There is a new 6,000-lumen projector available from Canon for medium-size venues. The REALiS WUX6000 is a WUXGA (1920x1200) projector designed for permanent installations in auditoriums, churches, and training centers where a big, bright image is required. Like its few competitors, the WUX6000 can accommodate several different lenses including four zoom lenses and one fixed-focal length short-throw lens. Unlike its competitors, the WUX6000 incorporates powered zoom, focus, and lens shift where its competitors offer only manual adjustments. If you have ever teetered on a stepladder or scaffold 25 feet off the floor trying to set zoom, focus, and lens shift on a newly installed projector, you will appreciate the convenience of making these adjustments from ground level with the handheld remote control.
At a street price of $4,199 without a lens assembly, the WUX6000 is priced well below its competitors who average in the $5,000 range. When a standard zoom lens is added, the WUX6000 costs about $4,750 which is from $300 to $900 below other manufacturers. It is more cumbersome to change lens assemblies on the WUX6000 than on competitive models, but that results from the more stringent support requirements of a power- assisted lens. However, lenses in permanent installations are almost never changed once installed.
As an added bonus, the WUX6000 is the lightest and smallest of the medium-size venue projectors, so it is less of a wrestling match to get it installed. And for those installations where a long throw is required, the WUX6000's ultra-long throw lens (RS-IL04UL) has a 1.95:1 zoom ratio which makes it easier to get the right sized image than its competitors with smaller zoom ratios.
After installing the powered zoom lens of your choice (more on that later), you are in for a treat. The WUX6000 uses three LCOS displays to put up exceptionally color accurate and stunning images. The factory preset for video material (Cinema) is right on the money, and flesh tones are very natural. The quality of the video image belies the WUX6000's native contrast specification of 1,000:1 (up to 2,000:1) as highlights and shadows are rendered with depth and detail. There is no frame interpolation from the WUX6000, so some 24 FPS judder is seen in certain slow panning scenes, but there are also no artifacts which can result from such frame processing.
Switching to photos and choosing the Photo/sRGB image mode displays well-modulated, crisp photos with noticeable depth. Image lighting is uniform, and edge-to-edge focus is excellent. Data projections and small-font text are easily readable even with full keystone correction. And while the built-in 5-watt speaker may not be effective in a large room, it provides more than enough volume for table top viewing. Cooling fan noise is higher than you would want for a small room, but with the WUX6000 mounted well above or behind your audience, the mid-frequency fan noise will not be a distraction.
Image adjustments abound on the WUX6000. There are seven different preset image modes with nine color adjustments ranging from level, balance, and color temperature to gain, balance, and offset for RGB along with a six-axis color adjustment menu for fine tuning if desired. Edge blending is effective for seamlessly combing two extended images, and a picture-by-picture function projects two digital images in a letterbox side-by-side format.
With so many potential settings, it was nice to see that Canon has provided not one or two but five User settings which can store individual image preferences. The WUX6000's menu is extensive but easy to understand and navigate. The remote control is especially well designed and has several one-button selections for choices such as lamp intensity, aspect ratio, and image mode. Inputs accommodated range from analog video to computer and HDMI content as well as a USB-A connection. While there is a DVI-I input, a second HDMI input would have provided some additional cabling flexibility.
One aspect of the WUX6000 worth mentioning is its broad range of networking options. One such option is the Network Multi Projection (NMPJ) function whose four modes (Direct, Meeting, Classroom, and Broadcast) enable display of up to ten PCs to as many as six projectors. Also, there are RJ-45 and RS-232 inputs for remote control and monitoring using protocols from AMX and Crestron.
The WUX6000's maintenance is comparable to its competitors with both its lamp and air filter needing occasional replacement. The lamp life is 3,000 hours at full brightness and 4,000 hours in Eco mode. A replacement lamp (RS-LP09) can be purchased for about $420. The WUX6000 is warranted for three years, and its lamp for 120 days.
Lens Choices.Canon's reputation for quality lenses is well known, and the optional lenses for the WUX6000 are consistent with that reputation. The Standard Zoom Lens has a 1.5:1 zoom ratio and a throw ratio from 1.49-2.24. The Long Focus Zoom Lens has a slightly higher zoom ratio (1.7:1) and larger throw ratio (2.19-3.74), and the Ultra Long Focus Zoom Lens has a large zoom ratio (1.95:1) and throw ratio (3.55-6.94). In addition to these zoom lenses, Canon also offers a Short Focus Zoom Lens with a 1.5:1 zoom ratio and unique throw ratio of 1.00-1.50:1, and an Ultra Wide Angle Lens with a fixed throw ratio of 0.80:1. This selection of lenses provides all the flexibility you will need to handle most installation requirements.
