Posted on September 8, 2020 By Phil Jones
Sony VPL-VW915ES 4K SXRD Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Black Level
The Sony VPL-VW915ES has a rated brightness of 2000 ANSI lumens. Just how close did the VW915ES come to hitting its target of 2000 ANSI lumens? I set the projector to BRIGHT TV Mode which is its brightness mode and I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens.
Sony VW915ES Brightness (BRIGHT TV mode, Max Laser Light Output): 1990 Lumens
At Wide Zoom, BRIGHT TV Mode.
The VW915 measured The VW915ES is more than bright enough for viewing SDR content on a 150” or HDR on a 120″ screen in a dark room.
All the picture modes of the Sony VW915ES picture modes measured within a couple of hundred lumens of each other. The REFERENCE and USER modes both measured about 1700 lumens while still delivering very accurate out-the-box picture quality.
After SDR calibration the VW915ES still produces nearly 1600 lumens. At mid-zoom which closes the iris about halfway, there was a 15% reduction in brightness which is common. Remember since the VW915ES is a laser projector, it is going to be years, not months (lamp projectors) before there’s any significant drop in brightness.
While brightness is important, it is black level that separates a good home theater from a great one. If you compare two projectors with identical brightness, the one which can produce deeper blacks will deliver the higher perceived contrast.
The VW915ES delivered some of the best blacks I have seen in my room. The only projector I have reviewed that could match it is the JVC NX7. While I have reviewed several good DLP projectors, none of them could ever match the black levels and native contrast of a 3 Chip SXRD projector like the Sony VW915ES.
Even with the DYNAMIC LASER DIMMING engaged, most DLP projectors produce blacks that are closer to dark gray. Many projectors are utilized in family rooms or spaces that have higher ambient light which would prevent you from fully appreciating ultra-deep black levels anyway.
However poor black levels are painfully obvious when watching darker scenes at night in a dark room. One of the main reasons to buy a higher-end home theater projector, like the VW915ES, is much better black levels which also results in higher contrast. This is really beneficial when watching movies in a darkened theater or in a room with lots of light control.
I did most of my viewing with the DYNAMIC CONTROL set to Limited which engages laser dimming as well as the dynamic iris. Not only were the blacks nice and deep, but subtle details in the shadows were also clearly visible.
The VW915ES rated brightness of 2,000 lumens ensures combined with great black level made images pop even in rooms in dark room.
The black level performance of the VW915ES is excellent, but it might not be the best in the world of projectors, but it’s close. Other than the JVC NX7, nothing I personally reviewed can match this Sony.
While JVC D-ILA models have been the reigning black level champions for years, I believe the VW915 would give the JVC models some stiff competition viewing real-world content especially HDR. I would love the opportunity to compare the Sony VW915ES and JVC NX9 side by side so I could share my findings.
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