Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 4K 3LCD Laser Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • No 3D
  • No dynamic tone-mapping for HDR10
Our Take

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.

Epson LS12000 front

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.

Features

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.

Epson LS12000 front left

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.

Epson LS12000 remote

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.

Performance

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.

Epson LS12000 top

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.

Epson LS12000 Rogue One
Turning up the Scene Adaptive Gamma setting on the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 caused the X-wing lights to pop against the dark background during the assault on Eadu in Rogue One. (Photo Credit: Disney)

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.

Epson LS12000 lifestyle

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.

Epson LS12000 Harry Potter
The distant mountains and surrounding fog behind Voldemort and his Deatheaters had depth and details to the shadow. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros.)

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.

Epson LS12000 front right

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.

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.

Epson LS12000 Elden Ring
The Epson LS12000 showed off the detail in the crumbling landscape in Elden Ring. (Photo Credit: Bandai Namco)

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.

Conclusion

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.

Measurements

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

Color Mode Lumens
Dynamic 2,575
Vivid 1,260
Bright Cinema 1,412
Cinema 957
Natural 1,415

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.

Connections

Epson LS12000 connections
  • 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)
  • RS-232C
  • Trigger out

Calibrated Settings

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.

SDR

Color Mode: Natural
Brightness: 54
Contrast: 41
Color Saturation: 50
Tint: 50
Sharpness: 4

White Balance

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)
Gamma: -1

RGBCMY

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

HDR

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.

 
Comments (112) Post a Comment
Toby Posted Mar 21, 2022 11:48 AM PST
No 3D is a no no for me. To bad, otherwise I would buy this. Why did they exclude it?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 11:51 AM PST
Read the review, Toby, but the reality is that the selection of feature content for any product is always a balancing act between offering features with the most utility to the greatest number of customers and hitting a price point. 3D is a regarded as a niche use that, you can assume, didn't rank high enough on their chart this time to warrant whatever cost or modifications it might require to add it to the projector. There could be different reasons for this. Just pure conjecture on my part, but the emitter hardware required may have been prohibitive from a space or isolation standpoint in the cabinet with the new light engine, or the cost of developing the required firmware with this new model may have pushed final price beyond where they wanted to be...or whatever. I do think it might have been possible to maybe throw in a standard 3D emitter port for an outboard emitter and even update the firmware later to accommodate it if they were committed to keeping a 3D option in there, though. That said, while they say there is nothing that can be done to address 3D capability in the LS12000 or the LS11000 via firmware, they have told us that their engineering team has been made aware of the backlash from the U.S. enthusiast community...for whatever that's worth going forward.
R. Smith Posted Mar 21, 2022 11:51 AM PST
After the 20K hours, how is maintenance done? New laser? How much does it cost?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 11:52 AM PST
Most manufacturers of laser projectors assume you won't be replacing the laser light source after it fails at end-life, though JVC has said they expect to put a plan in place. Maybe Epson will do the same once they get enough people asking the same question. But keep in mind this and the lens are two most expensive elements in the projector, and it may not make sense to replace the light source in a then $4,999 projector some 10 (or whatever) years from now.
Nik Posted Mar 21, 2022 11:55 AM PST
Were you able to measure native contrast?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 12:08 PM PST
Nik, we don't usually do contrast measurements. It' not because they don't tell us something, but they are heavily reliant on the room and we can't reproduce them consistently among the different environments our reviewers use.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 21, 2022 12:09 PM PST
Hi Nik, I did my own contrast measurements, partly for my own curiosity and because I saw the question come up on the product announcement post. But as Rob indicated, these numbers are heavily dependent on individual viewing situations (room, screen, where the meter reads on the screen, etc), so take them with a grain of salt. The quick measurements were taken with a Konica Minolta LS-100 reading cd/m2 in Dynamic mode (with default settings) in the three different Dynamic Contrast settings towards the beginning of my review process.