Image Positioning Convenience. Like most medium-size venue projectors, the WUX6000 has keystone correction and lens shift capability. No matter how careful you are with your installation, you will need some fine tuning for image position, and the WUX6000 has everything you need to position the image exactly on the screen. The real advantage offered by the WUX60000 is its powered zoom, focus, and lens shift. Without endangering life or limb, you can set any of those parameters by pushing a button on the remote control.
Size and Weight. At 19.7 pounds including the standard zoom lens and dimensions of 6.7"x15.0"x16.9", the WUX6000 is easier to get mounted than any of its competitors. When trying to attach a projector to an extension tube or a wall mount, it is true that size matters and the smaller the better. A ceiling mount for the WUX6000 can be purchased for $999.
Cost. Compared to its contemporaries, the WUX6000 is less expensive regardless of which optional powered zoom lens is chosen. And as usual, it pays to shop around: one vendor currently offers the WUX6000 and includes the standard powered zoom lens for a total of $3,995 which is more than $1,000 under than the nearest competitor's price for projector and standard lens.
4-Point Keystone Correction. Virtually all projectors have vertical and horizontal keystone correction, but the WUX60000 goes one step further and offers 4-point keystone correction, allowing you to adjust all four corners independently for those times when the projection surface is not flat. Four simple button activations correct nicely for image corner distortion.
No Rainbow Artifacts. Since it is a three-panel design, the WUX6000 is not subject to the rainbow artifacts that bother some viewers of DLP-based projector images.
Brightness. While the WUX6000 is rated at 6,000 lumens, our test unit produced 5,480 lumens in Dynamic mode, its brightest color mode. Other modes put up the following: Presentation - 5,250 lumens; Standard - 4,805 lumens; Vivid/Photo - 4,690 lumens; Photo/sRGB - 4,935 lumens; Video - 4,350 lumens; and Cinema - 4,510 lumens. Eco lamp mode decreased brightness by about 26% while going from wide angle to full zoom resulted in a 16% reduction in brightness.
Brightness Uniformity. Uniformity was outstanding at 95% with no hot spots.
Image Size and Offset. The WUX6000 is well designed for ceiling or back wall mounting. Depending on the optional zoom lens installed, a 200" image can be projected from as close as 11'4" or as far away as 97'8". The ultra-long focus zoom lens (RS-IL04UL offers the greatest flexibility with a zoom range of nearly 2:1 depending on the zoom setting. The bottom of the image is roughly at the lens centerline, but with vertical lens shift of -15% to +55% the image can be adjusted to fit a variety of situations. In addition, there is horizontal lens shift of ±10% should the image not be quite centered on the screen.
Fan Noise and Heat. Even though fan noise is relatively high, it is typical for projectors of this brightness. Since the projector is likely to be mounted on a wall or from a drop tube, the effect of noise and heat exhaust on the audience is negligible.
No Frame Interpolation. In certain slow-panning movie scenes, some judder can be seen in the WUX6000's projected image. Some competitors have implemented frame interpolation schemes to minimize the judder, but Canon has opted to leave it out. The upside is that frame interpolation can introduce some artifacts of its own, so this is a minor limitation since judder is seldom an issue.
No HDBaseT Compatibility. Although the WUX6000 does not offer it, several projector manufacturers are providing HDBaseT compatibility to minimize the cabling requirements for permanent installations. This might be a nice addition for the next projector in the Canon R series.
Lens Change Complexity. Once the WUX6000 has been installed properly, there is little chance that its powered lens assembly will need to be changed, but if that is required, it is a cumbersome task high off the floor. The top cover, a lens retaining assembly, and the lens itself must be handled sequentially, and some of the screws involved are not captive. This is a task best done on solid ground.
Every now and then, a really superior product comes along and raises the bar. The Canon REALiS WUX6000 is one of those products. It performs well in all modes, offers real flexibility for installation requirements, and is smaller and lighter than its competition. For every lens configuration, it is less expensive than its competitors, and it offers the convenience of powered zoom, focus, and lens shift. It could offer a bit more in terms of interface options, but overall it is a superior projector, and it merits our highest value rating.