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Sony VPL-VW60 Home Theater Projector Review - General Performance-4

Posted on December 10, 2007 by Art Feierman

VW60 Projector Measurements and Calibration

Ahh, what fun. Of all the brands out there, based on reputation, you would expect a Sony projector to do especially well, right out of the box, in terms of color accuracy.

Nothing could be further from the truth. This Sony VW60 was further off of the ideal 6500K grayscale balance, than any other home theater projector I've tested recently. I'd have to drop back a few months to a couple of Optoma reviews to find another projector that needed as much adjustment. I'm talking about Cinema setting, with Color Temp set to Low (default for Cinema). The default measurements were dramatically too cool, (higher color temp - favoring blue).

Let that be a warning! If all production VW60's look like this one out of the box, then you are going either to need to spend on a professional calibrator, or at a minimum, get a calibration disk like AVIA (from most dealers). Plan C would be to copy my settings. However projectors will vary from unit to unit, but my settings should at worst, provide a rather significant improvement.

OK, let's start with the initial performance in Cinema Mode with Color Temp set to Low. Again, ideal would be all measurements to be right at 6500K, but consider +/- 200K to be really excellent. Overall measurements of over 7000K will definitely be off. Not only is white too cool, but as we move to darker and darker grays the color temperature gets cooler and cooler.

With lamp at full power:
White (100 IRE) 7023K
Light gray (80 IRE) 7229K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 7611K
Low gray (30 IRE) 8260K (Ouch!)

By the way, with lamp in low power, white measured almost the same 7073K, so it's likely that the gray measurements in low power will be very similar to hi power on the lamp.

Fortunately, the grayscale balance can be drastically improved (it was a bit of a struggle - as various controls effect each other, as is typical). After almost an hour trying to get a good grayscale, I called it a night. The following night I started all over, but ended up with excellent results in probably 35-40 minutes. (Some projectors take me only 15 minutes, most a half hour to an hour, some longer.)

Corrected Cinema Mode: Color Temp set to Custom 3. Custom 3 settings:
Gain Red=5 Green=-1 Blue=-5
Bias Red=9 Green=-12 Blue=-4
 Other settings: Contrast: 79 (default is 80), Brightness: 48 or 49 (default is 50)

The end result proved to be a truly excellent set of numbers, and corresponding color

accuracy for movie watching:
White (100 IRE) 6420K
Light gray (80 IRE) 6611K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 6803K
Low gray (30 IRE) 6421K (Ouch!)

I should note, however in the darkest levels below where I can measure - that is 7.5 IRE or lower (black), there definitely remains a bluish cast to the blacks. This was also true on the older VW50. It rarely is noticeable, more in the letterboxing below and above the movie image, than in the image itself. Overall, while I would like to see that better, it didn't prevent the overall picture quality and color accuracy from being excellent after adjustment. The color shift in the blacks, is most noticeable in a side-by-side with another projector. It wasn't evident under normal viewing, unless I was really looking for it.

Moving on to other settings, Sony offers up Standard mode, with defaut color temp being Medium. Another near disaster. With ideal color temperature being around 8000K, the Sony was almost off the chart.

White measured a too cool 8810K but it got much worse after that, with the color temperature steadiy rising to almost 11,000K by 30 IRE.

Fortunately, there is a quick fix for the Standard setting for your TV/HDTV/Sports viewing. All you have to do is reset color temperature to Low (from medium). While not perfect it does provide very good results:

White (100 IRE) 7080K
Light gray (80 IRE) 7527K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 7577K
Low gray (30 IRE) 7820K

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