May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer
Affordable, low-maintenance projector balances brightness and color to fit business and education environments.
More interestingly, there's a new Color Enhancer setting that acts first as a simple list of preset modes — including familiar defaults such as Presentation, Theater, Standard, Auto, and User. Auto adjusts settings based on input type, and the other presets are straightforward enough. It's the User setting that allows you to adjust the BrilliantColor settings manually with four more settings — Gamma Mode, BrilliantColor, RGB Color, and RGB Tint — that offer more direct control of color and accurate image quality. The three gamma modes — Dynamic, Natural, and Detail — adjust how quickly brightness ramps toward bright white with increasingly lighter grays. For example, the Dynamic mode makes the contrast between lighter and darker shades more pronounced, but it loses detail in the smaller steps in between. Adjusting the BrilliantColor scale recalculates colors so that light is shining through more color-wheel segments more often.
The XD510U RGBWYC six-segment color wheel is certainly not the first attempt at moving beyond red, green, and blue primaries. In addition to clear color-wheel segments that solely serve to increase brightness, several projector makers including Mitsubishi have added a fifth yellow color-wheel segment to enhance common pastel shades — including skin tones — while also increasing brightness.
However, there's no free lunch when it comes to balancing color and brightness when using a color wheel of any number of segments. For example, the more non-red segments there are in a specific color wheel, the less amount of time the DLP micromirrors can shine light to make pure red, blue, or green. Yet if pure reds, greens, and blues are rarer in most images than mixed colors, then the overall brightness is augmented.
Ultimately, that makes the brightness capabilities of the XD510U rather subjective, even by the numbers. Mitsubishi lists brightness at 2600 ANSI lumens, but that number is based on pure white, and only when everything is configured to maximize white — a fairly unrealistic usage scenario. Even configured as such, I measured only 2520 in the brightest spot on the screen with an ANSI average of 2162 across the screen. With the projector setup in more typical Presentation mode (still overly bright for accurate color), my brightness measurements were down around 2000 (2012) lumens. Switching through different preset modes of Standard and Theater modes brought the overall brightness down another 20 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Contrast-ratio measurements are similarly context dependent, but as examples, I measured 1234:1 using the default Presentation mode settings, 1006:1 in Standard mode, and 477:1 in Theater mode. The same is true of colors. If you want the highest brightness, you're going to sacrifice color accuracy — the DLP micromirrors need to be reflecting light through more segments of the color wheel. The result is that green and — somewhat surprisingly given its dedicated segment — cyan are skewed far to the right on the CIE reference chart because BrilliantColor recalculates cyan using more than just the cyan segment in order to achieve the brightness. The same is true for other colors and shift occurs, and they occur consistently when BrilliantColor, Dynamic, and even Natural Gamma modes are active.
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