Neither projector would be considered one of the sharper ones. This year, the bar for sharpness has moved up, but only slightly. Both of these would be described as a bit softer than the sharpest projectors out there. Both, however, pass my test, as being more than acceptable. I might notice, that you are more likely to notice sharpness differences when viewing HDTV source material that was shot with a 1080p video camera, than on movies, which have been converted from film. This is due to the film itself, having its own sharpness (and film grain) issues.
As regular readers of our reviews know, I like to sit close - barely 12 feet from a 128" diagonal screen. When I was choosing my RS1, sharpness was a factor. I decided at the time, that it would be sharp enough. I was right. The Sony VPL-VW60 and the JVC DLA-RS2 are, for all practical purposes, about equally sharp, and the same sharpness as the RS1. While any tiny improvement, of course, is always appreciated, both of these, make the cut.
Out of the Box Projector Performance
The JVC DLA-RS2 offers excellent out of the box color performance. Not perfect, of course, and it can be improved, but, most people would be most impressed, without any adjustment.
By comparison, the Sony VPL-VW60 leaves much to be desired. I simply described out of the box performance, in the VW60 review as "not good". The Sony definitely needs work. A basic "end user" calibration disc can get you a long way to where you want to be. That said, for those lacking "skills", I'd recommend a professional calibration, to get the most out of the Sony.
The same could be said for the JVC. A professional calibration will still get you the best results, although, because of the much better out of the box performance, there isn't much to do, and I suspect that if you are doing the calibration yourself, you are far more likely to get where you want to be, with the JVC.
Black Levels and Shadow Details
Click to Enlarge.So close
Despite the excellent black level performance of the Sony, it is definitely a cut below the JVC projector. At its best, on the right type of dark scene, the Sony, with its dynamic iris engaged, approaches what the JVC does naturally, but doesn't equal it. On scenes that are a mix of very dark and bright, the JVC holds a commanding lead.
Click Image to Enlarge
In the quest for the best black levels (this side of CRT projectors), so far, the JVC DLA-RS2, is a class of one. The Sony, overall, is more competitive with the older JVC RS1 (and we presume, the RS1x), than the RS2. Overall, I think that the Sony is roughly more in line with the RS1, and I'd probably still give the advantage to that lower priced JVC.
These two are not far apart, but the JVC RS2, is definitely the brightness winner in best mode, while the Sony has the advantage in "brightest". After adjustments, in best mode, the JVC bested the Sony by about 10% (537 lumens, compared to 493). In brightest modes, it's the Sony with 723 lumens compared with 591 lumens for the JVC, a difference of about 20%.
In brightest mode, however, the JVC, though a bit dimmer, does produce the slightly better overall color balance.
Both of these projectors can push out some additional lumens in brightest modes, if you are willing to give up some color accuracy.