Editor's Choice Award
Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.
- Four-phase, dual-axis pixel shift for full 4K resolution
- 3LCD imaging design
- Solid-state laser light source
- Excellent HDR performance
- HDR10+ support
- Input lag under 20 ms
- No 3D
- No dynamic tone-mapping for HDR10
The Pro Cinema LS12000 represents the next generation of home theater projectors from Epson. While it’s missing a couple of expected features, its performance is incredible, especially when you consider the $4,999 price.
For years, if someone came to me (or many of my colleagues) for a projector recommendation one of the first names out of my mouth would be Epson, especially for a projector under $5,000. The Home Cinema 5050UB and Pro Cinema 6050UB—ProjectorCentral Editor's Choice winners with five-star Performance ratings—sit in many a home theater as a result. So it's understandable that when Epson announced the Pro Cinema LS12000, it sent a wave of excitement through the home theater community.
Epson's first standard-throw projector with a laser light engine in years has four-phase, dual-axis pixel shift technology to put a full 4K (3840x2160) resolution picture on screen from native 1080p imaging chips—the first Epson 4K home theater projector to make that claim. This is basically the same process used by most single-chip 4K DLP projectors to put up all the pixels of a UHD signal. The LS12000 also boasts 2,700 ISO21118 (ANSI) lumens of equal white and color brightness, 3LCD imaging with zero chance for rainbow effect artifacts, and support for HDR10+ with dynamic HDR metadata. And all this for $4,999—less than half the price of its closest laser light source/three-chip competitor, the excellent JVC DLA-NZ7/DLA-RS2100.
The potential for the Epson LS12000 to be a game changer cannot be overstated. But even with Epson's track record, we all know the specs on the page are only part of the story. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Or in this case, on the screen. And the proof is a very impressive picture and performance, albeit with a caveat or two that might cool the enthusiasm of some.
Epson developed a new blue laser diode array that, combined with a fixed yellow phosphor, creates a white light source. The fixed phosphor is a new design for Epson that has improved heat conductivity and heat resistance. This allows the phosphor to be smaller and quieter than a traditional phosphor wheel. The white light goes through optics that converts it into the three primary colors (red, blue and green) and distributes it to the projector's three 0.74-inch LCD panels. Epson says this design is free of laser speckle that is sometimes visible in other laser projectors, and I didn't experience any speckle at all. The three-chip architecture is also what gives this and other Epson projectors equal white and color brightness. My measurements in Dynamic mode with light output set to 100% fell just 5% short of the 2,700 lumen spec (which could very well be attributable to the lens shift needed for it to fit my screen while ceiling mounted). The laser will last up to 20,000 hours to half brightness without the need for maintenance.
The new Epson VRX Cinema Lens on the LS12000 has a 15-element structure and is designed for zero light leakage. Early reviews of the projector commented on a soft picture, but by the time I had my sample ready to evaluate Epson had released a firmware update that addressed the issue. I never saw anything less than an incredibly sharp picture focused from one edge of the screen to the other. The LS12000 has a 2.1x zoom and a throw ratio range of 1.35-2.84:1 (check the ProjectorCentral Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Projector Throw Calculator to see if it fits in your space). There's powered focus, optical zoom, and lens shift—up to ±96.3% vertical and ±47.1% horizontal—that makes perfect setup a breeze. I had it lined up and focused on my 100-inch Stewart GrayHawk in a minute or two.
Based upon early information, I expected the LS12000 to have an auto iris like the Pro Cinema 6050UB that allowed it to achieve the rated 2,500,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. (As of mid-March, the downloadable spec sheet on Epson's web page still stated "Contrast Ratio up to and over 2,500,000:1, Auto Iris on.") But after my review process started I discovered that Epson had replaced the Auto Iris from earlier models with a Dynamic Contrast function that adjusts both the laser light source and the panel pixels to dynamically change the contrast. It's accompanied by a Dynamic Contrast menu setting offering the same three selections previously reserved for the Auto Iris in other models (Off, Normal, and High Speed).
Perhaps due to this, I didn't see any significant pumping that I've seen on some auto iris projectors in the past (although you'll see below in the HDR Viewing section an instance where I could see the Dynamic Contrast working hard), and there's also no clicking or other mechanical sound that can sometimes accompany an auto iris. Could the blacks be made deeper with an auto iris instead, or perhaps even as an adjunct to the dynamic laser adjustments as seen in some high end Sony projectors? There's no way to know for sure, but with a Konica Minolta LS-100 luminance meter and the projector in Natural color mode I measured a very low black level that bounced between 0.001 and 0.000 with the Dynamic Contrast set to High Speed. I'm sure the inclusion of Epson's well-regarded UltraBlack technology, which reduces stray light in the light path, also contributes to that performance.
One of the aforementioned caveats that might give some enthusiasts pause is that the LS12000 does not have dynamic tone mapping like, for example, the JVC NZ family. Instead there's a 16-point HDR Dynamic Range slider that basically adjusts the overall brightness of the HDR image—lower numbers brighten it up while higher numbers make the image darker. This is the same control that appears in the HC5050UB. In practice, I never used the outer extremes of the slider, instead keeping the setting between 4 and 11 depending on content. Still, the variety within that range was plenty to address any variation in the HDR content I watched, including challenging, bright HDR movies.
