Projectors

Optoma HD8600 Single-Chip 1080p DLP Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

During all my viewing I tried out the various Pure Engine options. Pure Detail looked to me like a variation of the sharpness control. When I tested it out on a sharpness pattern (50% gray with 0% black horizontal and vertical lines), it produced obvious ringing even on its mildest setting. Its effect on film content was too harsh for my taste. Pure Color looked decent on the lower settings but increasing it caused color to look overblown. Pure Motion, even on the Low setting, had quite a dramatic effect. The perception of added resolution is very strong. Motion is much smoother with no hint of judder. Optoma has implemented this processing very well. I’m just not sure it’s my cup of tea. I feel the motion looks unnatural; probably because I’m so hard-wired to 24fps film. This feature is only now being implemented on new-model projectors. I may feel differently the more I’m exposed to it.

Optoma-HD8600-DLP-Projector

The 1998 release of Godzilla is a somewhat under-appreciated film. It really is a barrel of fun and cleverly imparts the feel of Japanese monster movies of yore with modern production quality, killer sound, CGI effects and decent acting. The color palette is quite natural with lots of dark grays and greens. The HD8600 provided a very accurate rendering of all content including the all-important flesh tones. Textures were reproduced well even in the darker scenes by the Optoma’s above average lens. Aside from some bright scenes early on, the bulk of the movie is quite dark. I watched the first half without the auto iris and the second half with. I preferred the Cinema 1 setting. Cinema 2 is much more aggressive and really darkened and flattened the mid-tones too much for my taste. I didn’t see any brightness pumping in this film but as you’ll read below; the pumping was visible in other content.

Optoma-HD8600-DLP-Projector

Since I had recently watched Star Wars Episodes IV and V it was only natural to finish the cycle with Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. As with the other DVDs in this set, the transfer is decent with a bit of added edge enhancement and very natural color. Since the HD8600 has multiple color space choices, I switched to SMPTE-C to match the native gamut of this (and every other) DVD. The result was quite pleasing as previously red-tinted flesh tones were much more accurate with clear differences in skin color between the various characters. Despite the softer resolution of DVD, I could clearly see when an actor was more heavily made-up. I could also see fabric textures and other details I had not seen before. I engaged the Pure Motion on level 1 for about 30 minutes of this film. I’m still trying to put my finger on the reaction I have to the smoothed motion and increase in perceived resolution. Certainly the added sharpness of moving objects adds to the 3D look. I’ve boiled it down to the two kinds of motion in film; that of moving objects or a moving camera. The enhanced detail of moving objects is something I do like. However the smoother camera movements seem to lower the suspension of disbelief. Even though the image looks better, I enjoy it less. All I can say is your mileage may vary. Optoma has an excellent implementation of this technology. Whether you’ll want to use this feature is a matter of personal preference.

Optoma-HD8600-DLP-Projector

To really give the HD8600 a workout, I turned to Ron Fricke’s visual tour de force, Baraka. This film was originally shot on 65mm (that’s really wide) and scanned at 8k resolution for its restoration on Blu-ray. The scanning process was so painstaking it took three weeks of 24/7 operation for the scanner to digitize the film. Needless to say this is as good as HD video gets. The movie itself has mostly stationary cameras with little object movement. There is virtually no motion-induced blur or softness. The level of detail present is simply astounding. It takes a top display to flesh out all Baraka has to offer and the Optoma was up to the task. Skin textures, animal hair, surfaces, weather, lighting effects and of course rich color were all rendered beautifully. Shadow detail was handled extremely well too. There was never a moment when I thought anything was being crushed either light or dark. Baraka demands an accurate display and the HD8600 delivered.

Optoma-HD8600-DLP-Projector

I finished my viewing with Extract, a comedy, and the thriller A Perfect Getaway. Both films feature a lot of static camera work. Because of this, I was able to see the iris in action. Even on the Cinema 1 setting I could see it closing and opening when camera angles and average picture level changed. Unless there is camera movement to cover up the action of the iris, it can be distracting so I turned it off. During a dark sequence in A Perfect Getaway the iris closed so far it affected the screen uniformity. The center of the image was noticeably darker than the edges. It also made the scenes muddy and flat. Luckily, changing the iris setting only requires a couple of key presses. There is content where it makes an improvement but you won’t want to use it all the time.