Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K Projector: Picture Quality 2

VPL-VW600ES PROJECTOR – PICTURE QUALITY PAGE 2:  Black Levels con’t, Dark Shadow Detail

VPL-VW665ES Black Level Performance (con’t)

Relative to the assorted, but not true 4K competition, expect this:  JVC’s lowest cost projectors (1080p with pixel shifting) are roughly comparable in black levels, but I’d give the JVC’s the advantage.  There’s no contest, in that the two higher end JVCs are simply the best around in terms of this one performance aspect.  Nothing else 1080p (or 4K) can touch the top of the line JVC), and I’m including in that, the higher end VW1100ES and the new VW5000, Sony’s true 4K projector at just under $40K.

The Sony iris algorithm  is very sensitive to even 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 when I’m taking the photo.  In other words, the photos of that scene would reveal blacker blacks if I currently had a Blu-ray player that doesn’t put up a pause icon when paused.  When the first Blu-ray UHD players hit, I’ll score the first one that doesn’t leave the pause icon up!

Basically this (the iris reacting to the small pause icon in the far corner) hasn’t been an issue with the Epson LS10000 or the JVC projectors, but we haven’t tested the new JVCs yet.

VPL-VW665ES Dark Shadow Detail Handling

VW665ES Loses Almost no detail compared to most other projectors
LS10000 also very good, but not as overexposed
Sony's more expensive VW1100ES
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
Last year's top of the line JVC DLA-RS67
Older JVC X95R vs X35 both excellent on dark shadow detail (more overexposed)

On our grayscale converted Hunger Games night, and also the Bond night train image found on the previous page show, this Sony VPL-VW665ES 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-VW665ES projector does a first class job. Nothing out there should be dramatically better and, of course this is 4K, the best black level projectors are still merely 1080p!  Below, a few more images good for observing dark shadow detail (and black levels):

With excellent dark shadow detail handling, plus the really good black level performance, dark scenes pop.  That’s not to say that they are the best.  You’ll likely get more pop out of the top of the line JVC 1080p projectors, but let’s not quibble.  I’d rather watch a very dark scene like either of the two being discussed, on the Sony in true 4K (when available) than on that JVC, doing pixel shifting 1080p.  The slight, but real JVC advantage on the darkest of scenes will be more than offset by the “beauty” of real sharpness on true 4K content on a 4K projector – whether viewing bright, medium or dark scenes.

Overall, the VW665ES may not have the best combination of blacks and dark shadow detail, but it’s right up there and competitive.  Of course if you want true 4K and even blacker blacks, there is the more expensive Sony VW1100ES, and the new flagship (shipping Q1 ’16) Sony’s VPL-VW5000ES, at almost 3X the price!

Current dealer prices for Sony VPL-VW665ES

Seller State tax Price Description
Projector SuperStore 
Projector SuperStore
AZ 14,999.99 Enjoy the breathtaking clarity of 4K in the comfort of your own home. You?ll experience rich colors, outstanding 1800 lumens brightness and a deep 300,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio for vibrant, detailed pictures that always look clear and sharp?even in day
Projector People 
Projector People
FL 14,999.00 Free Shipping! In Stock Now! 30 day no-hassle guarantee and FREE lifetime tech support from projector experts. We are an authorized dealer.

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