Update on my VPL-HW10
This week-end I installed my projector and since I do not yet own a screen, I had to project on a light sand colored wall, but nevertheless here are my impressions:
The picture is very sharp, but I needed to adjust the panel alignment to get the best results, on a moiré pattern, it was just a mess until I adjusted the panels.
The picture is great and very similar to what I recall the JVC RS1U to give me on the same colored wall, but I think that the JVC was a little brighter and I wished that the Sony had just a little more light for the 106” diag. area I was shooting at. Thanks to CC2 who gave me his samples from Carada, I taped them on the wall and it certainly is brighter on the white portions of the picture. Funny enough, before putting up the Carada samples, you could swear that the white in the picture was really white when in fact it was the sand color of the wall. The blacks are very inky black and shooting on the Carada 1.4 gain sample lifted them a bit. This is what is stopping me right now in ordering a gain screen, I am afraid of losing those great blacks ! Maybe just reducing the brightness control could correct this, but it was hard to tell from a 8” x 11” sample.
There was lots of shadow details (the palm roof of the Casino at night in the last James Bond) and all of the tuxedos in Casino Royale looked great. The lack of a screen was probably compensated by the JVC lumens output in my setup, the Sony still looks amazing and will probably be perfect on a unity gain screen of 106”.
About 4 years ago, we used a JVC DiLA SX-21 for the rushes of The Aviator and even though the blacks were in my opinion a little too milky, it was the best projector we could get for $14,000 at the time and the director really liked it. Last year, I bought JVC RS1U for $6,500 for the rushes of the Mummy III and the production could not believe the quality and we shot on a 120”screen from a very narrow angle causing the picture to be in the 11 foot lambert and they still did not mind (they wanted a big screen).
Today for about $3,000 there comes this projector that probably gives you close to 90% of the quality of the RS1U, I am very happy with my purchase. Not even mentioning how the Sony is nicer to calibrate and does not complain constantly about the HDMI input it lost for a fraction of a second...
As far as calibration goes, I think that the default settings of the cinema mode is so good, I would not recommend anybody to fool around with them unless you have access to a professional calibration probe, maybe a cheap probe is O.K. to get you in the ballpark if you are far, but from the readings that I got with a Minolta probe (which I checked with my Photoresearch PR
-650) the preset of the Cinema mode is really good and this seems to concur with Jason evaluation.
In one of my previous post, I said that I needed to back up the contrast to about 82 in order to prevent clipping with the signal coming from an HD-Cam, well with a blu-ray disk, this is no longer true. The setting of 90 is perfect, but if you increase it over 90, then it starts to clip, at 97 I was clipped by about 5%.
My recommendation for this projector would be to : adjust zoom, focus and panel alignment, then select Cinema mode and you are all set! One note on lumens output, I will probably bring the probe home in two weeks and measure again using the Carada samples, the initial test was done on a Mustang screen, but even if get “only” 13FL on a 106” screen, it is probably better than many movie theaters, since some (if not many) of them do not respect the 14FL norm in order to save $$$ on projector lamps replacement cost…