Coderguy's - Cheat Sheet for Choosing a Projector - AVS Forum
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A "Choose Your Projector" CHEAT SHEET (POST CEDIA)
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Newly Updated on 2/2/2012

It took a while, but now I've seen most all of the projectors from this year's new batch (not every one, but most). I also now own the JVC RS-45 and a Viewsonic Pro8200, but used to own a Mitsubishi hc3800 and hc4000, a Sanyo z4000, Epson 8500ub, and several others. I have included some older projectors in the list as well in the awards since many are still available.

So here is my new AWARDS and Cheat Sheet, a quick summary:

Let's start with the awards....

Coder's Top Projector Picks for 2012
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...9#post21585369

New Projector Calculator
I have designed a new projector calculator which allows to calculate for lumen loss over time and to choose the correct projector for a given screen size. It has now been updated with most of the newer models as well.

You can find the link and information to the calculator in this forum post:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1360824


AVS sells these projectors (and buying one helps support the forum)
Mike@avscience.com has seen these projectors in person at CEDIA, so if you are thinking of buying one or have some questions that are not answered here, email him or give him a call at 585-671-2968. AVS is not just a forum, but they are also a major dealer of projectors that often have special pricing you can only get by emailing or calling them. They have several pre-interest lists as well for projectors that are not quite shipping just yet. I am NOT affiliated with AVS in any manner, but I have bought projectors from them before and they will treat you right!


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Optoma HD33 Advantages
(Already Available / Shipping Now with an MSRP of $1,499)

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» The new leader in LOW COST 3D Tech, with current street pricing around $1,500
» Available now, so you don't have to wait several months for shipping like many of the other competitors
(Although the Sony hw30 is also available now, and the Panny 7000 and Epson 3010 should ship in Oct)
» The LOWEST COST 1080p DLP projector ever made with a 6x Color Wheel, so like the Mits hc7800 and the Infocus sp8602 virtually elimates the RBE for even the most sensitive folks
» Extremely Bright Best Mode around 1150 Lumens on Lamp High, but does not go much brighter in its brightest mode if you need those extra lumens for 3D
»[/b] Should have a GHOST FREE 3D image as this is usually a BIG advantage for DLP projectors over the other two technologies (LCOS and LCD)
» Good ANSI contrast and POP in bright scenes, but not quite up to the level of the Mits hc7800 or the Mits hc4000
» Sharper image than MOST (but probably NOT ALL) of the LCOS or LCD competitors, but cannot quite match the Mits hc4000, Mits hc7800, or any of the Benq projectors in sharpness
» DLP does not have convergence issues like LCD and LCOS often do
(meaning a DLP will have consistent sharpness between manufactured units)
» DLP is not NEARLY as suceptible to dust blobs as their LCD competitors (and even some LCOS aren't fully dust proof either)
» DLP is not suceptible to panel degradation like LCD and LCOS potentially can be
(although this is usually not a concern unless putting 8,000+ hours on a projector)

Optoma HD33 DLP Disadvantages
X Cannot do CIH screens without buying an Anomorphic Lens and also has NO Motorized Controls
X Could still be brighter for 3D content, especially if you do NOT have a super high-gain screen to increase 3D Lumens
X DLP's Colors tend to be a little less vivid looking or less saturated looking than the LCOS and LCD competitors (although this is usually fairly minor to most people, and sometimes it appears to add a more film-like look to it as well)
X Lacks placement flexibility compared to its more expensive 3D competitors, but it should still work pretty well for the 2.4 gain Da-Lite High Power Screen (due to only having a 7.8" offset)
X Lacks Native Contrast compared to its more expensive competitors, and a little lacking to some of the competitors that are about the same price (primarily against LCD's)
X Black Levels still very ENTRY overall, not as glood black levels as the Mits hc4000, closer to the Benq w1100 in black levels
X Although quite sharp when compared to an LCOS or LCD, appears to be about average sharpness compared to other DLP's (which is still fairly sharp)
X The new Epson 3010 may be price-competitive with this unit and might have better blacks, but the Epson also potentially has some GHOSTING in 3D as one negative

Optoma hd33 General Information:

Offset:
Some projectors (usually DLP) often have an offset which means the image will be projected below the lens (hence you need to mount the projector above the screen or below it, but not between it). The Optoma HD33's offset is about 7.8% of the screen diagonal size as follows: 90" Screen = 7.1" Offset, 100" Screen = 7.8" Offset, 120" Screen = 9.4" Offset. This offset is less than most DLP projectors which can make it easier for lower ceilings and a little easier to mount on a short table.

