1.2 Color Uniformity & illumination
The predecessor VW500 showed with deviations of up to 260 Kelvin acceptable tolerance by Sony, but by no means is this outstanding results. The FullHD entry projectors (SONY HW40 / 55/65) in this discipline are better, for example.
Unfortunately, this has not improved in this generation, the tolerances have become even larger with up to 280 Kelvin deviation. In this price range of a small car, one should expect more perfection.
Also worthy of criticism is the influence of the frame interpolation on the color uniformity: Depending on how strong the color homogeneity in the factory was digitally corrected, show the settings that insert black frames for movement improvement, stronger color clouds than normal inter-frame calculation (see photos). Devices with unacceptable deviations (as shown above) does not qualify for the Cine4Home Edition because they are the high price class do not do justice.
1.3 brightness after calibration
The new VPL-VW520 lamp is intended to provide not only around 1,000 more hours of life, but also show 100 lumens more light output to the screen. But we measured real units in this review (not manufacturers claims): We measure and record all units for the maximum uncalibrated brightness and net brightness remaining after calibration. For the highest possible output we determine the lumen output at max zoom.
The factory specifications are approximately met when set to the native color temperature (not D65): All projectors tested were in the range of 1750-1890 lumens. The calibration as usual has some light output lost, but with an average of 1680 Lumen no great loss for the benefit of accurate colors occur.
As a lower limit for the Cine4Home Edition we set the "official" declaration of Sony's engineers: 1770 gross lumens and 1620 lumens net must reach a VW520, in order to qualify for the C4H-Edition.
The brightness given relate to new lamps, with less than 10 hours duration. When it comes to long-term stability, the lamp re-used the VW520 has also improved. In the first 1000 hours they will only lose 10% of its brightness. If this is confirmed in practice, that would be an excellent value, we will report!
1.4 Contrast after calibration
Unlike the brightness level, there are no manufacturer's claim for native contrast performance of the VPL-VW520, which is why we measure this for ourselves:
Depending on the zoom, the native contrast is at an average of between 12,000: 1 (zoom max) and 19,000: 1 (zoom min). Here the new VW520 improves on it’s predacessors, Sony is on the heels of JVC: After calibration though contrast remains at 11000: 1 to 17.000: 1, the series average of around 13500: 1. The lower limit for the Cine4Home Edition we move accordingly at 12500: calibrated 1. The adaptive iris closes depending on what’s in the displayed image with a factor of 10 to 20 this generation, but unfortunately, there is disturbing image pumping in dark image content, since the shutter closes suddenly when passing a certain contrast threshold. Hitting with test patterns (to 10IRE) this threshold, the panel flickers unpredictable (hysteresis effect).
The adaptive iris does not operate correctly and shows pumps
(banding is due to GIF image)
The Chessboard (ANSI) contrast amounts to 410: 1, this represents a very good value from an LCOS projector and also in bright image scenes good contrast allowed.
1.5 Sharpness / convergence
In the last generation, convergence had already significantly improved: Just a few minutes after switching the image appears without much color fringing. Most projectors seen by us had good convergence.
Perfectionists seek the convergence correction
Those who wish can optimize convergence on with the "Panel calibration". As a result, a sharp image without color fringing is also in stark contrast transitions.
Not so good it looks sadly out at the optical focus: Four units we saw had issues with sharpness and were not able to bring the full 4K brilliance to the screen. These devices not qualified for Cine4Home Edition
Some VW520 have difficulty focusing
The Reality Creation has very little potential for good, as with the previous generation: Only the first 10 steps have an effect on the picture, the remaining 90 levels are of no effect. The optimum range from previous generations between 20 and 30 may thus not be reached.
Above: Native sharpness of an error-free Sony VW520
Below: blur filter the erroneous "Mastered in 4K" function
The "Mastered in 4K" function is also flawed: It changes the entire image by significantly blurring it and therefore ruining any sense of sharpness. The mistakes of Reality Creation are obviously related to software errors that can have no influence on the selection for Cine4Home Edition. All units are affected. A common firmware update would be recommended.
3. Conclusion & Sources
Our check on several units has shown that several changes to some of the main image features should be done in order to get the best image performance from this model. It is encouraging to see a significant increase in native contrast without causing losses in brightness. The VW520 is a bit brighter than its predecessor, even after calibration and holds brightness thanks to longer lamp life over a longer period than its predecessor, the VW500.
But where there is light, there is a shadow: Through software bugs the adaptive iris, Mastered in 4K and the Reality Creation signal processing of VW520 costs a portion of it’s potential contrast and sharpness, here we’d be recommend Sony to software update this model to fix them. The large variation from unit to unit in optical focus was problematic. This is particularly annoying as devices affected by this focus issue cannot be corrected (hardware malfunction, not a software malfunction).