I bought on Epson 5030 and regret it, should have got a Sony - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
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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.
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post #2 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 05:20 AM
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I feel that your post is a rant, but still informative and interesting. I've had a 6100 for about 5 years now and just recently got a dust blob as well. It's annoying but I very rarely see it when actually watching something. I was planning on upgrading to the 5030, however, I recently got to see a JVC X35 in someones house and I was impressed. Leaning towards JVC or Sony for my next PJ.

Sorry you had a bad experience. Hopefully others can get useful information out of this.
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post #3 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 06:08 AM
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Some things are so popular, such a "hit", that you figure it's a safe buy. I have a friend who was interested in the 5030 and I suggested B-Stock Sony's from AVS but he was convinced the 5030 was "it".

This is one reason I get irked when people say you get what you pay for ... most of the time you get ripped off unless you are very, very careful.

The 5030 is hella popular and i'm sure it gets a lot of things right.

For me, I've had mostly Sony projectors (one Electrohome) and my experience has been GREAT so they are always the first things I consider.
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post #4 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usualsuspects View Post
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.
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post #5 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 11:09 AM
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I was very seriously leaning towards the 5030 just three weeks back.
It seemed like the right compromise solution to what I was looking for (decent 3D for a non DLP; easy placement via generous lens shift)
There were two things that I ultimately rejected it over
1) the higher potential for dust blobs
2) larger pixel spacing over what I currently had (a JVC clone)

I also decided I didn't want a two pj solution as well- but numero uno was the potential for dust blobs.
I had those on my first two pjs and I'm well familiar with just how vexing those can be.

The OP seems to have had much better luck with his Sony's than I had. I had to go through several units of the VW50 to get one whose uniformity I could live with. All the ones I tired had areas of magenta and green shading on the screen which you may have been able to look past with color content, but was a deal killer with B&W material.
Unfortunately the one I did choose ended up altering within a few hundred hours and a green color blob became very pronounced.
Over the next 1200 hours, it slowly migrated across the screen and changed in shape, but was always a constant presence effectively rendering the pj null and void for watching any B&W content (and I'm a classic movie buff). The replacement pj in comparison has performed flawlessly in this area over the last 5 years. Uniformity was near perfect out of the box and has never changed.
The feature sets, reviews, and pricing on the last few generations of Sony's have been very alluring- but that first experience was so frustrating I can't imagine ever owning another Sony again.
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post #6 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usualsuspects View Post
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.

Wow - that's 9.89 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 5 years. Get out much ? That's a lot of projector time !

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post #7 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Craig Peer View Post
Wow - that's 9.89 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 5 years. Get out much ? That's a lot of projector time !
That was good for a lol.
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post #8 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 07:29 PM
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I think negative reviews are often more informative than positive reviews. there are problems with every projector, especially projectors that 'only' cost 3grand. the key is to find a projector with problems you can overlook.


I avoided the Epson when I was shopping, because I'd had a previous one with a DI, and found the same thing. it was just way too distracting, and without it, the image isn't all that great. but my projector is only about 13inches away from my head when sitting in the backrow, so this is especially important to me.


anyway, thanks for the comments. I didn't think they were overly negative, just good info on what may be an issue for potential buyers
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post #9 of 23 Old 10-07-2014, 07:54 PM
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There is nothing wrong with using AV Science Forums to rant. It is cathartic and stress relieving. By releasing stress it may lead to a person's better health and in extreme circumstances it may prevent mental health problems and prevent crimes crimes from being committed. Stay off the streets, stay off your roof, don't drink and then drive, just come here and rant. Not all are tolerant of it, but ignore them. We are here for you and can feel your pain.

Now many positive reviews are nothing more than its amazing, its unbelievable, its the best I have ever seen, why would anyone want to spend more. The blacks are inky, the colors pop, yada yada. I see no artifacts and yes I can spell artifacts. Many reviewers are nothing more than some one being lost in the woods for five years and coming out and finding a McDonalds. Best food I ever ate. And a negative review is probably a lot more informative and valuable than its an amazing review

Of course there are many qualified reviewers who have the comparative knowledge and know what to look for and measure and post very valuable reviews being positive where it is justified and being negative where it is justified as well.
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post #10 of 23 Old 10-08-2014, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I did not intend for my posting to be a rant, I just wanted to tell people about my experience with this projector and exactly what problems I had with it, started typing, and that is what came out. Call it a rant if you want, fair enough. There is nowhere anywhere near me where I can go see/hear new projector models so I have to rely entirely on on-line reviews. Most reviews are useless because they are just “it's the best thing ever, perfect!”. There are just a handful of reviewers that are worth reading, who do measurements on the PJ and have opinions worth listening to. None of the projectors I have owned were perfect, they all had strengths and weaknesses. It turned out that on the 5030, all the weaknesses were major issues for me, and these weaknesses were all just glossed over by all the reviewers, even the good ones. The biggest problem with even the best reviews is that they don't live with these projectors, they just get them in – test them – and move on. Understandable and that just is the way it is for obvious reasons. When you live with a projector (and we do – it gets turned on in the morning and shut off when the day is over – someone is always doing something on the PJ – playing a game, watching netflix, etc..) all the weaknesses become apparent pretty quickly. Most of the weaknesses of this PJ were mentioned in the reviews, but they were not quantified (exactly how much noise does the iris make? Will I hear it from seating or not? Will it annoy the hell out of me? No way to know until you get it.). Nobody mentioned the mode automation issues because reviewers don't live with these Pj's and practical day-to-day operations issues never occur to them. “Some softness” on fast mode was all I ever heard about the fast mode, that should have been a major clue and warning sign to me that fast mode had serious problems, but nobody ever showed any test patterns and what fast mode did to them. I have had very good luck in the past reading reviews on-line, and especially owner comments at avsforum.com (the good AND the bad) in making a choice on a new PJ. But on the 5030 I got burned and lesson learned.


