Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: New York, New York
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Having spent some more time with the projector, I am liking it more and more. I've got roughly 15 hours on the bulb now and I've tweaked the settings. I have had no issues with the iris although I don't know how to turn it off, unless it is solely governed by the dynamic black option which I prefer off as it appears to crush the blacks and compromise the shadow detail when it is on.
Regarding the black levels themselves, I am impressed with the intrascene black levels, a definitive improvement over the other pj's I've been using in my less than stellar viewing environment in terms of light control.
The only other issue that has cropped up for me is light leakage- I don't know how it impacts the actual image when I'm viewing something but there is clearly a bit of light leakage which Art referenced in his review. He was unbothered by it but I find it odd given that leakage seems to be non-existent among competitors.
One thing that is good for me- the vents are on the side of this projector so you can mount it close to a wall if you need to maximize throw.
Overall, it does what DLPs do in my opinion- offer a ton of pop, ansi contrast and deep, rich colors (which is not to say that other technologies fail in this regard). It also serves up some image noise which is becoming less noticeable to me on most material and I would have thought this was going to drive me nuts and become something I would obsess about. The one exception where it was bothersome was Battlestar Galactica which seemed particularly riddled with image noise, I have no idea as to why.
DLPs with their sharpness serve up a certain type of image that appears etched to a degree. When I first saw HD material on plasma it initially struck me that people appeared almost superimposed at times and while I've come to like this, detractors could decry that it appears unnatural. Lastly, the colors on the BenQ appear best to me when they look a bit cooler in terms of temperature than other technologies I've seen and used. Again, I happen to like it.
My whole experience with this reminds of an audiophile friend who is constantly tweaking his system and got fed up one day and put together a reference system for himself that he hoped would provide a sound worth setting and forgetting it. It was comprised of Audio Note gear if you're familiar, and this system played everything effortlessly. It was a smooth, warbling sound that created separation on the busiest of arrangements and no matter how much you cranked it, I never knew it was that loud until I tried to say something and couldn't hear my own words. It was impressive however, my buddy began to long for a pair of Paradigm Active 40s he had sold off. Maybe three months later, he bought a pair on audiogon and we gave them a listen. They were punchy as hell with a deep, tight bass and a world of energy and he started feeling a little disappointed by the Audio Note stuff.
I'm no audiophile and everything I say is purely my opinion but over time, it was clear that there were simply two personalities at play, both of which had merit. At the end of the day, the Audio Note clearly ruled the roost as it was simply better gear but it reminds of how I vacillate with my preference on images.
There are smoother images to be had for the same money, more "film like," if I'm using the term correctly and other refinements that may be preferable for many but this is not to say that this pj does not hold its own and then some with its existing feature set. It is a flavor and it's hard for me to pick one flavor and once I choose I am invariably going to miss the attributes of the others, even if I don't like the others as much as the one I picked. Regrettably perhaps, this will be the case for me until I can afford something so uncompromisingly good that I will have to find a new hobby. That's my dumb analogy du jour.