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Superiority of High end lenses.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I saw the following quote in a different thread. I felt it was well written and wanted to start a new discussion on the following subject.
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

"The Contrast Trap
Don't get caught in the contrast trap. This is when consumers chase a high on/off contrast ratio to the exclusion of all else. As important as contrast is, it is only one measurement of image quality. You should evaluate the image a display provides based on a broad variety of criteria, including (in addition to contrast):
Color accuracy
Freedom from artifacts
Perceived Depth
Engineering good contrast is generally not cheap, so high contrast displays will usually offer great images in any case."

Background about my own viewing and ownership experience.
My theatre started with a 7" Sony CRT projector (1994), then the JVC G10 (1998 - first JVC DILA projector - it was $18,000 at that time and a nice door stop a few years later!), the Marquee 9" CRT (2000) and subsequently/now the Sony Qualia 004.

I set up a nec 3 chip DLP in 2005, for a friend - forgot model name - it was originally a $60,000 commercial projector with 5000 lumens. Contrast may have been 900:1? Not sure whether on/off or Ansi.

I have also viewed the JVC RS20 and the JVC 4k Eshift. In particular, I am disappointed with JVC projectors - they seem to be dark but lack sharpness, depth and clarity. I do own a couple of low end projectors - Sony and infocus - they seem great for the price..

I have not seen the new generation single chip DLP HIGH END but did get a demo of Lumis/sim2. I do have a low end 1080p DLP (infocus I think - about a year old) in my son's room. It seems fine - especially that it was only $1200.. but on a/b viewing, my qualia is much superior of course.

Now the purpose of this thread:

First - full disclosure - I am not a fan of the JVC Lcos. I have nothing against them but I simply don't seem to like them, compared to Sony Lcos or low end DLPs. This is not an authoritative comment - just thinking otu loud. I have nothing against JVC and don't mean to offend its owners. It seems to be a pioneer in high contrast projectors and that is what made me curios enough to start this thread. Considering how popular the JVCs are and how good their contrast numbers seem, why do I not seem to be impressed with their picture?

I would like to have a discussion about "Sharpness, Resolution and perceived depth". I am not good/sensitive enough with color accuracy; hence I cannot comment.

Over the years, I have been noticing discussions primarily based on brightness and contrast.

I did participate in a similar thread in the past


The NEC has a $8000 lens. My sony qualia has a $6000 lens (both approximate MSRP - I forgot the actual numbers).

What I noticed was that the NEC, despite its weak contrast has an excellent picture, even today. Yes, the low contrast ratio is obvious but the light output of 5000 lumens and the very high end optics make its picture to be superior to me, even compared to many of today's high contrast JVC LCOS projectors. Yes, NEC's blacks are clearly not even close to the JVC's.

My Sony Qualia 004 also has an amazing picture, even though it's light output is not much higher than the JVC projectors.. I am assuming that its very high end lens is the reason?

I am interested in hearing from others, who might have noticed the superiority of high end lenses - separated from the contrast ratio numbers.

Sim2 lumis also, seemed to have a "high end" picture - not 100% sure because I did not spend enough time with it - while it was demoed to me in my home theatre, a few years ago.

Are there any other factors, besides the lenses, which make these high end projectors seem to have better picture of sharpness, clarity and depth?

How come not too many seem to talk/advertise about high end lenses? The MSRP of the two lenses I mentioned is in the price range of the MSRP of some of the good projectors. I assume that the NEC/Sony are not trying to rip off customers and that there is a genuine reason for such a high price range for their optics/lenses.

In summation, I find my Sony qualia 004 to be superior to the newest JVC 4k eshift projector.. even if thought the jvc is a 8 year newer technology and much superior contrast numbers.

I would like to hear about your experiences about the sharpness/depth of the picture, as related to high quality lens.

I have no interest in 3D and request that we avoid it in this thread.

Bueler..., Beuler?

Also.. a second topic.. I have not seen current generation high end single chip DLP projectors. I find that the 3 chip designs (including NEC and qualia) are not perfectly aligned, pixel to pixel among the 3 chips.. I suspect that single chip DLPs offer superior sharpness/focus. True?
Edited by audvid - 9/9/12 at 11:26am
post #2 of 7
It sounds like you value a higher ANSI contrast image rather than on/off contrast. ANSI is something that JVCs struggle with (note how every year they claim to have improved it? wink.gif). However, to be fair to the JVC's image, they do put a number of inappropriate gamma settings in some of the presets which seem to magnify their lack of ANSI contrast or mid/high APL 'pop'. It was disputed in another thread, but I and others have measured a drop in gamma in a small number of hours which does tend to make the image lack depth until recalibrated. It doesn't help that the older RS20 models had a particularly cumbersome custom gamma controls: They could be made to achieve a flat response, but it was un-necessarily fiddly. By comparison using an external VP like my Lumagen Mini3D made it a breeze.