Screen Brightness in Lumens and Foot Lamberts (Recommended 16fL - 20fL to account for Lamp Wear)

New Lamp in LAMP LOW in Best Mode: 850 Lumens
New Lamp in LAMP High in Best Mode: 1050 Lumens
Used Lamp after 500+ Hours in LAMP HIGH in Best Mode: Est. @ 800 Lumens

Recommended Screen Gain and Sizes for 2D Performance
Best Mode on a 92" Screen = 33 fL (lamp low), 41 fL (lamp high) - Too Bright, Need Extreme Negative Gain or ND Filter
Best Mode on a 110" Screen = 23 fL (lamp low), 29 fL (lamp high) - Too Bright, Need Negative Gain Screen
Best Mode on a 120" Screen = 19.7fL, 24 fL - Recommend Slight Negative Gain Screen to 1.1 Gain Max
Best Mode on a 140" Screen = 14 fL, 18 fL - Recommend 1.2 to 1.4 Gain Screen


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Epson 3010 LCD Advantages
(The 3D version of an 8350 Replacement, Shipping in October of 2011 with MSRP of $1,595)

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----Not a lot is known about this projector, still gathering information----
» Competing with the Optoma HD33 as the new leader for LOW-PRICE 3D
(but we must assume LCD is still a little susceptible to GHOSTING for 3D)
» Shipping sooner than some of the competitors, not as long of a wait if buying now
» Has the new D9 LCD Panels
» New D9 LCD Panels are most likely less suceptible to 3D GHOSTING as well as less likely to have LCD Panel Degradation

Epson 3010 Disadvantages
X Still likely to have some minor GHOSTING issues in 3D when compared to its DLP competitors like the Optoma HD33 or the Mits hc7800
X As far as I understand, will NOT have the Mechanical Convergence Correction feature like its bigger brother the Epson 5010 or the LCOS competitors (Sony and JVC)
X The blacks are not as good as last year's previous model the Epson 8350, although they are not that far off.

---More Info to be Added Later---

Epson 5010 LCD Advantages (The 3D version of an 8700ub Replacement | Shipping in November of 2011 with MSRP of $3,495)
----Not a lot is known about this projector, still gathering information----
» Does not ship until November of 2011, so you have to wait a little longer than a few of the competitors
» Now will have a new feature called "Motorized Pixel Alignment" for correcting MFR convergence variance errors, but we are not yet sure how this will work
(we don't know if this will be a purely digital feature, or if it will surpass the Convergence Correction abilities of the JVC and Sony LCOS methods)
» The older 8700ub was renowned for its black level performance for an LCD, it was the LCD leader, and the new Epson 5010 should still hold that spot, but it still won't beat the JVC's or higher-end Sony's
» Slightly improved D9 Panels

Epson 5010 Disadvantages
X With an MSRP of $3,495, this projector is a little on the pricey side for LCD technology
X Convergence issues could still exist if the convergence correction feature is only a digital scaler compensation instead of truely mechanical
X Still likely to have some minor GHOSTING issues in 3D when compared to its DLP competitors like the Optoma HD33 or the Mits hc7800
---More Info to be Added Later---

____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________

Panasonic 7000 Advantages
» Much like the JVC's, can do CIH/2.35/2.40/16:9 on a CIH screen and easily maximize the viewing area and reduce black bar issues with the motorized controls
» Extremely flexible placement with Motorized Lens Shift and Zoom Controls
» Slightly improved Native Contrast measured at around 3,200:1 at Closest Throw by Cine4Home
» Retains all the previous features of the Panny 4000 and adds new ones
» New D9 LCD Panels allow refresh rates up to 480hz to reduce LCD Ghosting
» Even though the Street Price is typically the same as the JVC RS-45, the projector may in fact eventually sell for less after it has been on the market for a while (this is speculative only)

Panasonic 7000 Disadvantages
X Not as bright of an image as some of the competitors, but this primarily should only matter for 3D, and it is brighter than last year's model, plus if you are willing to lose a little color accuracy, it can still go very bright overall for 2D or 3D (1000+ Lumens)
X Although fairly sharp for an LCD projector, it will likely not match its DLP competitors, and some LCOS may also turn out to be a tad bit sharper
X Even though the Native Contrast is commendable for an LCD, it is not ground breaking and the Panny's 3,200:1 Native Contrast does not beat the Sony hw30's Native, but it does POTENTIALLY have a sophisticated IRIS, so "useable or realistic" black levels might get very close to the hw30's black level, but it will be no match for the similarly priced JVC RS-45 when it comes to black levels.
X The Epson 5010 is also likely to beat the black levels of this Panny even if only slightly
X Still some LCD GHOSTING potential for 3D when comparing to its DLP competitors
____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________

Sony hw30 Advantages
» Very high Native Contrast at this price point (7,000:1+), and likely only ousted by the JVC RS-45,55,65 or the higher-end Sony's
(although it does appear the JVC RS-45 will possibly triple or quadruple the Sony's native contrast for the same price). The Epson 5010 should be very close in NATIVE contrast and may actually beat the Sony hw30 in absolute dynamic black levels (yet to be measured)
» Produces a very bright calibrated image with 800+ Lumens Calibrated compared to the Panny only producing 500+ Lumens Calibrated (although in some only slightly less accurate modes, the Panny can get almost as bright and still be accurate enough color-wise for many people just for 3D usage)
» Seems to potentially produce a sharper image than previous Sony projectors, but this is unconfirmed with conflicting reports, and so few sharpness tests have been conducted on any of this year's projectors thus far
» Fairly good placement flexibility, but not quite as much as some others
» Unlike the JVC RS-45, this projector allows for Sony's 1/10th pixel convergence correction feature while the RS-45 only pixel adjustments in single FULL pixel amounts to correct convergence, but the JVC RS-55/RS-65 will offer 1/16th pixel adjustments

