Epson Home Cinema 3800 - Uneven focus - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-16-2020, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Epson Home Cinema 3800 - Uneven focus

I just upgraded from a 3700 to a 3800 projector and am having a problem with uneven focus. Parts of the screen are blurry while other parts are crisp. If I adjust the focus ring, the blurry parts become sharp while the sharp parts become blurry. It's basically a trade-off to get an even amount of blurriness and sharpness on the affected areas. I can get it satisfactory, but satisfactory isn't good enough for something that costs this much.

My 3700 had a slight problem with this, but not to this extent.

The projector is mounted via ceiling (front projection). I have used a level to make sure it's level. I am using the lens shift as the projector isn't perfectly centered to the screen, but I've adjusted the lens shift to get it as perfect as possible before using the quick corners to fine tune.

I returned the projector and got another one, but the replacement has the same issue. I've tried centering the lens and holding a piece of paper up to it, but also get the same uneveness after adjusting the focus for the distance. This rules out the screen or the lens shift. The projector exhibits this behavior on external HDMI sources as well as built in screens like the panel alignment and pattern. Resolutions make no difference (4k, 1080p, etc). The lens is clear of smudges, scratches and dust/dirt. If I adjust the dial near the lens to expand or retract the picture size, I still get the same results. Meaning I can make the picture as small as possible, but still get uneven focus.

Just wondering if this is normal or if Epson likely had a bad batch of defective lenses and I got unlucky twice. I called their support and they state that the focus should be even and that I should return it again.

Thoughts as to whether I should go for round 3 or just live with it? I'd hate to waste time returning it again, but would also hate to live with this if I don't have to. The crisp parts of the screen look awesome. If the hole screen had uniform focus, this would be an awe inspiring projector because the picture and brightness is wonderful. However, I have this connected to a PC and the problem is noticeable and irritating when looking at text.

Last edited by DavieGravy; 04-16-2020 at 02:07 PM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-16-2020, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavieGravy View Post
I just upgraded from a 3700 to a 3800 projector and am having a problem with uneven focus. Parts of the screen are blurry while other parts are crisp. If I adjust the focus ring, the blurry parts become sharp while the sharp parts become blurry. It's basically a trade-off to get an even amount of blurriness and sharpness on the affected areas. I can get it satisfactory, but satisfactory isn't good enough for something that costs this much.

My 3700 had a slight problem with this, but not to this extent.

The projector is mounted via ceiling (front projection). I have used a level to make sure it's level. I am using the lens shift as the projector isn't perfectly centered to the screen, but I've adjusted the lens shift to get it as perfect as possible before using the quick corners to fine tune.

I returned the projector and got another one, but the replacement has the same issue. I've tried centering the lens and holding a piece of paper up to it, but also get the same uneveness after adjusting the focus for the distance. This rules out the screen or the lens shift. The projector exhibits this behavior on external HDMI sources as well as built in screens like the panel alignment and pattern. Resolutions make no difference (4k, 1080p, etc). The lens is clear of smudges, scratches and dust/dirt. If I adjust the dial near the lens to expand or retract the picture size, I still get the same results. Meaning I can make the picture as small as possible, but still get uneven focus.

Just wondering if this is normal or if Epson likely had a bad batch of defective lenses and I got unlucky twice. I called their support and they state that the focus should be even and that I should return it again.

Thoughts as to whether I should go for round 3 or just live with it? I'd hate to waste time returning it again, but would also hate to live with this if I don't have to. The crisp parts of the screen look awesome. If the hole screen had uniform focus, this would be an awe inspiring projector because the picture and brightness is wonderful. However, I have this connected to a PC and the problem is noticeable and irritating when looking at text.
You can read @steve1106's posts on the HC3800 thread since he also had this issue and upgraded from an HC3700:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-di...vealed-18.html
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-16-2020, 04:07 PM
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Yep, I have a soft focus spot in the lower right hand corner. While I didn't have this issue with my HC3700, I'm still not completely ready to blame the projector for a few reasons. First, I use the lens shift almost to the max. Second, I do a 151.5" image on a painted wall and the spot which is on the lower right corner (really notice it with text/ YouTube at 4K"ish") which according to a laser pointer is a high spot where two sheets of drywall come together. Fortunately I don't even notice it now...because I don't look for it and it hits right below my 143.5" scope image, so not a factor come movie time.

