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If you’re wondering at this point if the lack of horizontal image shifting is the only area where the PD8130 differs from the £1,000 dearer PD8150, the PD8150 actually also has a slightly greater vertical image shifting range and, far more significantly, a 50% higher contrast ratio of 15,000:1
Perhaps because of this latter fact, my very earliest impressions of the PD8130 were that it didn’t excite me quite as much as I expected it would. But the longer I spent with it, the more ludicrous – not to mention shallow – those first impressions started to look.
Basically it gradually dawned on me that the things initially causing me to feel slightly hesitant were that the PD8130’s black levels weren’t as profoundly deep as those of the PD8150, while its sharpness initially didn’t appear to rival the Sony VW80 SXRD projector model I’ve been looking at recently. And the truth is that making such comparisons is as incorrect as it is pointless.
For instance, regarding black level, it’s hardly surprising the PD8150’s dark scenes look slightly better. That’s why it costs a whole £1000 more. Put the PD8130 more fairly in the context of its £3,500 price, and its black levels are actually pretty imperious in terms of both their depth and their stability.
As for SXRD’s apparent extra sharpness with HD, that technology uses a very small-pitched direct panel technology instead of DLP’s reflective technology, which naturally helps it stress the sharpness in its images. But the PD8130’s other image characteristics arguably make the still immense amount of detail in its images look somehow more cinematic and more an organic part of the image quality as a whole, rather than some kid of ‘stand out’ talent.
Running in tandem with the two ‘grower’ talents we’ve just described is a far more immediate talent of the PD8130: its terrific colour rendition. Rich saturations combine with aggressive but remarkably natural tones to blisteringly dynamic effect, driving images off my screen with impressive intensity.