Happily for Vivitek, the pictures shape up very well indeed, reaffirming my sense that the brand has what it takes to become a significant projector force in the UK.
Two things in particular stand out: the projector’s intense black levels, and its freedom from DLP’s dreaded rainbow effect.
Regarding the former, extremely dark scenes, such as the torture sequence in Casino Royale, look, well, extremely dark. In other words, with the lamp set to its Standard (rather than Boost) output, the Dynamic Black tool set to Cinema 1, and my other settings just reasonably small modifications of the built-in Movie preset, black colours really aren’t affected much at all by the grey clouding that still affects so many mid-range projectors’ contrast performance. It’s nice to see, too, that these inky blacks are accompanied by a good degree of colour punch and brightness during shots that combine very dark and bright elements.
I wouldn’t say I totally buy into the H5080 boasts of 1,700 Lumens and a 25,000:1 contrast ratio. The latter measurement, in particular, is exceptional by DLP standards, falling only 10,000:1 short of the figure quoted by SIM2’s extraordinary C3X Lumis. Yet that premium projector’s dynamism during dark scenes is much superior to that of the Vivitek. But the H5080’s dark pictures are nonetheless exceptionally dynamic for such an affordable projector.
By the way, if you’re thinking the 25,000:1 contrast figure of the DLP H5080 looks low compared with the 100,000:1 and so forth figures often quoted for LCD and SXRD projectors, the comparison isn’t fair, since those other types of projector generally have to dim their brightness so extremely to get a convincing black level. The figures they quote thus refer to the extremes of their peak whites at maximum brightness and deepest blacks at minimum brightness - two extremes which will never get close to co-existing within the same frame. Actually, the main point in all this is that it merely reinforces how unreliable manufacturers’ contrast claims routinely are.
Returning to the lack of rainbow effect I mentioned earlier, the H5080’s single DarkChip 3 DLP chip/colour wheel combination proves remarkably good at reining in the stripes of red, green and blue that always blight single-chip DLP projectors to some extent. It’s just about visible on black and white material (and if you’re weird enough to shift your eyes rapidly left and right across an image containing stark bright and dark contrasts). But for 99 per cent of normal viewing, I didn’t notice it at all. Very impressive for a projector that’s so bright, dynamic and colour-rich.
The colour-richness I’m talking about can be seen in almost every type of image you feed the H5080. With a standard definition feed of Sky News, for instance, the rich reds and blues of the channel’s logo and endless graphics look barn-stormingly aggressive, but not to the point where they start to look unnatural or ‘explosive’ relative to more subdued parts of the picture.
In fact, the H5080’s colour palette is extremely well balanced, with subtle skin tones happily seeming to exist in the same space as the more dynamic stuff.