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Epson Pro Cinema 1985 Projector Epson Pro Cinema 1985
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10000:1 Contrast Ratio
4800 Lumens
$1,849 Street Price
$2,499 MSRP

Epson Pro Cinema 1985

Evan Powell, December 18, 2015

The Epson Pro Cinema 1985 is all about delivering a bright, high resolution (1920x1200) picture in ambient light. Though it carries the name "Pro Cinema," it is really more of a hybrid cinema/business design that could find good application anywhere ambient light is an issue, from sports bars to corporate conference rooms. It lacks 3D, detail enhancement, and frame interpolation, three features that are now common in cinema projectors including many of Epson's models. Meanwhile, it incorporates an array of business features like its native 16:10 aspect ratio, a pointer on the remote, digital zoom, a front foot for quick elevation in portable set up, auto-keystone, A/V muting, and an onboard speaker.

So the 1985 is essentially a commercial business projector with better video capability than you'd typically expect on a business projector. Whether your need is for big screen sports presentation in a pub or casino sports book, or detailed financial spreadsheets in the boardroom, the Epson 1985 is definitely a projector to look at. It delivers high image brightness and HD resolution in a small, easy to install package at a modest price.

Picture Quality

The Epson 1985 has a variety of color presets depending on whether you want more brightness and less color fidelity, or less brightness in exchange for more accurate color. The Dynamic preset shows the most bias toward green and is also the brightest option. The Presentation and Sports modes show less of a greenish tint than Dynamic, but still manifest a moderately green bias.

The two modes that show the most accurate color balance are Theater and sRGB. Essentially, Theatre is an enhanced version of sRGB, with higher brightness, and better saturation and contrast. Appropriately named, the Theatre mode will be the best choice for users wanting to get the most satisfying video picture from the 1985.

At full lamp power, the Theatre mode produces about 3000 lumens, and in eco-mode it is about 2000 lumens. By comparison, the Epson 5030UB's Living Room mode, after color balance adjustments, measured 1550 lumens, although with much higher contrast and superior black levels. These two projectors sell in the ballpark of the same price, and offer you the choice of a brighter but less refined picture on the 1985, or the less bright image but better picture quality on the 5030UB.

In all of the 1985's presets the Sharpness control defaults to 0. However, the Sharpness control is on a scale from -5 to +5, so 0 is the midpoint of the enhanced sharpening algorithms. The -5 position is where sharpening is fully off. In viewing video, we agree with the designer's choice to set Sharpness at 0, as the picture appears too soft with no sharpening applied. However, when viewing spreadsheets and complex graphics, the sharpening algorithms add a harshness that we don't care for. For this type of subject matter, you get the cleanest picture with Sharpness set to -5.

The 1985 is an excellent projector for boardroom/conference room display of text, spreadsheets, graphics, and Powerpoint presentations. And its video is plenty solid for commercial use in varying degrees of ambient light. With lights off, depending on the size and type of screen, it may lack the dynamic range to deliver a satisfying image with lower than average light level material such as night scenes in movies.

The weakest aspect of the 1985's image is black levels and shadow detail/separation. This weakness becomes most noticeable when the projector is used on a very large screen with movie material that contains a lot of dark scenes. Accordingly, this product is not recommended for home theater use.

If the anticipated subject matter is sports programming for pub and casino sports book presentation, the modest black levels on the 1985 are much less of a limitation since the average light levels in sports programming material are above average and there is very little "dark scene" presentation. Moreover, the brightness of the 1985's image boosts visible contrast. The use of an ambient light rejection screen will also add significant pop to the end result, making the picture look like a very large screen high contrast TV.

Professional installers will want to experiment with the variables of screen size, ambient light rejection screen materials, and anticipated ambient light to determine the optimal solutions for the commercial installations they are working with. But in the hands of pros who know these products, the Epson 1985 is capable of being set up in commercial venues to produce a bold and dramatic video image, such that it's less than stellar black levels are rendered irrelevant.


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Review Contents: Picture Quality Key Features Performance Set Up and Install
  Limitations and Conclusion

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