Sony hw30 Disadvantages
X Lacks Motorized Lens Shift and Zoom and therefore lacks Lens Memory as well, whereas the JVC RS-45 has all of these features standard
X Still some LCOS GHOSTING potential for 3D when comparing to its DLP competitors

____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________

JVC RS-45 Advantages

JVC RS-45 Disadvantages
____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________

JVC RS-55 / RS-65 Advantages

JVC RS-55/ RS-65 Disadvantages
____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________

Cine4home reviewed a pre-production Panny 5000(assuming this is the same as the 7000 in US edition):
Their review can be found here: (use Google Translator for English version)
http://www.cine4home.de/tests/projek...000_Test_A.htm

In summary:
Native Contrast around 3200:1 at closest throw, much improved IRIS, slightly sharper picture overall than the previous panny.




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LAST YEAR's CHEAT SHEET IS BELOW
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I was getting fatigued by constantly repeating the same information across multiple threads.
Most of these projectors I have either owned, compared, or seen a model very close to the one spoken off. These are just my opinions mixed in with the opinions of others, so keep in mind we all have different preferences.
This is only what I have personally found to be true for myself.

See also: www.projectorreviews.com and www.projectorcentral.com for more detailed reviews of any given projector.

Some information also taken from the following posters (need to give credit here)
(Joesyah, Fleaman, DagamePimp, BishopT, MJG100, and umm --- a bunch of other guys)

____________________________________________________________ ________

Best 1080p BUDGET Projector @ the Lowest Price ----- TOP PICK AT THIS PRICE POINT
____________________________________________________________ ________

Benq w1100 (DLP)

Advantages:
Superb brightness in BEST mode and BRIGHTEST mode (about 1100 lumens in Best Mode)
Works very well for large screens probably up to around 140" or possibly larger (depending on if you are a heavy PJ user or not)
Extremely Sharp Image (Probably the sharpest under $2000)
Superb POP in Bright Scenes (due to ANSI contrast and sharpness)
One of the absolute best projectors for HTPC Internet Browsing and Reading text from a screen
Excellent Portability for a Gamer to take to a friend's house, or for a ROAD WARRIOR staying in Motels
Decent built-in speakers for the added portability factor
DLP projectors are NOT prone to Convergence issues or inconsistent sharpness between units like LCD and LCOS are

Disadvantages:
Not as accurate of a calibration OTB as the Mits hc4000 (Benq's usually need more calibrating)
Not quite as good Skin Tones as the Mits hc4000 even after calibration (not 100% verified, more like 80%)
A Less Film Like image when comparing to the Mits hc4000
Not quite as good black levels as the Mits hc4000 and not NEARLY as good Black Levels as a Sanyo z4000 or Epson 8700ub
Very entry-level blacks overall (blacks wont go as dark for SCI FI or similar stuff)
Some fan noise drift and inconsistent fan noise may cause projector to be bothersome to a few
Cannot do Cinemascope / 2.35 / CIH format screens (not that I know of anyhow)
Potential Rainbow Effect for those that are sensitive to it (about 1 in 5 to maybe 1 in 10 people is all)
Only a 1 Year Warranty, whereas MOST projectors provide a 2 Year Warranty or more
Limited Placement Flexibility as with most budget DLP projectors
____________________________________________________________ _________

Best Projectors at or below $2000 Street
____________________________________________________________ _________

Mitsubishi hc4000 (DLP) ------- TOP PICK AT $2000 or LESS, even though it is a SUB $1500 Projector

See Also - http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4000+vs+hc4000

Advantages:
Can do 2.35 Cinemascope screens without any additional requirements (no lens required, black areas can be masked out without overspill in some cases)
My personal favorite projector overall, even at or just under the $2000 price point
Very easy to calibrate, even out-of-the-box the Cinema mode looks pretty good for skin tones (better than most projectors)
Superbly excellent Skin Tones Post Calibration
Good brightness in BEST mode, but not that much brighter in its brightest mode, not as bright as the Benq, still plenty bright for most
A step above entry-level blacks, but cannot compete with MOST LCD's in black levels (and definitely cannot compete in blacks with an LCOS projector)
Lamp lasts longer than most and it also loses its brightness slower than most projectors (I tested this and it is TRUE!)
Superb POP in Bright Scenes, some of the best I've ever seen
Works very well for large screens probably up to around 128" or so (could go a little bigger even)
Extremely Sharp Image (one of the sharpest under $5000, so sharp that for movies that any sharper projector should only win in HTPC)
Very Quiet
Excellent Customer Service
DLP projectors are NOT prone to Convergence issues or inconsistent sharpness between units like LCD and LCOS are
Fairly good portability for a GAMER to take to a friend's house, or a ROAD WARRIOR staying in Motels (not quite as good as the Benq w1100 for portability though)

