How much of a difference does a more contrast capable projector make? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I know this is likely impossible to answer, but I am curious, I just recently got the BenQ W1080ST projector, my first projector, and I am blown away by the quality of the picture. With only 10,000:1 contrast ratio, its quite low compared to other, more expensive projectors and so I am curious as to how much of a difference in terms of Image Quality, a lot more contrast makes?

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post #2 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 09:32 AM
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All other things being equal higher contrast ratio increases perceived depth and solidity of the image, clarity of image, and also colour. Higher contrast removes image washout, it is like lifting a veil off the image and turning a pleasing picture of things into looking at real things. However perceived contrast is complexed. Viewer contrast sensitivity is dependent on surround effect and image brightness and size of detail and colour contrast. Contrast is also room limited, ambient lighting will limit contrast, and for ANSI checker board contrast room reflections. 

 

 The amount of contrast in an image is dependent on the gamma being used and gamma will also affect colour saturation and hues. Grey scale and colour accuracy also play a part as far as if the image is washed out by a colour tint and if it looks lifelike the brain fills in the illusion of reality better. Image sharpness of focus also increases perceived contrast. Then there are other visual  clues to image depth partly dependent on the projector, like visibility of textures and hues in the image.

 

While the BenQ W1080ST claims to have 10,000:1 contrast ratio and 2,000 Lumens, if it is anything like the BenQ W1070 in reality once calibrated it maybe closer to 900:1 and 1,100 Lumens.

http://www.avforums.com/review/benq-w1070-1080p-full-hd-3d-dlp-projector-review.493

 

Contrast gets measured in several ways
On/Off contrast ratio. The brightest and darkest the projector can be in two different images using dynamic lamp dimming or/and iris. This with an uncalibrated image will be how the BenQ achieved 10,000:1
Native On/Off contrast ratio without dynamic lamp dimming or/and iris. Measured as above on two separate images, but because it is a native figure gives some idea of the best case single image scenario. This will be how avforums measured the BenQ at 900:1
ANSI Checkerboard contrast ratio. Gives an idea of the worst case single image scenario.

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post #3 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 10:31 AM
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Marketing on/off contrast matters very little for most content. ANSI checkerboard contrast (i.e. intrascene contrast) matters more for most content, and most DC2/DC3 DLPs are pretty good in that respect.

So in general, your 1080ST is going to be "average to pretty good" in the sub $3-4k projector range for most viewing. It will mostly fall short when you get to really dark scenes due to the lack of a dynamic iris.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPS13 View Post

Marketing on/off contrast matters very little for most content. ANSI checkerboard contrast (i.e. intrascene contrast) matters more for most content, and most DC2/DC3 DLPs are pretty good in that respect.

So in general, your 1080ST is going to be "average to pretty good" in the sub $3-4k projector range for most viewing. It will mostly fall short when you get to really dark scenes due to the lack of a dynamic iris.

For native on/off contrast DLP projectors appear to trade lumens for contrast depending on their design. The starting point for lumens being the lamp or lamps used and the efficiency of the light path, light integrator, mirrors, focusing lenses. The trade lumens for calibrated contrast  being determined by choice of colour wheel and by the iris of the lens or iris in the lens and in some designs an additional iris in the light path before the DLP chip. Also possibly the illumination angle if non-standard design with dual iris, the amount of overfill light hitting around the chip and the design of the light sink for the off state.

For ANSI checker board contrast the quality of the lens anti-reflective coatings seems to be key, and I would assume better lens coatings are more expensive. 

For image sharpness MTF a combination of DLP chip size and lens quality, which presumably means better is again more expensive.

 

For intrascene contrast I think it is a combination of native on/off and ANSI checker board contrast. The LCOS projectors have lower ANSI checker board contrast but far higher native on/off contrast.

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post #5 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 01:48 PM
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Not really mentioned in all of this is that your room has a tremendous amount of impact on everything. A light/white room has far more impact than a projector with lower contrast. As you get into projectors with higher contrast, you must also get a room which can make the most of that contrast. Far to often people look to the projector to correct for a lousy room, and that's not how it works. Even worse is when they use a screen to do so (Black Diamond anyone?). When, it is the room which can heavily contribute to worse contrast ratios and results which aren't as good as desired.

