Greetings one and all,
Ahh, finally getting around to the JVC RS15 (aka JVC HD550 with only minor changes). As with my review this year of the JVC RS25, we're dealing with evolution here, not revolution. True, the JVC DLA-RS15 sports CFI - creative frame interpolation, as a major new feature, but, after that, it pretty much looks, and cooks like last year's RS10.
This will be real short, as I've already completed the JVC RS15 projector photo shoot, and am also working on writing it up. Look for the full review to be posted on the www.projectorreviews.com site, on Tuesday evening - sooner, if possible.
So, what have we here? The black level performance of the RS15 is great. It's still a small step down from the RS25/RS35 (I have some side by sides between the RS15 and the RS35 for the full review. There are a couple other projectors that are roughly comparable, or even occasionally a bit better on blacks, and those would be the more expensive Sony VW85 and Planar PD8150, although both rely on dynamic irises to get their blacks dark, so their dark scenes lack the greater dynamics (and more wow factor) of the JVC DLA-RS15.
The RS15, is fairly big, very black and shiny, with just a little gold trim (around the lens, plus a line running along the top, from front to back - not too much - tasteful. It's got power everything, which means zoom, focus and lens shift, and it's very well endowed when it comes to placement flexibility.
Unlike the more expensive JVC's the color management is rather limited. Good thing the JVC does very well out of the box. Skin tones, before, or after adjustment are very good, though not quite as accurate, in color as the more expensive units. You will be able to see some color shifts in our RS15 vs. RS35 side by sides, in the full review, but though the more expensive JVC is more accurate, the RS15, does pretty darn good as well.
At $5495 MSRP a first reaction might be that it's overpriced compared to two other, far less expensive LC0S projectors - the Sony VPL-HW15, and LG CF181D. I don't see it that way.
The LG, is dandy, a step brighter than the RS15, but absolutely not a match at blacks and that keeps it in an overall lower performance group, at least as far as purists and enthusiasts are likely to be concerned. The Sony, well, it's a lot like the LG, but dimmer than the JVC, and therefore even less of a match. I see the RS15 as more of a step up product, and, if it had a full color management system, then, for example, it would really be the JVC closest to the Sony VW85, in performance.
The big challenge for those interested in the JVC DLA-RS15 or the HD550 version is "where to stop" Many folks considering the RS15 will be considering Epsons, LGs, Panasonic's even the W6000 or others in the lower price range, but are looking for more performance. On the other hand, for a "few thousand more" there's the RS25, and the Sony VW85 for less of a difference than that... So, the "problem" is that the RS15 gets you most of the way, but not all the way, there in performance for under $10K projectors.
That is to say, some looking at those less expensive projectors, but wanting more, will end up skipping right past the RS15 for the RS25. I felt that way when the RS2 came out (and the RS1x - two generations before the RS15). In my case, I didn't jump from the original RS1 (there was not RS2, etc. when I bought my RS1), to the RS2 only for one reason, not enough lumens. JVC solved that, the next year, making the RS20 as bright as the "1 series" RS1, RS1x, RS10, RS15...
Image processing is, once again, Silicon Optix, and is just fine. And yes, this JVC, like others does leak some light through the lens, although it's not very much, you can detect it if you have white walls around the screen area, if you have a black, or almost black scene up there. Not to worry.
Finally, the RS15 does support an anamorphic lens, as do the other models. You can go with a generic Panamorph anamorphic lens, or get one with a custom mounting plate, if you buy the Panamorph from JVC/JVC dealers.
OK, that's all you get. stay tuned for the full review. Still no real surprises. The addition of CFI is a nice touch, although I've seen smoother adaptations. Well, it's version 1 for JVC!