Side Note:
The hc4000's primary weakness compared to its slightly more expensive competitors is obviously black levels. However, I still prefer the maximum bright scene POP over the others even at the sacrifice of some black levels. Another reason I like the Mits hc4000 DLP so much is because it is a very FORGIVING projector, what this means is on imperfect camera work or on poorer sources like a cable signal, it seems to hold its magic a little better than its competitors. This can make a huge difference when watching casual TV. For TV viewing, I haven't yet seen a projector that can match the Mits hc4000 across the board (sure in some darker content the others win, but I still love the Mits for TV better).

Disadvantages:
No Digitally Rescaled Zoom for getting rid of black bars in a digital sense (Many Bluray players have this built in anyways, it's called ZOOM usually)
Although a very sharp projector, it does not have the focus uniformity of some projectors I've seen when comparing opposite sides of the entire screen
(The Benq's are sharper and better uniformity, and even the Sanyo z4000 has better focus uniformity, but the Mits is still sharper than the Sanyo overall)
Black Levels - Really just a slight step ABOVE entry level for BLACKS, and still no match for the blacks of a Sanyo z4000, but close to the Epson 8350
Potential Rainbow Effect for those that are sensitive to it (about 1 in 5 to maybe 1 in 10 people is all)
Limited Placement Flexibility as with MOST DLP Projectors
____________________________________________________________ _________
Epson 8700ub -------- RUNNER UP FOR $2000 or LESS
Advantages:
Excellent Customer Service, Lamp Replacement Policies, Good Warranty Overall
Best black levels of any projector for under $2000 (really makes those SCI FI and SPACE scenes POP)
The Highest Native Contrast for an LCD projector after calibration, and the only LCD competitor that can come close for Native Contrast is the Sanyo z4000
A very bright image for an LCD projector (much brighter than the Sanyo, about the same brightness as the Mits AT FIRST, but the Mits has the better lamps)
Good ANSI contrast for an LCD at around 550:1, but still not as high as the Mits hc4000 of 892:1
Has CFI (Creative Frame Interpolation - Motion Smoothing) and tons of other goodies
More VIVID colors than the Mits hc4000 and Sanyo z4000 (barely, really unnoticeably so), but overall not as forgiving as a DLP on skin tones or motion
Decent shadow detail, but I still believe the IRIS crushes blacks more than the Sanyo's IRIS
(Sanyo and Mits have the better shadow detail, but not as dark of blacks, although the Sanyo comes closer on blacks than most reviewers stated)
Good bright scene POP and good skin tones, and slightly BEATS the Sanyo z4000 skin tones
(Sanyo can do as good, but it takes so much calibration work that most peoples' calibrations on Skin Tones will be a touch better with the Epson)
Calibrates to a very perfect D65
IRIS is very good, but not quite as smooth, quiet, or as invisible as the Sanyo z4000's (but the Epson's IRIS does go down farther for better Dynamic Contrast)
Like the Sanyo z4000, I believe it has digitally re-scaleable zoom mode to get rid of black bars when watching 2.35 on a 16:9 screen
Good skin tones even before calibration (unlike the Sanyo which needs heavily calibrating before seeing correct skin tones)

Side Note:
I personally feel that the 8700ub sits at an AWKWARD price point for its capabilities,
hence might be better to spend a little more and go with a JVC HD250 or an Infocus sp8602.
As another alternative, I sometimes recommend buying a cheap DLP like
the Mits and then getting a cheap Plasma TV for watching stuff that needs dark blacks.

Disadvantages:
Not as forgiving of a projector as a DLP for some fast motion and skin tones
Does not POP quite as much as the Mits hc4000 on mixed scenes or really bright scenes, but does equal and sometimes beat the Sanyo z4000 due to Skin Tones
Not as sharp of an image as the Sanyo, and even less sharp than the Mits (the Epson is still pretty sharp usually, just not as good for HTPC as a DLP or the Sanyo)
Not as good of skin tones as the Mits hc4000 overall
Build quality worse than the Sanyo, and IMHO build quality also slightly worse than the Mits hc4000
No lens lock feature, lens shift may drift in "shakey" installations
No dust cleaning abilities to remove dust blobs (must send in for warranty)
Slightly louder than the Sanyo (when counting the IRIS)
Not as forgiving of a projector for poorer sources as DLP is, like on a cable signal
Strange LAMP design and potential LAMP FAILURES
Potential heat issues and other quality control issues
Unit-to-Unit variances in sharpness due to inconsistent convergence (luck of the draw type thing)
Even though very bright at first, it has inconsistent Lamps sometimes causing too much LUMEN loss after 500 to 1000 hours
____________________________________________________________ _________

