Canon REALiS SX6000
SXGA+ Projector Review
February 20, 2013
Light output. Though it uses just a single lamp, the SX6000 is rated to produce up to 6,000 lumens. Our test sample measured 5584 lumens in its brightest mode, Dynamic, which amounts to 93% of the specification. Dynamic mode, with its slightly greenish white balance, is a great mode for black and white text, data, or spreadsheets.
Standard mode is the projector's default and is geared towards data presentation and other office use. Standard mode has a slight blue cast and produced 4345 lumens on our test sample. The type of content that the SX6000 is best at displaying -- namely complicated spreadsheets, data graphics, and technical diagrams -- Standard mode is very useful. It has superior color balance and dynamic range to Dynamic mode and produces a more realistic, life-like picture.
Video mode, at 3919 lumens, has a very similar appearance to Cinema mode (4570 lumens). Both presets emphasize color accuracy and dynamic range, though in this case Video is slightly more accurate than Cinema. Video mode also features the best black levels the SX6000 is capable of.
Photo/sRGB mode, at 4632 lumens, is both bright and color-balanced. Its gamma curve differs from those of Video and Cinema, which emphasize shadow detail, by instead opening up mid-range grays.
As each lens is different, the SX6000's interchangeable lenses will each lose a different amount of light when moving from wide angle to telephoto zoom. The Standard 1.5:1 lens, which we tested, lost only 21% of its output.
When selecting an image mode, it pays to remember that the SX6000 has no low lamp or Eco mode. As there is no way to reduce lamp brightness, you should select the image mode that most closely matches your lumen output needs.
Contrast. The SX6000's black level is nothing to write home about. While there are certainly LCoS projectors on the market with excellent black levels, none of them are built for business and none of them pump out 6,000 lumens. This is simply an area where compromises must be made. As such, the SX6000 is not our first choice for heavy film, video, or photography use. Then again, film and video are mostly widescreen these days, so those users will not typically go looking for a 4:3 projector.
Dynamic range, on the other hand, is quite strong. With the exception of Dynamic mode, the SX6000's preset image modes do a fine job of keeping deep shadow detail from being lost while also maintaining highlights. Dynamic, as the projector's designated light-cannon mode, does not concern itself with such trivialities.
Color. The SX6000 has an easy to use comprehensive color adjustment system that allows the user to fine-tune both white balance and color gamut. Both systems are easily accessible via the projector's menu. Adjustments feel significant and responsive without being too coarse. That said, the projector's factory default modes are excellent, and in most instances calibration will not be an absolute necessity.
Sharpness and clarity. The absolute sharpest data projectors out there are usually single-chip machines, because the one-chip light engine is not prone to convergence issues. However, that is not all there is to projector sharpness. The SX6000 did not exhibit any convergence issues and has excellent lenses, making detail crystal clear and edges razor-sharp. And while SXGA+ isn't quite 1080p, it is only about 30 lines short of that higher specification vertically, and certainly high enough resolution to do the job.