OK I spent some time with the Spears and Muncil disk, but haven't used my eye-one meter yet (will do another day).
Everyone really needs to turn NOISE REDUCTION on for this projector.
So, I turned both NR and MPEG noise reduction on Medium for the time being, BIG improvement in both movies and TV, really smoothed the image. Out of everything I changed, this was the most drastic improvement (as well as adjusting brightness and contrast of course). Before I turned this on, the image noise was really bothering me, now it's not MUCH of an issue at all.
Unlike some projectors which do some built-in behind-the-scenes noise filtering, the Sony does almost none. So this means you are going to see more noise in the picture compared to most projectors until you turn this setting ON. It's under the Expert Menu > NR setting (off / low / medium / high). Before I had this turned on, I could not understand why this Sony projector was producing more noise than any other projector I have used, amazing BEFORE and AFTER difference, almost like watching a different projector.
Almost all content we watch has some noise in the image (especially cable feeds and Netflix), so at a minimum I would turn this to low, and medium or high ain't a bad idea either. It provides a nice smoothing effect that really improved the image quality. There are 2 types (standard NR and MPEG), and the MPEG Noise Reduction setting appears to be a separate reduction capability. Also note that the MPEG one looks complicated at first, but actually it's quite simple, you just move the square around and you can read the result at the bottom (it will say low/low ... medium/medium, etc...).
Now I am starting to respect the Picture Quality of this projector, about time!
All I have to say to others is, this projector needs tweaking in areas many other projectors do not, hence it's sort of the opposite of some projectors. Let's say other projectors mainly need color adjustments, whereas this projector needs noise and maybe panel adjustments if your convergence is off. That's what makes this a quality 5K projector, it's excellent ability to correct MFR flaws, and the precise controls on things like noise levels, not to mention the darn-near perfect color!
The color accuracy is very good in Cinema mode, but Sony's default Contrast and Brightness are way way off, and I imagine this will hold true for most of us. Art's contrast and brightness settings were about right even though I'm using an HP screen, note though he used high lamp mode, I am using low lamp mode.
I used the Spears and Munsil Bluray to calibrate to the Plunge Low/High/Contrast patterns, and I ended up with almost the identical contrast setting that Art's review used. That definitely improved the intrascene contrast of images.
Basically it appears you need a ratio of around 2:1 (contrast to brightness) in order to maintain the proper contrast and shadow detail, of course this could vary for everyone's different setup. You might also find that the ratio needs to be 2:1 + 10% extra contrast. So for instance, somewhere around 65contrast:30brightness or 55contrast:25brightness might also be near accurate depending on your setup. I ended up lowering mine around 80/35 for now or so just because my image was too bright until the lamp wears in a bit more. So in order to show all the reference levels of contrast and shadow detail without clipping, you need to set this. Even 100 contrast might still be doable with an adjusted brightness. The SXRD/LCOS panels tend to not blow the contrast out at the higher settings, unlike LCD projectors contrast and brightness settings.
I haven't gotten my eye-one meter out just yet, the projector's color accuracy is so spot on that it barely even matters. I did run through the blue filter color tests on Spears & Munsil real fast just to make sure I wasn't way off on color, but the projector's obviously already too close in color accuracy for this to show any color differences on a Spears & Munsil's blue filter testing.
The intrascene contrast is very good, very modernish DLP looking on bright scenes, kind of like a less-sharp DLP with better blacks (this is usually how I've described LCOS).
Still doesn't quite have the maximum 3-Dimensionality look of DLP, but I think this is mainly related to LCOS being smoother and not quite as sharp, as well as LCOS having a tad bit less of SDE (which can improve perceived sharpness to some extent). Let's just say that it is still my opinion that LCOS comes closer to the DLP pop than LCD in general. That said, the projector has a good bit of POP, it's just different. This projector has VERY good color POP.
The sharpness controls on this projector have almost no effect on the image but maybe I'll try this again, so far for me it's very hard to tell at all between 100 sharpness and 0, but I'll have to play with it more to see why. Keep in mind I've been staring at this thing a while though and my eyes are a bit tired.
Color wise I don't think you cannot get any better then this, the colors are just about picture perfect as far as vividness goes. I will give this projector a +2 over the previous Mits hc3800 I had for colors (which the colors were not quite as vivid as this).
That's it so far, definitely can't imagine anything else coming close to this for $1300, the hc4000 would be the closest thing, but you'd lose the black levels and gain a bit of sharpness.