---------Sanyo z4000 ----------
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***SANYO z4000 is NOT recommend at its current price point.***
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See also - http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4000+vs+hc4000

Advantages:
Excellent black levels, near its price really only an Epson 8700ub can beat it enough to even consider further darker blacks a factor
Was the MOST feature rich projector at a given price point, but the price has increased
Highest Ansi Contrast ever measured for ANY LCD Projector, measured at 706:1 by http://www.digitalversus.com/duels.p...&p2=10938&ph=1
CFI at a very affordable price point and 120hz
The absolute best manual lens shift controls with LENS LOCK feature
Good bright scene POP and good skin tones (only after calibrating)
Calibrates to a very perfect D65 in Creative Cinema mode (but it is a difficult projector to calibrate)
Calibrates to a fairly good almost D65 for Living Mode (over 400 lumens on LAMP LOW), but you will need to use the CMS to adjust Living Mode's skin tones
One of the best IRIS's I have ever seen, quiet and works well
Extremely sharp for an LCD projector (one of the sharpest)
Excellent build quality at this price point
Easy dust blob removal and automatic lens door to protect the lens
Extremely high reliability overall due to the build quality and good lamp designs of the Sanyo projectors
UnLike the Epson 8350, the Sanyo has a digital zoom mode to get rid of black bars when watching 2.35 on a 16:9 screen
One of the QUIETEST overall projectors ever made in LAMP LOW, not as quiet in LAMP HIGH but still quieter than MOST
Very good balance of HIGH CONTRAST and a SHARP IMAGE, but still lacks in brightness
Sanyo's Sharpness Enhancement (called Transient Enhancement) works better than Epson's Super Res Sharpness (probably because the Sanyo starts out sharper)
Seems to have more consistent convergence on a unit-to-unit basis (less MFR tolerance for errors in convergence than Epson)
A pretty SMALL projector in SIZE compared to most LCD units, quite a bit smaller than either of the Epsons
Extremely ROBUST calibration controls with a well designed CMS, although seasoned calibrators may prefer more traditional CMS controls

Disadvantages:

THERE IS NO LONGER A PRICE ADVANTAGE TO THE SANYO, AND IT IS DIFFICULT TO RECOMMEND IT WHEN THE PRICE IS ABOVE $1500. LOOK TO THE 8700ub, MITSUBISHI HC4000, EPSON 3010, or something similar.

The Sanyo lacks brightness compared to many projectors, so that many people will just scratch it off their list, but it is ok with smaller high gain screens.
Two Factors make it so that the Sanyo is BEST mounted at closest throw, these two factors being sharpness and brightness
(the Sanyo's lens adds a bit of sharpness error when mounting farther back, but it is still generally sharper than the Epsons)
Some people have complained about Sanyo being too strict on the warranty service, but overall this is a very reliable projector
Very BAD Lamp Smell the first 100 hours or so, it does go away though, but it smells like burning electronics, it is normal for this PJ however
Not very bright, one of the DIMMEST projectors, so you will need a Da-lite High Power 2.4 gain screen or similar for over 92"
Also note that I would still use High Power screen for it even at 92", really I almost always like to PAIR LCD's with an HP screen
Although it is one of the sharpest LCD projectors, at its most focused point, it can't quite reach the sharpness of the Mits hc4000
Not quite as much bright scene POP as a DLP like the Mits hc4000 or Benq w1100, but comes close
Not as forgiving of a projector for poorer sources as DLP is, like on a cable signal
Most out-of-the-box MODES have too much color shift, forces everyone to intensely calibrate (I made a calibration thread for this PJ to help some people)
Although it has a CMS and Gamma Controls for tuning each IRE, it doesn't DIRECTLY EXPOSE the individual gain controls (they are in the service menu though)
Note that I personally feel it has plenty of EXPOSED calibration controls, as it calibrates better than MOST JVC's that cost 3x the price
Lamp loses lumens a bit faster than I'd like at 200 hours of usage, but still plenty of brightness on an HP 2.4 gain screen
(Epson lamps also lose Lumens faster than I'd like and are less reliable than Sanyo lamps)
Some people do not like the looks of this projector (but I love the dark gray look)

Epson 8350 ------- TOP PICK IF YOUR BUDGET IS FORCED SUB $1300 and YOU PREFER LCD AND A VERY BRIGHT IMAGE

Advantages:
A very bright image for an LCD projector (much brighter than the Sanyo)
Probably the best LCD projector under $1300 Street
Placement Flexibility (lens shift controls)
Easier to calibrate than the Sanyo
Good Customer Service from Epson if something fails within the warranty