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).
Lowell Posted Mar 21, 2022 12:14 PM PST
I am a 6050 owner. How does the PQ, sharpness, compare to the 6050, also to the Sony 325 4K which is only $500 more. Every time I watch my 6050, I turn to my wife and say, don't let me upgrade, this PQ is great, then I see a new projector and want to upgrade. I just don't know if either of the ones I listed are that great of upgrade.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 12:15 PM PST
Lowell, we no longer have a Sony 325 around but we hope to do a comparison with the 5050UB in the coming days, which is essentially the same as the 6050. What I expect to find is that LS12000 will be much sharper, at least when you are closer to the screen where the lack of pixels on the 5050/6050 starts to become apparent. Blacks have the potential to be darker because of the laser, and indeed the LS12000 has about twice the rated contrast ratio of the 6050.
Benevolent Posted Mar 21, 2022 12:48 PM PST
What is the input lag at 4K 120Hz? Thank you for the review!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 12:50 PM PST
We are unable to measure 4K/120 with our Bodnar lag meter, which tops out at 1080p/120.
Terry E Mitchell Posted Mar 21, 2022 1:03 PM PST
In this day and age you'd think that manufacturers would allow OTA firmware updates to make things easier for end users. It's a shame you still have to restort to downloading separately and fiddling with cables and/or USB sticks and/or laptops.
Andy Posted Mar 21, 2022 1:23 PM PST
Did you guys happen to measure its light output with a 10% window? On the JVC NZ projectors there’s some light recycling that’s boosts brightness with the laser/phosphor system. I’m wondering if this Epson does the same.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 21, 2022 1:24 PM PST
Andy, for the brightness measurements we use the nine-point ANSI method, but before I box it up I'll try and check what the 10% window brightness is and compare it to a full white screen with both measurements taken from the center. I'm curious to see if it does the same sort of light recycling.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 21, 2022 1:25 PM PST
Update, Andy. Did a quick comparison measuring the center of the screen using my light meter with a full white screen vs 10% window. I used Dynamic color mode with the Dynamic Contrast setting off. The 10% window has mildly decreased brightness (about 3% dip), so it doesn't look like the LS12000 uses any light recycling like the JVC NZ series.
Reed Posted Mar 21, 2022 1:53 PM PST
Does the 20,000 hours to half brightness assume 100% light output mode the entire time? And would it be 40,000-ish hours to half brightness if you ran it at 50% light output the entire time?

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...
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:02 PM PST
Reed, laser projectors are unlike lamps in that they tend to work at something close to 100% of their initial brightness until the end of their life and then rapidly expire. The 20,000 hours is the expected minimum at full laser power, and yes, you will extend that if you run it at 75% or 50%, though it's not usually the simple calculation of doubling the hours at half-power. But with this projector, the most desirable picture modes -- probably Natural and Bright Cinema -- default to 75% power, and Cinema defaults to 50%. Unless you are using a large screen that requires it or battling some ambient light, there's a good chance you'll get more than 20K hours.

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.
Ryan Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:09 PM PST
Great write up! I am new owner of the LS12000 and did notice the picture being slightly softish having owned many DLPs over the years. The review mentions a sharper picture after a firmware update. Was this a special FW update sent to reviewers? I only see one FW update so far on the official Epson site and it makes no mention of sharpness improvements. Thanks!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:11 PM PST
Ryan, I am not sure if this specific update has been pushed yet to the website -- we received it via email directly from Epson. But perhaps our reviewer John Higgins can cite the version number.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:12 PM PST
Hi Ryan, it looks like the firmware update on the Epson website (v1.11) is actually newer than the update I reviewed the projector with that improved the pixel shift, so it should be included. The important thing to look for in the LS12000 Information menu is that the Pixel Shift numbers ends with V101.
Dave Grace Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:12 PM PST
Eager to also hear how the Home Cinema LS11000 compares to this unit. The specs say -200 lumens and no UB, but I'd like to know how it performs in practice. I suspect both will be hot sellers!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:13 PM PST
We hope to review that as well in the coming days and perhaps provide a comparison. The contrast specification appears significant enough to be visible in a dark theater, but as we found when comparing the 5050UB to the 4010, the deeper blacks can easily be lost in the presence of any ambient light. The difference in lumens is not significant; it's not what you're paying for when you step up to the 12000.
Ben Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:50 PM PST
Rob, great review. When you do the comparison to the 6050 if you didn't already know there has been a firmware update. The update make it a 3x pixel shifter
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:51 PM PST
Thanks for the heads up, Ben -- we haven't had our 5050UB active for a while but that would indeed be a critical update. I hadn't heard that and will investigate it.
Tom Posted Mar 21, 2022 3:49 PM PST
For some reason I thought this had HDR tone-mapping. I was really excited for that. I know you can change the setting for each movie, but some movies have really light areas or really dark areas. It's not easy to find the right setting for the HDR slider you mentioned is it? I mean you said you just generally kept it somewhere in the middle.

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?

Thoughts?
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 21, 2022 3:50 PM PST
Tom, it is a bit of a bummer there isn't dynamic tone mapping on the LS12000 (although it would have shot the price up if it did). I didn't have much of a problem finding suitable settings on the HDR slider. It probably took me longer while reviewing the projector than it would have if the projector was my own, because I was spending more time critically evaluating as opposed to just finding the one that worked best and moving on with my life.

