Sony VPL-FH35 Conference Room
April 18, 2012
Resolution suitable for fine detail or multiple windows. The VPL-FH35's 1920x1200 native resolution is ideal for showing crisp detail in complex images or showing multiple windows with less detailed material, like spreadsheets. It can, for example, show four 960x600 windows at once, with each showing more information than a single 800x600 (SVGA) screen. With video, it can show a full 1080p image without scaling. There's also a side-by-side mode that can show images from two sources at once, as long as one is connected to the VGA port. In my tests, it worked as promised with a computer on the VGA port and a Blu-ray player on the HDMI port.
Excellent data image quality. Data image quality is one of the VPL-FH35's best points. Colors were vibrant and well saturated; color balance was excellent, with suitably neutral grays; and text was crisp and highly readable at sizes as small as 7 points. Depending on the screen size, however, you may have to get close to actually read such small fonts.
I saw some minor pixel jitter, but only in images that tend to cause the problem, and so minor that you have to be close to the screen to see it. However, you might not have the option of switching to a digital connection to completely eliminate jitter. When I tried an HDMI connection at 1920x1200, the projector showed only a partial image. This may be specific to the graphics chip in the computer I used for testing however. Sony says it's not expected behavior. Note too that I also had problems at 1080p with an HDMI connection to the computer, even though the projector worked without problems at 1080p with an HDMI connection to a video source.
Better than par video quality. Video quality in my tests was well short of what you'd want for a home theater projector, but better than par for a data projector. I saw a moderate level of noise, but the projector handled skin tones well, did a good job with shadow detail, and didn't show motion artifacts or posterization. Overall, the quality is good enough for watching a full length movie, but not for showing it to best advantage.
Medical imaging. The VPL-FH35's gamma settings include a choice for medical imaging that follows the Grayscale Standard Display Function (GSDF) for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM). Sony says the mode is suitable for training and reference only, and should not be used for medical diagnosis. However, it has obvious potential for medical presentations or educational needs.
Zoom lens standard, with a choice of lenses. The VPL-FH35 comes with a 1.6x zoom lens, which gives you lots of flexibility for how far you can put the projector from the screen for a given size image. For the 93" diagonal image I used for testing, for example, the calculated distance is anywhere from 9.1 to 14.6 feet. I measured the distance with the full widescreen (maximum zoom) setting at 9.4 feet, well within the expected variation for individual lenses.
In addition, Sony offers two longer throw lenses at $2,400 each that extend the range for a 93" image to as much as 31.7 feet. Sony pegs the viewable screen size with all three lenses at 40" to 600". However, at 40" the image will be blindingly bright in most lighting conditions, and at 600" it will be far too dim for comfortable viewing. A more realistic maximum size with no ambient light would be roughly 300".
Lens shift for easy setup. With both vertical and horizontal lens shift, the VPL-FH35 also offers lots of flexibility for placing the projector left or right of the center line or above or below the screen.
Sony gives the horizontal lens shift as 32% of the screen width left or right of the center position. It gives the vertical shift as 60% up and 0% down, which, of course, would be reversed with the projector inverted in a ceiling mount.
What this means is that when the lens is in its lowest vertical position, the centerline of the lens will intersect the center of the projected image as measured vertically. From there, the image can only be shifted upward. In a ceiling mount, with the projector inverted, the image can only be shifted down from that point.
In any case, the claimed horizontal shift matches my measurement, and I actually measured a little more than the claim for vertical shift.