Disadvantages:
Not as much bright scene POP as DLP and not as much as the Epson 8700ub or the Sanyo z4000
No CFI like the Sanyo z4000 or Epson 8700ub (although the Mits hc4000 also does not have CFI, but DLP's don't really need it either)
No digitally re-scaleable ZOOM mode for getting rid of the black bars when watching 2.35 on a 16:9 screen
Unit-to-Unit variances in sharpness due to inconsistent convergence (luck of the draw type thing)
Just a step above entry-level black levels, although it seems there is a MFR variance with how well the IRIS's work, so my findings may be slightly OFF
Intrascene contrast not quite as good as SLIGHTLY more expensive projectors due to the lower Ansi and Native contrast on this Epson
Worse black levels than the Sanyo z4000
IRIS is very noisey and most people turn it off, Sanyo IRIS is superb
Build quality worse than the Sanyo
Not quite as sharp of an image as the Sanyo (can come close if you get a unit with good convergence), but definitely cannot match a DLP in sharpness
No lens lock feature, lens shift may drift in "shakey" installations
No dust cleaning abilities to remove dust blobs (must send in for warranty)
Louder than the Sanyo
Not as forgiving of a projector for poorer sources as DLP is, like on a cable signal
Strange LAMP design and potential LAMP FAILURES
Potential quality control issues but somewhat offset by Epson's excellent Customer Service
No Sharpness Edge Enhancing Features like the Sanyo z4000 or Epson 8700ub
Even though very bright at first, it has inconsistent Lamps sometimes causing too much LUMEN loss after 500 to 1000 hours

____________________________________________________________ _________

Best Projectors at or below $3500 Street
____________________________________________________________ _________

JVC HD250 (LCOS)
Advantages:
The HIGHEST NATIVE CONTRAST for a projector in this price range, even EASILY beating the less expensive Epson 8700ub
Due to the high native contrast, does not have (nor need) any gimmicks or IRIS's to get the blacks darker, it just punches right through naturally
(big advantage of all JVC's is the NATURAL BLACK LEVELS)
Very bright best mode
Probably the best LCOS projector under $3000 overall
Placement Flexibility (MOTORIZED lens shift and focus controls)
Can switch between 2.35 and other modes and minimalize black bar issues sort of like the Panny 4000, except it doesn't remember your settings like the Panny does
(though figure only 45 seconds to manually switch on the JVC vs. the automated lens memory function of the Panny 4000)
Some of the best OTB Skin Tones on any projector ever made (subjective opinion collected by various posters on this forum)
Excellent build quality and looks (JVC build quality usually always superb)
Seems to have better lamp life than some of the higher end JVC's (although I haven't verified this myself, just going by what posters claim)
Most likely not as prone to convergence issues as LCD's like the Epson 8350ub or 8700ub

Disadvantages:
Some people may prefer DLP in brighter scenes because of that "magical" DLP look
Potential issues with motion for Sports and NO CFI capability on this particular JVC
Lacks a full CMS for calibrating
A little costly price-wise for some, especially if someone has not seen this projector in a showroom before making a purchasing decision
Ansi contrast isn't the best compared to even some LCD projectors, but especially compared to DLP
Slightly oversaturated color OTB, but still it does it well and skin tones still look excellent (according to posters in various threads)
Still not as sharp as most DLP projectors, although this matters more for HTPC or gaming than it does for movies

Infocus sp8602 (DLP)

Advantages:
Excellent black levels for a DLP, one of the few DLP's that can do great blacks
(maybe not quite as dark as the 8700ub's max IRIS closed, but richer looking blacks with more shadow detail)
Seems to have EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE, and imagine a 5 YEAR WARRANTY plus good customer service
Incredible shadow detail probably surpassing every projector listed here (and maybe the best Shadow Detail of any sub $5000 projector ever made)
Far exceeding the black levels of the Mits hc4000, the Benq w6000, or any other DLP's priced less than this (and even most DLP's priced more)
INCREDIBLY MESMORIZING SKIN TONES - A nearly reference LEVEL picture for SKIN TONES (if any projector can beat this, not many will)
The DLP POP we all love
The DLP Sharpness we all love
Can shift the color wheel speed between 4x and 6x (for those really super RBE sensitive, hardly any other DLP projectors provide color wheels this fast)
5 Year Warranty!
SUPER ULTRA-BRIGHT Best Mode image which should let you use really large screens in a BEST MODE
(similar best mode numbers to the Benq w1100 and even a little brighter than the Benq w6000's BEST MODE)
Extremely VIVID color overall
At least has some placement flexibility, a little better than some DLP's not as good as others
DLP projectors are NOT prone to Convergence issues or inconsistent sharpness between units like LCD and LCOS are

Disadvantages:
A bit ODD when it comes to build quality and overall size and design (I don't want to say BAD, just ODD, 5 year warranty solves this)
IRIS does it's job, but not the smoothest IRIS (although works ok, might be bothersome to a few)
Can be very loud and BOXY
Lacks a Full CMS for calibrating, but calibrates great anyhow
Harder to mount than most projectors due to size and heat generation (due to very high powered LAMP)
Not quite as sharp as the Benq projectors, probably very similar in sharpness to the Mits hc4000, still sharper than NON-DLP projectors
(still this is hardly a disadvantage, maybe in 5% of content for HTPC, mostly reading small text)



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post #2 of 81 Old 06-04-2011, 02:55 AM
 