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.
Danimanfx Posted Mar 21, 2022 4:01 PM PST
Hi, my guess is lifetime of 20000 hours in low brightness mode? No? You’d have mentioned it if were for high mode. This puts it at around 10k-12.5k hours in high mode, with 60% ish of that on the highest. 3 years of WFH, due Covid, made me completely rethink the value of lamps vs laser, after burning throughout most of a laser lifetime. Suddenly, those 8 years of gaming and movie watching, became 4. This led to the resurrection of my old Sony vw360es, and with a simple lamp replacement I reset its brightness 🔅. I hope that laser improvements to take that into consideration in the future.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 21, 2022 4:02 PM PST
For Danimanfx

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.
Greg Posted Mar 21, 2022 4:16 PM PST
What does this mean? Users should optimize the projector's placement if possible to minimize the amount of zoom required and retain brightness. So mount as close as possible?
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 21, 2022 4:17 PM PST
Hi Greg, all projectors that have an optical zoom lose brightness the farther they are from the screen, and therefore more telephoto. If your aim is for the brightest possible output from any projector, it is best to have the lens is the widest angle position possible (so yes, closer to the screen).
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 4:18 PM PST
The projector's significant zoom lens light loss means that if you want to be able to use the full lumen output of the light source, you need to have the projector's zoom at its widest angle and the throw distance at the closest possible position for the image size you want. If you end up having to use the full telephoto zoom position and place the projector far away from the screen, take 34% off the lumen count. However, the engine lifetime hours can also be affected by throw distance, because if you're closer to the screen you have the potential to use a lower laser setting to achieve the desired brightness on your screen.
Greg Posted Mar 21, 2022 4:49 PM PST
Thanks. I always thought mid zoom was preferred for contrast and black level performance. Is that not true?
John Posted Mar 21, 2022 5:00 PM PST
How does this compare to the HU810PW? Is it worth the 2k extra? Specifically how are the black levels, contrast, color and HDR handling for dark scenes in comparison?
Steven Day Posted Mar 21, 2022 6:15 PM PST
3rd paragraph I think you mean “overstated” not “understated”.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 21, 2022 6:36 PM PST
You’re absolutely right, Steven. Thank you. Change has been made, and your copy edit check is in the mail.
Dino Posted Mar 21, 2022 10:08 PM PST
Am I giving anything up if I upgrade from a JVC RS540/X790
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 21, 2022 10:10 PM PST
Dino, I have an X790 and my gut is that the only thing you might possibly be giving up--and I say possibly--is some deep black level. The X790 has a very high rated contrast for that reason, but it remains to be seen how it fares against the laser-based LS12000 with UB tech. I'll be getting a look at these two side by side in the not distant future. Otherwise, I feel the LS12000 should be the far superior projector in terms of sharpness and HDR rendering.
Stan Gale Posted Mar 21, 2022 11:02 PM PST
Not sure why people are concerned about the life of the laser. If you ran this projector 2 hours daily, 7 days a week, it would take 27.7 years to get to 20,000 hours. It'll be almost 2050 by then!
Martin Posted Mar 21, 2022 11:18 PM PST
I have a lot of blu-ray discs with 3D content and original Epson 3D glasses. So I really wanted to upgrade my Epson TW-7400 already, but unfortunately, I'll have to start looking for other brands. It's a pity, because so far I've been loyal to this brand. I have had 4 Epson projectors already.
YANG Posted Mar 21, 2022 11:59 PM PST
I have an info of Firmware detail.

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.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 22, 2022 12:02 AM PST
Thanks for sharing this, Yang.
Sean Posted Mar 22, 2022 12:34 AM PST
Did you get a chance to try out 4k120 mode and game on the projector? It's hard for consoles and even PCs to keep a perfect 120fps, did you notice screen tearing while playing at 4k120? Is it even feasible with a firmware update to implement VRR on LS12000 - is the ZX processor capable?

Would be super cool to have insight on the firmware roadmap for LS12000 - hopefully they're investigating improvement like VRR and Dynamic Tone Mapping.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 22, 2022 12:40 AM PST
Sean, I did do some gaming on my Xbox Series X with the console settings at 4K and 120Hz and games at their highest performance settings to try and push framerate. The XSX compatibility screen showed that the LS12000 was capable of it (they were connected directly and not through my AVR, which only has HDMI 2.0). With what I played (Forza 5, Sea of Thieves, Gears 5) I wasn't distracted by screen tearing. But as for actual 4K/120, we're really still waiting for console games that can do it consistently. Of those three, Gears 5 in multiplayer (not campaign) is the only one that goes past 4K/60 and approaches 120 (but I don't think it gets there, although I may be wrong). Still, the fact that the projector is capable of it is good news for the future. I was not able to test 4K/120 with my computer because my video card isn't able to drive it.

