I knew the VW285ES lacked a dynamic iris from the day it was announced.
I’ll discuss black levels in depth in the Picture Quality pages, but I want to just point out here, that best I can recall, from the old VW365ES review (that Sony also lacked a dynamic iris), that this VW285ES has visibly superior black level performance. I confirmed that Sony is using the same LCoS panels in this projector (give or take some minor improvements over time), so I suppose the noticeable improvement comes from elsewhere, perhaps the improvements to the lens, and the light path – or my imagination.
No matter! True, the black levels definitely could be improved further, such as adding a dynamic iris (which along with some other things, the new VW385ES gets). But the VW385ES will set you back an extra $3000 list price.) I watched a lot of movies with lots of dark scenes, including parts of Passengers, Casino Royale (1080p), Ghostbusters, Journey To Space, Ender’s Game, and Batman v Superman.
This Sony kept surprising me. I kept expecting favorite scenes to cry out “black levels NEED help” but they never did. Sure, there’s room for plenty of improvement (Sony has five more expensive 4K projectors from $8K to $60K, all with varying degrees of better black levels), but I’ll count the VPL-VW285ES as a solid “ultra-high contrast projector.”
Perhaps more to the point, it doesn’t match the Epson 5040UB, or the current JVCs in black levels, but I’m picky, and though would prefer better black levels: “I could live with this one.” I wasn’t expecting to be able to claim that. Surprise!