Can you see the difference?
The Optoma UHZ65 ($4495) is a laser-based 4K projector using a single 0.66" UHD DLP chip with two-phase pixel shifting. The Sony VW285ES ($4999) uses three native 4K resolution SXRD panels. So these two models compete directly both in resolution class and price. The big question is, can you see the difference between a projector using authentic native 4096 x 2160 resolution chips, and a projector using two-phase pixel shifting on a native 2716 x 1528 chip?
Once again, we start by doing some pixel-peeping close up, from a distance of 12 inches on a 5-foot wide screen. And at this distance, the pixel structure of the two projectors is obviously different. Both have discernable discrete pixel structure, but the pixels on the UHZ65 are (by comparison) larger and more well-defined. The VW285ES's pixel structure is so small as to be almost invisible, but on very close examination you can detect the pixel pattern.
Thus, in theory, if the number and size of discrete pixels has anything to do with it, the VW285ES should be able to resolve more detail than the UHZ65, assuming the three chips on the VW285ES are perfectly aligned. To detect any visible differences, the detail must exist in the source to begin with, so we need to use a 4K source. Once we've put the 4K material on the screen, the issue then becomes whether there is a level of fine detail that can be resolved by the VW285ES that cannot by the UHZ645, and whether this incrementally resolved detail is visible to the viewer at a typical viewing distance.
Since few people would ever want to sit closer than 1.0x the screen width, we set up to view at a distance of 5 feet from our 5-foot wide images. Popping in the 4K HDR disc Lucy gives us a good test sample for video as it is loaded with fine details in hair, leather and cloth fabric, etc.
And the results? In this movie there are definitely certain elements in some scenes which are rendered with slightly more detail on the VW285ES. This occurs in the first scene, where detail in the straw hat and the subtle texture of the leather jacket are more successfully resolved by the VW285ES. However, at the same time, the hair detail in the Scarlett Johannson close-ups appears to be better defined on the UHZ65. Why is this?
Once again, the big issue is contrast - the UHZ65's 4K HDR picture is substantially brighter and noticeably higher in contrast than the VW285ES. The increased vibrancy of the UHZ65's picture makes it look subjectively sharper even though it isn't. Once you move to a viewing distance beyond 1.0x the screen width, the eye's ability to resolve the subtle differences in detail between these two projectors evaporates. At this point the physical resolution of the chips in these two models has nothing to do with perceived image sharpness. Contrast (and other factors like digital noise, lens resolution, and video processing) become the determining factors in one's perception of the picture's overall sharpness. In other words, in this case we have a projector that many will dismiss as "faux-K" actually beating a "true native 4K" projector in perceived image sharpness.
Let's now consider the display of an HD 1080p picture rather than 4K HDR. With an HD 1080p source, we no longer have the extreme detail in the source itself. Both projectors are upscaling a 1920 x 1080 signal to a 4K-like image. With these two projectors, with respect to detail definition itself, there is very little if any discernable difference between the two pictures, even when viewed close up.
However, with HD 1080p we once again encounter a big difference in contrast, except this time the VW285ES wins. In default Cinema presets, when displaying HD 1080p source material, the VW285ES is much higher in contrast and saturation than the UHZ65. So the VW285ES looks subjectively sharper and more three dimensional despite the fact that there really is no additional detail in the picture. At any normal viewing distance beyond 1.0x the screen width, the differences in perceived sharpness of upscaled 1080p material is entirely attributable to factors other than the physical resolution of the chips. Whether it is true 4K or faux-K has nothing to do with it. Contrast is king.
|Contents:||Intro||Optoma UHD60 vs UHD50||ViewSonic PX727 vs Epson 4000||Optoma UHZ65 vs Sony VW285ES|
|What Makes a 4K Projector|