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).
Amo Posted Mar 22, 2022 3:02 AM PST
Hello! Nice review!

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…

Any news?

Thankssss!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 22, 2022 5:39 AM PST
Amo, Epson clarified what remains in the line for now and what doesn't with introduction of these new laser projectors:

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.

amo Posted Mar 22, 2022 6:48 AM PST
Thanks for your answer! I'm looking forward to a 5050 vs LS12000 comparision. It would be so useful...
Tony K Posted Mar 22, 2022 7:56 AM PST
On my 4th Epson projector now 5050UB shifted 4K Looking for native 4K that MUST support my 3D collection Sorry to say goodbye to Epson, but JVC and Optoma have 4K & 8K WITH 3D at a slightly higher price. EPSON you blew it!
Gary Posted Mar 22, 2022 8:22 AM PST
So, I spend $5000 for a first class projector and maybe several hundred dollars more to get it professionally calibrated to within a gnat's [censored] of perfection. But wait, we have this russian roulette HDR slider. Just give it a spin and maybe, if you're lucky, you get it right, but probably not! So much for the "director's intent". its amazing to me that they even have this control given that it is impossible to set objectively and setting it subjectively probably does more harm than good in most cases. There is just no way that the average user (and that includes me) is going to be able to set this control with any degree of accuracy. Maybe we will like the picture but it won't be accurate. Now maybe you think I'm being harsh. But in your writeup you make it sound like its no big deal, just something you have to deal with everytime you want to watch something in HDR. But, to me it is a very big deal. With dynamic tone mapping I would have gotten the 12000 in a heart beat. Without, I will just stick with my 5050 (I know, it has the same slider). I can buy a lot of lamps for the added cost of the 12000.
John Posted Mar 22, 2022 1:53 PM PST
Great review John! Each color mode has very different “image enhancement” settings. When you settled on Natural mode, did you get a chance to evaluate super-resolution settings or different “image preset modes?”
Stan Posted Mar 23, 2022 3:24 AM PST
No 3D = Deal breaker.

What were they thinking?
Ron Borne Posted Mar 23, 2022 6:49 AM PST
Would using the Panasonic UB9000 4K Blu-ray player, with its tone mapping abilities, make up for the absence of the LS12000 watching a Blu-ray movie? Thank you
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 23, 2022 6:50 AM PST
Ron, I'll answer the question with the assumption you're asking if the Panasonic UHD Blu-ray player with tone-mapping features can replace the lack of dynamic tone-mapping in the LS12000. The answer is no, because those Panasonic players don't do dynamic tone-mapping. What they do is a remapping of their internal sources (UHD BD disc or internal streaming apps) to accommodate the lower brightness threshold of a projector. As I understand it, by setting the player's brightness threshold to its low level of 500 nits or less, which is closer to what a projector can do than the typical 1,000 nits or more of a TV, it will issue a different static tone-map that will already be taking down the brightest highlights in the content to something that the projector can better handle, which should result in less messing with the HDR slider on the Epsons. But it's not a replacement for true dynamic tone mapping. Perhaps some readers who have experience with this on the 5050UB can comment.
Wayne blankenship Posted Mar 23, 2022 7:05 AM PST
Enjoyed your article. Is there a 4k blu ray player with stretch mode (anamorphic mode) currently on the market. Thanks for a reply. Waynespobox@msn.com
Tom Posted Mar 23, 2022 11:26 AM PST
I kind of agree with Gary above. Spend $5k and no tone-mapping. The Sony 325 has Tone-Mapping. The JVCs do too. Seems like a big miss. This Epson literally has everything I wanted EXCEPT the tone-mapping. Maybe with this drop of a projector, JVC will reduce the cost of their 2100 model down from $10,000 to something more in line? Because that one seems to have it all.
Tony Posted Mar 23, 2022 11:37 AM PST
Great review!

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?

Thanks!
Tom Posted Mar 23, 2022 11:40 AM PST
I guess my REAL question would be, "How effective is this tone-mapping?" "Is it a gimmick?" Is it worth the extra money? Because I have to say, I have a 4 year old JVC and when HDR is on, there are just some scenes that are tooooo dark or toooo light.

