Sony VPL-VW285ES LCOS Projector Review Settings


Unit-to-unit sample variations, the viewing environment, the source and, particularly in a projector, the screen size and gain, the distance from the projector to the screen, and the lamp age, might render these recommendations less than optimum. They are only provided as a potentially useful starting place.

The settings here that are most likely to translate reliably from one sample to another are those involving specific features with only a few selections, such as Gamma and Noise Reduction. The ones most likely to be subject to sample variations are video controls offering a wide range of adjustment, such as white balance (grayscale) and color management (where available). Even relatively small differences in the common control settings, such as Contrast, Black level, and Gamma, can shift the white balance, though the resulting visible change may be minor. Production tolerances can do the same.

We strongly recommend that you find the optimum basic video settings for your sample by using one of the many available display setup discs, such as Digital Video Essentials HD Basics (Blu-ray). These will help you to set the basic controls, Brightness (Black level), Contrast, Sharpness, and sometimes Color and Tint, correctly. Experimenting with the more complex color calibration and other controls in the user menus will do no harm; the changes may be easily reset. But adjusting these by eye is unlikely to produce an accurate result and is no substitute for a full calibration. The latter is best left to a trained and properly equipped technician such as those certified by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) or THX.

The settings here are for 2D only. The display was not calibrated for 3D.

Calibrated PresetCinema Film 1Cinema Film 2
Reality Creation
Resolution 5050
Noise FilteringMinMin
Cinema Black Pro
Contrast EnhancerLow or MiddleMiddle or High
Lamp ControlLowHigh
Color Temp.D65*Custom 3**
Expert Setting
3D Settings3D OnlyN/A
Gamma Correction2.4N/A
Color CorrectionOffOn***
Clear WhiteOffOff
Color SpaceBT.709BT.2020
Dynamic RangeAutoAuto
HDMI Signal FormatStandard FormatStandard Format

*Color Temp D65 (HD/SDR)
R -83
G 00
B 21

**Color Temp Custom 3 (UHD/HDR)
R -150
G -90
B -1 -2

***Color Correction (UHD/HDR)
Red GreenBlueCyan Magenta Yellow
Hue0 006 2215
Saturation 5 50212 160
Brightness 0 000 00
(877) 865-SONY

BrianDX's picture

I found Mr. Norton's review very fair and on point. I've owned this projector for 10 days and I am very pleased with it so far.

One note: There is at least important reason to use the "Enhanced Format" option for the HDMI input; from my experience without this setting Netflix and Amazon will not pass HDR from 4K sources to the Sony through my Roku. Only after enabling this feature was I able to get the Roku to accept HDR material and pass it along to the Sony.

I think the 13.5 Ghz limitation affects more cases than first thought. I can't understand why the Sony doesn't support the full 18 Ghz bandwith.

drny's picture

I've auditioned Sony's VPL-VW285ES, and I concur with Mr. Norton's overall analysis. The 285 should be considered a great deal for those in the market for a true 4k projector, but by no means a bargain.
Frankly, If I could afford it I would take the plunge.
BrianDX comments and observation regarding his own personal experience with the product are also informative and worthwhile.
The two main projector review websites gushed all over the Sony, but leave it to S&V and its knowledgeable readers to actually hit the mark on overall product evaluation.
Now if the 285ES had the black levels of a JVC-DLA faux 4k projector, I would break the piggy bank and go for it.

Rob Sabin's picture
This is an exciting breakthrough product that brings true native 4k (no pixel-shifting required as with the new 4K DLP models) to a new low price point, and Sony is to be commended. But everyone should be aware that it's very much a market response those new 4K DLP models priced under the $5,000 mark (the $2,00-$2,500 Optoma models and others sure to come) that Sony is to now forced to compete with. To hit that price point, though, the big compromise was a sacrifice in black level, which in turn hurts observable contrast ratio/dynamic range. Don't get me wrong, because contrast was very good with this projector, and Sony does the best they can with their software based dynamic contrast enhancement. But releasing this projector without any sort of dynamic iris feature prevents it from hitting top-tier performance in its handling of dark scenes, and as Tom points out, it's noticeable. Given that dynamic range is the most critical aspect of image quality (that's not just me talking, but ISF and others), it's wise to weigh the benefit of true native 4K vs deeper blacks and potentially even more punch on HDR content that can be had today with a more fully-featured 1080p pixel shifter from JVC or Epson. (I leave the DLP 4K pixel-shifters out of this for now because we've measured poor NATIVE contrast from that chip on the two projectors we've tested so far, and, neither of them had a suitably proficient dynamic contrast mechanism (iris or otherwise) to provide acceptable blacks. That may change in time.)

All of these options are 4K-friendly projectors that allow viewing of UHD content and some degree of realization of high dynamic range and wide color gamut. So, pick your poison, but understand the trade-offs. We have Tom's review pending on next week of JVC's new $6,000 DLA-X790R, which is a fully loaded 1080p pixel-shifter that noticeably outperforms this Sony at least in terms of contrast and black level, though both units are otherwise closely matched. We will publish simultaneously Tom's direct face-off comparison of both projectors. Epson's Home Cinema 4000, at $2,200 (reviewed in our December print issue and pending shortly for the website as well), itself brings a new low price to a 4K-friendly 1080p pixel-shifting projector, but also suffers from somewhat mediocre contrast despite a dynamic iris. Epson's 6040UB, which had a $4,000 list price when we tested it for our October issue in 2016 (review online), performed better with blacks.