I just got a Sony HW30AES today. First, I would like to thank zombie 10K and coderguy for their help with my decision. I'm fairly new to the projectors. My first projector, Pioneer Elite Pro FPJ-1 (JVC DLA RS-2) served me well. I love my Pioneer/JVC, but I always wished it was little brighter, factory specs, 600 lumens. I only spent my about 2 to 3 hours with the Sony and thought I would write a short summary about what I think of this projector. I'll be making some comparison with the FPJ-1 since that is the only other projector that I have experience with.
Compare to the JVC DLA-RS2:
1. Build Quality is good. DLA-RS2 felt better when it comes to build quality. Then again, that was their flagship back in the day.
2. Lumens - this is where HW30ES shines over DLA-RS2. Even when I had a new lamp with the RS2, it was never this bright. I had to turn down the lamp output to low to make it work with my room. I'm just hoping that the lamp doesn't dim as quickly as the ones in RS2.
3. Convergence and Focus - luckly, my HW30ES has a good convergence. I wouldn't say it's perfect, but you won't notice it from the viewing distance. I'm using 115" screen and sitting about 11 feet away from the screen. I mentioned in my earlier post that my DLA-RS2 had a perfect convergence. However, upon very close inspection; pixels on the right side was about 1/2 pixels off. Again, you can't really see this from the viewing distance. In this regard, HW30ES performs well. Its convergence is pretty consistent throughout the screen. However, overall DLA-RS2 looked better when viewing test patterns. I used tiny square grids and gradients. I feel as though gradients looked better on the DLA-RS2. I'm just nitpicking at this point. I don't mean that HW30ES performed poorly; it's just different. As for focus, I noticed that lower left and upper right corners were slightly out of focus. However, my screen could be the culprit for this. I'm not so certain that the screen is perfectly flat. Fortunately, unless you get right up to the screen, you won't really notice this either.
4. 2D Performance - HW30ES performed well, but I really do like JVC's 2D performance. Now I know why people love JVCs for their 2D performance. When you have 2 projectors side by side for a comparison, you can see these minor details otherwise you won't notice. I'm not sure what it is, but JVC just has that film quality look. This is not a fair comparison at the moment as I haven't had time to tweak with the Sony's settings. Also, I'm still used to the way my JVC looks, so we'll see how it turns out after tweaking is done. I did a quick adjustments like, turning the color down (way to punchy out of the box for my taste). I also changed the temperature to low2. I know some of you posted your personal settings; I'll search for those message and try them out. If you guys have any suggestions, I would be happy to hear it.
5. Black Levels - Contrast on HW30ES is quite impressive. However, in some scenes where there are bright areas combined with dark shadowy areas, it felt that bright areas were bit overwhelming. I'll have to play with contrast/brightness and try again. The RS2 on the other hand, handles these scenes well. However, when it comes to really dark scenes, RS2 tend to crush the blacks. I thought the HW30ES performed better with dark scenes.
Now, let's move onto its 3D performance. 3D was one of the reason why I got this projector. My most important factor was brighter picture and it definitely has that. I just wanted to let you know that I'm not a big fan of 3D. But, at the same time, I don't hate it either. Still, if I had a choice between watching a native 4K vs 3D, I would choose 4K over 3D any day.
I was bit disappointed that HW30ES doesn't support SBS in 1080/24P resolution. You would have to change the resolution to 720P or 1080/60,50Pi. Does anybody know why Sony doesn't support SBS in 1080/24P mode? My Sony LCD TV sure supports it. Problem doesn't end there; you'll also lose motion smoothing in these modes. OK, normally I hate motion smoothing, but it helps when you're viewing 3D. I'm one of those unfortunate ones, who suffers from headaches when wearing active 3D glasses. Like zombie 10K, I too changed my co-workers' monitor refresh rates to above 60Hz back in the CRT days. Motion smoothing seems to take the edge off a bit. Also, SBS 3D just plain sucks with this projector. I couldn't get rid of ghosting and the resolution looks horrible. This is the part where I was really disappointed. BTW, I'm using MonsterVision 3D Max with this projector. I read a lot of good things about these glasses and compare to the stock Sony glasses, these are much better. If you have a cable/sat TV provider that broadcasts 3D in SBS format and if that's going to be your main 3D viewing, I wouldn't recommend this projector. Having that said, Over and Under 3D performed pretty well. Motion smoothing is available in this mode and that's a very good thing.
Now, as for 3D blu-rays, I must admit, it exceed it my expectation. I was viewing TRON Legacy, which has a lot of dark scenes with many neon glows. I didn't see any noticeable cross-talks. It actually blew me away that you can get this quality 3D at home. Then again, this could be MonsterVision's doing. When I watched this movie with a Sony XBR HX909, one of the crappiest 3D TV out there, in my opinion (yes, I have this for the living room), there were so much cross talks that you might as well not wear any glasses. Yup, that includes MonsterVision too.
I still haven't sit through the entire 3D movie just yet. I hope it works out. 3D can be fun at first, but after watching it for about an hour, my eyes feel very fatigued.
That's it for now. Overall, I'm happy with this projector. There are some disappointments, but like everyone mentioned, it does everything well. This is what I would call, Jack of all trades, master of none projector. Maybe that was little too harsh, OK, Jack of all trades. I hope you found this summary helpful.