In addition to the HDR Dynamic Range adjustment is the new Scene Adaptive Gamma. It relies on Epson's new ZX processor to apply frame-by-frame enhancement to the image. It's more of a fine tuning control than HDR Dynamic Range, and it works with both HDR and SDR content.
The basic shape and layout of the included remote is similar to what Epson has been using for years on their higher-end Pro Cinema and Home Cinema models. It's a bit chunky, but it has almost every button you'll need including dedicated buttons for HDR Dynamic Contrast, Fine/Fast image processing (explained below), lens memory, and color modes. The only one I was missing was a dedicated Scene Adaptive Gamma button. A backlight button at the top causes the buttons to emit a soft yellow glow that begins to fade out after 10 seconds.
Another feature left off of the LS12000 that caused some discussion after the announcement is 3D. While 3D isn't as popular as it was a few years ago and 3D disc releases have slowed, it's an unfortunate omission for fans of the format who have existing 3D libraries, including many current Epson owners who were hoping to upgrade from their 5050UBs and lesser models that do feature 3D. An Epson rep explained that while they understand there's a niche audience for 3D, it wasn't found to be a priority application in the product planning, and unfortunately, there's no way to add it after the fact with firmware alone.
The Epson LS12000 has two HDMI 2.1 inputs with HDCP 2.3 (and one with eARC) that are able to accept 4K signals at 120 Hz for gaming on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. According to the projector menu, they do not support the full 48 Gbps bandwidth that HDMI 2.1 is capable of, instead maxing out at 40 Gbps. There are four EDID settings available in the menu: Up to 4K 120 Hz 40 Gbps, Up to 4K 60Hz 18 Gbps, Up to 4K 60Hz 10 Gbps, and 2560x1080 (21:9). This is still enough bandwidth for a 4K/120Hz signal with up to 12-bit, 4:2:2 chroma subsampling or 8-bit 4:4:4 chroma subsampling. For a low input lag under 20ms there's the ability to change the image processing from Fine to Fast, which disables frame interpolation, noise reduction, and MPEG noise reduction.
Other connections on the back panel include two USB (none for media, but one that can be used to power an optical HDMI cable and another for power and firmware), Ethernet, RS-232, a trigger out, and a mini USB used for service.
Included with the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 is a black back panel cover to hide the connections, and like prior Pro Cinema models it ships with a mount, in this case a black Chief CHF4500. It comes with a standard three-year limited warranty, two-business-day full unit replacement (including shipping), and free lifetime phone support.
Color Modes. The Epson LS12000 has five different color modes—Dynamic, Vivid, Bright Cinema, Cinema, and Natural—that share settings with SDR and HDR signals. Natural mode offered the best visual experience of them all, although I gave it a few tweaks for my initial, before-measurement viewing. I increased Light Output to 100% (from 75%) to better mate with my gray screen with slightly negative gain, turned Dynamic Contrast on to High Speed, and changed the Color Temp setting from 6,500K to 6,000K (although the image looked excellent in either, I slightly preferred the whites with the latter setting). The higher light output did engage the fans more and added a very slight whine, but while watching anything it never drew my attention. In the default setting, the projector is virtually silent. I did all of my critical viewing in calibrated Natural mode with Light Output set to 100%, which output a measured 1,919 ANSI lumens.
After a short while watching a variety of TV and movies, I broke out my test gear to see how the five different color modes measured. Using Portrait Displays' Calman Ultimate color calibration software, a Murideo Six-G pattern generator, and an X-Rite i1 Pro 3 photospectrometer, the out-of-the-box Natural settings (without my tweaks) measured incredibly well. Grayscale had an average Delta E (dE) of 3.7 and the color points average dE was 1.7. (A dE value under 3 is considered excellent while under 2 is virtually indistinguishable from perfect.) Average color temperature was 6,869K, which is a tad on the cool side but still very close to the target 6,500K.
I added back the minor tweaks above (except for the Dynamic Contrast setting because it's not recommended to measure and calibrate with it on), as well as changed the Gamma setting from 0 to -1. I had noticed the midtone luminance was slightly above the desired curve, and bringing the Gamma setting down (thereby darkening the midtones and raising the gamma) caused it to track closer to the desired curve and brought the gamma up to just under 2.3, which works well in my room with all the curtains drawn. Re-measuring with these slight changes brought the color temperature to 6,385K (slightly on the warm side, but closer to target than with the default), grayscale average dE to 1.6, and color points average to a dE of 0.8. I went through a full calibration, which mildly improved those already stellar numbers, but nothing that would cause a visual improvement with content. I'll probably get an earful from other calibrators, but I wouldn't hold it against anyone who decided to make these small changes and leave it at that. With a $4,999 projector though, it's worth squeezing every bit of performance out of it you can get. After completing the calibration I improved the average dE of both grayscale and color points by a couple decimal points and the ColorChecker average (a collection of swatches representing common colors such as skin tones, blue skies, and foliage) was 1.6.
