As the Bond night train image on the previous page also shows, this Sony VPL-VW600ES projector does an excellent job of revealing the darkest shadow detail. On those images, the shrubs and woods behind the tracks on the right and center right, show about as much as any projector. It should be noted, that per Mike, the default brightness setting is dead on, neither crushing shadow detail, nor unnecessarily raising the brightness of black.
In the photo player on this page, you are looking at a very dark scene from The Hunger Games. Naturally, as with the Bond train scene, it is intentionally, and dramatically overexposed, to raise up the dark shadow detail so that it can easily be seen.
Look to the large dark area near the bottom just left of center as one area where very near black detail can be spotted on the best projectors. Because we’ve only been using The Hunger Games in the past year, we don’t have as that many projectors where we took this photo, for comparison.
Bottom line on revealing the darkest shadow details (with values near 0 on a 0-255 range, is that the VPL-VW600ES projector does an excellent job. The image isn't quite as overexposed as some others, but the Sony should be comparable to the JVC X95R, the closest projector in price.
Below, a few more images good for observing dark shadow detail:
One thing that’s consistent. All of these dark images have a lot of pop to them. There’s no sense of the image being a bit washed out, which is something that projectors with less than great black levels suffer from when handling the darkest of scenes.
Overall, the VW600ES may not have the best combination of blacks and dark shadow detail, but it’s right up there and competitive. Of course the Sony VW1100ES, Sony’s 4K flagship is a little better (at least on blacks). After all, if you were to spend the extra $12,000, you would expect “better” or “best” in a number of areas.