VPL-HW65ES Looks Great on a Wide Range of Scenes

A reminder:  The images in these players are 1000 pixels wide if you expand them to full screen, that’s barely half of the horizontal 1920 pixels across of this projector’s resolution.  Thus, these images are  just a bit more than 1/4th the true resolution of the projected image, so expect a whole lot more sharpness when live viewing the Sony VPL-HW65ES projector.

As previously covered, color is excellent right out of the box.  The short version is that the HW65ES is a great overall performer that has a very natural looking picture.  The image is sharp, with additional processing using Sony’s Reality Creation detail enhancement, providing an even sharper seeming image than most.  There is a slight brightening in the corners of the image but it’s barely detectable if ever during normal viewing, but on a black frame you can see it.

There is some blooming around bright areas on a dark background, more than I see on Sony’s higher end projectors that have better optics, but an acceptable amount for sub-$4000 projectors.

Black levels are definitely “ultra high contrast” about comparable with the Epson UB’s but not quite as good as the more expensive JVCs or the Epson LS9600e (which is $2000 more but is lamp free, thanks to a laser light engine)

3D is also rather good, and the Sony’s CFI works well for sports and more.

In other words, the VPL-HW65ES, like it’s predecessor serves up a great looking picture for the money.