or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Display Devices › Digital Projectors - Under $3,000 USD MSRP › Sharpness: Epson 8100 vs. Epson 8500UB vs HC3800
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sharpness: Epson 8100 vs. Epson 8500UB vs HC3800

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
I recently replaced a Sony VPL-HS51 (720p) projector with an Epson 8100 (1080p). The 8100 is much brighter but I think the Sony delivered a sharper picture.

Has anyone compared the sharpness of the 8100 vs the 8500UB or the HC3800? If so, what are your thoughts.

Thanks for you input.
post #2 of 86
The 3800 is said to be very sharp and it's very rare to find an LCD that is as sharp as a single chip DLP due to convergence errors (so even lenses of equal quality will make little difference). Some people mistake the more digital look of LCD for sharpness, it's not sharper it's just more jagged (unless of course you get into the smoothscreen tech on Panasonic LCD projectors).

I would bet the HC3800 is the sharpest of the 3 you mentioned but I have yet to see a 3800 (have seen the 8100 and a 6500UB and neither of those is as sharp as most of the single chip DLP's that I have seen).

Jason
post #3 of 86
If your viewing bluray movies I find it hard to believe the 8100 isn't quite a bit sharper. I've read that hc3800 is a tad sharper because it's single chip dlp but I doubt that you will see much difference if your not seeing it on the 8100 already.
post #4 of 86
Source material has nothing to do with the actual sharpness of a given projector. I think you are meaning 'detail' and while sharpness can bring out more detail more detail cannot actually make a projector sharper . I think we are talking PIXEL level sharpness here, how tight is the focus, lens quality, convergence/alignment errors, CA, etc.

----------

Keep in mind also that using a very common feature found in most of these LCD units can effect your sharpness... lens shift (the less you use the better).

It's also very possible that of the two projectors being compared by the OP the 8100 has alignment issues and the HS51 did not have any or simply less.

Jason
post #5 of 86
Sharpness has so much to do with noise, edging enhancement, lenses and for LCD--micro lenses to get rid of the Screen Door Effect. Images that are as smooth as glass and pixel perfect can still appear as less sharp than over processed edging enhancement with some pixel noise. Some people think the noise is film grain and therefore the image looks more theater-like and sharp, when in reality, it's just bad processing and scaling. Sooo, you really need to demo, demo, demo--as someone else said.
post #6 of 86
+1 for HC3800. When I upgraded from my VP4001 (which is very sharp for a 720p projector...much sharper than AX200 which I owned for 3 days prior), I wanted to maintain the sharpness as I use a HTPC and sit less than 10 feet from the screen.

Ignore the off-axis image but this was on the first day of ownership on the HC3800 and u can notice the fine details in the wallpaper off my HTPC. This was a standing shot from 6 feet away. I never saw this much details on my 720p PJ before on the same wallpaper so the higher resolution does help indeed. The text is extremely sharp even from 4 feet away.


post #7 of 86
I'm in the same boat with the original poster. I "upgraded" to the 8100 from a Sony VPL-AW15 720p projector, and I felt like the 720p Sony actually had a sharper image than the Epson 8100. In fact, I thought that the Sony beat the Epson in overall image quality with better contrast and black levels than the Epson. The Epson is definitely brighter though! I ended up returning the Epson.

I have since acquired a Panasonic PT-AX100U, which is virtually identical to the PT-AX200U. I must say, after hearing so much about the AX100/200 over the last couple years, I'm very disappointed in it. Yeah, the picture is bright in it's brighter modes and there's no screen door effect, but the picture just isn't nearly as good as my Sony. Much less contrast and sharpness.

Since I've already sold my Sony, I'm thinking about picking up another one and waiting another year or so to buy a 1080p projector.
post #8 of 86
You sure you had the Epson 8100 calibrated correctly, since it is a light cannon and all, that could be the black level issue. A darker picture is going to have darker blacks.

However, what the above poster has stated is dissapointing since I am considering the Epson 8100 or HC3800, and I am coming from a Sanyo Z5, which in some reviews is said to be very similar to the SONY AW15 as far as image quality goes. This makes me think going to an EPSON 8100 would not be a big enough improvement to justify the cost. I would much rather spend 2.5K and be WOW'd then spend 1.3K and not see much improvement.
post #9 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

You sure you had the Epson 8100 calibrated correctly, since it is a light cannon and all, that could be the black level issue. A darker picture is going to have darker blacks.

