Projectors

Sony VPL-VW95ES 3D Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

The Sony VPL-VW95ES Projector In Use

I broke in the Sony by watching the Blu-ray of LA Confidential, which I hadn't seen in a long time. The Blu-ray has a very nice transfer, with jacket textures that are incredibly detailed, as well as extensive shadow detail in nighttime scenes. Having not had a projector with a dynamic iris in my room before; I wasn't sure how I would like one. Even as I tried to look for it in use, I didn't notice any obvious pumping effects or anything else from the iris. With LA Confidential the Sony did a good job bringing out all those textures and not obscuring anything in the shadows during the shootout near the end of the film. Since LA Confidential is a 2.4:1 film, I took advantage of the lens memory on the Sony and it performed quite well. The adjustment was very quick, taking perhaps 10-15 seconds, and lined up well once it was done.

Watching Baraka is always a treat, as I'm not sure that any Blu-ray disc offers a better visual experience. After a calibration, the images produced were truly stunning that came out from the Sony. Contrast was good, and I didn't notice a pumping of the dynamic iris that could distract. Skin tones were very natural, and there was no loss of detail in any scene. Baraka is one film that can give you that "looking through a window" experience, and the Sony did deliver that.

For 3D, I went with Puss in Boots, which is the wonderful looking new disc from DreamWorks Animation that is stunning in both 2D and 3D. I found that some scenes led to a good amount of interframe (visual) crosstalk (seeing a bit of the left eye frame in the right eye, and vice versa). The depth in scenes was quite good, and the overall level of detail was very good as well, but the ghosting was worse than on a few other projectors I had used. The light output also wasn't as bright as I would like it to be for a screen of my size. For watching a lot of 3D I would go with a higher gain screen, at least 1.5 or 1.7, and nothing larger than a 100" 16:9 ratio, to get a bright enough image.

I also went back to watch Cars 2 in 3D again, as it is the material I'm most familiar with and I like how Pixar chooses to use 3D on the film. The sense of depth provided by the Sony was very good, just as it was with Puss in Boots. The main issue again was crosstalk as the eyes of the cars make it easy to see it during the film, and the flyover of Porto Corsa showed a decent amount of artifacts caused by the crosstalk as well. The 95ES was a good 3D projector, but not an excellent one.

Where many people put Sony ahead of other projectors is for their motion handling. Sony has a 240 Hz refresh rate with their SXRD panels, and either their motion interpolation they can produce a smoother, more fluid image than other projectors out there. I wouldn't use it for movies myself as I like the cadence of film, but for watching football and other sports on the big screen, I think many people will take advantage of it. Watching the Packers-Giants game I keep stored on my TiVo, with the Motion Enhancement on High I didn't notice any strange, unnatural behavior or movement, but details like yard lines and numbers stayed sharper and less blurred while the camera panned across the field. For sports, it is as good of an image as I've seen on a home projector, with fast, clear motion, no visible artifacts beyond the HDTV compression ones, and a very good image.

One area that Sony could improve with their lens position system is adding names to the labels. Right now you only have Position 1 through Position 5. Since I programmed them in a random order, I have 1.78 as Position 1, 2.40 at Position 2, 2.20 at Position 3, and 1.85 at Position 4. Being able to rename, or even reorder, these would make them more useful for people to easily select.

It would also be nice in the future if Sony could put up alignment patterns for popular aspect ratios, or lets you enter a ratio from the remote, so make programing these lens memories much easier. Compared to the other memory systems I had used, the Sony operated much faster and the additional memory positions were very nice to have. As many people are opposed to anamorphic lenses due to the scaling required that can produce artifacts, I hope lens memory is here to stay and keeps improving as time goes on.