Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW85 Projector – Image Quality 2

Sony VPL-VW85 images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the VPL-VW85 projector projects on the screen. There are color shifts (too much yellow, in this case), saturation differences, etc.

Sony VPL-VW85 Projector - Image Quality

Sony VPL-VW85 images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the VPL-VW85 projector projects on the screen. There are color shifts (too much yellow, in this case), saturation differences, etc.

These images are provided to support the commentary. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews. From a color standpoint, my dSLR camera still adds a very slight green shift to some photo shoots that I have not been able to completely remove. In other words, while we can demonstrate differences in black levels and shadow details of the VW85, the photos are only approximations of skin tone and color accuracy.

VPL-VW85 Out of the Box Picture Quality

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One more comment about the images below. The images below tend to show a little less red, noticeable in the skin tones, than were actually seen on the screen.

Out of the box performance turns out to be especially good. Color temp hovers around the ideal 6500K, although after calibration, we get tighter results, just slightly improved. This is a projector you could live with just fine without having it professionally calibrated (assuming you can’t calibrate it yourself), but when you are spending this kind of money on a projector (and the other toys), the few hundred or so to fully calibrate it, in its environment, seems a bit of a waste.

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Flesh Tones

It’s those reds, darn! Despite that small extra touch of reds evident in most skin tones, I’d say skin tones look extremely good. Understand how we work here. Mike takes the projectors and calibrates them. Very slight differences in how a calibrator approach things give slightly different results. While, for example, the color temp numbers are right on, slightly different individual color settings will provide similar, but different final tonal balance. In a perfect world I’d have Mike do two more things – calibrate each of the primary and secondary colors – something we rarely do, (time and expense) and re-calibrate the grayscale. No doubt the results would be different, and slightly better.

Based on what we see, which is very believable skin tones, a pro calibration will only make them better. I’d definitely recommend having it properly calibrated. Afterall, the reason for spending this much, compared to the best $2,000 to $3500 projectors, is to get incrementally closer to the ideal. The Sony VW85 is a great launching pad for a superb picture, so get it properly calibrated to get all of your money’s worth. I should note, I did a lot of side by side viewing with the Epson Home Cinema 9500UB. The Epson’s skin tones, are quite the opposite of the Sony’s. The slight tendency there, is toward green, not red. Side by side the difference is very noticeable, yet, either, alone, looks really good. Perhaps most interesting, is how similar the two images are. Consider (Sony is on the left):

Below, a nice collection of skin tones, from film sources. First are a pair of images from my favorite movie not available yet on Blu-ray: Lord of the Rings, played from standard DVD. Once again, I must point out the images below do not show that red tendency.

The next two, from Red October and Casino Royale

Lau, above, from The Dark Knight, looked particularly excellent. I think I’ve said that before about this frame, in one of the other Sony reviews.