However, what the above poster has stated is dissapointing since I am considering the Epson 8100 or HC3800, and I am coming from a Sanyo Z5, which in some reviews is said to be very similar to the SONY AW15 as far as image quality goes. This makes me think going to an EPSON 8100 would not be a big enough improvement to justify the cost. I would much rather spend 2.5K and be WOW'd then spend 1.3K and not see much improvement.

I ran the Sound & Vision tune-up DVD from Ovation on the 8100, and honestly it didn't require much adjustment. I think you're correct in that some of the issues with the black levels may have been due to comparing a new 8100 with a VPL-AW15 with 900 hrs on the bulb.

But even so, I don't remember ever being bothered as much with the letterboxing of movies on the VPL-AW15 as I was on the 8100. To keep the 8100, I would absolutely have to build some trim pieces to add to my screen to black out the letterboxed areas. The 8100 had 100 hrs on the bulb when I returned it, and I still wasn't happy with the black levels, even in low-power mode.

Black levels aside, the VPL-AW15 had a little more of that "pop" or the "wow" factor that I suppose comes from higher contrast.

As far as sharpness, I wasn't aware of the convergence issues with the 8100 at the time, but I suspect that my unit probably suffered. The Sony projectors are known for having absolutely perfect alignment of the LCD panels.

I think that I'm going to start looking for a good deal on a used LCoS projector from Sony or JVC.
post #10 of 86
Please demo a HC3800 and get back with your thoughts!
It has POP and is very sharp --> has the "WOW factor" you may looking for.
post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Film Enthusiast View Post

Please demo a HC3800 and get back with your thoughts!
It has POP and is very sharp --> has the "WOW factor" you may looking for.

That's a great recommendation, and I seriously considered the HC3800 for a minute. It sounds like it meets all my requirements as far as PQ is concerned. But the lack of placement flexibility just kills it! I have my projector ceiling mounted and I already have a hole in the ceiling with wires routed inside the ceiling to my AV equipment. (Note that I took the following picture shortly after moving into my house and prior to having my surround sound setup.)


Even if I were willing to mount in a different spot, I would like to eventually supersize from my 106" screen to somewhere around 150" since I now have the space in my new house. With the lack of vertical lens shift on the HC3800, if the projector was mounted flush on the ceiling, it would still leave about 50 inches of empty space above the top edge of the screen. When mounted on the ceiling, it has close to 1/3 image-height drop to the top edge of the image. When mounted on a table, it has the same distance to the bottom edge of the projected image. In my basement with 8 foot ceilings, there's just no way the HC3800 can do much more than 100" screen without the screen position becoming ridiculous or impossible.

Why do they make these great DLP projectors without any vertical lens shift??? It just kills me! All three of my projectors have been LCD models with generous lens-shift and zoom capabilities, and these features have been invaluable as I've reconfigured my entertainment spaces and moved houses over the years. Lack of placement flexibility is a deal-breaker for me, and it amazes me that DLP projectors are as popular as they are.
post #12 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgar_in_Indy View Post

Why do they make these great DLP projectors without any vertical lens shift??? It just kills me! All three of my projectors have been LCD models with generous lens-shift and zoom capabilities, and these features have been invaluable as I've reconfigured my entertainment spaces and moved houses over the years. Lack of placement flexibility is a deal-breaker for me, and it amazes me that DLP projectors are as popular as they are.

For a given budget you can focus on PQ only or spend resources also on lens shift/zoom/features.
If you like HC3800 but need more flexibillity, please demo HC6800.

btw nice room!
post #13 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Film Enthusiast View Post

For a given budget you can focus on PQ only or spend resources also on lens shift/zoom/features.
If you like HC3800 but need more flexibillity, please demo HC6800.

btw nice room!

or the BenQ w6000
post #14 of 86
I have the HC8100 and it's very sharp. Think you had a bum unit.
post #15 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by stopdog View Post

I have the HC8100 and it's very sharp. Think you had a bum unit.

