Sony VPL-HW30ES 3D SXRD Projector HT Labs Measures

HT Labs Measures

Full-On/Full-Off Contrast Ratio: 18,132:1

All of the measurements here are for 2D operation and were taken with the projector in one of the user modes, after adjustment for the most accurate image. There were between 160 and 200 hours on the lamp.

The above contrast ratio was taken with the lamp on high and the contrast control set to 68. The peak white level for the above contrast ratio measurement on the 101-inch-wide Elite screen was 18.93 foot-lamberts, with a corresponding black level (dynamic iris in auto 2) of 0.001 ft-L. The contrast control could be increased to 88 before white level clipping occurred, with a resulting peak white level of 26.82 ft-L (also auto 2).

I also measured the full-on/full-off contrast ratio on my 78-inch-wide, Stewart StudioTek 130 screen (gain 1.3). It was 13,203:1 in the high lamp mode (peak white 28.1 ft-L, black 0.002 ft-L—again with the iris in Auto 2). In the low lamp mode, it was 11,784:1 (peak white 17.31 ft-L—more than sufficient—and black 0.0015 ft-L).

In 3D on the Stewart screen, in dynamic mode (which automatically fully opens the iris and sets the lamp to high), the peak white level as measured through the 3D glasses was 5.6 ft-L (which was, surprisingly, far brighter looking in use than it sounds), the black level was 0.0022 ft-L, thanks to the darkening effect of the glasses, and the full-on/full-off contrast ratio was 2,587:1.


In 2D on both the Elite and Stewart screens, the color tracking, before calibration in the Low1 color temp mode was respectable (see results for Elite screen below). But it was much improved by calibration. The worst Delta E for either After result was 2.6, with the remainder all under 2.0. Delta E is a measure of how closely a display comes to the desired D65 color temperature, with values under 3 to 4 considered good.

3D was a different story. It was impossible to get an accurate 3D gray scale result; the white balance controls didn’t have enough range. I tried all of the color temp modes but finally settled on a calibration in Custom 1. After calibration, the Delta E ranged from 3.2 at 30 IRE to 12.5 at 60 IRE, increasing to 8.7 at the dark end (20 IRE) and 29 at peak white (100 IRE). This sounds like it would look awful, but it didn’t. With a corresponding color temperature of 6074K at a dark 20 IRE and 8468K at a bright 100 IRE, the most visible effect was a slight reddening of very dark lowlights.


The 3D gamma was also weird, from 2.0 at 20 IRE to 1.35 at 100 IRE. We’re starting to see lower gammas in a number of 3D sets, for the obvious reason: It makes the image appear brighter, but it’s not an accurate re-creation of the source. I was disappointed that the VPL-HW30ES couldn’t do better in either color or gamma, but my very positive reaction to viewing 3D on this projector was far removed from these mediocre technical results.—TJN


(877) 865-SONY

jnemesh's picture

This looks like a very nice projector, but I think Sony will have their hands full competing with others in the same price range. JVC has their new RS45 DLA projector coming out at $3499 MSRP, and it should compete VERY favorably to this model. Optoma also is offering stiff competition with their new HD8300 model at $4499, which has the best active shutter 3D I have ever seen! It would be VERY interesting having all three of these projectors in a shootout. Overall, I am simply AMAZED at the quality of projector you can buy today under $5000! No matter what you get, you are going to have an incredible home theater!

tgn9y's picture

Fantastic projector. Does using the Iris at a fixed level vary lamp life at all?

Scott Wilkinson's picture
The iris settings have no effect on lamp life. The only setting that does is lamp power or mode. Most projectors offer two lamp modes, which go by different names, but they are basically "high" and "low," which means the lamp is supplied with more or less power and shines more or less brightly as a result. Setting the lamp mode to "high" will certainly shorten the lamp life, but it may be required to fill a large screen, and it is almost certainly required for 3D, which needs all the light it can get, since the glasses filter so much light from reaching your eyes.
sarangiman's picture

Thanks for the great review!

Did you perchance measure the contrast ratio without the Dynamic Iris engaged? I'd love to see quantitatively how the contrast/black levels compare to the JVC projectors, which can do ~40,000:1 contrast even without a dynamic iris!

I think a lot of us would be interested in contrast ratios with they dynamic iris turned off, as this is an indicator of intra-scene contrast where one may have both highlights & black in the same scene.


palmharbor's picture

the quality of Sony products have tanken a nose dive in the last 3 years, their Blu-Ray players are horrible in their design and execution. I would not invest any big money on a sony product...its not the same sony anymore