I measured the LS12000's highest color gamut at 138.9% of BT.709, 93.1% of DCI-P3, and 63% of BT.2020. This is less than the 109% DCI-P3 coverage we saw from Epson's Home Cinema 5050UB or claimed 100% coverage with the JVC DLA-NZ8 and DLA-NZ9. But all of those have a color filter to achieve that 100% or above that adversely affects brightness (plus those JVCs cost $11,000 and $21,000 more than the LS12000, respectively). Like the LS12000, the JVC DLA-NZ7 does not have a color filter. As measured in our review, it doesn't reach as wide a gamut as the Epson LS12000, going only out to 82.6% of DCI-P3.
There are extensive options available for calibration. White balance can be tuned with either RGB offset and gain settings or an 11-point grayscale adjustment. There's also an 11-point G-M Correction slider that adjusts the balance of green and magenta image colors (I left this is its default position). If there are color convergence issues, panel alignment can be corrected (I did not need to use it). And under the Management menu section (as opposed to the Image section that includes most of the image adjustments) is a Color Uniformity option that allows a calibrator to correct color temperature across an 11-point brightness range for nine different tic-tac-toe sections of the screen. Color uniformity looked great to my eye, so I didn't go through this process. RGBCMY adjustments for Hue, Saturation, and Brightness are available for fine-tuning the primary and secondary color points.
There's a part of the calibration process on the Epson that I was at first excited about, which later turned to frustration. For the 11-point grayscale adjustment and the RGBCMY color management system, the LS12000 puts internal patterns up on the screen. I began my calibration process using these internal patterns instead of those provided by my Murideo Six-G but quickly ran into problems. After using the internal color point patterns, I ran Calman with the Murideo patterns and immediately saw issues that were confirmed by the measurements. There's no way to move the menu location while conducting the calibration, and while the menu doesn't overlap the middle section of the screen, it still seems to either affect the color of the internal test patterns, or they just aren't as accurate as the Murideo. A second press of the Enter button kept the sliders on screen but removed the test pattern, which made using the Murideo test patterns easier. Menu positioning is more of an issue for grayscale adjustment than CMS. The grayscale menu is about an inch from center on my 100-inch screen while the CMS slider is closer to the screen's bottom.
One minor performance drawback I encountered was with the LS12000's handling of bright whites, at least as seen on my early generation GrayHawk screen (approximately 0.9-0.95 gain). No matter what, the projector slightly crushed white at the high end of the dynamic range, even if I lowered the contrast all the way (which also dropped brightness by a bit) or reduced the laser output. The best setting I found was lowering Contrast to 41. This improved the dynamic range to where it only crushed the last couple of steps below digital levels 235 or 255 (depending on the dynamic range setting of 16-235 or 0-255). This is not likely to bother anyone. And for the vast majority of content it would never be noticeable, unless you make a habit of watching shows about Antarctica.
SDR Viewing. When I think of Star Wars movies, Rogue One tends to slip my mind. Not because I didn't enjoy it, because I very much did, but because it doesn't have the same feel as the Skywalker saga films. Instead, it is an excellent war film. The 1080p SDR Blu-ray looks incredible on the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000. There's a grittiness to the film (war movie, after all) that comes across on screen. During the attack on Eadu, with rain falling down as Jyn climbs towards the platform with her father and Director Krennic, there's great depth with detail in the foreground as well as in the rock spires that punctuate the surrounding darkness. As the X-wing fighters fly in to attack the landing platform, their forward lights are displayed brightly by the LS12000 without losing the different levels of shadow of the terrain. Turning up the Scene Adaptive Gamma during the attack caused the lights and later explosions to pop a bit more. I settled in around 10 on the slider.
There were a few fleeting moments during the movie where I could see the crushed whites if I looked for them. As Director Krennic escapes from the Eadu base, his shuttle's engines burn brightly as it accelerates away and in the brightest moment the white definition is lost. It also happens once the Rogue One shuttle lands on Scarif. A large puff of white smoke is let out as the rear shuttle door opens that looks flat in its brightest points, and some stormtroopers armor as they stand in the sunlight a minute later is a bit blown out.
During the space battle above Scarif, the LS12000 was able to display the distant stars against the black of space while explosions and engine flare popped on the screen. I flipped through the Dynamic Contrast settings of Off, Normal, and High Speed throughout and always preferred the dimensionality added without a visual detriment by the High Speed setting. I watched far more of Rogue One than I originally anticipated after I put it on just to check certain scenes. The detail, color, and brightness held me until the final credits rolled.
The week before I began this review I revisited one of my favorite comics from my youth, Akira. It seemed the perfect time to put in the Blu-ray of the movie and see how the colors looked on the LS12000. Neo-Tokyo is full of vibrant colors and the Pro Cinema LS12000 does not disappoint. In particular, there's a distinct red that's thematically attached to the character Kaneda. It's the color of his bike, his leather jacket and pants, his goggles, and it was nicely saturated. There was occasional stuttering during camera pans, one being right at the beginning of the movie as it pans through a birds-eye view of Tokyo in 2019 before an explosion decimates the city and begins World War III. But beyond the few stutters, any visual issues are due to the Blu-ray and not the projector.
