Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 4030 Projector Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 4030
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Street Price: $2,499
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:120,000:1
Lumens:2000
Weight: 18.4 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:3 LCD
Lens:2.1x manual
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:4,000 Hrs
5,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$299.00
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  Composite, Component, RGB, HDMI (x2), RS232, 12Volt Out
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576p

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 4030
Home Theater Projector Review

Bill Livolsi, December 5, 2013

Performance

Light output. The Pro Cinema 4030's brightest mode is Dynamic, which on our test sample measured 1625 lumens with the lens at its widest angle setting. Dynamic's default settings give it a green tinge, but it is useful whenever you need the maximum possible light output and don't mind sacrificing color accuracy to get it. On our projector, we were able to reduce the green tint to a more reasonable level using the RGB Gain/Bias controls. We ended up with a better balanced image that measured around 1400 lumens.

Living Room mode measured 1203 lumens on our projector. Living Room mode is biased towards blue with an average color temperature around 8000K. If you have significant ambient light, the blue bias can help to correct the typically yellow bias of ambient light contamination.

The 4030's Natural and Cinema modes clock in at 655 and 650 lumens and are quite similar, with only some minor differences in gamma and color gamut separating them from each other. Both Natural and Cinema default to low power lamp mode, though the measurements above were taken with the lamp at full power.

When it came time to calibrate the 4030, we used Cinema mode as our baseline. Our calibrations led to a 12% reduction in brightness, leaving Cinema at 573 lumens with the lamp at full power.

If you need to reduce light output, switching the 4030 from Normal to ECO lamp mode reduces light output in any mode by 28% while increasing lamp life from 4,000 to 5,000 hours.

The projector's 2.1:1 zoom lens allows different amounts of light to pass depending on zoom position. The lens's wide angle position passes the maximum amount of light, which is reflected in our lumen readings above. But the maximum telephoto setting, which produces the smallest image size at a given throw distance, restricts light output by 18%. This is a much smaller reduction than other projectors with a 2.1:1 lens like the 5030UB and 6030UB, but those projectors also have higher light output overall.

Contrast. An automatic iris cannot improve dynamic range in any single frame of video, but it can improve black levels in dark scenes and highlight brightness in brighter scenes. The 4030's iris system is quiet, nearly unnoticeable, and very effective at controlling light output. When combined with the projector's sparkling highlights and well-defined shadow detail, the result is a projector that can handle the most difficult Blu-ray content without breaking a sweat. The image's impressive dynamic range gives it a three-dimensional quality that makes it a real pleasure to watch.

Color. The Pro Cinema 4030 does not have THX mode, so it instead defaults to Cinema. On our test unit, Cinema has a consistent grayscale that measures around 7200K, which is visibly bluish.

epson 4030 cinema mode rgb levels pre-calibration

Pre-calibration grayscale tracking

The easy fix for this is to reduce the color temperature slider by a point or two; one point brings the grayscale to 6700K average while two points overshoots and lands around 6100K. A more accurate 6500K average was obtained by taking the color temperature control to -1 and then reducing blue offset by 2, reducing blue gain by 3, and increasing green gain by 1. The final result is smooth, consistent, and dead-on accurate.

epson 4030 cinema mode rgb levels post-calibration

Post-calibration grayscale tracking

The 4030 has a full color management system, allowing you to adjust the projector's primary and secondary colors directly. The adjustment system was a touch more fidgety than that of the 5030UB or 6030UB, and the default color gamut was less accurate, but we still obtained a great calibration after a half hour or so of tweaking until everything looked good.

epson 4030 cinema mode CIE diagram
Color gamut, cinema mode, calibrated

Input lag. The key setting for controlling input lag on the Pro Cinema 4030 is called Image Processing. When response time matters, switch the control from the default "Fine" to "Fast." The Fast setting is designed specifically to reduce input lag, and resulted in only 56.5 milliseconds of lag. Note that "Fast" processing has a softening effect on the picture that reduces the appearance of fine detail, and this reduction in apparent resolution is most visible when there is a lot of small text or other detail on the screen. Depending on what kind of game you're playing, that softness could be invisible, obvious, or anywhere in between.

If you use the "Fine" setting, the 4030 measures 100.9 milliseconds of input lag, equivalent to six frames of a 60fps signal. In other words, if you're gaming on the 4030, Fast processing is the way to go.

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Key Features
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Limitations
Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Setup and Configuration Key Features Performance
  Limitations Conclusion

Reader Comments(6 comments)

Posted Feb 12, 2014 1:05:38 PM

By Glenn

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Tim,

Good info. One question: I've got a Panasonic PT-AR100U that's out of warranty and gone bad (my fault, overheated due to dirty filter). If not economically repairable (prob not), I was looking to switch to the 25-LV. Saw the weight difference (19 for the Panny and 6 for the Optoma) - I know there's a difference in technology (LCD vs DLP), but does the low weight indicate a potential loss or increase in reliability, or no impact in your mind?

Posted Jan 9, 2014 10:35:03 AM

By Maarten

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@ H. Nielsen

The 4030 is the EH-TW7200 in Europe.

The 6030 is the EH-TW9200 in Europe.

Posted Jan 8, 2014 6:25:37 AM

By Peter zhang

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Greetings !

I am looking for a projector like football as 2014 World Cup is coming. Wish to watch the MATCH through a footbal projector. Do you have it ? or can you offer other device? Thanks.

Please reply me as soon as possible.

Best Regards Peter zhang

Posted Jan 7, 2014 2:04:27 AM

By H.Nielsen

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Epson uses different model names in EU. I can’t find a table that give me the US/EU naming. Could you give info on the corresponding EU model names?

Posted Dec 12, 2013 7:17:19 AM

By Chris S.

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Bill does the 4030 have a stretch mode for an anamorphic lens? I would think that would be the only draw to this over the 5030? It would give you the option of a CIH 2.4 setup and the cost difference of the 6030 would let you get a panamorph lens and the 4030 for the cost of the 6030 alone. On another note when can we get a review of the Optoma HD131Xe (or the HD25e since they are basically the same)? maybe a shootout with the BenQ W1070? :) I bet either or both of those would get a lot of traffic!

As always, thanks for the great reviews.

Posted Dec 6, 2013 11:16:24 AM

By Tim444

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Bill,

Great review. I honestly think this projector is ideal for installers who want to offer a sub $3K projector for people that includes an excellent mount and extra bulb. As a whole that, along with a solid three year warranty, is IMHO, ideal for people who hire an installer but don't want to spend $5K+.

For me, I am sure I would opt for the 5030UB or any brand. Light output seems low for 3D for a larger screen, and you simply get more performance for the money with the 5030B or even the Panny 80000.

That said, this projector is not really aimed at me and I do give Epson kudos for having more options for installers. This projector seems like a solid value, but I am amazed at how fast the DLP market has dropped for good 3D projectors that are light cannons as well. The Optoma 131Xe for instance, can be had for $725 right now and their 25-LV can be had for around $1K. BenQ also has some terrific entry level projectors for under $1K. I wish Epson would offer this performance (4030) for the non-install market for around MSRP $1800 or so. I find the 3020 to be a little disappointing in terms of PQ.

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