For a start, it uses a high quality DLP DMD apparently capable of producing more ‘real’ brightness than you would normally expect to get from a projector boasting the LS-5’s core 1,000 ANSI Lumens of quoted output. If you want to back this up with an actual figure, Runco claims 48 foot-Lamberts for the LS-5, versus 44 from the 1,000 ANSI Lumens output of Runco’s own LS-3 model – a model which is even cheaper than the LS-5, and which we hope to review in the not too distant future.
The LS-5 also – as you would expect for its price point – comes packing enough calibration options and finesse to earn it an endorsement from the independent Imaging Science Foundation. Among the more sophisticated options available are a fulsome colour management system (the same one, in fact, that’s found on models higher up Runco’s range), and a strikingly posh dynamic iris system. This supports no less than 200 different aperture positions for really finely tuned contrast optimisation; is designed to operate in tandem with the incoming signal frame rate for enhanced efficiency; and is built around an unusually low-mass actuator for enhanced response.
Another sign of the LS-5’s premium heritage can be seen in the fact that it can come fitted with either of two different lens options, the 1.86-2.2 standard fit and 1.56-1.85 short throw option. Even the projector’s finish is customisable, with Runco able to reproduce designs to order – for additional cost, obviously – via its FinishPalette option. An example of what can be achieved can be seen in the wallpaper-like design featured on one of the photographs accompanying this article.
Further good lens news, meanwhile, comes from the fact that Runco makes its own anamorphic widescreen lenses that can easily be used with the LS-5.
Earlier we mentioned that there were probably a number of build quality issues that helped justify the LS-5’s cost beyond its key brightness and dynamic iris attractions. And actually, it’s worth covering a couple of these in more detail. For instance, the colour wheel is located within a sleeve, so it won’t emit as much running noise. Its chassis also carries sound dampers to further reduce operational racket (something that’s regularly a problem with relatively small projectors delivering relatively bright light outputs).
One last feature of the LS-5’s spec sheet we should tick off here is its connections roster. Two HDMIs are on hand for receiving digital (hopefully HD) sources, component ports are available for analogue HD and progressive sources, and there’s a triumvirate of control-based jacks – 12V trigger ports, an RS-232 port and a remote control port – to satisfy Runco’s usual custom installation base.
Any concerns we may have had that Runco’s bid for a little relatively mass market success might result in an over-priced projector not truthfully much better than a typical mid-range (£2,500-£4,000) rival are quickly and ruthlessly savaged by the LS-5’s outstanding efforts.