I think the recommendations by the previous posters is dead on. You have a projector with a good contrast ratio, and need to understand that contrast isn't the only improvement you are getting with more expensive projectors. Light output may even be lower on those models, but the perceived brightness due to higher contrast may be more. Colors will be purer and more accurate, you will have better optics which will help the image to pop, and shadow detail (not to be confused with contrast or black level) will be improved. This isn't all guarantees of what you WILL get, but what you may get with more costly projectors with higher contrast ratings. But, that's why there are reviews and why they should be read.

I just saw the Sony 600ES 4K projector and I will tell you flat out - it is the best projector I've seen. But, beyond that model the JVC RS46 is my favorite. Great black levels, great shadow detail, no active iris to artificially inflate the pure blacks, excellent colors.

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post #6 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 03:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPS13 View Post

Marketing on/off contrast matters very little for most content. ANSI checkerboard contrast (i.e. intrascene contrast) matters more for most content...

Agreed,

 

100:1 % :cool:

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post #7 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPS13 View Post

Marketing on/off contrast matters very little for most content. ANSI checkerboard contrast (i.e. intrascene contrast) matters more for most content, and most DC2/DC3 DLPs are pretty good in that respect.

So in general, your 1080ST is going to be "average to pretty good" in the sub $3-4k projector range for most viewing. It will mostly fall short when you get to really dark scenes due to the lack of a dynamic iris.

Wow.

It's entry level, black levels can't compete with higher end stuff. Watch a good sci if movie and you'll realize the gap. 10 year old technogy in there.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I have watched plenty of films since I got the projector and I am blown away by the black levels, I don't know how they can get much better, but then because this is the only projector I've seen, I know that obviously they must look better on higher end projectors. I guess you really need to see a higher end model and what it can deliver, and again that is going to vary based on a number of factors other have mentioned, but I think I have a good idea now. I am very pleased with the W1080ST its has really exceeded my expectations and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Thanks
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-22-2014, 10:38 PM
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I think some of you guys under estimate what can be achieved with the Benq W1080ST.
Delivering maximum available calibrated contrast I was able achieve 27fc maximum brightness without clipping whites in contrast checkerboard with the projector in cinema smarteco mode and still get down to 0% black on the brightness checkerboard.
With maximum contrast In a combined contrast/brightness checkerboard it does crush blacks below 5% and only achieves 2.1 Gamma.

The best Ive been able to get out of it in the combined contrast/brightness checkerboard, where it measures down to +2% black and up to +7% white in economy mode with Gamma spot on 2.2.
That's still gives 22fc white in checkerboard with about .2fc with black on my screen in my room.
That calculates to about 120:1 contrast ratio. The Cinema standard target is 150:1 intra-frame contrast with 100:1 the minimum. That's a pretty damn good result!
Im using a light controlled room with 120" spandex screen with a screen gain some where around .9 . (Off white walls and carpet.)

Certainly in a lit room the picture would be washed out with those settings but this projector gives phenomenal results under the right conditions.
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-23-2014, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phatboy69 View Post

The best Ive been able to get out of it in the combined contrast/brightness checkerboard, where it measures down to +2% black and up to +7% white in economy mode with Gamma spot on 2.2.
That's still gives 22fc white in checkerboard with about .2fc with black on my screen in my room.
That calculates to about 120:1 contrast ratio. The Cinema standard target is 150:1 intra-frame contrast with 100:1 the minimum. That's a pretty damn good result!
Im using a light controlled room with 120" spandex screen with a screen gain some where around .9 . (Off white walls and carpet.)

Certainly in a lit room the picture would be washed out with those settings but this projector gives phenomenal results under the right conditions.

It is as good or better than most commercial cinemas achieve. ANSI checker board contrast is very much room limited by any ambient lighting and by any room reflections. Commercial cinemas have some safety lighting and large screens vs room size. For ANSI checker board contrast a large black non-reflective room is best, and the screen also has an effect as to its size and gain, the amount of light it reflects into the room. Once you get over a certain level it may however be a game of diminishing returns. There is also the issue of surround effect that is the darker the room the less contrast sensitivity the viewer has. 

 

A competently designed DLP projectors should in theory (test conditions not normal viewing conditions) be capable of >500:1 ANSI checker board contrast, a high end DLP projector maybe >1,000:1 ANSI checker board contrast as anti-reflective lens coatings to reduce reflections in the lens and the amount of stray light entering the lens, light path design I think are key. On screen ANSI checker board in real world viewing conditions is however very room limited.