PS: manufacturer claims on lumens from PJ's are fantasy as I think we all know at this point. Unfortunately professional reviews of Pj's that measure lumens are also irreverent and meaningless. They measure a new bulb and report that number of lumens. They don't (for the reasons stated above) measure at 250 hours, 500 hours, 1000 hours. Not complaining about the 5030 in particular in the regard, just putting it out there.

Last edited by usualsuspects; 10-08-2014 at 05:45 AM.
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post #11 of 23 Old 10-08-2014, 06:56 AM
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Obviously you agree with my post.

With regard to your latest post, I disagree with your lumens comment. Most often when the projector is new it can achieve its rated lumens or very close to it if you strip the projector down and set it up as a max lumens machine.. That means open the lens to its widest setting, set gamma as low as it can go, if there is an iris control or controls, open those up, if you have a DI set it to a setting so aggressive it would require psychiatric help and then make the the iris setting if there is one as open as it will go, set the color temp to freezing, set the color triangle as small as it can be set, run the lamp in high, crank the brightness and contrast controls to full, and do a few other things depending on the model and certain options, and there you go. I would hire an ISF guy and tell him you want to maximize the lumens and you don't care about anything else. If he buts you, butt him. If he takes out any instruments other than a light meter, stop him. Make him put those back in his vehicle. After its over, tell him I sent you.
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post #12 of 23 Old 10-08-2014, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post
Obviously you agree with my post.

With regard to your latest post, I disagree with your lumens comment. Most often when the projector is new it can achieve its rated lumens or very close to it if you strip the projector down and set it up as a max lumens machine.. That means open the lens to its widest setting, set gamma as low as it can go, if there is an iris control or controls, open those up, if you have a DI set it to a setting so aggressive it would require psychiatric help and then make the the iris setting if there is one as open it as far as it will go, set the color temp to freezing, set the color triangle as small as it can be set, run the lamp in high, crank the brightness and contrast controls to full, and do a few other things depending on the model and certain options, and there you go. I would hire an ISF guy and tell him you want to maximize the lumens and you don't care about anything else. If he buts you, butt him. If he takes out any instruments other than a light meter, stop him. Make him put those back in his vehicle. After its over, tell him I sent you.
And when he is done and says, "as requested", you will say the image looks like crap and I can't watch that, but it will be bright and putting out the lumens that the manufacturer said the projector can do.

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post #13 of 23 Old 10-08-2014, 10:08 AM
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Interesting read. I've been warning people about Epson dust blobs for years but got asked to stop because owners of the 50** series said that this is no longer an issue because of a newly designed light path and I should stop passing misinformation. Although less common now than on previous models.....#1 major reason why I'll never buy another Epson.

I'll stick to JVC for now. I just hope one day they can get their lumens up around 1500 calibrated....that would be awesome!
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post #14 of 23 Old 10-08-2014, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usualsuspects View Post
I did not intend for my posting to be a rant, I just wanted to tell people about my experience with this projector and exactly what problems I had with it, started typing, and that is what came out. Call it a rant if you want, fair enough. There is nowhere anywhere near me where I can go see/hear new projector models so I have to rely entirely on on-line reviews. Most reviews are useless because they are just “it's the best thing ever, perfect!”. There are just a handful of reviewers that are worth reading, who do measurements on the PJ and have opinions worth listening to. None of the projectors I have owned were perfect, they all had strengths and weaknesses. It turned out that on the 5030, all the weaknesses were major issues for me, and these weaknesses were all just glossed over by all the reviewers, even the good ones. The biggest problem with even the best reviews is that they don't live with these projectors, they just get them in – test them – and move on. Understandable and that just is the way it is for obvious reasons. When you live with a projector (and we do – it gets turned on in the morning and shut off when the day is over – someone is always doing something on the PJ – playing a game, watching netflix, etc..) all the weaknesses become apparent pretty quickly. Most of the weaknesses of this PJ were mentioned in the reviews, but they were not quantified (exactly how much noise does the iris make? Will I hear it from seating or not? Will it annoy the hell out of me? No way to know until you get it.). Nobody mentioned the mode automation issues because reviewers don't live with these Pj's and practical day-to-day operations issues never occur to them. “Some softness” on fast mode was all I ever heard about the fast mode, that should have been a major clue and warning sign to me that fast mode had serious problems, but nobody ever showed any test patterns and what fast mode did to them. I have had very good luck in the past reading reviews on-line, and especially owner comments at avsforum.com (the good AND the bad) in making a choice on a new PJ. But on the 5030 I got burned and lesson learned.


