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Sony VPL-VW70 - Image Quality - 5

Posted on October 22, 2013 by Art Feierman

Sony VPL-VW70 Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports

The VPL-VW70 did a great job on HDTV, in terms of overall color and look of the picture. I spent serious time watching sports (NBA basketball mostly), as well as segments of football games I have saved on my DVR. When viewing sports, I viewed in both Dynamic, and Cinema mode (in Cinema mode the Advanced Iris was turned off, which increased brightness to about 500 lumens, and was roughly 25% less bright than Dynamic). The slight extra brightness of Dynamic mode was nice, but the overall color was better in Cinema. Still, nothing wrong with viewing in Dynamic mode.

My number one complaint with the VW70 for watching sports, or for that matter, other HDTV and TV content comes back to brightness. With low 600 lumens as the VW70's maximum brightness, it is significantly less bright than most other projectors. Overall, we consider average brightness to be around 1000 lumens.

In the $3500 to $10,000 class of home theater projectors we define in our recent 1080p Projector Comparison Report only the Planar PD8150 and Sharp XV-Z20000 are similar in brightness to the VW70. The two JVC projectors are about 1/3 brighter in brightest mode, and the two InFocus models, the IN82 and IN83, as well as the BenQ W20000 all come in between 1101 and 1382 lumens - roughly twice as bright (a really significant difference). We also mentioned the Optoma HD8000-LV, which we have yet to test but should be the brightest of all in this price range.

The bottom line is this: Even with a smaller screen, 100 inch diagonal or less, the Sony is going to work best with the room fully darkened, or a minimum of ambient light. It just doesn't have the muscle to deal with any significant ambient light.

The first batch of images below, five in all, ending with John Lodge of the Moody Blues on bass, where taken with my theater fully darkened. Below that are additional images with some ambient light present.

I had the two shades covering the windows on our french doors open about 18 inches, letting in some sunlight which hits the medium gold carpeting. As you can see in the image above, there is plenty of washout of the image. (note, the projected image size was just about 100 inches diagonal). You can click to enlarge the room photo.

two photos of the same projected image of the Texas Tech quarterback. The first one was taken with all the shades down, and only very, very minor light leaking into the room. The image looks great.

The one it was taken with the door shades open slightly as shown in the room shot above. As you can see, the image is washing out enough to be annoying and, more to the point, not of the quality most people would consider acceptable.

In the two images, the exposure is a bit darker. More to the point, the two images below were taken with the same exposure. The first one is Cinema mode (iris off, for maximum brightness), and the second one with Dynamic mode (iris also off). The nature of Dynamic mode - is to get maximum lumens so no reason to ever use it with the Iris on. As you can see the difference between the two settings is not that great.

For those not just into movies, but who want want to watch general TV, HDTV content, and especially sports without turning the room into a cave, the biggest weakness of the Sony VPL-VW70 projector is its lack of brightness. Even my JVC DLA-RS20 (one of the VW70's major competitors), although also on the low side of average brightness, is just about 1/3 brighter in its Dynamic mode, than the Sony projector in its (dynamic mode). (And I wish my JVC had a little more muscle!)

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