Originally Posted by Verge2 View Post


Wow.

It's entry level, black levels can't compete with higher end stuff. Watch a good sci if movie and you'll realize the gap. 10 year old technogy in there.

JVC LCOS projectors exceeded DLP native on/off contrast by a order of magnitude and are also more complex as far as light path and more expensive. I would hope their performance is substantially better. While their ANSI checker board contrast maybe lower than DLP, it is more indicative of a worse case image scenario and is usually very room limited anyway so in reality may make very little difference to most scenes and in most rooms.

 

The problem for DLP is that it may not have improved much over the last 10 years. My projector is 9 years old it claims up to 7,500:1 native on/off contrast with the manual iris stopped down, and high ANSI checker board contrast. The current single chip DLP models from the same projector company claim 2500:1, 4000:1, 7500:1, 8000:1(infinite with dynamic black enabled). Only one has a barely better native on/off contrast spec than my aged projector. DLP could probably achieve more but maybe technically limited to never being able to make the leap of magnitude needed to reach LCOS and attempts to eek out as much contrast as possible might sacrifice too many lumens which I think remains an advantage over LCOS.

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post #11 of 13 Old 01-23-2014, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verge2 View Post

Wow.

It's entry level, black levels can't compete with higher end stuff. Watch a good sci if movie and you'll realize the gap. 10 year old technogy in there.

Are you saying my comment is flat out wrong? I stated where the biggest difference is going to be, in really dark scenes where the black floor is going to be higher... which then you restated with an exclamation as if all my comments were wrong. So which is it?


Intra-scene contrast with a good lower to mid-range DLP projector and something like a mid-range LCD is not all that far apart. Lower end LCOS beats DLP with native on/off, but for real usage the ANSI on/off doesn't differ by a hugely perceptible amount. The really high end JVCs that throw in dynamic irises and better panel/design obviously push the performance up even more, to where I'd say the difference becomes pretty striking. But a lower end JVC is ahead of DLP in intra-scene contrast, but not a huge amount as long as the overall brightness is up which is where DLP tends to shine. On a really dark scene DLP will struggle to keep up with LCOS contrast.

I have a lot of butt time in front of a JVC HD-1 and just got a Mitsubishi HC7900DW. The black levels on the HD-1 are better, but not by a ton. I'd say the HC7900DW puts up pretty competitive contrast even on dark scenes because the brightness is generally superior. When it gets bright I think there's not much if anything between the two with contrast. I'd say the HD-1 is sitll pretty representative of lower end LCOS performance.


As with most things marketing involving competing technologies, a simple number doesn't properly capture the nuances of their relative strengths and weaknesses against each other.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-23-2014, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by RPS13 View PostAs with most things marketing involving competing technologies, a simple number doesn't properly capture the nuances of their relative strengths and weaknesses against each other.

I don't know how much of an improvement the Mitsubishi HC7900DW is over the Mitsubishi HC7800DW.

Going by the Cine4Home reviews if there is in reality little difference between a JVC HD1 and a HC7800DW then contrast specs would seem to indicate little or dynamic iris would seem to work well enough to compensate for lower native contrast.

 

At D65 

JVC HD1 vs Mitsubishi HC7800DW

12,000:1 to 15,700:1 (depending on zoom setting) vs 1,400:1 native on/off. Massive difference JVC around eight to eleven times better.

12,000:1 to 15,700:1 (depending on zoom setting) vs 5,700:1 (iris auto1 brilliant color off) dynamic on/off. Some difference JVC around two to three times better

12,000:1 to 15,700:1 vs 10,000:1 (iris auto2 brilliant color on) dynamic on/off. Little difference JVC around one fifth to one half better.

 

While ANSI checker board contrast using SoundandVision review of the JVC

JVC HD1 vs Mitsubishi HC7800DW

250:1 vs 520:1. Some difference Mistusibish around two times better.

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post #13 of 13 Old 01-23-2014, 01:24 PM
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The HC7900 has a little more brightness vs. the HC7800. Not sure on the black floor.

HC7900 with iris on AUTO1 looks similar to the JVC in my eyes, while AUTO2 has similar blacks and better brightness. Just my take on watching real content. Really dark scenes I still give the nod to the JVC, but in mixed brightness scenes I think the HC7900 comes out on top. That's about what those ratings say as well.
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