HDR Viewing. Since there is no built-in dynamic tone mapping on the LS12000, adjusting the HDR Dynamic Range slider and the Scene Adaptive Gamma options on a disc-by-disc basis is absolutely essential to get the most out of the projector (more in regards to HDR10+ titles below). I spent a good amount of time mixing and matching these settings with the scene that marks the start of chapter 12 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2—the one where Voldemort and the Deatheaters stand on the cliff overlooking Hogwarts. Displaying the details in the shadows of the surrounding landscape can be exceptionally difficult for a projector, so it was the perfect way to really put the LS12000 through its paces from the get go.
Where I settled was with the HDR Dynamic Range set to 6 and Scene Adaptive Gamma on 8. As the camera circles around the evil group, the hillside and Deatheater's faces were highly detailed without adding an artificial glow to them. More importantly, the mountains and fog in the background retained the shadow depth and felt ominous and foreboding, a portent of the attack to come. The Scene Adaptive Gamma setting of 8 supported the facial highlights and the fires providing light at the school below against that deep shadow. That setting also helped the blasts of the spells against Hogwart's protective barrier really pop. They look brilliant and bright against the darkness as they streamed through the air and exploded. But it also had an interesting effect in addition to fine tuning the HDR—it smoothed out the high speed Dynamic Contrast performance as described below.
As mentioned in the Features section, the Scene Adaptive Gamma setting, thanks to the ZX processor, works in real time on a scene-by-scene basis to further adjust the picture highlights. During that circling of Voldemort and his cohorts, at a setting lower than 8, I could see the Dynamic Contrast working. Specifically, as the camera moves from behind the group towards their right side, the Dynamic Contrast quickly diminished the brightness. It wasn't a drastic difference in overall brightness and on a typical movie night it wouldn't have bothered me, but it was a moment I could see the projector working. Setting the Scene Adaptive Gamma to 8 still allowed the Dynamic Contrast to do its job, keeping the dark visual impact of the scene, but without the projector calling attention to itself.
Sticking with dark torture-test material, I switched out Harry Potter for Blade Runner 2049 and the Sapper Morton scene towards the beginning of the film. The moments when K and Sapper Morton walk by the piano in the living room as well as the backsplash under the kitchen cabinets are particularly dark. I lowered the HDR Dynamic Range to 4 for all Blade Runner scenes (the lowest I went on anything I watched) to bring out some of the detail in the wall the piano is up against and for the under cabinet in the kitchen. The LS12000 handled all of it incredibly well. The cracks and peeling portions of the wall, the kitchen paraphernalia, it was as much as I've seen on any other projector. Skin tones in particular looked accurate and realistic, both on K and Sapper Morton, but also later at the orphanage with Lennie James' Mister Cotton. The orphanage chapter did present a couple of challenges. As K walked from his car to the orphanage, the bleak sky occasionally had some slight banding. During K's entrance into the orphanage, when the camera looks directly at the light streaming in from the open door and we see his silhouette, the interior surrounding the door is darker than it should be based on my knowledge of the scene. But the moment is fleeting, and as K steps in and the camera angle changes, the details in the children's faces and the rusted, metallic structure around them have excellent dimensionality.
For a complete change of pace, I ventured out on the open sea of The Meg, where bright highlights push the boundaries of any display. As the crew head out to check on distress beacons from three ships, there's a moment when we see their ship on the open water with the sun's rays reflecting brightly on the right side of the screen. I raised the HDR Dynamic Range slider (which darkens the overall image) to 11 to tone down the blown out whites when it's set to a lower value. Beyond 11, the hull of the ship during a close-up shot moments later becomes too dark and loses the differentiation of shades against the bright sun reflection next to it. The adaptive gamma setting doesn't do as much when the image is as bright as The Meg, but if turned up to high it can still blow out the brightest part of the image. I kept it at 8, as with Harry Potter.
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I've mentioned it in previous reviews, but The Expanse is easily one of my favorite shows of the past 10 years. Top-notch acting, high stakes space battles (especially in the final season) that rely on physics, and excellent storytelling. And as with most, if not all, original Amazon programming it's available in HDR10+. Without giving too much away, during the final episode of the series there's the beginning of a space attack about 20 minutes in. The HDR10+ presentation has great depth in space with the dots of distant stars illuminated, and as some missiles impact on their targets, the explosions pop against the blackness of space. We go immediately into the control room of one of the hit ships and see damaged control surfaces that suffer electrical flares that briefly shine, almost too brightly in the darkened ship. I originally watched the show in HDR10, but the HDR10+ presentation on the Epson takes it up a notch.
