Setting the SP8602 up is a rather hit and miss affair. For while the projector helpfully carries vertical and horizontal optical image shifting, the amount of physical vertical shifting available is limited, which could present a problem for people wanting to table/shelf-mount the projector at the rear of a room. Ceiling mounters, though, should be fine. We should add, too, that there is further digital image shifting, though many readers will probably prefer not to use this.
The vertical and horizontal image shifting wheels are rather imprecise mechanically, too, but stick with them, and you should eventually manage to slide the image into exactly the right position.
One final limitation of the SP8602’s set-up options is that its optical zoom only runs to 1.5x. This doesn’t rival the 2x or so offered by some of its rivals. InFocus has provided a digital zoom option to provide more flexibility regarding throw distance options, but such digital zooms always have the potential to reduce the quality of the picture, so we wouldn’t recommend that you use them.
The SP8602’s connections are prodigious, if a touch odd. For two HDMIs, three 12V trigger ports and a serial control bus are joined by no less than three component video input – despite component video inputs really not having many uses these days.
As we start to explore the SP8602’s onscreen menus, it’s good to note that the projector has been endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF). This immediately alerts us to the fact that it’s got enough set-up flexibility to satisfy the considerable requirements of one of the ISF’s engineers.
Particularly pleasing to find is a colour management tool that permits you to tweak the gain and offset adjustments for the red, green and blue colour elements. But we also got calibration mileage out of a selection of gamma presets and, in particular, a very useful system allowing you to set the iris to any of 10 different settings.
There’s an extra Auto iris mode too, though this is rather spoiled by the racket the iris makes as it continually adjusts itself in response to the image content.
For the record, we found the best results in terms of contrast in our blacked out room came from setting the projector’s lamp output to low, and the iris to around its halfway point.
So far, the SP8602 has created slightly mixed feelings. But thankfully, where it really matters – picture quality – the projector puts us in an overwhelmingly positive frame of mind.