Projectors

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5010e LCD Projector

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The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5010e LCD Projector On The Bench

Equipment Used: EyeOne Pro spectrophotometer, CalMAN Professional 3.7 analysis software, Accupel HDG-3000 signal generator, Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray disc.

All measurements were taken off the screen (Carada Brilliant White, gain 1.4) from the seating position (10 feet back). Video processing tests were performed using an Oppo BDP-93 connected directly to the projector and set to Source Direct mode.

After selecting the Natural mode as the starting point (due to its accurate color gamut) I took my default measurements. The lamp was in Eco mode and the auto iris turned off. As you can see, the color is nearly perfect right off the bat. There isn't much to be done with the CMS here.

Just for comparison's sake, I've included the CIE chart for the Cinema mode. You can see it's greatly oversaturated with luminances on some colors as much as 20 percent too high. The result on screen is a cartoonish look with loss of detail in the bright end of the light range.

Pre-calibration grayscale is also pretty good with the only visible errors at 90 and 100 percent stimulus. Gamma is too low which shows as a slight flattening of the image with washed-out midtones. Tracking is excellent though which means only a shift of the curve is necessary to tighten things up.

Post-calibration color looks pretty much the same because I only made a slight adjustment to blue. This is excellent performance and many far more expensive projectors don't achieve this level of accuracy.

After slight adjustments to the gamma offset and the white balance controls, I measured the below result. Changes were small and mostly made at the high end. Again, this is excellent performance and comparable to projectors costing a lot more.

Video processing was excellent; also at the level of more-expensive products. The only failures were above-white and below-black for RGB-PC mode, jaggies and mixed content vertical. This is only important if you like to watch credits scroll over moving content which is pretty rare. The jaggies failure was a surprise but I didn't see any issues with actual content. Resolution is best when using RGB signals so pair the 5010e with a capable player for best results.

Contrast is something Epson projectors are known for and the 5010e delivers plenty of it. With the auto-iris off, I measured a minimum value of .002 fL and a maximum of 24.2 for a native contrast ratio of 12,100:1. With the iris on, the black level was so low with a zero-percent signal; I could barely tell the projector was on. This gave me an immeasurable result.

Optical quality was another surprise at this price point. Good lenses are expensive and this is where a lot of budget models fall short. Epson has found some secret sauce here. After working with the convergence controls, I had an image that rivaled most of the DLPs I've reviewed, regardless of price. It easily matched the detail level of my Anthem LTX-500. Edge-to-edge uniformity was excellent with only the slightest aberration showing up in crosshatch patterns. It really doesn't get much better than this.