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Here is the German Carl Zeiss trade study comparing performance and stability issues of LCD/LCoS to DLP projectors. It should be a valuable source to build your expertise:
http://www.vision.zeiss.com/C12567B0...Schorcht_e.pdf
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post #3 of 81 Old 06-04-2011, 03:00 AM
 
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Here is a good thread (which starts out slowly then gets better) on 3D lessons learned from the-over $3K forum.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1274146

So read this too and build your expertise.
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Reserved for important dynamic iris updates
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post #5 of 81 Old 06-06-2011, 12:56 PM
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Coderguy,

Great thread and it is very helpful to people trying to pick out a projector that you can't go and see anywhere. I unfortunately have projectoritis like you. I have owned 9 digital projectors. Can you give us a list of all the digital projectors you have owned? I bet its a huge list...lol

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post #6 of 81 Old 06-06-2011, 04:49 PM
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So you'd recommend those over the BenQ W6000 then?
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post #7 of 81 Old 06-06-2011, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I considered adding the Benq w6000 to the reviews, but I really need to see one in a side-by-side shootout to be sure.

The Benq is a much noisier projector, but does have decent placement flexibility. The BENQ needs heavy calibration with a meter, so if you aren't planning on buying a colorimeter like the eye one, definitely stick with the Mits hc4000.

The problem is without me seeing it side-by-side, I can't tell how it really compares to the Mits hc4000 for bright scene POP and native contrast, but we know the Mits has higher native contrast with Dark Chip 3, and the Benq struggles a bit with native contrast being in the sub 2000 ranges.

I guess it depends what you consider important and how noise adverse you are.



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post #8 of 81 Old 06-06-2011, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

I guess it depends what you consider important and how noise adverse you are.

I didn't think an iris noise would bother me until I went to a friend's house and his projector's iris kept making a bothersome noise. I was ready to grab his remote from his hand and turn it off. That made me rethink getting a Benq W6000 and go with the Mitsubishi HC4000.

Have you had a chance yet to see any of the led dlp's?

Mike

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post #9 of 81 Old 06-06-2011, 05:49 PM
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Nice catalog of info.
You should add a Placement Flexibility: note
Lens shift, keystone adjustment, etc.

2014
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post #10 of 81 Old 06-06-2011, 06:16 PM
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Nice info you've got there.

I am thinking of changing my very old Sharp VX-Z9000 to a more recent model.

I am sensitive to RBE (even see them on my Kuro Plasma!) but the Sharp's 5x color wheel on the Z9000 solve my RBE problem with faster wheel.

However, the new Sharp Z17000 with limited placement flexibilty (my PJ is ceiling mounted approx 12.5' from a gray 110" screen.

I've checked on the MC4000 but the RBE is killing me when the shop played Die Hard 4.0.....can't imagine watching Sin City on it.

Budgeted less than $2.5k, what will be the most suitable Pj to replace the Z9000? Or should I waited for the price of 3D PJ to drop further (and the tech matured further).

My Z9000 only have 700 hours on it.

The PJ is strictly for Movies/Concert, no TV viewing on it.

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post #11 of 81 Old 06-06-2011, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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JVC HD250 (they are hard to find in stock) or Epson 8700ub.
I might try to wait though until some more 3d projectors come out after September.

For movies and concerts, I like the Sanyo z4000 a lot as a cheaper option, but it won't be bright enough for your setup unless you replace the screen with a HIGH POWER.



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post #12 of 81 Old 06-07-2011, 08:16 AM
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Great post Coderguy.
Should be post it for a while.
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post #13 of 81 Old 06-07-2011, 09:20 AM
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Coder needs to add the Benq w6000. It doesn't get the credit it deserves. It will slay quite a few of these under 2 grand projectors easily in IQ.
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post #14 of 81 Old 06-07-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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You need to add the Panasonic PT-AE4000U and say it is the only sub $2000 projector that can do automatic CIH.
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post #15 of 81 Old 06-07-2011, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

You need to add the Panasonic PT-AE4000U and say it is the only sub $2000 projector that can do CIH.

Thats funny you do know that most of the mits can do CIH also, right? With the hc3800/4000 are almost half the cost of the AE4000U...

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post #16 of 81 Old 06-07-2011, 11:28 AM
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Thanks for this thread Coderguy, much appreciated!

A quick question:

Will the Sanyo z4000 work with a 92" matte white screen (gain 1.0) in a light-controlled room with dark grey walls?
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post #17 of 81 Old 06-07-2011, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s0ad View Post

Thanks for this thread Coderguy, much appreciated!

A quick question:

Will the Sanyo z4000 work with a 92" matte white screen (gain 1.0) in a light-controlled room with dark grey walls?

Yes it should work fine, but you will get more LIFE out of the LAMP when using any of the lesser bright projectors with an HP screen.

The list is simply what I consider to be the best projectors at these prices, really just my opinion.

@JoesYah
You have seen a lot of projectors like me, probably as many or more, but I am just unsure about the w6000.

