So, for those that care, here's another HW50ES update. I got to play with a second one today (it really helps when making blanket statements about projectors that you've at least tried a few!).
First, the noise the second HW50 makes when in use is very similar to mine, but without the same slight grinding of the fan. No biggie, but there's obviously slight variances from unit to unit (big surprise, right?)
Second, color uniformity. I found an interesting thing about Sony's SXRD implementation, and it's something I noticed about the HW30 as well as both HW50s I've now played with. First, in Cinema 1 mode, there's a tendency toward a slight green cast in various places on the image. For the HW30 I had, it was the lower left of the image and just right of center of the image. For both HW50s, it's just the right of center of the image, in the exact same place on all the projectors (HW50 and HW30). It's BARELY there, and I have to be honest I have to look for it on a completely white desktop background, but it's definitely there. I am absolutely unable to see it on any actual content.
Third, sharpness is very, very similar between the two HW50s, though this one I had to work with a bit more to get "uniform" focus across the image. A much smaller sweet point, whereas the first HW50 has a very large sweet point where I can turn the focus wheel without it losing focus in some part of the image.
HW50 A = Very, very slightly sharper, with very, very slightly more sharpness uniformity across the image.
HW50 B = Very, very slightly more uniform whites across the image, and a more pleasant fan noise to my ears.
Overall, which one would I take? Either.
I think, though, that JVC's RS45 and Panasonic's PT-AE7000 and PT-AE8000 got the fan noise "quality" down very well. I don't find the HW50 to be quite as quiet, either because of that quality of sound, or just a plain louder fan.
For those that don't remember (or care!) I sit extremely close to my projector (fewer than 2 feet). If you sit further away, this won't be an issue at all.
Anyway, just some more OCD thoughts of the day. Wonderful projector. Watched Tangled in its entirety last night with Reality Creation set to 20 (a nice number, I've found), and all other noise reduction and contrast enhancements turned OFF OFF OFF! Looks like a bajillion bucks!