Gaming. High-end projectors have struggled with achieving a truly low input lag, or at least it hasn't been a manufacturer priority for those projectors. Game modes on most drop the millisecond lag to low 30s or high 20s at best, which is good for most, but the sub-20 ms target is what most gamers look for as a threshold where the lag doesn't affect the gameplay. The LS12000 is the first high-end projector to break that threshold, measuring 19.5 ms with a 4K/60 signal and Image Processing set to Fast. Interestingly, 4K/60 offers the lowest lag reading, as 1080p/120 measured 28.9 ms and 1080p/60 measured 38.8 ms. I did not feel the increase in lag while playing, though.
Visually, games look stunning on the LS12000. Elden Ring was released a week or so before I received the LS12000 and I was excited to try it out on my PS5. The projector really shows off the detail in the game. There's texture to fallen stone monuments where you can see the filigree that's been smoothed by time. The game's designer, From Software, is known for their notoriously difficult games that require quick reactions, and thankfully the input lag on the Epson didn't make the boss battles more difficult than they already are. Response from my controller to the screen was fast and unobtrusive.
Perhaps even more so than on a game like Elden Ring, Forza Horizon 5 requires a low input lag or you could end up in the weeds, literally. Driving on my Xbox Series X there was no perceptible lag, and the cars and scenery looked beautiful. The cars in Forza Horizon 5 are the most realistic yet from the game series. The LS12000 translated that detail to screen. When I had the chance to look around during straightaways, trees looked accurate, skies were the right blue, and the orange of my Corvette was vibrant as the sun glinted off the paintjob.
The Epson LS12000 is excellent at many things. Thanks to its four-way pixel shifting, it displays a full 4K image that's beautifully sharp from edge to edge, the laser light array delivers a bright image, and the Natural color mode is spot-on accurate. And at a $5,000 price point, it's less than half the price of the JVC DLA-NZ7 and a quarter of the Sony VPL-VW915ES, with more light output than both. All things that make this projector enthusiast excited.
Is the Epson LS12000 the game changer we were expecting? I think it might be. Sure, there was the initial shock of no 3D, no dynamic tone mapping, and no auto iris—and for some, just one of those could mean an immediate dismissal of the LS12000. But when it comes down to it, there is a lot to love about this projector. The Dynamic Contrast setting does deliver deep blacks for a projector without an auto iris, and HDR can look fantastic. It also does 4K/120 Hz gaming, and has the lowest input lag you'll find today on a high-end home theater projector with that capability. Oh yeah. Did I mention that it's less than half the price of its closest serious competitor? Perhaps the biggest endorsement I can give is that I'm considering getting one as my reference projector.
Brightness. Dynamic color mode with Light Output set to 100% is the brightest configuration on the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000. I measured 2,575 ANSI lumens, which is 95.3% of the rated spec of 2,700 ANSI lumens. Epson suggests that the modest shortfall, which remains well within the 20% ISO21118 tolerance, could be the result of the less-than-centered vertical lens-shift setting required to align the ceiling-mounted projector image on my screen. Epson suggested our numbers seem generally low (Bright Cinema, they say, should come in around 1,800 lumens). We plan to revisit this with a repeat measurement in more ideal conditions and will update our review accordingly.
Color brightness measured at 99% of white brightness, which is the expected result with a three-chip projector.
The Light Output slider can be set between 100% and 50% in 5% increments. Each increment is accurate within 2% below the listed value. The ANSI lumens in the chart below are with each color modes default settings and light output—100% for Dynamic; 75% for Vivid, Bright Cinema, and Natural; 50% for Cinema.
Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 ANSI Lumens
Zoom Lens Light Loss. The LS12000 had a zoom light loss of 34.8% from the widest angle to maximum telephoto. This is on the high side, even for a long, 2.1x multi-element zoom lens. Users should optimize the projector's placement if possible to minimize the amount of zoom required and retain brightness.
Brightness Uniformity. Wide angle brightness uniformity measured 91.3% and telephoto uniformity measured 86.9%. There were no visible hotspots in either zoom setting.
Input Lag. With a Leo Bodnar 4K lag tester, the Epson LS12000 in Fast image processing mode measured 38.8 ms with a 1080p/60 signal, 28.9 ms with a 1080p/120 signal, and 19.5 ms with a 4K/60 signal. With image processing set to Fine, the projector measured 60.4 ms with a 1080p/60 signal, 44.5 ms with a 1080p/120 signal, and 60.5 ms with a 4K/60 signal.
Fan Noise. In my living room that has a noise floor of 31 dBA at a distance of 3 feet below the ceiling-mounted Epson Pro Cinema LS12000, I measured Light Output 100% at 34.5 dBA and Light Output 75% at 32.4 dBA. In high altitude mode, those values went up to 37.4 dBA for 100% brightness and 33.3 dBA for 75% brightness. Epson lists the fan noise at 22-30 dB using the standard multi-point measuring process in a soundproof environment.
- HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 (x2, one with eARC)
- USB Type-A (x2, one for optical HDMI power, one for power and firmware)
- Mini USB (service)
- RJ45 (LAN)
- Trigger out
Calibrated image settings from any third-party do not account for the significant potential for sample-to-sample variation, nor the different screen sizes and materials, lamp usage, or other environmental factors that can affect image quality. Projectors should always be calibrated in the user's own space and tuned for the expected viewing conditions. However, the settings provided here may be a helpful starting point for some. Always record your current settings before making adjustments so you can return to them as desired. Refer to the Performance section for some context for each calibration.
Color Mode: Natural
Color Saturation: 50
Color Temp. 6000K
G-M Correction: 4
Offset R: 50
Offset G: 50
Offset B: 49
Gain R: 50
Gain G: 50
Gain B: 54
Frame Interpolation: Off
Light Output: 100%
Dynamic Contrast High Speed
Scene Adaptive Gamma: 7-10 (depending on content)
R Hue: 50
R Saturation: 51
R Brightness: 46
G Hue: 50
G Saturation: 50
G Brightness: 48
B Hue: 51
B Saturation: 51
B Brightness: 46
C Hue: 50
C Saturation: 50
C Brightness: 48
M Hue: 50
M Saturation: 51
M Brightness: 47
Y Hue: 50
Y Saturation: 51
Y Brightness: 49
Calibration settings are shared between SDR and HDR.
HDR10/HDR10+ Dynamic Range Setting: 4-11 (depending on content, lower for darker content)
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 projector page.
To buy this projector, use Where to Buy online, or get a price quote by email direct from Projector Central authorized dealers using our E-Z Quote tool.
The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 is also sold outside of the United States of America as the Epson EH-LS12000B. Some specifications may be slightly different. Check with Epson for complete specifications.
High Speed: 249/0.001 for 249,000:1 (this actually bounced between 0.001 and 0.000, the extreme for the meter)
Normal: 248/0.007 for 35,429:1
Off: 248/0.05 for 4,960:1
Again, this is more for a point of interest than anything else (which is why they weren't included in the body of the review).
Also, could you suggest an appropriate brightness measure for an apples to apples comparison against the NZ7? I'm coming across so many different brightness measurements -- different color modes, calibrated vs. uncallibrated. I'm sure the proper answer is it depends what you're after, but any rule of thumb here? Looks like brightest vs. brightest measured by Projector Central puts them at 2575 lumens for the LS 12000, as compared to 2213 lumens for the NZ7...
Regarding brightness: Lumens are lumens, though even two projectors with equal lumen ratings may provide different brightness in their most accurate and desirable modes. Since we measure the output of every picture mode for our reviews, you can look at the reviews, determine the mode you're most likely to use for each of two different projectors, and get a better idea of what you have to work with when each is properly set up.
For example, with my current 4 year old projector, when I'm playing Horizon Forbidden West and it's night time, I have to manually adjust it to be brighter otherwise I can't see details I need to see. When it's day time in the game, I adjust it back. Pain the butt.
Do we think that scene adaptive gamma setting helps to make up for this?
I just want to sit back and watch a movie, show, video game without making an adjustment for everything I watch or, worse yet, make multiple changes during a movie. So you adjust so the one Harry Potter scene with the Deatheaters looks great, but then the rest of the movie looks like crud?
I used values ranging from 4 to 11, and that would stay set for the entire movie. The darker a disc, the lower the number; brighter the disc, higher the number. I just found that below 4 and above 11 would affect the image too much for my taste (your mileage may vary). And when I say dark or bright disc, I mean the overall level it was mastered at, not scene to scene.
With HDR material, the Scene Adaptive Gamma setting is more of a fine-tuning than the HDR slider. Scene Adaptive Gamma I left mostly in the middle of the range (around 8), but the HDR Brightness slider I would change from movie to movie generally.
As for gaming on any projector (or TV for that matter), HDR can add a whole other can of worms because there's the HDR control on the projector and the HDR control on the console. And they don't always get along. For your Horizon Forbidden West gaming (excellent choice, btw, Aloy rocks), I'd suggest setting your projector HDR and leaving it, and then adjusting the HDR controls within the PS5. It sounds like they might be set for too wide a range.
Oh, and Harry Potter with the HDR Slider set at 6 and Scene Adaptive Gamma set to 8 in a completely dark room looked absolutely amazing throughout. I just used that scene as a baseline because it's notoriously difficult for a projector to handle.
Epson lists the 20,000 hours of laser light life at the brightness mode for 2,700 lumens (Normal mode), which is Light Output set to 100%. But to be sure, I'll check on this.
First, Thank you so much for the detailed review. I am living in JAPAN and purchased LS12000 on 24th of FEB(release date in JP).
EPSON US doesn't mentioned detail of firmware. However EPSON JP mentioned the detail. I experienced the below problem.
- Ver1.0 : Factory Firmware -> No HDR10+ Support - Ver1.1 : HDR10+ Support -> HDR10+ Supported, but Initialzed current user setting including laser using time. - Ver1.11 : Fixed initialize of setting problem.
After Ver1.11 all my current setting remained. Though i didn't recognized sharpness improvement, which Many people mentioned firmware improved sharpness, but no one mentioned HDR10+ support. Hope this info helped.