@Panny4000
The Panny is a great projector for features for sure, but this list is more about image quality than features, and unfortunately the Panny is a bit soft compared to most of these projectors listed. I would really push someone towards the JVC HD250 instead of the Panny, even though the JVC costs a few hundred more. A non-PQ-enthusiast will love the Panny's features for sure, it is also easier to calibrate with its split screen modes, but that said, for $2k the picture isn't as competetive as I would like, so I didn't add it to the list. The Sanyo z4000 and 8700ub produces a bit punchier of an image. I would put the Panny's PQ ahead of the 8350 (except for brightness and sharpness), but still behind the Sanyo z4000. You know I forgot to test the Sanyo's ability to display on a 2.35 screen and any drawbacks, I think the Sanyo can do CIH as well by digitally rescaling (instead of motor zooming) when having to go back to 16:9 aspects on a 2.35 screen, but I am not 100% on this.



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post #18 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Just ordered a Benq w6000, so we shall see @Joesyah...



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post #19 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

Just ordered a Benq w6000, so we shall see @Joesyah...

Nice! That price is tough to resist. I knew you couldn't pass it up. lol
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post #20 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
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....



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post #21 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
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Haha, I'm sick, I need professional help, lol.

Really looking forward to your opinion on this PJ. I am especially interested in RBE, comparison to HC4000 IQ, and how much noise it puts out.

Did you do the refurb deal, or the 10% off new? I am really tempted by the refurb deal, but a bit torn buying a refurb unit...

Hope you get a great one.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bishopt View Post

Thats funny you do know that most of the mits can do CIH also, right? With the hc3800/4000 are almost half the cost of the AE4000U...

Sorry, will edit my post to say "automatic CIH".
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post #23 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
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Just ordered a Benq w6000, so we shall see @Joesyah...

Are you keeping it?or testing and sending back?

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post #24 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
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If I like it better than a Mits hc4000 or Sanyo z4000, I'm probably keeping it. If not, sending it back...

The only real down-side I had against the Sanyo was due to its brightness limitation, after I move I wouldn't have been able to do a huge 2.35 screen if I wanted to.
The one thing against the Mits was mainly RBE (I'm very sensitive to it), as well as poorer black levels. Also I am building some motorized lens zoom and lens shift controllers, it was too hard to attach my DIY "motorizers" to the Sanyo. This is a project for later down the road though, I have only experiemented a little bit with the step motors. I will actually probably own bunches of different projectors temporarily and cycle them back into the used market, this is when I have to do my DIY add-ons for each projector, but right now I'm trying to find THE ONE that I always own.



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post #25 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
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If I like it better than a Mits hc4000 or Sanyo z4000, I'm probably keeping it. If not, sending it back...

So you must have bought a new one?

I do not think there is a return policy for the refurbs. Am I wrong?

This is the one thing that has me holding off on the refurb. I guess if the RBE was terrible for me, I could turn it over on ebay to someone that does not have RBE sensitivity.

I cannot wait until you get it to hear your hit on the RBE.
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post #26 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 06:42 PM
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This is *extremely* helpful. Could we add lag time info to the above? It's pretty important for the gaming segment, and I think the above mostly has a movie perspective.
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post #27 of 81 Old 06-10-2011, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have all these projectors on me to test for it.

Note:
Good news overall, it appears Benq is going to sign me up as a professional reviewer.
Hopefully on Monday, so maybe I will be able to go forward with some Benq reviews, but probably not specifically on the Benq w6000 as they don't have any review units right now. I'll try to get a Benq w1200 or Benq sp890 though for review.



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post #28 of 81 Old 06-13-2011, 04:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Guys,

I am now doing multiple shootouts in a more FORMAL sense, with a big emphasis on technical analysis of the image between various projectors and technologies.

Here is an update on my latest project:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post20561615

...



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post #29 of 81 Old 06-14-2011, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

Guys,

I am now doing multiple shootouts in a more professional review sense, with a big emphasis on technical analysis of the image between various projectors and technologies.

Here is an update on my latest project:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post20561615

...

Just joined this excellent thread. I have a 2 yr old Mits HC5500 that I have enjoyed. Got it towards it's end with nice rebate and free lamp. Sounds like the HC4000 is a lot better. Just replaced the bulb (luckily got the free lamp). Got close to 4,000 hours. Started getting the warning at 3,850. Went past this but replaced it just shy of 4,000 hrs to be safe since I had the free bulb. Have a 110" screen innovations. Will keep watching your thread as I may upgrade next year. This is a very intuitive thread. Thanks for your time and sharing your knowledge. What do you think about the new 3d models coming out?

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post #30 of 81 Old 06-14-2011, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
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For 3D there are some tradeoffs, as far as the new models, it's yet to be seen.
I am fairly convinced that for 3D you need to stick to a DLP projector.

So far the Sharp xv-z17000 seems like the best deal for 3D, my only worry about it is the focus uniformity,
hence how much of that DLP sharpness are we losing with this unit in 2D.



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