Attempting to set the HD83 up reveals – after some hunting! – the presence of wheels rather unhelpfully sited under a ledge beneath the lens that you can use to shift the image vertically or zoom the image optically across a solid range of throw ratios. It has to be said, though, that these wheels aren’t very precise, and that the vertical shift doesn’t allow you to shift the image very far downwards at all. This could cause a problem for people seeking to place the projector on a high shelf at the rear of a room.
Judging by some of the features contained within the HD83‘s clean and clear if not particularly exciting onscreen menus, Optoma is out to appeal to the enthusiast’s market with the HD83, despite its relative affordability. There’s a satisfactory colour management system, for a start, via which you can adjust the ‘x and y’ offsets as well as the relative brightness levels of all six of the main colour elements. There are also manual colour gamut and temperature adjustments (the latter of which includes a reasonably accurate D65 video standard mode); gain and bias adjustments for the RGB colour settings; and a series of Gamma presets along with further curve type and offset fine tuners for each preset.
The colour gamuts available include the Rec709 HDTV system, EBU, DLP Cinema, SMPTE-C and Native, giving pro installers a pretty decent ‘toolkit’ of calibration starting points.
Potentially more controversial is the HD83’s PureEngine. This is a video processing system comprising three elements: PureDetail, PureColour, and PureMotion. These are to some extent self-explanatory, but with video processing engines tending to inspire dread among video fans, they definitely won’t suit everyone. For us, we turned off PureDetail, left PureColour on its 1 setting, and found ourselves fluctuating between turning PureMotion off and setting it to 1 depending on the content we were watching.
Given that it’s the HD83’s offering of full HD 3D projection at a new, low price point that gives it its headline appeal, it’s with 3D that we started our tests – initially using a set up configuration supplied to us by email from Optoma. It’s a pity Optoma didn’t include these settings as a 3D preset on the projector, perhaps, rather than just telling us what settings they’ve found to work the best. But there you go.
The settings suggested, for the record, were: Contrast 18; Brightness -8; Sharpness 14; Colour 2; Gamma Standard (but with Curve Type and Offset reduced to -1); PureDetail 2; PureColour 2; Motion Low; Colour Temp D65; Bias Zero; Space Native and 3D mode VESA 3D. But while we’re onboard with some of these settings, we certainly didn’t think the colour ones looked right, leaving colour saturations so over-wrought they actually made the picture look less detailed.
The quickest solution to this was to reduce the colour setting to -5 or -6, at which point colours looked instantly more credible and detailed – especially with skin tones. That said, the image still didn’t look grandstandingly sharp, especially when asked to deal with a lot of motion.
Turning the PureMotion system up improved 3D motion clarity, but left the image looking rather unnatural and ‘video like’ – though we were impressed by how few unwanted digital side effects the processing caused.