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Sony VPL-VW600ES 4K Projector: Picture Quality 2

Posted on March 4, 2014 by Art Feierman
VPL-VW600ES PROJECTOR - PICTURE QUALITY PAGE 2:  Black Levels con't, Dark Shadow Detail

VPL-VW600ES Black Level Performance (con't)

I can conjecture about how the Sony VPL-VW600ES compares with last year’s top of the line JVC projectors.  Blackest blacks should be close, with the JVC’s likely being able to show a blacker black, and more dynamic range.  That said, they are all so good at this level, that other factors should be dominating your decision.  – Such as 4K vs 1080p!

Note that the Sony algorithm for the iris is very sensitive to the least amount of bright area.  Thus, our images are affected by the pause icon that appears when I pause Blue-ray discs, using Sony PS3 to shoot an image.  With the Bond train scene, for example, several seconds leading up to where I shoot the frame is just as dark.  When I hit pause though, the iris does open slightly, raising the black level above where it would be with no icon.  In other words, the images would look even better, on a Blu-ray player that doesn’t put up a pause icon.


VPL-VW600ES Dark Shadow Detail Handling

VW600ES Loses Almost no detail compared to most other projectors
Epson UB projectors hold their own in dark detail, but you can see black levels aren't as good
Sony VPL-HW55ES also excellent on shadow detail
Epson Pro Cinema 4030 is a touch better on shadow detail, no match on blacks
JVC X95R (top of line) on left, Epson 5020UB on right
JVC X95R vs X35 both excellent on dark shadow detail (more overexposed)

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.

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