Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Newnan, Georgia
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I have now spent many hours using the 95ES to watch 2D and 3D movies. It is a fantastic projector. My setup is a bat cave projecting onto an 8' wide wall painted with Sherwin Williams paint that matches the color response of my StudioTek1.3 sample at least by eye as carefully as I can tell and according to those that measured it elsewhere on the web. I have the projector at max throw for 7' wide so I can zoom for CIA between 16:9 (7’ wide) and 2.35:1 (8’ wide) and lamp on low.
One thing that everyone seems to bring up over and over is black level. I have had a Sony G70 CRT for the past 10 years and it is effectively absolute black. However, even in a perfect bat cave with zero light and no equipment glow you can see the screen outline when the projector is simply turned on because even at its lowest setting there is some slight glow. Then if you actually project anything but black on the screen, there will be some amount of reflection back on the screen from the audience unless you drape yourself in black cloth too. I am only stating these extremes so you understand my next statement: The 95ES black levels are just fine. Yes I can see the area of the projector's black bars compared to the screen compared to the black cloth outline if I really look but I don't care and the difference is pretty minimal. There was zero difference between the projected black bars and the non-projected parts of the screen for my CRT and at no time did I ever think "Darn. If only the 95 had the CRT's level of black. Maybe I should use it instead for this dark movie." I can't imagine choosing another projector simply because its black is maybe halfway between the 95 and CRT black while giving up a bunch of other advantages.
I watched Tron Legacy 3D and it was so clean, clear, and ghost free. I really enjoy that movie normally in 2D and saw it in 3D at the theater but on Blu 3D it just seemed so much better than I remember at the theater. I also watched Drive Angry in 3D. That movie had visible ghosting here and there but it wasn’t as simple as bright edges against a dark background or Tron Legacy would have been a problem. Most of the time those scenes had no ghosting. It seemed more when there was some sort of sheen on a person's face that was different between the left and right image or the object had a very different illumination between the left and right image. I tested if the ghosting could be reduced by changing the brightness but it had zero effect but changing the depth to -2 eliminated it on the paused image I was viewing.
In 2D movies looked great. It was nice to see a movie in full 1920x1080 resolution with good brightness even with the projector a max throw on low lamp. The panels are not absolutely perfectly aligned. There is a little shift in the red pixels on the left side of the screen, easily visible to me on high resolution test patterns and high contrast sharp edges like text at my seating distance. Unnoticeable on actual movie images. On the right side the pixels become horizontal rectangles instead of squares but this is only visible at the screen itself. Also the lens does have chromatic aberration especially in the blue range. The blue blurs a little above and below the horizontal lines. Something I am used to seeing on the CRT but it is not visible at the seating distance. Even with the slight blur and slight misalignment I am able to detect the grid pattern at 12' from the 8' wide screen so I know I am looking at a pixelated image. Fortunately I don’t really look for it when watching a movie but I could appreciate the advantage of a projector that could eliminate all traces of the grid lines (e-shift). I couldn't imagine preferring a DLP with its image replete with artificial sharpness of very visible grid lines.
I’m confident I got the right projector for me. While I can appreciate a projector with better blacks and e-shift, I find that great motion handling, excellent FI implementation, and high quality 3D to be of far greater value. And regardless of picking any of the projectors in this class, it is really nice to lose about 150lbs, 24db, and 8 hours of setup time. However, in a few years I will probably be frustrated that I can’t simply replace an input board for a few hundred dollars to handle a new specification like 48fps or connection type as I could with my venerable CRT.