Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW285ES 4K Home Theater Projector – Performance

Sony VPL-VW285ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Brightness and Color Temperature, Color Temp Readings for Reference Mode, Post Calibration Color Temp Readings for Reference Mode, Gamma Measurement, ECO Mode: Affect of Brightness, Power Consumption, Lens Position: Affect on Brightness


No question about it, the Sony VPL-VW285ES beat its claim of 1500 lumens in just about every mode when lamp is on full power.  Of all the modes, Reference was the brightest – although not by much.

When you look at the chart below, please note that we show Reference mode twice, because throughout the performance and calibration pages, we use mid-zoom and full power, unless otherwise noted. That first listing, therefore shows this projector at its absolute brightest. Still at mid-zoom it doesn’t lose many lumens!

That makes the VW285ES a light cannon.  In a fully darkened room – such as good home theater, you really only need about 450 lumens to fill a 100″ diagonal screen with movie theater brightness, so this Sony has power to spare, to tackle more than a minimal amount of ambient light. (HDR content is a bit different.)

Picture Mode Lumens Color Temp. (Kelvin)
Reference (Wide-Angle) brightest measurement 1638 6370K
Reference (Mid-Zoom) 1596 6579K
Cinema Film 1 1561 6654K
Cinema Film 2 1561 6654K
TV 1433 7863K
Photo 1441 5380K
Game 1473 7490K
Bright Cinema 1473 7495K
Bright TV 1473 7577K
User 1596 6561K

In the case of this Sony, we calibrated Cinema Film 1 as our “bright” mode for viewing with ambient light present.  It measured 1557 lumens at mid-zoom.

We calibrated Reference mode at mid-zoom, and set to low lamp, and measured 1024 lumens as our “best” mode.  We could afford to choose low lamp for calibrating  “best” picture quality, for dark room use, because we have Cinema Film 1 doing the heavy lifting when there’s more than a little ambient light.  Turn off the lights when using Reference with our setup.

Had we used full power on Reference mode, and wide angle on the lens when calibrating, we would have measured over 1300 lumens for our best mode.

We use mid-zoom for most measurements because we believe that is more “real life” than publishing full wide able on the zoom lens. That’s because not everyone with this projector can mount or place it at the minimum distance from their screen.

Brightness and Color Temperature

The same chart above shows the color temperature of each mode when measured. These numbers are all pre-calibration.  About half of the modes are around 6500K (the ideal for movies, etc), while others are more in the 7500K range – a bit cooler (more blue) whites, such as Bright TV mode which I mention elsewhere in this review.

Many folks like a cooler temp for sports viewing – I count myself among those, so I tend to prefer something around 7000K but never more than 7500K.

Color Temp Readings for Reference Mode

IRE Range Color Temp. (Kelvin)
100 IRE 6579K
90 IRE 6475K
80 IRE 6490K
70 IRE 6459K
60 IRE 6536K
50 IRE 6582K
40 IRE 6694K
30 IRE 6623K
20 IRE 6541K
10 IRE 6565K

With a target of 6500K, for greyscale balance, you can see that this Sony is already extremely close to ideal, and the range is nice and tight – less than 250K from the warmest to the coolest point in the range.  Nice.

Post Calibration Color Temp Readings for Reference Mode

The measurements below were taken at mid-zoom in ECO.

IRE Range Color Temp. (Kelvin)
100 IRE 6540K & 1024 Lumens
90 IRE 6454K
80 IRE 6564K
70 IRE 6483K
60 IRE 6534K
50 IRE 6606K
40 IRE 6671K
30 IRE 6438K
20 IRE 6408K
10 IRE 6565K

VPL-VW285ES Gamma Measurement

Pre-Calibration: Average Gamma 2.30

Post-Calibration: Average Gamma 2.43 (target 2.40)

For more casual viewing than movies – I’m thinking sports, or most TV, most prefer a lower gamma which yields a brighter mid-range to the picture.

Our calibration of Cinema Film 1 preset mode, as the VW285ES’s Brightest mode, has a gamma closer to 2.0.

ECO-Mode: Affect on Brightness, Power Consumption

Power Mode Lumens Color Temp. (Kelvin)
Full Power (Reference Mode) 1596 6579K
ECO Mode (Reference Mode) 1140 6669K

From any color mode, switching from full power (High) to Low power mode, results in a measured drop in lumen output of about 29%.

That, I should point out, is pretty typical with almost all projectors dropping between 25 and 35 percent when going to Eco (Low).

Lens Position: Affect on Brightness

Zoom Distance Lumens Color Temp. (Kelvin)
Zoom out 65” Tall 1638 6370K
Mid-zoom 48” Tall 1596 6577K
Zoom in 31” Tall 1287 7173K

In the case of this Sony projector, there’s only a small drop in brightness (3%) going from full wide angle on the zoom, to mid-zoom, but a far larger drop to telephoto – but still only 21%.  That’s rather excellent – that is, a relatively small drop compared to some other projectors with zooms around 2.0:1.

In other words, if you have to mount this Sony projector as far back as possible, in your room – such as placing it on a high rear shelf, you aren’t sacrificing a really significant amount of brightness – you lose less than going from full power to low power on the lamp.