However, the DILA image does have a tendancy to be described as 'soft' by some. Actually I quite like the effect caused by the higher fill rate and of all the options I had at the time found it looked the most 'film like' (I know this is frowned upon term by some, so sorry in advance). On older lower resolution DLPs you could see the edges of pixels more clearly which can give the impression of greater sharpness too, which is another consideration.

IIRC the Sony 004 had a special lamp that helped give a specific colour gamut (not sure if this was particularly accurate or just a 'preference' thing), but I've seen many posts about how it was hard to give up when they changed for a newer model. I believe it was particularly expensive too, but rather addictive for those that owned one.

I would love to be able to afford a high end 3 chip DLP model as although they have the chance of misconvergence, they are arguably made to tighter tolerances so less likely to suffer the kind of misalignments of budget 3 chip LCDs and LCOS models. Even if a single chip DLP is theoretically sharper, I can't watch one for long as it just gives me a headache. frown.gif
post #3 of 7
Actually from audvid 's comment about liking the bright, low CR NEC it sounds like isn't that picky about CR of any stripe, but puts a high premium on brightness and sharpness.
post #4 of 7
The Sony lamp was an acheivement! However, what killed it was that it dropped about 50% of its brightness in the first 200-300 hours - then it was stayed quite level until near the end of the bulb's life. It's a 700W Xenon. The Qualia was a ground breaking projector (built like a tank) but the limited black levels were it's Achilles heal. On a smaller screen, it was pretty nice. I owned one and had a 10' wide Microperf (1.3 gain). I loved it. It is the quietest projector out there. It's a great machine.

I replaced it with a SIM2 Lumis and there is really no comparison. Not only are the blacks deep with the SIM2 but it easily lights up my 14' wide 2.35 Microperf with a gorgeous picture and color gamut (even with its UHP bulb). Brightness galore. The picture on the Lumis is razor sharp as there is internal software to correct for convergence. The Qualias were plagued with convergence issues and there is no way to correct for it - not even at the factory. My first Qualia went back for a pixel and a 1/2 off red panel! My replacement was much better but not perfect and no way to modify it. While not a sharp picture, the Qualia was as film like as anything I've ever seen (down to the limited black levels:D)!

The used market for a Qualia is $2500 and I think it is worth it (if you find one with an extra bulb and good convergence). It has a wonderful color gamut. The bulbs retail for $3000 each but you could get them from a supplier and place them in your old housing for $800ish. Sometimes you can find them new on eBay.

However, if you want the whole package, 3 chip DLP is still the only answer today (though haven't seen the new JVCs). Put an ISCO III in front of it for CIH, and it is a knockout! THe problem is 3 chip DLP has not come down in price yet.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
btw, my screen is 145 wide" micro perf stewart 1.3, 16X9.

Noah: I do see the lack of contrast on the NEC but the 5000 lumens and the superb picture and sharpness/depth/colors make it desirable to me, as compared/opposed to the new JVCs. Also, the article in the link suggests that DLPs offer high ANSI contrast.. perhaps that's what I am liking? But yes, you are probably correct that I am less sensitive to contrast than to picture sharpness and depth.

Kelvin: I guess I am more sensitive to the ANSI contrast than on/off; I didn't realise that I was, until you pointed out in that technical term. And yes, it would be hard to give up the Qualia. That's why I bought two..

thebland: I would agree with you that the SIM2 might be better - I don't remember the picture/sharpness but I do recall that it was bright. I am at 1700 hours on my bulb and it seems acceptable to me. Yes, I am able to get replacement lamps for around $900. I liked the projector so much that I bought an extra projector, because it came with a new free lamp. I will continue to use it, until sony comes out with an LED 2000+ lumen 4k.. (too much to ask? lol). After the bad experience with JVC, I think I will stick with Sony. I am particularly disappointed with JVC because I had shipped one overseas, two years ago sight unseen, based on reviews and such and when I finally went there and saw it, it was a total disappointment!

By the way, I noticed that Sim2 lumis has a lamp with only 280 watts but it can output 3000 lumens? Qualia 004 lamp is 700 watts and can output only 1500 lumens max? Hmm.. I wonder why.. Is it because of the type of lamp? I would have expected lamp/projector manufacturers to get the "most bang for the buck" in terms of watts Vs lumens.

BTW, I dislike "iris" - dynamic or not.. I don't seem to like it at all!
Edited by audvid - 9/9/12 at 6:08pm
post #6 of 7
You wouldn't be able to see a manual iris. It's static and doesn't fluctuate.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post

You wouldn't be able to see a manual iris. It's static and doesn't fluctuate.
Actually, I dislike manual iris - perhaps because my projector is not too bright on a 144" wide screen. A manual iris might well be suitable for high light output projectors but not mine..
Had a JVC...been there, done that. Once you hit a certain black level, other things like image sharpness, color accuracy, and motion are more important determining factors in your projector choice.
. Interesting to me, because I feel the same way!
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