Final Thoughts and Review on the 5030 vs VPL40
Ok, my final comments as both an Epson 5030 owner and a VPL40 owner...
My viewing environment and important measurements:
- 7'6" to 7'-9" from seating to screen
- 92" screen, 0.8gain, DIY
- 11'6" mounting distance projector to screen, 7' off ground, minimum lens shift used
- 19' ft high open loft space. White tile floors, white walls, two 19' high windows on two sides of the room. Open plan condo with basically about 8,000 cu ft of area including upstairs loft, living room, dining area, kitchen. Excluding bathrooms/bedrooms/storage/etc. East facing window 8'x19' window behind screen, south facing 8'x19' window to the right. Blinds on all windows.
- 85% movies, 10% sports, 5% PS4 gaming
Basically, the worst place. But it works just fine with the blinds closed, a low gain screen, blackout curtains on balcony french doors, and proper calibration.
A perfect picture in every way - great black levels, good contrast, amazing brightness, great 3D, great sharpness & clarity, great lighting presets, great color accuracy; easy to mount and level, amazing auto-open and auto-close lens feature to prevent dust. I was 100% happy with the unit. The only downside, when I discovered it, was screen door effect due to my unalterable seating distance vs. screen size. Gaming was still acceptable to me, I play Destiny on it on occasion (have a gaming system upstairs on my Kuro for that). Some audible noise from dynamic iris and fan, unit mounted at 3' higher than my head, 4' behind it. But not distracting to me.
A great picture - decent black levels, great contrast, amazing brightness, great 3D, great presets, and amazing color accuracy to me. Difficult to perfectly level, no auto-open/close on the lens. I do not use the lens cap. Concerns: Noticeably lesser black levels than the Epson. Soft image without Reality Creation created. Artificial, processed image with RC on. Can be massaged with NR to my satisfaction and enjoyment. Far more detailed with RC on than the Epson, albeit with the processing artifacts. Noticeably faster than the Epson for gaming, but not deal-makingly so. Whisper quiet. Aesthetically, much more pleasing.
Note: I was able to create better-than-Epson blacks on the Sony by using a camera's Neutral Density filter in front of the lens, to reduce overall output across the entire spectrum.
My personal choice: Sony VPL40. Both SDE and bad blacks are deal breakers - but when I fixed the Sony's blacks in my environment with a $30 lens and nothing will fix the Epson's SDE in my environment - the decision was clear.
PLEASE TRY OUT BOTH UNITS IN YOUR OWN HOME! Your viewing environment will be different than mine, guaranteed. This way you can decide for yourself.