Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-HW65ES Projector – Performance 2

SONY VPL-HW65ES PERFORMANCE PAGE 2:  Effect of the Iris, Sharpness, Image Noise, Audible Noise

Iris Settings

 

Effect Of Iris Settings On HW65ES Lumen Output (Brightness)
Auto Fill 1560
Auto Limited (slider on max) 1560
Manual (Maximum opening) 1560
Manual (50% open) 1258
Manual (Minimum opening) 789

This Sony projector has  a dual function iris. One that can be used dynamically – adjusting frame by frame to the scene changes, or manually, where it can be used to lower overall brightness. (Do you have a smaller screen?)

That’s not all, however.  There are three reason’s Sony’s 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 smaller 90 inch 1.3 gain screen, who might find the 900 calibrated lumens in Low Power mode to be 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.)  For example, one could use the limit feature to limit the max brightness to something around 700 lumens if desired.

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.  As mentioned (in the black levels section) the Sony iris is, however, more sensitive in very dark scenes without any significant fairly bright areas.  Because of that, the appearance of a pause icon is enough to have the iris open a bit on a very dark scene.  That tells you something, but that doesn’t make the iris action better or worse.

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-HW65ES Projector - Sharpness

No surprise in that I never used the Sharpness control.  Reality Creation is much smarter, thus creating a seemingly sharper image with less artifacts.  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!

Image noise

Overall, Sony projectors including this one are very good when it comes to handling the different types of image noise.  Background mosquito noise for example is extremely good, less noticeable than on any DLP projector I can think of, and at least as good as most of the non-DLP competition.

But, once again, Sony does have a problem with one particular speed of slow horizontal panning.  I’ve only spotted it a couple of times (a couple of movie scenes) over the years with the various Sony projectors. Every time I review a home theater projector, I fire up one of those scenes – the one I use for testing is near the very beginning of the movie RED, where the camera pans a suburban neighborhood.  At that pan speed trees shimmer dramatically, etc.  The Sony on that particular pan speed is worse than even any entry level projectors.  The good news is, as I said, I’ve only encountered pans that trip up the Sony projectors on a couple of scenes, out of hundreds of movies.  Well, no one’s perfect – not even a Sony projector, I guess!  BTW engaging Motion Enhancer (their creative frame interpolation) will deal with most of that, but most home theater aficionados don’t use CFI on movie content.

VPL-HW65ES Audible Noise

The HW65ES is impressively quiet.  At full power it is quieter than much of the competition running in their low power eco modes where their fan runs slower/quieter.  You are looking at below 30 db at full power, while Sony claims a superb 22 db in eco mode.  That folks, is about as quiet as home theater projectors get these days!  Kudos to Sony!