I have encountered this before with my two Epson HC2000s. The 2015 model had a much softer focus since I could never get it sharp across the whole image and just adjusted it for the best focus possible. While the 2013, was sharp across the entire image. I will say I never noticed the focus issue with the 2015 when it was doing a 120" image in another room. Overall I was more amazed by the difference in fan noise with the 2015 being "much" quieter vs the 2013.

I almost sent the HC3800 back but it wasn't enough of an issue to bother with (family couldn't see it). Plus I've grown lazy and just use my "south" of 1080p cable box (or tablet) for most YouTube content which is inherently "soft" anyway.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-16-2020, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavieGravy View Post
I just upgraded from a 3700 to a 3800 projector and am having a problem with uneven focus. Parts of the screen are blurry while other parts are crisp. If I adjust the focus ring, the blurry parts become sharp while the sharp parts become blurry. It's basically a trade-off to get an even amount of blurriness and sharpness on the affected areas. I can get it satisfactory, but satisfactory isn't good enough for something that costs this much.

My 3700 had a slight problem with this, but not to this extent.

The projector is mounted via ceiling (front projection). I have used a level to make sure it's level. I am using the lens shift as the projector isn't perfectly centered to the screen, but I've adjusted the lens shift to get it as perfect as possible before using the quick corners to fine tune.

I returned the projector and got another one, but the replacement has the same issue. I've tried centering the lens and holding a piece of paper up to it, but also get the same uneveness after adjusting the focus for the distance. This rules out the screen or the lens shift. The projector exhibits this behavior on external HDMI sources as well as built in screens like the panel alignment and pattern. Resolutions make no difference (4k, 1080p, etc). The lens is clear of smudges, scratches and dust/dirt. If I adjust the dial near the lens to expand or retract the picture size, I still get the same results. Meaning I can make the picture as small as possible, but still get uneven focus.

Just wondering if this is normal or if Epson likely had a bad batch of defective lenses and I got unlucky twice. I called their support and they state that the focus should be even and that I should return it again.

Thoughts as to whether I should go for round 3 or just live with it? I'd hate to waste time returning it again, but would also hate to live with this if I don't have to. The crisp parts of the screen look awesome. If the hole screen had uniform focus, this would be an awe inspiring projector because the picture and brightness is wonderful. However, I have this connected to a PC and the problem is noticeable and irritating when looking at text.

Is it noticeably OOF at seating distance? I personally would not tolerate that at seating distance.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-16-2020, 05:18 PM
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Wink

I had multiple 3800's and they suffered from uneven focus if lens shift was in use (shifting the image more than about 6" would decrease focal uniformity with my set-up).

I would suggest using a drop pole when possible instead of using optical shift.

* As a side note: I also found that the image would drift slightly during use if lens shift was used (speculating that was temperature related).

- Jason

HT = Epson 5050ub @133" / Marantz SR6013 7.3.4 Atmos / B&K 5000 II amp / Boston VR2/VR12/CR67 speakers / Rythmik 12" x2 / CV 15" / Sony x800 / Panasonic UB820 VOTE BLUE
Media Room = Sony 65x930e / Denon x3300 /Klipsch speakers /Velodyne subs /Sony x700 /PS4 Pro + PSVR/WiiU/PS3/360/Wii/ 2080 TI - 9900K PC / Multi-Arcade / Virtual Pinball TRE45ON

Last edited by DaGamePimp; 04-16-2020 at 05:21 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-17-2020, 06:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavieGravy View Post
I just upgraded from a 3700 to a 3800 projector and am having a problem with uneven focus. Parts of the screen are blurry while other parts are crisp. If I adjust the focus ring, the blurry parts become sharp while the sharp parts become blurry. It's basically a trade-off to get an even amount of blurriness and sharpness on the affected areas. I can get it satisfactory, but satisfactory isn't good enough for something that costs this much.

My 3700 had a slight problem with this, but not to this extent.

The projector is mounted via ceiling (front projection). I have used a level to make sure it's level. I am using the lens shift as the projector isn't perfectly centered to the screen, but I've adjusted the lens shift to get it as perfect as possible before using the quick corners to fine tune.

