August 13, 2004,
The Yamaha LPX-510 is Yamaha's newest widescreen LCD projector. With a retail price of $5,495 it occupies the lower end of the price range in their premium line-up of home theater projectors. The product is a relatively compact 14 lbs, and is loaded with an assortment of highly desirable features including horizontal and vertical lens shift, variable Iris, power zoom and focus with a very long 1.5x zoom range, and an HDMI interface. This unit has demo'd beautifully at recent trade shows, and it performs equally well in the lab. This projector, like the others in Yamaha's line, is designed inside and out for consumer home theater and home entertainment use. Yamaha markets no projector products in the commercial market.
The LPX-510 is rated at 1000 ANSI lumens and 1200:1 contrast, which is essentially leading edge contrast performance for LCD technology. The light engine features three 0.7" LCD panels with a native resolution of 1280x720.
Connectivity. The video inputs on the rear of the unit include one D4 port, two 5-RCA ports for component/RGB, one HDMI port, one composite video, one S-video, one RS-232c, and one trigger output.
Compatibility. Signal compatibility includes HDMI (HDCP), component and RGB HDTV 1080i, 720p, component 576p, 480p, standard component video 480i, 576i, S-video and composite. Color systems include NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. Computer compatibility includes digital and analog PC and Macintosh from VGA to XGA.
Lens. The LPX-510 has a power zoom and focus lens with an extended zoom range of 1.5x. It throws a 100" diagonal 16:9 format image from a distance range of about nine to 13.5 feet. Thus it is moderately wide angle in orientation. A nine foot throw distance for a 100" image is about as short as it gets in the projector world, so this unit is designed to accommodate installation in small rooms.
Lens shift. Not only is the zoom range rather long, the range of the lens shift function is greater than most competitive units as well. The horizontal shift lets you position the entire image either to the right or to the left of the centerline of the lens, or anywhere in between. Vertical lens shift allows the image to be placed either 100% above the centerline (in tabletop orientation, with centerline striking the bottom edge of the image), or 150% below the centerline. This provides extraordinary flexibility when ceiling mounting the projector since it can accommodate a variety of ceiling heights while letting you put the image on the wall pretty much where you want it without tilt or keystone issues.
Eco-mode. This projector has an incremental adjustment for lamp power on a scale from 75 to 100. At 100 the lamp is at maximum output, and reducing it to 75 creates a reduction in lumen output by about 20%. This also increases lamp life from 2000 to 3000 hours and reduces fan noise.
IRIS. There is an IRIS that closes down the lens aperture that can be manually adjusted via the menu. Like the lamp power adjustment, it is on an incremental scale from 75 to 100, with 100 being wide open and 75 being maximum closure. Closing the IRIS reduces the lumen output of the projector by about 40%, and slightly increases black levels and contrast. This feature should not be used except in a fully darkened viewing space (dark walls, ceilings, carpets, etc.) with no ambient light and very little potential for reflected light from the screen.
Color balance filter. The unit has a built-in internal color balance filter that automatically drops into the light path in certain "picture modes." The picture modes that activate the color balance filter put out about 30% less light than those that do not.
Picture modes. The system has six preprogrammed picture modes, designated Dynamic, Bright, Standard, Cinema, Cinema Black, and PC. These six modes essentially constitute different combinations of settings of (a) the color balance filter (on or off), (b) color temperature default value (6500K vs. 7000K), (c) IRIS (100 or 75), (d) flesh tone setting, and (e) lamp power (100 or 75). Each of these values can be adjusted manually in most modes, with the exception of the color balance filter which is fixed for each mode (off in Dynamic and Bright, and on in the other four).