I suspect as much, and I suspect that the current supply problem is probably related to quality issues. What projector(s) are you comparing the 8100 to?
post #16 of 86
Or because it's the best bang for the buck out there right now. I got mine when BB had them for $1199. It's replacing a lightly used HC1080 which I liked but the 8100 is an upgrade for sure.

Recently saw the Mits ($2499 model) and JVC 350 at Magnolia BB and was not impressed by either. Both looked softer than my HC8100, of course it's BB so the setup was probably poor, they were running the Mits with component cables. JVC was HDMI though.
post #17 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgar_in_Indy View Post

I suspect as much, and I suspect that the current supply problem is probably related to quality issues. What projector(s) are you comparing the 8100 to?

Just like most electronics, they probably have a bottom limit to pass each machine. Some pass through quality control at the top of their game--all lcds perfectly aligned, excellent lens copy (they fluctuate just like camera lenses), etc. Maybe you just happened to get one that squeaked by. I had a similar instance with an Optoma HD20. I really didn't like it compared to an older HD70 720p, Imaged seemed off, not sharp, not near what others were describing, so I sent it back.
post #18 of 86
I wanted to get the BENQ w6000, but too many problems as stated by other reviewers.
What is Best Buy's return policy on projectors anyhow, might go grab the Epson 8100 and check it out.

Regarding the BENQ w6000
There were too many people that saw RBE (probably because of brightness), and a few people that said they never seen RBE before until they got their BENQ w6000. Other issues on the BENQ noted were dynamic iris is pretty useless many times (too slow and noisey), and most ended up turning it off. Also the On/Off Contrast Ratio was measured at only around 1000:1 to maybe 1500:1 with tweaks, and this isn't that great.

Quality Control Issues with the BENQ 6000
Dynamic Iris does not work as well as other projectors
Iris and fans are too noisey (only seems to be an issue if sitting within a few feet of mounted position)
Several people claiming worse RBE than their older and cheaper DLP's (but some claiming the opposite, but it seems more are seeing RBE pretty bad on the 6000)
Sharp image but at the same time people have said there is too much noise in the image
post #19 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by threed123 View Post

Sharpness has so much to do with noise, edging enhancement, lenses and for LCD--micro lenses to get rid of the Screen Door Effect. Images that are as smooth as glass and pixel perfect can still appear as less sharp than over processed edging enhancement with some pixel noise. Some people think the noise is film grain and therefore the image looks more theater-like and sharp, when in reality, it's just bad processing and scaling. Sooo, you really need to demo, demo, demo--as someone else said.

Since there are two types of sharpness, inherent sharpness and fake sharpness, it is easily discerned from Art's reviews. Fake sharpness is obtained by the digital effects of the projector (like raising sharpness or turning on some type of transient/sharpness filter). There is a definite difference in TRUE inherent sharpness to all these projectors. From Art's review, the w6000 is far ahead of most of the other PJ's in this price range, EXCEPT for the HC3800 which is very close to being nearly as sharp as the w6000. As a matter of fact, Art said the sharpness is so close between the hc3800 and w6000 that it was a very marginal difference and probably not worth upgrading over, but did say the other benefits of the w6000 would be worth it (albeit see my previous post to why I would be hesitant to get a BENQ w6000, and would probably get an HC3800 over a w6000 at this point). Seems like at $1,300, this new MITS is the best projector you can get as long as the RBE and placement options aren't the deal breaker (although a dynamic iris would be nice as well).

The best way to tell sharpness is to compare small text on the different projectors. Art did his comparison by doing just this, and of the projectors he reviewed he said the MITS HC3800 and the BENQ w6000 were both far sharper than the Epson 8100, Panasonic 4000, or just about any other 3 LCD projector. He said it even beat his JVC (rs20 I think). So I guess DLP again has an advantage of sharpness when talking about budget projectors.

As I own a Sanyo Z5 which was stated to be very sharp, but HTPC text was never as sharp looking as I would have liked on the Z5 (not fuzzy at all, but just hard to read when small). The Z5 has a lot of sharpness and iris filters and tricks, but no matter what I did I still wanted text to look better on the HTPC.