I returned the projector and got another one, but the replacement has the same issue. I've tried centering the lens and holding a piece of paper up to it, but also get the same uneveness after adjusting the focus for the distance. This rules out the screen or the lens shift. The projector exhibits this behavior on external HDMI sources as well as built in screens like the panel alignment and pattern. Resolutions make no difference (4k, 1080p, etc). The lens is clear of smudges, scratches and dust/dirt. If I adjust the dial near the lens to expand or retract the picture size, I still get the same results. Meaning I can make the picture as small as possible, but still get uneven focus.

Just wondering if this is normal or if Epson likely had a bad batch of defective lenses and I got unlucky twice. I called their support and they state that the focus should be even and that I should return it again.

Thoughts as to whether I should go for round 3 or just live with it? I'd hate to waste time returning it again, but would also hate to live with this if I don't have to. The crisp parts of the screen look awesome. If the hole screen had uniform focus, this would be an awe inspiring projector because the picture and brightness is wonderful. However, I have this connected to a PC and the problem is noticeable and irritating when looking at text.
Well, there's not yet a record of any consistent lens defect, so we can assume you got unlucky twice. Ask for another replacement.

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post #7 of 10 Old 04-17-2020, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I got a 3rd replacement but still the same issue. It's a focus compromise between center top, bottom left and top right. Sharp in top left bottom right. It's aggravating as the inconsistencies are viewable from seating distance when reading text on web pages.

I suppose it's possible the wall dimensions are a bit off, but doubtful that's the cause as it's projected on to a dangling screen on the wall which should even out dimension offsets. I guess I'll have to live with it until I can get a better mount and mount the projector more centrally to the screen and not rely so heavily on lens shift. I guess I shouldn't expect anything else from such a reasonably priced 4K projector. On the bright side, the 4k looks amazing as the pixel shifting technology seems very good, even though it's technically not a true 4k projector. 4K video games and video are fantastic. My only other complaint is no frame interpolation on 4k which results in jerky video on fast frames when watching online streaming video.

Last edited by DavieGravy; 04-17-2020 at 07:22 PM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-17-2020, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaGamePimp View Post
I had multiple 3800's and they suffered from uneven focus if lens shift was in use (shifting the image more than about 6" would decrease focal uniformity with my set-up).

I would suggest using a drop pole when possible instead of using optical shift.

* As a side note: I also found that the image would drift slightly during use if lens shift was used (speculating that was temperature related).

- Jason
I will look into a drop pole. I have also had an issue with the image drifting and have had to redo the alignment.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-29-2020, 09:57 PM
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Same on 3200

I just went through three units with Epson tech support for this exact issue.

I even unmounted my unit, perfectly centered it to the screen with no keystone or lens shift, and bought a nice uniform fixed frame screen for the wall.

Finally, tech support admitted that they probably don't sell a projector that will provide even focus across the screen for 4k in my setup - I'm running a 142" screen 184" from the projector. They plan to refund my money tomorrow.

Of note, I did find using maximum zoom helped a bit, you might try that. I'm curious if the higher end units (5050UB) with better lenses have this issue as well.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-29-2020, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srees304 View Post
I just went through three units with Epson tech support for this exact issue.

I even unmounted my unit, perfectly centered it to the screen with no keystone or lens shift, and bought a nice uniform fixed frame screen for the wall.

Finally, tech support admitted that they probably don't sell a projector that will provide even focus across the screen for 4k in my setup - I'm running a 142" screen 184" from the projector. They plan to refund my money tomorrow.

Of note, I did find using maximum zoom helped a bit, you might try that. I'm curious if the higher end units (5050UB) with better lenses have this issue as well.
I owned multiple 3800's, a 4010 and a 5050ub, the 4010 and 5050ub do not suffer from this issue.

- Jason
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HT = Epson 5050ub @133" / Marantz SR6013 7.3.4 Atmos / B&K 5000 II amp / Boston VR2/VR12/CR67 speakers / Rythmik 12" x2 / CV 15" / Sony x800 / Panasonic UB820 VOTE BLUE
Media Room = Sony 65x930e / Denon x3300 /Klipsch speakers /Velodyne subs /Sony x700 /PS4 Pro + PSVR/WiiU/PS3/360/Wii/ 2080 TI - 9900K PC / Multi-Arcade / Virtual Pinball TRE45ON
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