Screenshots are fun, but they don't tell you anything.www.projectorreviews.com
if you want to research black levels between different projectors.
The hc4000's weakness is black levels, whether or not you will be bothered by the level of blacks it can do is an unknown.
The hc4000's strength is bright scenes and SPORTS, it is pretty much unmatched in regards to bright scene POP. I can attest to this having seen over 10 projectors now, and having owned around 6 (mostly recent models too, and some with MSRP's over $7k).
The hc4000 is (IMHO) FAR ahead in bright scene POP of every other projector I have tried anywhere near its price, except for a Sanyo z4000 (but the Sanyo isn't bright enough for most). The Mits still beats the Sanyo in bright scenes though, just not by that much. The Benq w1100/w1200 would be another choice that can give you more brigthness and should have the same level of POP as the Mits, but probably has even slightly worse black levels than the Mits. There really is no other projector anywhere near this price range that can do both things well, the closest thing would be the Epson 8700ub, but even the Epson might not be bright enough for you overall in its best mode.
The entire reason I have owned so many projectors, is I've been trying to find one that can do BOTH things well (dark and bright scenes). Don't get me wrong, it's not that other projectors don't look good on bright scenes, they just don't have the dimensionality and depth that the DLP - Dark Chip 3 has.
For me, dark scenes do not have much POP 90% of the time, I never thought of POP as being in dark scenes. Sure it does exist on some things (like space scenes, SCI FI), but really bright scene POP is usually what I find more engaging.
The Mits does not
look washed out as long as there is enough brightness to mix with the darkness, for instance, if you saw the FIRST episode of GAME OF THRONES, the opening sequence where the guy is running through the woods and finds the dead bodies with the little "horror" girl holding the head....
In that sequence, the Mits does fairly well, even though it is dark overall, there are enough bright scenes (the snow he is running on for instance), where the Mits keeps up fine.
However, go to a space scene or a darker scene with minimal lighting, and it is very apparent that the Mits hc4000 will give a tad bit of a washed out look. It's not terrible by any means, but it's just not this projector's strength.
The next projector to look at would be the Epson 8700ub, it will do very very well in dark scenes, but you do lose a bit of that DLP POP. Another one is the Sanyo z4000, same thing as the Epson although it's not quite as dark as the Epson. Neither the 8700ub or the z4000 are that bright in a best mode (with the Epson being the brighter of the two, and quite a lot brighter in a NON-BEST mode).
So you really are pretty much stuck with the Mits hc4000 if you want maximum bright-scene POP, unless you want to move up to an Infocus sp8602 (a $3k machine).
There is also the Benq w6000, it does handle darker scenes much better, but it is heavily reliant on the IRIS, and accoridng
to Cine4's measurements, the native contrast of the Benq is no match for Mits's DC3. Although not sure how accurate that measurement was (most of their measurements are accurate though).