Projectors

Runco LS-5 Single-Chip 1080p DLP Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

Despite the generous vertical lens shift capability, I had to invert the projector to install it on my high shelf. Once in place, it was fairly easy to get the image centered and focused on the screen. The shift controls are beneath a removable cover on the projector’s top panel. An included Allen wrench is used to turn the adjustors. Focus and zoom are also controlled manually with rings around the lens. I missed the motorized controls of my Anthem LTX-500 but in the end, I had a nice sharp, squared image. Unlike any projector I’ve tested previously, the Runco automatically sensed its orientation and flipped the image for me. Usually I have to access an upside-down menu to rotate the image but the LS-5 allowed me to avoid tilting my head for a change!

I performed the calibration after a 50-hour burn-in period to settle the bulb. There is a full set of controls for white balance. There is no color management system and gamma adjustment is by preset only. This was not an issue as the LS-5 was very accurate out of the box. Leaving the color space and gamut options on Auto produced near-perfect Rec 709 color points. DVD was correctly rendered in the SMPTE-C gamut when my Oppo BDP-83 was set to source-direct mode. If you use your player’s upconversion however, you will need to select SMPTE-C manually when playing SD content. The default gamma setting of 2.2 also measured accurately. Grayscale errors were all below the threshold of visibility. As recommended in the manual, I left the ConstantContrast off for the pre-cal measurements and subsequent adjustments. After a few minutes of tweaking the RGB gain and bias controls, I achieved perfect grayscale tracking with an average error of .8 Delta E. I discovered the color temp presets cannot be individually calibrated. When I dialed in the 6500K memory however, the others measured accurately to their stated offsets.

To control peak white level, I prefer to use a projector’s manual iris. Since the LS-5’s iris is automatic only, I was left with the lamp power setting and contrast control. By default the lamp is set to Standard which is the brighter mode. Setting the lamp on Economy reduced output by about 30 percent. Unfortunately it also introduced some slight color errors. The CIE triangle shrunk a bit from the Rec 709 color points. Since there was no CMS to help me with this, I left the lamp on the Standard setting. I found by reducing the contrast control, I could get the light level to a more comfortable point. The adjustment range is extremely wide with 100 steps available in either direction from center. Anything above 104 (the default is 100) would crush white detail. I was able to turn it down as far as I wanted however. I dropped it down to zero to achieve 14 fL. Grayscale tracking was still excellent as was gamma. Another method of controlling light output is with neutral density filters. Runco has thoughtfully provided a threaded lens that accepts 72mm SLR-style filters. This would probably be the better solution as it provides the additional benefit of improved black levels. I would also recommend a gray, low-gain screen.