Would be super cool to have insight on the firmware roadmap for LS12000 - hopefully they're investigating improvement like VRR and Dynamic Tone Mapping.
As for VRR, I'm not sure if that's something Epson can add through firmware (or if there are plans for it). If it is, it would almost certainly be HDMI VRR and not FreeSync, and definitely not G-Sync (which requires hardware in the display).
Do you know if the ls12000 is definitely the 6050/5050 successor?
Or it is expected a bulb based 6060 in a near future?
In Europe the ls12000 costs 5k eur vs 2.5k eur for a 6050. Although seems a better machine it is difficult to justify such difference of price for my usage…
Home Cinema 4010 stays in the line at $1,999 US
Pro Cinema 4050 (4010 version for integrator channel) stays in the line at $2,399
HC 5050UB stays in the line at $2,999
HC5050UBe, the wireless version, is being retired
Pro Cinema 6050UB (5050UB version for integrator channel) is being retired
HC LS11000 becomes entry level laser model at $3,999
PC LS12000 becomes new flagship at $4,999
We have no specific news on a lamp-based successor to the 6050UB.
So I need to fiddle with 3 settings for each movie/TV show/game that's in HDR? How do I do that without skipping ahead in a movie and spoiling it, or pissing off the family? I also don't understand how settings that make dark scenes look good will also work for bright scenes. This is one reason I leave the dynamic contrast setting off on my tv.
Question about wide angle vs telephoto: so there's no harm in using the furthest wide angle setting? I thought wide angle at least causes more hotspotting. but you say "Wide angle brightness uniformity measured 91.3% and telephoto uniformity measured 86.9%". Is that correct?
I've read that the Epson 5050's fan noise is lower when you shelf mount it vs ceiling mounting. Is this true of the 11000/12000 as well?
What say you experts?
Color accuracy and grayscale is better on the LS12000 too and can be better calibrated. I didn't have the X3000i still on hand to do a side-by-side comparison of sharpness, but I expect at close inspection the LS12000 is a bit better (although maybe not enough at a suitable viewing distance).
They're comparable in brightness, with a big "but." At similar brightness in HDR, the LS12000 has a wider color gamut. You can turn on a wider color gamut on the X3000i, but it comes at a significant loss of brightness.
So overall image preference it's easily the Epson. And don't forget for gaming, the Epson can do 4K/120 and the BenQ can not (it's only HDMI 2.0).
Bought one of these for mixed film / gaming and I’m able to notice the lag on a Nintendo switch. I made an assumption that it would perform equally at 1080p…
Sadly I feel like it's been 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. Like what Gary and others have mentioned regarding the need to manually adjust the HDR setting for each movie we watch has me a bit baffled. I really enjoy my home theater and to this day wouldn't trade my 13 year old projector for the current crop of 4k tv's. I throw a movie on and just enjoy it. I feel like I am in the theater.
I truly want to enjoy the increased resolution and color provided by 4K and HDR but not at the expense of constant tweaking. If a disc is mastered in the studio to what the directors intent is, what makes it so hard to translate that to the screen at home. I do understand that not all displays are created equal, and maybe that is where the answer lies; HDR is just not ready for prime time without a whole lot of user intervention.
I have yet to read a review of a projector that doesn't have issues in this regard. At least the ones in my budget.
Thanks for the awesome and detailed reviews. At least when I buy, I will know what I am getting myself into.
Commenters are making WAAAYYYY too big of a deal out of the HDR slider per movie. Frankly, I don't change it. I picked a middle setting that looks great in my space (8) and leave it there. Is it perfect? No. But it's really damn good.
Projectors will never be perfect for HDR. They simply can't get the deep blacks and popping bright whites that an OLED can do.
While some people might be OCD, and therefore frustrated about dialing in the HDR on a per movie (or per scene) basis, you don't really need that level of perfection. Just set it once, forget about it, and you'll be fine. Trust me, the HDR looks AMAZING on a 125" screen.
Oh, and my wife's response was something along the lines of, "Wow, this made old movies from the 90s look brand new again!" That's the type of wife approval you want when dropping $5,000.
The the author of this article, John, you did a great write-up. Thank you for being so thorough.
So, the things I'm curious about are how this PJ handles 21:9 content(can it do 120Hz) and is it g sync compatible? I game primarily on a PC.
One other issue is the brigthness. I see this does 1400 lumens in bright cinema mode, whereas I think my 5040 ub does around 2400? I have a .8 gain ALR screen. Very dark material. I'm concerned I'd actually be stepping backwards in this regard.
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!
Have you had a chance to compare the Epson to the JVC 790 yet?? I am eager to see your opinion on this as I am in the same boat, I love my X7900 for its ultimate contrast, but I am tempted by all else this Epson can deliver. I owned several EPson before such as the LS10000 and 9400.
So it would be real good to see what the actual real world visible dark material contrast differences look like. One of my favourite test for this is scenes in Interstellar when there is nothing else on the screen but the spaceship in the distance against black space and the stars.
