Projectors

Optoma HD8200 Single-chip 1080p DLP Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

This projector presented a few challenges during installation. The vertical lens shift only allows you to move the image from 105% to 130% of the screen height above the lens axis. That means at the lowest setting, the lens is 5% of the screen height below the picture. If you want to place the projector above the top of the screen plane, you’ll need an inverted ceiling-mount. I rigged a little frame to accomplish this on my high shelf; placing the projector upside-down about a foot from the ceiling. The HD8200 also offers horizontal shift but I did not need this. I should point out that the Optoma’s lens shift options exceed those on some other more expensive DLP models. All the lens controls are mechanical which made focusing a bit time-consuming as I had to walk to and from the screen to check the crosshatch pattern. The end result was good however as I had a nice sharp image. You can also install the projector on a table and shoot up at the screen if you wish. I have seen setups where this is done. The fan is fairly quiet at a claimed 22dB but I think any projector is too loud to be installed that close to the seating. If your theater includes a mirror system, the System menu has options for rear-projection.

After a 50-hour burn-in I set about calibrating the HD8200. All the controls you need are in the user menu save a color management system. If you want a CMS, you’ll have to step up to the flagship HD8600 model. This projector is in my theater now and will be the subject of a future Secrets review. I employed the User mode for all adjustments. An ISF-certified technician can unlock the two ISF modes, Day and Night, if you wish. These modes contain the same controls as the other picture modes. The difference is once calibrated; they can be locked to prevent further adjustment.

After setting brightness and contrast, I dove in to the gamma options. Optoma has a unique system here. There are four presets, all of which can be modified. Within each preset are options for curve type and offset. While not as precise as a multi-point gamma control, I was able to achieve reasonably flat tracking at an average level of just under 2.3. See the Benchmark section for detailed results. After setting the gamma, it was a simple adjustment of the white balance controls that resulted in excellent grayscale tracking with an average error of 1.0 Delta E. The HD8200 has no manual iris option so I controlled peak light output with the contrast slider. I had to dial it down a bit to get my usual 13 foot-Lamberts. There is plenty of light available for longer throw distances and larger screens. Rated brightness is 1300 ANSI Lumens from its 220 watt UHP lamp; more than enough for a medium-large theater.

My only options for color adjustment were the Color and Tint controls which I did change slightly from the defaults. Luminances turned out very well with deviations of less than .5 fL from the target values. My only wish was for a more accurate color gamut. Red was visibly over-saturated; both in test patterns and in content. It wasn’t enough to negatively affect the all-important flesh tones but red objects sometimes looked unnaturally red. The overall color presentation however was good with excellent color delineation and a generally natural look.