What say you experts?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 23, 2022 12:11 PM PST
Tom, it's unclear if you're referring to the NX series of native 4K projectors or the prior generation of 1080p pixel shifters. If it's pre-NX series, then the projector is applying static tone mapping and you would likely see outlier content that would fall into the too-dark or too-bright range prior to adjustment. If it's the NX series and it's fully up to date on firmware for true dynamic tone-mapping (probably what you meant), the answer is that no dynamic tone-mapping scheme we've seen so far is absolutely perfect with all content. Decisions are made by the engineers about how the algorithm should behave in the presence of different highlights, low-points, and average picture levels, and these may be too dark or too bright for your taste, or not work well with your screen material, or whatever. The JVCs do let you get in there and tune it if you're not liking what you're seeing, the LG projectors do not. But note that Epson makes no claim here to dynamic tone mapping; they just give you a very wide ranging control to accommodate a wide range of content, and provide a bit of fine tuning to individual frames and scenes with the adaptive gamma processing.
Andreas Posted Mar 23, 2022 12:15 PM PST
Hi and thanks for a good review. Have you noticed any difference in detail and sharpness compared to a native 4k projector and Epson? My screen is 139 ” and I sit about 4 meters from the picture.
Donnie Posted Mar 23, 2022 5:37 PM PST
With manufacturers claiming WILDLY exaggerated contrast numbers and with your website being called "Projector Central" you should come up with a repeatable and reliable way to provide meaningful native contrast info. for all projectors reviewed.
Robert Posted Mar 23, 2022 9:15 PM PST
What are the odds that Epson will do dynamic tone mapping via a firmware update? Is it worth the extra $$ to get dynamic mapping with a bulb based JVC NP5?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 24, 2022 5:25 AM PST
Robert, I don’t think we could count on DTM to be added to this and if it is even possible and they were working on it, Epson could not announce this lest they mislead potential buyers. As for the comparison with the NP5, that’s an interesting one. I’d be curious to see how the contrast/blacks compare when you face off the laser modulation of the LS 12000 with the lamp-based iris control (and deep LCOS native blacks) of the JVC. I think the value of the $2000 premium for JVCs DTM would have to be weighed against the overall image performance and your need for an automated solution, as well as where you place the value of zero lamp replacements.
Steve Posted Mar 25, 2022 6:06 AM PST
I was eagerly waiting for this, but my dreams crashed when they dropped 3D. Been loyal to Epson for many years, hate to part ways. Have been reading glowing review about Benq X3000i, its getting stellar reviews and folks are raving about its excellent 3D (3K lumens+ 4LED light source + 0.65 DMD chip). Mostly go for this.
Benevolent Posted Mar 25, 2022 2:01 PM PST
John and Rob, can you briefly comment on x3000i image quality vs the ls12000 please? (Black floor, color accuracy, sharpness, overall image preference). Would a grey or ALR screen make up for a black floor difference if the x3000i was on a grey screen vs ls12000 with white screen? Use case: 50% movies / 50% xbox series x.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Mar 25, 2022 2:03 PM PST
The LS12000 and X3000i are in completely different leagues. The black level on the LS12000 is superior by a good margin. Laser light sources have better black level than LED in general, and black on the X3000i are even a bit high for LED. I can't imagine any screen being able to make up the difference between the two.

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).
Stephen Posted Mar 25, 2022 10:12 PM PST
Thanks for the great review. How would you compare this to the Sony VPL-VW325ES? I am going to purchase one or the other and there is not much price difference. I have a complete light controlled room. Thanks so much.
Tony Posted Mar 28, 2022 10:55 AM PST
Any chance of Epson adding VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) to this projector, or is that not even something that projectors can theoretically do? It's the one feature that has me debating just buying a large OLED instead for gaming.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 28, 2022 11:18 AM PST
I have no info on this, Tony.
Havish Posted Mar 29, 2022 8:45 AM PST
I am considering upgrading to this projector from a Epson 4010. When I looked at the throw distance calculator, for the same throw distance (21 ft), image size (110 in diagonal) and screen gain (1.0), I see that the projectorcentral prediction for brightness is much greater for the 4010 (55 fL) than it is for the LS12000 (36 fL). However, the manufacturer spec for both are very similar (51 fL for 4010 vs 50 fL for LS12000). Is there some design difference in the LS12000 due to which the estimate from projectorcentral is so much lower? In general, is much lower brightness something that people considering upgrading to this projector from a lamp based projector like the 4010 or the 5050 UBe should be concerned about?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 29, 2022 9:05 AM PST
Havish, once we have tested a projector we will have the measurement for the zoom lens light loss, which then gets factored into our light estimates based on the zoom position. In this case, the long zoom lens in the LS12000 has a measured maximum zoom lens light loss of 35% vs the 26% we measured in the HC4010, so with a long throw distance like yours the greater loss of light will come more into play.
Fred Posted Mar 29, 2022 11:17 AM PST
Any idea why 1080p is getting such a slower input lag compared to 4K?

