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Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review - Performance

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Art Feierman
VPL-VW365ES 4K PROJECTOR PERFORMANCE Page 1:  Measured Brightness / Color Temp - pre calibration, Calibrated Reference mode brightness, Affect of Zoom lens and Eco mode

VW365ES Brightness

VPL-VW365ES MODES:  BRIGHTNESS AND COLOR TEMP - at Mid-point on zoom lens
Reference 1365 6437
TV 1452 7852
Cinema Film 1 1373 6488
Cinema Film 2 1362 6434
Game 1501 7419
Photo 1246 5474
Bright Cinema 1492 7388
Bright TV 1487 7822
User 1353 6517

Maximum Brightness measured was Bright Cinema, Bright TV and Game modes, zoom at mid-zoom.  They all measured within 1% of each other, with the highest 1501 lumens.

Reference mode, per Eric, was the best mode over all, and his basis from which he performed his calibration of the VW365ES.    Reference, which post calibration, ends up as User, starts out with great color balance, but a little cool - a touch more blues than reds.  His comments are on the Advanced calibration page for our subscribers.

Uncalibrated, reference mode measured 1365 lumens.

That makes this Sony your basic "light canon" based on years ago typical brightness, and it serves that up with really good color.  Still, there's enough horsepower under the hood for those better light controlled media rooms, when you pair this Sony with the right screen, for that type of room (ALR - aka "light absorbing" aka "light rejecting" screens).  Since those rooms typically can't be completely darkened, and usually don't have all very dark surfaces, they can't take full advantage of the better darker blacks of the higher end projectors.  Instead, manufacturers usually  give those projectors more lumens, not less.  The VW365ES uses a different, lower wattage lamp than the VW675ES, explaining the slightly lower brightness. Interestingly, by comparison, in Sony's 1080p lineup, the iris free HW45ES is brighter than the HW65ES which has an iris.

Still, it is what it is.  1350+ great looking lumens is enough for 130" screens under ideal conditions and will do just fine with say 100 to 120 inch screens with minor ambient light.

Remember, 4K HDR is very different from non-HDR, whether 1080p or 4K.  The "gamma" is very different, with more brightness saved for the very brightest elements being projected. Thus more punch / brighter, when there's a flash of lightning, or a headlight on a dark night, or sunlight in the window of a dark room.  The dynamics of HDR are very different and call for having more brightness than non HDR.  In that regard, no projectors (not even Sony's $60,000 VW5000ES with 5000 lumens, is technically, ideally bright enough.)  The same can be said for all but a very small handful of LCDTV's.  None of the OLED TVs are close either.  That doesn't mean there aren't benefits to HDR, but there are trade-offs.

Post Calibration Reference Mode

Lumens!  Calibrated!!

Post calibration, Reference mode, (ends up as User) required relatively minor changes because it starts out near perfectly balanced.  It still manages to deliver 1361 measured lumens, virtually identical to pre calibration!

That's a hefty amount of calibrated lumens.  That puts it as bright as its closest and not so close competition, the Epson LS10000 ($8000) and the JVCs priced at $7000 (and $1o,000).   Those others aren't as capable as the Sony in terms of the full range of HDR support, but they have to be considered competition.

So, if you want true 4K, you can buy brighter - another 20%+ of brightness should be available with the VW675ES for that extra $5K.

The two places more lumens would be nice are for HDR and 3D.  Since one can't really expect more than about 1/3 of the lumens hitting your eyes when watching 3D compared to 2D, you'll likely find the Sony a bit underpowered for 3D if your screen is larger than 100" diagonal. Hey, that's true of most projectors, but another few hundred lumens would help. (See, again, Sony is driving you toward the VW675ES).

The first four images in this gallery were HDTV source using Bright Cinema, the next three, are Reference mode, 1080p content from Blu-ray. The final four images in the player are 4K with HDR, using a Blu-ray UHD player (Samsung).

Affect of Zoom Lens, and Eco mode, on Brightness

VPL-VW365ES Lens Setting vs Brightness (lumens) (Game mode)
Wide Angle (closest placement to the screen) 1603 lumens
Mid-point 1501 lumens
Telephoto 1253 lumens

If you can place the projector so the zoom is at full wide angle - the closest you can place your projector to whatever sized screen you have, that will be the brightest.  Because the lens is a 2.06:1 - lots of zoom range, the brightness drops off more quickly than with projectors with more modest zoom ratios.  Measuring at the mid-point of the zoom lens results in a very minimal drop of slightly over 6% while going to full telephoto (typically for back of the room placement, results in a drop compared to wide angle, of about 22%.

VPL-VW365ES Full Power vs. Eco (Reference Mode)
Mode Lumens
Full Power  1501
Eco Mode  1046


Eco mode - Sony calls it Low lamp, results in a drop in brightness of 30.3%, so let's call it an even 30%. (The metering is only so consistent!)   If you don't need that extra brightness, you'll save a little on electricity, and it also results in the projector running quieter.  What's interesting, is that when we measured the older VW350ES, the drop on that model was between 22% and 23%.  A minor firmware change for some reason, I assume, probably to further improve lamp life in low power.

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