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Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projector
Performance
4.5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Canon REALiS SX80 Projector Canon REALiS SX80
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900:1 Contrast Ratio
3000 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Review: Canon REALiS SX80

Evan Powell, July 18, 2008

Advantages

Excellent color accuracy. The factory preset sRGB mode was almost perfectly calibrated coming out of the box. All we did to tweak it was add +1 to Blue Gain and Offset on the VGA port. At these settings the gray scale tracked almost perfectly at 6500K all the way to 100 IRE.

Brightness. Many projectors will lose a great deal of their rated light output when set to optimum color performance. Not so the SX80. In the factory preset sRGB mode, and with the lens at the wide angle setting, the SX80 measured a very substantial 2420 ANSI lumens of brightness. At the opposite end of the lens, at maximum telephoto, the projector still measured 2012 ANSI Lumens. Thus, the zoom lens loses only 17% of its full light potential in moving from maximum wide angle to maximum telephoto. This is noteworthy considering the fact that many zoom lenses in the 1.5x range can lose up to 30% or more.

The SX80 has several other factory preset operating modes. Presentation mode is brighter and colder. With the lens in wide angle position it measured 2793 lumens, or very close to the theoretical maximum. Standard mode measured 2376 lumens, and Movie mode was 1863 lumens.

The SX80 has a low lamp mode that will extend lamp life from 2000 to 2500 hours. Since replacement lamps retail at $579, any additional life you can get from the lamp will be welcome. Running with the lamp on Low will reduce lumen output in any operating mode by 23%.

No visible pixelation. One of the key advantages of LCOS technology is the virtual absence of visible pixel structure. You won't see any screendoor effect on the SX80.

Low fan noise. The industry has been doing a good job of making projectors quieter than they used to be. Nevertheless, since this model can pump out up to 3000 lumens in a relatively small 11.5 lb package, you'd expect some fan noise along with it. To our surprise, the fan noise even with the lamp on full power was remarkably low and unobtrusive, and in low lamp mode the projector was downright quiet.

Good connectivity. The SX80 offers a variety of inputs including one each of HDMI, DVI-I, VGA, and the conventional array of analog video inputs. There is also one VGA monitor loop-through and three audio inputs (which unfortunately drive a small, tinny-sounding one watt speaker).

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