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…
Jason Posted Mar 30, 2022 5:31 AM PST
Rob you posted above that laser projectors maintain most of their light output until their rated life and then rapidly decline. Most of what I have read elsewhere has indicated that while very slow, dimming is linear over time. So if 50% loss at 20k hours, 25% loss at 10K hours. Have you communicated with manufacturer engineers about this and does it vary by manufacture or even model? Thanks.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 30, 2022 5:40 AM PST
Thanks, Jason. I can't say I've read much on the subject but this was information given to me by a manufacturer when I asked that question. I'm not sure how many folks have actually experienced the burnout of a laser projector at this point with the tech being relatively new and it having such a long lifespan. But this is something I'll now investigate further, but I'll be careful about preaching any gospel till I know more.
Keith Posted Mar 30, 2022 8:07 AM PST
I have a JVC NX7 that lit up a 120" screen. I am building a new room in my new house and am really concerned about its light output to fill a 150" 16:9 screen. The NZ line looks great but the prices seem a bit steep. Would you recommend the Epson to someone in my situation or is my NX7 up to the task?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 30, 2022 9:14 AM PST
Keith, the NX7 is such a fine projector that I would certainly hold onto it and see how you feel when you blow it up to that size. You can always consider your upgrade options at that point. I assume the projector isn't set up now while you rebuild, but if it is still set up with your 120-inch screen you can always zoom it out beyond the borders to see generally how it looks. Also, keep in mind that if you are making a new room and have the option to move the projector closer to the screen, you may find that light output is close due to the elimination of some zoom lens light loss, which is considerable with these long, multi-element zooms, typically a penalty above 20% and sometimes much higher for using the full telephoto zoom position.
Durin Erwan Posted Mar 31, 2022 2:34 PM PST
Hi, many thanks for your perfect feedback. I would like buy my first 4K projector and it's very difficult to choose one. Please help me to choose between : Epson LS12000, Lg HU810PW, JVC LX-NZ3B

Best Regards.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 31, 2022 2:48 PM PST
Durin, not to be disrespectful here to JVC, which makes along with Sony perhaps the finest home theater projectors on the planet, but the LX-NZ3B is a basic single-chip DLP projector tossed into the company's line to accommodate high brightness environments as a relatively low price point and is not in the same class as the other two. Regarding the Epson and LG, there is a $2,000 price difference to the LS12000 that factors into lens quality and the benefits of a 3-chip configuration you get with the Epson, not to mention what I'm guessing are noticeably deeper black level compared with the single-chip DLP LG. The LG has dynamic tone mapping, which is a plus, but with no adjustability by the user, while the Epson has essentially a manual tone-mapping control but can handle a wider range of content as needed. But we haven't looked at these projectors side by side to make that call with certainty.
Dave Posted Apr 1, 2022 9:29 PM PST
I have been closely following the advance of 4k projectors for a couple years now anxiously looking forward to upgrading my aging Panasonic AE3000 and I always felt that HDR was going to be a significant upgrade along with the 4k resolution.

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.
doyle Posted Apr 2, 2022 5:10 PM PST
I own an LS1200. Upgraded from an Epson 3700. Owned various projectors for 20 years.

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.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 2, 2022 8:16 PM PST
Doyle, you took the words right out of my mouth about the lack here of true dynamic HDR. The same setting will work well for 95% of movies, but it's nice to know when you get an outlier you can hit a button on the remote and move a control a couple of clicks to bring the projector to full performance. You know, you can spend $3K on an LG HU810 and get dynamic tone mapping with zero ability to adjust or tune it, so you are absolutely stuck with their algorithm. Or you can spend a lot more on a JVC and still likely have to fine tune for the occasional title. Or on a Sony, and also still have to ride the control from time to time.
ELmO Posted Apr 3, 2022 6:37 PM PST
There are very few 4k 120hz projectors (:affordable") for us gamers. This is a good review but I would have loved to hear the high refresh rate performance. BENQ X3000i is not good enough for me at 1080p240hz. Some competitive shooters probably appreciate that refresh rate but 1080p and a projector don't go hand in hand with me anymore. It's a shame they only have that res and 4k/60. A 1440p/120hz might have been a good capability if possible. X3000i at 4k 60 it's just "another 4k" projector. I'm looking at this Epson LS now for 4k 120, otherwise pay for the JVC 4K 120.
Pierce Posted Apr 6, 2022 7:13 PM PST
What is the point of having eARC? Can the projector send sound out of one port? There's no speaker or other audio out.... what does it do?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 6, 2022 7:15 PM PST
Pierce, I'm at a bit of a loss myself about the value of this given that the projector has no on-board streaming and, unlike a UST projector that sits on a console and may have other sources connected to it, the great likelihood with a high end long throw projector like this is that you'll make one long HDMI connection to it from an A/V receiver or other switching device and connect all your sources there. But I suppose that if you connected a streaming stick to the second HDMI port you could use the eARC port to send audio back to an outboard sound system. Again, just not sure of the logic.
Ian Posted Apr 6, 2022 7:47 PM PST
Is there a rated or measured input lag for 4K/120hz?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 7, 2022 6:49 AM PST
The Bodnar 4K lag meters we use top out at 4K/60 or 1080p/120. I hope they will update this device to allow us to measure 4k/120.
Mark Posted Apr 9, 2022 11:35 AM PST
I'm looking at upgrading from my trusty 5040ub. My needs are complex. I use the PJ 85% for gaming, the balance for movies. I use an anamorphic lens constantly in the light path.