So now I consider the Mits HC3800 as my next upgrade (which means I'd be going from LCD to DLP). I may pull the trigger, but if the HC3800 had just slightly better placement options, a dynamic IRIS, and definitely no RBE, then I would be sold already.
post #20 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indydoc View Post

I recently replaced a Sony VPL-HS51 (720p) projector with an Epson 8100 (1080p). The 8100 is much brighter but I think the Sony delivered a sharper picture.

Has anyone compared the sharpness of the 8100 vs the 8500UB or the HC3800? If so, what are your thoughts.

Thanks for you input.

To finalize the answer in this thread:

From Art's Review
"I haven't seen any projector do better than the BenQ (w6000) when it comes to trying to read the type on the on screen menus in this scene, but the Mitsubishi HC3800 is so close as to not matter."

This is the page where he discusses it:
http://www.projectorreviews.com/mits...erformance.php
post #21 of 86
I don't doubt Art knows his stuff, but now that he's taking money to promote certain projectors (ie. the Youtube fiasco), I think you have to consider some of his comments as "gees, I better not say this other projector is worse, since I gave it my highest recommendation and getting paid to say it's excellent." So he comes out as says, yeah, it's so close it doesn't matter. I'm getting the HC3800, but along with the W6000s I bet the 8100s are great too as some reviews have stated.

That said, I do believe that quality control has something to do with it. There are excellent and mediocre units of the same projector being sold and if you get a good one--wow. You get a mediocre one, and ugh--what have I done.
post #22 of 86
Threed:

Totally agree, it's hard to tell if he is not biased. However, I really doubt he is favoring the BENQ or the MITS, he usually favors EPSON, SANYO and, Panasonics. So who knows... Although it is possible he favors the MITS since he took money to do the video review.

IMO, he is too "easy" on the bad projectors and too politically correct. I guess he has to be though, otherwise they'll stop sending him samples. Even on his reviews of some of the worst projectors ever, he always says "Some people may actually still prefer this unit for its benefits", lol come on, sometimes MFR's make a hunk of junk.
post #23 of 86
QC control is an issue with projector sharpness. Optics and alignments play a big role, even with single chip DLP's. I went through 3 different Optoma H30's (DLP) about 5 years ago (for a buzzing problem), and all 3 had different focus uniformaty (pixel focus across the screen). But from the normal seating distance sharpness looked about the same (do note this was only a 480p PJ).

As for Art's sincerity> I've read his reviews for many years now and have found them to be rather accurate and very similar to AVS posters experiences. He also tends to buy his best review PJ for himself personally. But do note that manufactures are sending cherry picked units out for reviews (to all the reviewers), so they tend to have the strictest QC on them, plus the best alignments in the panels and optics.

I believe cine4home.com will follow up an early review with a PJ picked from common stock (i.e., bought). Don't know anyone else that does this....
post #24 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Film Enthusiast View Post

For a given budget you can focus on PQ only or spend resources also on lens shift/zoom/features.
If you like HC3800 but need more flexibillity, please demo HC6800.

btw nice room!

Well, one is a DLP and the other is an LCD. If you're gonna go for LCD, you can look at all the other LCD offerings as they all have broad lens shift/zooms...

---and since this was a thread about sharpness, the LCD will probably be less sharp than the HC3800.
post #25 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

Regarding the BENQ w6000
There were too many people that saw RBE (probably because of brightness), and a few people that said they never seen RBE before until they got their BENQ w6000. Other issues on the BENQ noted were dynamic iris is pretty useless many times (too slow and noisey), and most ended up turning it off. Also the On/Off Contrast Ratio was measured at only around 1000:1 to maybe 1500:1 with tweaks, and this isn't that great.

Do you have a link for this on/off measurement? I mean that result is just so awful, I can't believe it, even for native contrast.

Was it in the W6000 thread?

That being said, and related to Art's and everyone elses reviews: I wish reviewers would comment and test the on/off contrast w/o DI on. I always suspected the W6000 on/off wouldn't be much better (if any) than the HC3800 with the W6000 DI disabled. But no one would test or even comment on that. Maybe there is something to the political PC nature of reviews. Maybe Art was a little more blunt in reviews of years past.

