Two weeks ago I could not resist and spontaneously purchased an Epson 8100 when I saw an incredible deal at my local BB. I've never had an LCD projector before, so I thought I'd give it a try. I was told that I have till Jan 31 (no lamp hour limit) to return it!
Comparing the Epson 8100 to the Mitsubishi HC3800, my findings so far pretty much confirm Art's reviews of both units:
- Mitsubishi is slightly brighter in movie optimized mode, and the image looks slightly better, but it is hard to describe why. Probably it has higher ANSI contrast. However, the differences are so minimal that I would be happy with either unit.
- Colors and blacks are about the same in both machines. The dynamic iris of the Epson is well implemented (very unobtrusive) but it only helps with blacks when the image is almost completely dark, which is rarely the case.
- Epson has much better placement flexibility and is much easier to install due to horizontal and vertical lens shift. In my setup (8' ceiling, 135" screen), the Mitsubishi needs to be tilted by 3~7 degrees, and requires keystone correction or other "tricks" like letting parts of the image spill onto the black border around the screen.
- Epson is much brighter with still acceptable color in Dynamic and Living Room modes.
- Epson has no rainbow effect, no pixel noise from flipping mirrors in dark areas (LCD vs. DLP).
- The Epson is much quieter than the Mitsubishi (larger case, quieter fan, no color wheel).
- Epson switches faster between different resolutions over HDMI (less fickering, no color wheel speed change required when switching between 24p and 60p)
- Epson has better remote (better layout, better range)
- Epson has better user interface (menus, memory slots for user settings)
- Epson has better build quality, but is also much larger and heavier.
- Epson has slightly better warranty.
The one big problem I am experiencing with the Epson is a misalignment of the 3 LCD panels. See my post in the Epson 8100 owners thread
for details and pictures. By design, this problem cannot occur with single DLP machines like the HC3800, and makes me consider switching back to the HC3800. However, the HC3800 I returned last week had some pretty strong chromatic aberration and uneven focus. This had a similar effect on the image and was almost as strong as the panel misalignment in my current Epson 8100.