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!
FJA Posted Apr 10, 2022 4:31 AM PST
I've been out of the projector game since my last purchase, 5020UB, which I've always been really happy with. Now though I need something new especially with less gaming lag. This is on my radar now but since I've been out for so long, can someone explain to me contrast ratios? Have things changed? My 5020UBe is rated at 320,000:1, was this is a different measurement or just marketing because otherwise it's seems like new PJs are a step backward?
James Ham Posted Apr 11, 2022 5:21 AM PST
Ever since I added a Lumagen Radiance Pro 4242 to my JVC RS500, I've been a fan of DTM and now consider it an essential part of the kit in my 120" HT. At the LS12000's very reasonable (IME) price point, I would have been tempted to buy/try it (marrying it to the LRP) to check out its laser performance specifically for 3D content. I find it interesting and curious that the "EPSON" insider commented that 3D is considered niche. My money follows where 3D goes.
Roger Miall Posted Apr 11, 2022 2:23 PM PST
I live in London UK. I got the LS12000 December 2021 £4400. It’s like I’ve got a new film collection - I can’t believe I’ve watched these before - the picture quality is amazing. Have had several projectors before - all recommended by this site - and this blows them all away
Dan Posted Apr 12, 2022 5:26 AM PST
Just wanted to say thanks for the review, and for engaging in the comments. Currently planning to get an LS12000 as our first projector when we buy our first house next year 🤞
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 12, 2022 5:59 AM PST
Thanks for the comments, Dan.
BobD Posted Apr 13, 2022 12:28 PM PST
Am considering an upgrade from my Sony VPL-HW45 to this LS12000. My question will betray how long I've been an HT hobbyist. Are dust blobs still an issue with LCD projectors? I remember some very annoying experiences back in the day, and some half-way measures like a rubber air blower. Got away from that with a DLP for years, followed by my Sony. I'm hoping that the lower heat generated finally allows a sealed light path?
sajid khan Posted Apr 14, 2022 9:11 PM PST
hi rob,currently im using the epson tw9400 and now want to buy the ls12000...the only and only imperfect thing about the 9400 is the constant judder in all camera pan shots...is this also prevailent in the ls12000?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 15, 2022 10:26 AM PST
I don't know, Sajid, but what I can say is that the LS12000 has a new processor and a different platform for delivering 4K content, so it wouldn't surprise me if this is different in the new model.
Chris Posted Apr 16, 2022 10:06 AM PST
John this is an excellent review and I greatly appreciate the comment responses as well. I'm weighing the benefit of a native 4K projector versus this pixel shifting 4K model. Is there a significant picture quality difference? Is this related to distance from screen to projector? I look forward to your review of the JVC NP5 for comparison. Thank you!
Andrew Posted Apr 17, 2022 10:44 PM PST
Hi Rob,

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.

Thanks
Peter Posted Apr 18, 2022 2:16 PM PST
I am ready to replace my 10 year old 8700 UB (2 Lamps) and would love to see the comparison done with the LS12000 and the 6050UB that was mentioned. I do not have much time left as the 8700 is whining, whirring and groaning. When can we expect the review? Thank to all!!!
Safe11x Posted Apr 21, 2022 3:33 PM PST
Hey guys, great review! Question though: were you able to test the resolution in 4K/120Hz? As this is a quad shift projector using 1080p panels I’m trying to figure out how it’s possible to do a full phat 4K/120Hz. My suspicion is the resolution drops when operating at 120Hz. If it doesn’t I would greatly like to know how they are achieving this!
John D Posted Apr 24, 2022 3:31 PM PST
How did you measure 1080p@120hz input lag?

