With so much effort focussed on brightness, you’re perhaps getting concerned that SIM2 has forgotten about that equally (if not more) important picture element, contrast. But fear not; the claimed contrast ratio for the C3X Lumis is an enormously healthy (for DLP) 35,000:1. And the lengths the projector goes to in terms of making contrast a priority are considerable.
For instance, as noted earlier there’s a 10-step manual iris adjustment that really does prove invaluable in fine-tuning the best image balance for your particular viewing room set up. Plus, impressively, there’s the option to adjust the lamp output in 10W steps between 230W and 280W, with the latter providing more than enough light to deliver a picture that’s still hugely watchable even with lots of ambient light around, while the lowest setting puts added emphasis on black levels for properly blacked out rooms.
The total array of light output adjustments at the C3X Lumis’ disposal actually allow you to adjust its brightness from the maximum 3,000 ANSI Lumens all the way down to just 1,200 – a level of flexibility which is, so far as I’m aware, unprecedented in the domestic projection marketplace.
At first glance, though, you might feel as if the C3X Lumis doesn’t look especially flexible for its money beyond the unusual, much-appreciated ‘mechanical’ adjustments already noted. The only other things of real note among the disappointingly drab onscreen menus are a series of rather obscurely labelled gamma presets plus a User setting with a ‘sliding bar’ adjustment; switchable Video and Graphic sharpness modes; a hugely flexible noise reduction system; and a colour management engine.
However, when you select the Colour Management option, the full potential of the C3X Lumis’ set-up flexibility suddenly becomes apparent. For you’re presented with a terrifyingly sophisticated array of adjustments, all tweakable with a precision unrivalled by any other projector I’ve seen to date bar, of course, SIM2’s earlier C3X 1080.
The key point is that the projector has the flexibility to hook up to a PC so that it can be fine-tuned to perfection – or as near to perfection as it’s currently possible to get in a home environment – via specialist Live Colors calibration software and a colour meter.
So sophisticated is the C3X 1080’s colour management, in fact, that it’s clearly beyond the capabilities of your average home cinema end user. But of course, it’s hard to imagine anyone spending £26k on a projector without that projector being professionally installed by a particularly eager-to-please expert. In fact, aside from the entirely laudable drive to get you perfect colours in your viewing room, the C3X Lumis’ near-obsession with colour management is clearly not going to do it any harm whatsoever when it comes to making the C3X Lumis one of the first projectors in the mind of any custom installer with a big budget to play with.
Another feature that won’t do this ambition any harm is the fact that the C3X 1080 can be bought with any of three different lens options: the short-throw T1 (1.37-1.66:1), the medium-throw T2 (1.75-2.45:1), and the long-throw T3 (2.6-3.9:1, adding £1,000 to the projector’s cost). Also handy are a large selection of built-in test patterns, vertical image shifting via allen key, and even keystone correction – though it’s unlikely that any professional installer will use this except as a matter of last resort.