I bought an Epson 5030 and regret it, should have got a Sony
I bought an Epson 5030 in April of this year, it now has 1400 hours on the bulb. This is the 4th projector I have owned. I have had these Pj's (in order): Panasonic 900U, Sony VW50, Sony VW60 and now the Epson 5030. The last projector I had before the 5030 was the VW60 and I never had any major problems with it until about 18,000 hours and 5 years of use when it developed uniformity issues. I have no complaints about an 18,000 hour lifespan for a PJ.
So, what's wrong with the 5030?
1) non-sealed lightpath. At about 1200 hours it developed a dust blob. My theater is not a dusty enviornment by any stretch of the imagination. I have an oversized dedicated HEPA air cleaner in it that runs 24/7. The 5030 has a motorized lens shutter! What is that supposed to be doing? I guess if it is table mounted the lens shutter might prevent lens damage, but to me this is just a gimmic, something to break and of no value if it is celing mounted (mine is). IF the lens shutter is supposed to reduce dust on the lens, then oh the irony: it takes about 10 seconds to blow the dust off and clean a lens. Internal dust blobs can't be fixed without disassembly of the projector. How about this Epson: seal the light path and dump the lens shutter.
2) Iris noise. The auto-iris makes constant noise. Unfortunately unlike the fan noise (not too bad on high), it is a constantly varing noise. Fan noise you can tune out and I don't even hear the fan unless I concentrate on it because it is a consistent noise that never changes. The iris is always rumbling and draws attention to itself. I hear it all the time in quiet passages in movies.
3) Mode Automation. There are 10 different memories that you can save all the PJ settings in. Great, lots of options here, don't really need 10, 3 would do, but the more memories the better right? Unfortunately there are no "1 button" modes. You need multiple button presses to traverse the memory sub-menu making automation of mode changes slow and unreliable via IR. You can use serial control to automate the 5030 but that adds cost, complexity and ultimately because of the increased complexity of the system, reliability issues (ironic).
4) Unsuitable for gamers. There are two modes you can run the PJ in: "Fine" and "Fast", in Fine mode there is significant input lag – unsuitable. Ok, lets try fast: hey, the lag is down to an acceptable level, but wait, what happened to the image? Answer: it got butchered. 1080P test patterns look horrible and it shows on the image thrown, it is not just a "test pattern is not perfect" issue.
So, if you are not a gamer, not bothered by iris noise, don't care about mode automation, and are not worried about the lens shutter failing (you could just remove it if it fails after the warranty is up), then the 5030 throws a really nice image. But for how long before the dust blobs appear?
I will never buy another projector that does not have a sealed light path, expensive lesson learned.
I am not a "fanboy" of any manufacturer or technology, I buy what I think is the best price/performance device I can find at the time I need something. I really wanted to like the Epson but it just has too many problems for my use and the dust blobs are a deal-breaker. By all accounts the Sony SXRD projectors all have the same characteristics (my VW50 and VW60 sure did): sealed light path, silent iris, low input lag, 1-button mode changes. I should have got another Sony.
Last edited by usualsuspects; 10-07-2014 at 09:32 AM.