According to LeoBodnar.com, the 4k tester doesn't have a 120hz mode. Does it actually support 1080@120?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 24, 2022 3:40 PM PST
John, although it's not "official," if you are using the latest firmware on the Bodnar 4K meter, there is a beta 1080p/120 test available in one of the unassigned options in the desktop software that is used to select the signal type. So far we've used it with no issues. Still missing is a 4K/120 option, which I hope they are working on -- though it's unclear if there's a hardware limitation in the current meter that would prevent them from doing that with firmware.
Citizen J Posted Apr 26, 2022 4:38 AM PST
Will my old ALR screen be suitable for this projector? Do I need to replace it with a CLR screen?
John Posted Apr 26, 2022 4:45 AM PST
Hello, first off thanks for the review, very insightful and detailed. How is the motion handling on this model, I own 6050 and there is simply no ''Smooth'' option like Sony has, they have this settings that is between none and soap opera effect, really smooth one, 6050 does not have that.

Also curious about 1080p upscalling, even shittier (low bitrate) source. My Sony FALD tv does this really well, 6050 okay-ish.

Thank you
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 26, 2022 5:00 AM PST
Citizen J, this is a standard long-throw projector rather than an ultra short throw, which is where you would look to use a ceiling light rejecting screen. Your existing ALR screen should be fine if you have been using a long-throw projector to date.
ArifT Posted Apr 26, 2022 10:06 PM PST
Hi Rob, thanks for a great review. I was sold on the LS12000 but I am now tempted by the newly announced Sony VPL-XW5000ES-W. Based on specs would this be the better buy for an extra $1k? Thanks in advance.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 27, 2022 7:10 AM PST
Based on specs the LS12000 is brighter but in terms of black level/contrast and sharpness/resolution we won't know till we look at them together. I have both in house now and plan to do that.
sajid khan Posted May 3, 2022 8:12 PM PST
so i did an extensive test of this projector last night...having used projectors since the mid 90s all i can say without any bias that this one doesnt handle flesh tones accurately,the black levels are still gray,overall pq is on the softer side...the lamp based 9400 still beats it...if you are only going to watch 1080p content then the 12000 is good...but i was disappointed when it displayed 4k...trust me epson missed a few beats here...gonna wait for the sony 5000
Victor Posted May 6, 2022 7:12 AM PST
Does epson have ust lens for this projector?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 6, 2022 7:23 AM PST
Strictly the attached zoom lens.
AmitPalAp Posted May 10, 2022 12:44 AM PST
Rob, you answered a question regarding to lamp replacing. You said that after about 10 yrs, there is no need to change a coastly laser lamp. My question is that if after 10 years someone replaces a traditional lamp of 5060UB or 5050UB to continue the using it, why the owner of laser projector cannot continue his projector ?

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 ?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 10, 2022 5:40 AM PST
There are other factors that may come into play which cause projectors to die, but depending on the projector and its ability to withstand other forms of aging you are correct. This is in fact a potential negative of laser or LED projection. I am contacted frequently by readers who are finally thinking about changing out their first generation 1080p projectors after well more than 10 years of use and multiple lamp replacements, and only because they figure it's time to join the 4K revolution. (The old Panasonics, particularly, seem to last a long time.) When I reviewed the JVC DLA-NZ7 laser projector, I commented that its contrast specifications were inferior to the DLA-NX7 lamp projector that at that moment cost the same, and that there was the potential to see it last longer over time since you could keep replacing the lamp.

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.
David Posted May 12, 2022 8:25 AM PST
Nice review. I just placed an order for the LS12000 which will be mounted in my dedicated home theater. My theater is completely light controlled with dark walls and ceiling, a real bat cave. The screen is an SMX woven model with a 0.85 gain. You mention in your reviews that out of the box using Natural mode the projector is quite accurate Would you still suggest a professional calibration? Would using something like one of the discs below be enough together with Natural mode? - Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark (UHD Blu-ray Disc) - Diversified Video Solutions test patterns and calibration discs
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 12, 2022 8:40 AM PST
David, it's always a good idea when spending $5K for a projector to go a few hundred dollars more and bring in a pro to dial it in. That said, the discs/test patterns will help you properly set your black level and peak white for your screen and image size, and you don't need instruments for that. Dialing in the grayscale color balance and luminance across the full brightness range, as well as insuring that color primaries are best adjusted to insure the most accurate saturation throughout the saturation range and not just at 100% saturation, are things a calibrator with instruments can help with. Making these tweaks can be noticeable on screen even with a projector that's fairly accurate out of the box, while also providing some peace of mind that you are extracting the very best performance from your considerable investment in high end hardware.
Maarten Posted May 17, 2022 1:39 PM PST
Hi, thanks for the review One question; the TW9400/6050UB is slow in switching between resolutions and refresh rates. Is the LS12000 any faster? Eg when I switch from 4K 60hz hdr to 24hz from an Apple TV, the screen goes black and it takes about 8sec for the image to come back.

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