PS: manufacturer claims on lumens from PJ's are fantasy as I think we all know at this point. Unfortunately professional reviews of Pj's that measure lumens are also irreverent and meaningless. They measure a new bulb and report that number of lumens. They don't (for the reasons stated above) measure at 250 hours, 500 hours, 1000 hours. Not complaining about the 5030 in particular in the regard, just putting it out there.

It is good to know what problems may crop up in a projector. Dust blobs are a known problem with LCD projectors. No projector is perfect. As far as lumen spec's, there are too many variables. Where is the projector in relation to the screen is one variable that can affect how bright a projector is. I find the pro. reviews to at least give a better indication of real world brightness. That said, lamps can vary 10% right out of the box. That is one reason I usually recommend not going too big screen wise - unless you are buying a AV Science Laser 3C projector!!

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post #15 of 23 Old 10-08-2014, 10:24 AM
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Nice to see an objective review of the 5030. I see a lot of 5030 fanboys posting in the Sony threads, so this is a well written, alternative review.

I too was deciding between the 5030 and the Sony HW40es. I had an Epson 2000 and really liked it as it was my first PJ. However, the auto-iris clicking annoyed me too so I disabled it. As an avid gamer, I also didn't like the trade off between FINE vs FAST mode (high lag vs lower resolution). Add another issue with Epsons (and most LCD projectors) of the "screen door". When I saw the Sony and SXRD, I was sold. Motion enhancements, low lag in ALL modes, no fan noise and no screen door, I'm glad I chose the Sony.

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post #16 of 23 Old 10-11-2014, 04:52 PM
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To the OP: life is too short to spend 1400 hours with a projector you don't like. Stop wasting any more time before you die and get rid of it.
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post #17 of 23 Old 10-11-2014, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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To the OP: life is too short to spend 1400 hours with a projector you don't like. Stop wasting any more time before you die and get rid of it.
Done - ordering a Sony HW55ES
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post #18 of 23 Old 10-12-2014, 10:43 AM
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To the OP: life is too short to spend 1400 hours with a projector you don't like. Stop wasting any more time before you die and get rid of it.
I agree.

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post #19 of 23 Old 10-13-2014, 11:16 AM
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You might find it interesting to try a DLP projector at some point. Good for gaming...sharp detail...good color stability over time
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post #20 of 23 Old 10-13-2014, 05:39 PM
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Interesting. I was keenly looking at 5030, along with Sony HW40/55 and may be BenQ W7500. Didn't knew dust blobs is such a big possibility with Epson.

Manoj
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post #21 of 23 Old 10-13-2014, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adude View Post
Interesting. I was keenly looking at 5030, along with Sony HW40/55 and may be BenQ W7500. Didn't knew dust blobs is such a big possibility with Epson.
I was surprised to hear about the dust blob with the 5030. I have a 6010 nearly 3 years old and never had a dust blob despite no air cleaner, a house that isn't clean (should I admit that?!), a cat and over the past 6 months major construction (including jack hammering concrete slab and removing which made A LOT of fine dust) in house on floor above it with open spiral staircase leading below and projector is ceiling mounted right next to spiral staircase. After the construction I recently cleaned the air filter and it was dirty but despite this torture still no dust blobs.

I would speculate that perhaps even within the same model slight alignment differences of how the pieces are put together may expose enough gap for dust. Not sure this is really the case here but it is what comes to mind.

I think the HW40 has a lot of bang for the buck but I've recently seen it and the 5030 and I like a very sharp image and notice the Sony has more noise in image if you use the Reality Creation to sharpen the image.

I'm very happy with my 6010 but it is coming up on the 3-year warranty expiring which has me a bit concerned, I'm not very comfortable owning ANY out of warranty projector due to how expensive repairs usually are. I use a Darbee Darblet with the Epson and love the combo.

I must play the audio too loud to be bothered by the dynamic iris, I have it on high and only once in awhile ever hear it, not bothersome to me.
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post #22 of 23 Old 10-13-2014, 10:55 PM
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I had an epson 8350, though not of the same caliber as the 5030/6030, but I would imagine similar engeering. I too was debating between the 6030 and the sony 55. I ultimately settled on the sony as I too was afraid of the dust blob that had affected my epson 8350 after 2.5-3 years. I did view both and preferred the sony picture and engineering.
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post #23 of 23 Old 10-20-2014, 07:56 AM
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I had a 5030 for about 2 weeks. For many of the same reasons (particularly noise and lag), I returned it. But the VPL-HW50ES was too expensive and the 30 didn't have the RC and other features that I really wanted. Then Sony released the 40 and it is now on the way (picking up tomorrow, hopefully). Very encouraged by what I've read so far.
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