I'm deciding between the same two projectors and leaning towards Epson 5040. Projector will be used in a dedicated movie/music room - and as such, majority of content will be movies. I would really like to be able to watch movies in the 2.35 aspect ratio (Cinemascope) but also have the ability to switch to 16:9 content such as animated feature films, big TV events etc. With powered lens, Epson will allow me to create two presets: 2.35 aspect ratio, where top and bottom black bars are overshooting the screen and a 16:9 ratio, with projector putting its entire image on the screen with left and right sides completely black. Sony only has manual lens controls, making shifting between two aspect ratios impractical once projector is mounted.
I've had the opportunity to compare Sony HW40ES, HW45ES and Epson 5040 at the same dealer. HW40ES was on an incredible clearance price, but after seeing HW45ES, I couldn't go with HW40ES even at a much lower price. Epson 5040 has slightly better blacks than HW45ES, but otherwise both project a great picture. Again, for 2.35 content Epson has another slight advantage is that being a 2k projector, it puts out a higher resolution within the usable area of Cinemascope picture, whereas Sony would show a crop of 1080p - so usable resolution probably closer to 800p.
I completely discounted Epson's 5040 HDR feature because its chipset is under powered to a point where it cannot accept most common 4k HDR and 1080p HDR signals. However, I view its faux-4k output as a benefit for 1080p content because of a sharper image since it allows to upscale 1080p to its native resolution.
I might still change my mind towards Sony HW45ES, but for now I'm leaning towards paying $1k extra for the Epson 5040.
Pros: Powered lens with memory presets allowing 2.35 to 16:9 switch, 2k resolution, powered lens cap, lower priced OEM bulb.
Cons: Higher price, white casing, apparently fan is nosier than Sony even in low bulb mode, pricier OEM 3D glasses, 2 year warranty.
Pros: Sony color, cheaper by $1k, low fan noise, beautiful black case, cheaper OEM 3D glasses, 3 year warranty.
Cons: Manual lens, lower resolution than Epson, slightly worse black levels and no Iris (still a great picture), pricier bulb (but how many times will I change it?).
Last edited by avsBuddy; 11-16-2016 at 09:32 AM.