According to LeoBodnar.com, the 4k tester doesn't have a 120hz mode. Does it actually support 1080@120?
Also curious about 1080p upscalling, even shittier (low bitrate) source. My Sony FALD tv does this really well, 6050 okay-ish.
Infact how many times a traditional lamp can be change till the projector lasts to working ?
Does it mean that lamp projectors are for lifetime and laser projectors are for 10 years approximately ?
This doesn't account for the potential for higher performance that comes from having a laser that can be dynamically adjusted, which is something you can't do with a lamp.
Should I go for a higher gain screen or for another model?
I was also looking at the Optoma ZK507-W which is around the same price.
True 4K, incredible contrast and black's, X1 processor - and does 3D !!
THE best deal in projectors today - if you can still pickup.
Very very happy.
And 3D absence not a concern, (3D is dead and I don’t do repeats)
Thanks and love your reviews!!!
I've seen many people claiming VRR would be "impossible" on projectors, but that's simply not true. We already have couple of DLP projectors supporting it, and an LCD panel capable of 120Hz output is definitely capable of VRR. Having support for variable refresh even if the max is 60Hz is still beneficial - say your games machine can output a certain title at around 55FPS in 4k, and as you want vertical sync, you'll essentially be playing at 30fps, because the output will drop to 30 any time your machine isn't capable of rendering a full 60fps. But with VRR support, you'll get a much more fluid, up to 55fps experience.
In the future, when you review the "Gaming" capabilities of a projector, please pay attention to VRR support. It really is the dealmaker for me, and many a gamer. So even when manufacturers "forget" the feature, maybe reviewers pointing out the lack of it will eventually make a difference.
Did you ever do a comparison of this vs. your x790? My 790 (which I love, quirks and all), just had a major light engine failure that is costing ~$2500 to fix. As such, I am now looking at replacing it instead with this projector. I have a proper light controlled theatre room, so I am curious as to how much a person would be losing in perceived contrast by moving away from the JVC.
First off updated to latest Epson FW (from their website).
Working from the Natural color mode, in conjunction with our SI .85 Pure Gray screen w/ ~12' throw, with lamp at 100% (per author's rec), post cal got color temp from ~6200 OOTB to 6600-ish, gamma from 2.15 OOTB to 2.19, grayscale from 4.8 OOTB to 1.6 dE, RGB more under control from 90%-116% across the spectrum OOTB down to 95%-105%. Got primary/secondary colors down from 1.8 OOTB to 1.3 dE. Clocked 22 fL coming off the screen afterwards (6050 was ~ 14 fL at high lamp mode calibrated). Visual image surveying confirmed the great numbers.
As with the 6050 gamma adjustments using anything other than the projectors built-in generator is not possible. You can preview external content when doing CMR so why not gamma? In this regard we could not do custom gamma settings and set to -1 preset (got us 2.19 avg). Preset 0 shot gamma up to 2.33. Would like to go back and tweak for sure, so perhaps I missing something?
Overall real-world performance when compared to prior 6050UB we are seeing better handling of HDR, which we were unable to get to work well with the 6050 resulting in having to leave all sources at SDR. Love the HDR10+ compatibility. In conjunction with our Panny UB9000 with HDR Optimization engaged, and Epson's HDR slider (moving between 4-11), HDR playback is now possible in our room. Blade Runner worked at -4 on the slider, Planet Earth at 7, and The Meg at 11. Imagine most would be fine with leaving at 7/8.
The Dynamic Contrast option (in lieu of auto-iris) seemed helpful as author noted. Could not get Brightness and Contrast video settings to make much difference. Not sure if that is a good thing? Literally would run the Contrast bar from 0-100 and would see almost no change in external contrast chart.
Quite a few more tweakable settings to fuss with than the 6050, which is why I think calibration took such an effort.
Quick stuff, handshake is about the same, don't have a game console setup to test but sounds like author was impressed, don't miss 3D (glasses have been in drawer for 3 years) so not a deal breaker, fan noise is about the same at 100%.
Of course noticed towards the end there's a dead pixel but 3 year warranty will cover that at some point.
So overall I’d say worth it to my customers (we area a CI firm) to invest an extra $1500 for the LS12000 over our usual 6050 option due to low maintenance aspect of laser vs bulb alone. Whether or not it’s worth also investing in professionally calibrating it is questionable being as that it’s very acceptable OOTB. Altho I would like to try calibrating again but instead of disk-based generation use something like a Murideo.
If solid state PLUS 3D is a requirement, you may wish to wait and see how BenQ's new HT4550i gets reviewed. That unit was announced at CES and is due out soon with a 4LED light engine with a rating of 3200 ANSI lumens. It demo'd impressively at the show, though I can't say from my notes or BenQ's published info at this point if they carried over 3D from prior models. Price is $2,799, however it's single chip DLP vs the three chip projectors you've gotten used to and which are immune to rainbow effects. I will say that although I don't recall any obvious issues with rainbows on the BenQ demo, they have definitely had a learning curve trying to minimize rainbows with their first few 4LED gaming projectors.