Projector Reviews

Another issue? Epson Home Cinema 6500UB de-focusing

Greetings Everyone!

Thought I would take a break from watching the “event of the century” – Obama’s Inauguration, to chime in on this new issue, that Evan over at Projector Central posted yesterday.  Evan wrote about the Epson 6500UB going out of focus as it warms up.

Since he posted that, I’ve received at least a dozen emails, for my take on his comments. First, it’s not unusual for Evan and I to “chat” (by email usually), whenever either of us comes up with an issue.  He emailed me about it, shortly after he posted his brief article.

Since he contacted me, I’ve been working on this.  Last evening I did extensive viewing (and photos) focusing the projector after turn-on (five minutes – enough for the lamp to achieve almost all of its brightness), and for most normal color shifting (from the lamp), to end, and checking its focus after 10 minutes, 20, 30, and 35 minutes.

Evan sent me a pair of his own images, taken, focusing after power up, and again at 30 minutes.  Before I go further, let me say, that Evan’s images show a much greater focus change than I’m getting on my 6500UB.  I sent him my images today, and he agrees. His is dramatic, and mine is very minimal. Also of note, I have started doing the same testing with the Epson Home Cinema 6100, and I’m seeing more “de-focusing” on the 6100 than the 6500UB, but still well less than Evan’s.

OK. I’m just going to discuss briefly here.  Later this evening, or tomorrow, I’ll post more info, and also my photos.  Meantime, I’m still “playing around” with the two projectors, trying to get the best possible feel for the extent of the issue.  I’ve also been on the phone with Epson product management.  They too are looking into the matter.

Interestingly, I’ve probably received blog comments and emails from at least 30, maybe 50, 6500UB owners so far, prior to Evan’s article.  Most of those have been related to general stuff, or specifically discussing frame interpolation issues.  No one had noticed (or at least mentioned) seeing the de-focusing problem, and some of you folks writing are definitely “hard core enthusiasts” who would be quick to report anything they don’t like.  I expect some of them will be getting back to me saying “oh! yes, now that I’m looking, it’s definitely there.”  – or not.

So, what exactly are we talking about?  If you power-up the 6500UB (or 6100), and focus it – (I focus mine, by looking at the Menu text), and look again 30 minutes later, you can see that the projector is no longer at its best sharpest focus.  Of course just refocusing solves the problem, but no one wants to do that.

With this 6500UB, the de-focusing is slight – I certainly never noticed it while reviewing it, but then, my normal thing is to turn on the projector for at least 15 minutes before I start any observations.  And during long movie segment viewing sessions, I’m viewing hours of content, without powering off, and back on.

Epson, so far, believes that this is a problem that will go away as the projector gets more hours on it.  That may be true, but further testing (see more about the 6100 below), may prove or disprove that theory.

I can say, that by the time I started looking into this yesterday, the 6500UB I have here already had about 190 hours on it.  And this projector, with this many hours on it, de-focuses so little, that I have to say its a non issue, as you will see in the photos.  If they all “burn-in” and end up with this amount of de-focusing after a hundred, or two hundred hours, then I wouldn’t worry about it.  If Epson is wrong, then there are units out there with varying degrees of de-focusing.

I mentioned the Epson 6100 above.  That projector still has less than 35 hours on it, so it is “relatively new”.  This 6100 currently exhibits more de-focusing than the 6500UB.  I will be running the 6100 going forward, probably 16-20 hours a day, so I can observe if the de-focusing issue starts going away with more viewing.  I’ll probably take photos at the current 35 hours, 50, 75, 100, 150 hours…  Should be most enlightening.  (I guess I’ll have to bill Epson for my extra energy consumption.)

OK, back to this 6500UB.  Last night, after doing all my observing, before I shut down, I focused the 6500UB as good as it gets (it was on for hours at that point).  This morning, I turned it on, and as expected, it was a little bit out of focus, but it is extremely slight.  I wouldn’t have noticed, if not for looking at the menu text, with this issue in mind.  After 20 minutes or so, it was razor sharp again.  And that is the basis for my preliminary recommendation:  If any of you see a small amount of de-focus:  Let the projector fully warm up (25-30 minutes), before doing your final focus, and leave it there.  End of problem.

Now, if the problem is greater on a unit, and if it doesn’t mostly go away over time. –  then some of you will have issues, and Epson will have to weigh in on a solution. So, for now, the verdict is still out.  Those of you with 6500UB’s TW5000’s 6100’s etc. who are going to look into this, please comment back to this blog, or better, my next blog (the one with images) on this subject.

Ahh, such fun.

Stay tuned for my images later tonight (or tomorrow if I hold off until the 6100 testing and photographs are taken, downloaded, and resized).  -art