In a phrase, this projector has something for nearly everyone except for those who are unyielding 1080p/16:9 purists. It is one heck of a unit that will please the vast majority of forward HT enthusiasts who are not 1080/16:9 brainwashed.
Now on to the preview...
I received my dealer demo SX60 Saturday. It may have been one of the first shipped here in the USA other than ones sent out to trade shows and factory salesman.
Opening the box you find a few cables and a nice carrying case. This is pretty much the same packaging as the SX50 but that is where the similarities end. Inside the foam padded carrying case lies the SX60. It is well packaged to take rough handling.
After taking it out of the case the first task I had was to make a new adapter plate for my ceiling bracket. It is not the same hole placement pattern of the SX50. I use a Sony ceiling bracket with a tripod type flange. This lets me machine an adapter plate for most projectors of reasonable weight. A few hours later it is up on the ceiling. Before I did that I decided to test table mount it to see how noisy it was and to give me an idea of how far back it needed to be. The SX50's fans were noisy enough even in low lamp mode that I placed it about twenty feet back from the screen which is about five feet behind my main viewing sofa. That worked to subdue the SX50's fan noise. However I had mounted my backup DLP projector in that location after selling my SX50 and waiting for the new unit. I have a second open mounting spot directly above the sofa. There was no way I could have placed the SX50 there - not because of the zoom angle but because of the fan noise.
That is all different now. The SX60 has two large slow turning fans. I placed the unit at the front location (about fifteen feet back from my 132" Studiotek 130 screen) and had viewing angle/zoom to spare in or out. But what about the noise level? I have to strain to hear the SX60 even though it is directly overhead. I think it is even more quiet than my Sony LCD CX75 which professes to use the same fan technology in the Qualia. The Sony has two smaller dual fans and is very quiet too. The SX60's fans are far larger. I can not hear much of a db gain even when switching on the normal versus quiet lamp mode.
HDMI/HDCP compatibility? - YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
First test was the Toshiba (Walmart/black) HDD DVD player. No problemo!!! Am setting up an external HDMI switch to test other devices and will try Direct TV's HDMI port later. If it handled the HDD unit, I doubt if others will be a problem. I do not have a Denon DVD anything since I am also an Oppo owner. Have not used that but it should handle Oppo's straight DVI without a hitch.
AUTO SETUP? YEP!!! and it is pretty darn incredible. With the push of one button it auto focuses, auto keystones, auto signal types and (if switched on in the preferences) performs an AUTO SCREEN COLOR ADJUSTMENT. What is that? This is similar to a white balance correction in a digital camera. (Hmm, Canon, camera technology in a projector...cool!). I tested it on my Studiotek screen and it consistently came up with a minor shift in red and green values. But the cool thing about this feature is that it lets the unit shoot onto any color wall - including dark green as in green board "black" boards. In fact green is a fixed setting by itself but this an obviously a very powerful feature - especially for educational and business users but even us outdoor HT fans will find it useful for beaming onto you or your neighbor's house or fence for those backyard or front yard events. This is a big super plus score for Canon and a hint of what Canon can bring to the projector table.
IMAGE Quality?? LCOS!! LCOS!! LCOS!!....
Again literally no screen door effect a few inches back from screen. Pixel alignment? Seems far closer than the SX50 at edges of image even. Black tinted to purple? Cannot say. The SX50's alleged purple black never bothered me. Purple border - did not see one. Have not thoroughly looked for that. Light spill? I need for someone to tell me what to look for. I don't know precisely what bothered some folks who had it on the SX50. It never bothered me. Perhaps it is how I have the projector mounted?
IMAGE TYPES and CR RATIO!! Here is another area where the SX50 shines compared to the SX50. It has the sRGB which is where we SX50 users made our home which, with a minor tick in blue, it was near dead on 6500. But there was that 1000:1 CR issue. Well this unit has two "movie" viewing modes. One is called Movie mode designed to enjoy the atmosphere of a movie theater experience in a "dim" room. It is close to the sRGB setting and has ample brightness to deal with some ambient light in the room.
Here comes this groups crowd pleaser - the Home Cinema mode. This to is where Canon again has done it different. It is not an Auto Iris. An internal filter is dropped into the light path (you can hear it "click") and the image is dimmed down considerably. The CR is reputed to be 2000:1 on live images. In other words this is not on/off CR. Now at first I was not sure if I liked it being of the big and bright fan club but then I watched some movies with dark scenes. Well the blacks are way blacker than in the other modes and yes, the overall picture is lower in lumens too. It does require a dark room to be effective. In this mode the lamp by default drops into the quiet mode and the lamp life is alleged to be 4000 hours. If you want to cheat the system you can put the lamp in normal mode to get more lumens for a larger, brighter image but of course you will shorten the lamp life which is rated at 2500 hours or longer. Bulb costs are about $500.
I have not had a chance to do a DVD based calibration. But the image in Movie or sRGB mode is as startling as the one from the SX50. It is great for sports and watching network TV in SD or HD mode. The SX60 is 4:3 but it 16:9 720P "subset image is spectacular and will now please those that have to view movies in near absolute dark and who have to have the blacker blacks. The SX60 gives that. How does it stack up to a DLP or SXRD? I can say subjectively that the non-image area of the screen is as "black" as my DLP 2000:1 rated unit. In other words, the blacks are pretty darn black.
I should mention that unlike the SX50, it has remote focus and zoom which does make it easier to stand at the screen for that perfect adjustment however the Auto Setup mode had the focus nearly dead on perfect. When manually adjusting focus it throws a cool grid pattern in standard and reverse black and white making it very easy to get it perfect.
With this units SDE effect free image of lush rich deep LCOS/SXRD/DILA class color, with its ability to adjust its color balance to any "screen" material, with its ability to give a big bright image for the some lights on crowd and then do the dark, higher CR image types for the absolute dark cave dwellers among us, Canon has indeed in its second effort given the projector community something to please nearly everyone from HT enthusiast, to educator and on to the business community. At its $4999 MAP price it has a versatility not found in any other projector at any price with a picture quality that can match units costing twice its price and well more. But it isn't 1080p? So what. All broadcast TV now is 720P. Frequently debated here has been the issue of can you tell the difference between the two on the screen? I've seen the Ruby and it might be a tad sharper but if you can sit on top of the SX60's image from inches away and still it looks like film with no screen door, then the advantage of 1080p putting more info on the screen with smaller pixels is not really noticeable and even less so if the extra info is upscaled from 480 or 720 sources. It will be a long time before 1080p is the prime source even from Blue Ray. How long will it take for a serious number of titles to be out there in 1080p Blue Ray. So why should you pay the extravagant price of a 1080P projector now when there will only be a minimal difference if any to see on the screen?
The SX60 may have flaws that I have yet to find. But for its price, just likes it SX50 predecessor, it is a whole lot of projector for not too many bucks and it has addressed all of the SX50's issues. It is quiet, has HDMI/HDCP, dust blob free and with it various modes it has upped the CR of LCOS without a fussy auto iris to mess with and tweak all day long. It has a long life, "cheap" (by comparison to SXRD and DILA) bulb and has lumens to spare for the lights on party or sporting event showing.
The SX60 has a number of unique color correction controls. They surpass even those on the SX50 by far.
Send your questions and I will attempt to answer them if I have the time or expertise. I do not have any measuring equipment or a PC either since I am a Mac guy.