But 1000:1? Heck, the HC3800 Tested more than double that (I think 2400:1) by cine4home.
post #26 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by fleaman View Post

Do you have a link for this on/off measurement? I mean that result is just so awful, I can't believe it, even for native contrast.
Was it in the W6000 thread?

Yes, the link is below and yup it was from the w6000 thread. I found the result disappointing as well, but who knows if the guy doing the test did it accurately.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ntrast&page=17

(about the 6th post down from DarinP2)
Claims 1000:1 native contrast or 1400:1 after tweaks

His Quote:
"With the DI disabled I got just under 1000:1 native on/off CR. When I enabled the DI while on a black screen the on/off CR only went up a little (about 1400:1), but if I left the black image and went back then I ended up at about 17,000:1. I'm not sure how the DI system decides how much to close down as when I tried some blackouts at the beginning of Cars it didn't go as black as when I had measured the video black test pattern." --- Darinp2
post #27 of 86
Thanks for the link. Darinp2 has been around AVS for a while and I've read his posts over the years, he seems to know what he's doing.

I read a few pages after that dismal contrast post and found it interesting that no one really followed up on that (make it a discussion). I think only 1 person was shocked at that reading

Seems the customer base for the W6000 is more interested in the high lumens of this PJ than anything else....as in 150" screens watching sports with ambient lighting. Maybe that's why hardly anyone blinked an eye at those native contrast #'s.

Makes the HC3800 on my wish list even more solid of a choice (for me).
post #28 of 86
Seems like there is a big gap right now in DLP, either you pay 1.3K for the HC3800 or basically jump to over 3K to get anything much better. Unless the w6000 is really better, but those numbers and reported issues continue to scare me away, especially for double the price. Too bad the HTPC text on any 3LCD projector is no match for these DLP's (so it would seem anyhow).

I mean if I'm going to spend 2.5K on the BENQ, mise well spend another 1K and find something else entirely, but then I come back to thinking, aint no way I'm spending 3.5K on a projector (I could afford it persay, but hey we all need to keep saving money for retirement and not go too crazy with it).

My only reason for really wanting to go DLP now is sharpness. With the HD1000U, I actually had issues with RBE (just slight), so I ended up with the Sanyo Z5 (LCD). The Sanyo Z5 was my first projector and I loved it, but have slowly become dissapointed in the HTPC text quality, so wanting the sharper picture that a DLP can do. I actually think the Sanyo Z5 I got was just middle-of-the-road for QC when it comes to focus issues, I mean nothing bad enough to justify returning it, but I'm sure there were better Z5's made that do slightly better text than mine did (based on what I've read from others).
post #29 of 86
I also think the reason that BENQ didn't bother to clean up the fan and IRIS issues as much as other projectors is because they are really targeting giant screens and large rooms. Hence, they probably thought it would be a non-issue for most people that wanted this projector. However, they were probably wrong in the sense that a lot of people would love that much LUMENs even on a 100" screen in a regular size room (lumen freakazoids out there).

For me, I guess the w6000 was kind of like looking at a sports car, I know I probably don't need all that LUMENS, but might be nice to have for some things. However, like a sports car it seems too high maintenance for my taste (and too loud).
post #30 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

I mean if I'm going to spend 2.5K on the BENQ, mise well spend another 1K and find something else entirely, but then I come back to thinking, aint no way I'm spending 3.5K on a projector (I could afford it persay, but hey we all need to keep saving money for retirement and not go too crazy with it).

On that note you should read this post by an HC3800 owner today>

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...postcount=1548

I'm not too keen on DI's and don't need the lumens of the W6000, so for me the HC3800 seems to be a much better choice (for me that is).

But I agree about DLP, there really aren't much to chose from. The HC3800 seems to be the only contender in the low end (the others seem rather poor), nothing really in the mid-range that interests me (seem to all need DI's to get along), and the high range is, well, pretty high.

I'm a bit jealous of all the offerings LCD PJ fans have to chose from.

The HC3800 seems to be the 'it' contender for me, just letting it get it's teething issues grown out before I get one...maybe in a month or 2. Should hold me over for a few years....by then LED DLP's might be the new 'it' contenders....
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
AVS › AVS Forum › Display Devices › Digital Projectors - Under $3,000 USD MSRP › Sharpness: Epson 8100 vs. Epson 8500UB vs HC3800