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Review Contents
Performance
4
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Optoma HD8300 Projector Optoma HD8300
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Street Price: n/a
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:30,000:1
Lumens:1500
Weight: 18.5 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.5x manual
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:3,000 Hrs
4,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$379.00
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI 1.4a (x2), USB, RS232, 12-Volt Trigger (x2),
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576p

Optoma HD8300
DLP 3D 1080p Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, September 28, 2011

Shootout:
Optoma HD8300 vs. Panasonic PT-AE7000U

So what happens when you put a $4499 DLP 3D 1080p projector up against a $2999 LCD 3D 1080p projector? We put the Optoma HD8300 and the Panasonic PT-AE7000U (read our Panasonic AE7000 review) side-by-side and took a look. This is what we found.

Light output. The HD8300's Cinema mode is brighter than that of the AE7000 by a fair margin - 996 lumens versus 526 lumens using the high lamp and wide angle settings for both projectors. This will make the HD8300 more useful for very large screens in rooms with good ambient light control, while theaters with smaller screens might benefit from the AE7000. The AE7000 has Normal mode, which cranks out 1300 lumens and has no direct analogue on the HD8300--Bright mode loses too much color fidelity and contrast to be directly comparable. However, keep in mind that the HD8300's Cinema mode produces 996 lumens with perfect color balance, while Normal mode sacrifices some color performance to reach that level of brightness. In a very bright room, the AE7000's Dynamic mode produces 1685 lumens which the HD8300 cannot match. As you can see, each projector has its advantages, depending on the situation.

Contrast. The AE7000 is rated at 300,000:1 contrast while the HD8300 is rated at 30,000:1. While we will be the first to tell anyone that specs never tell the whole story, they do sometimes offer a grain of truth. Black level on the AE7000 is clearly deeper in almost all scenes while the AE7000's dynamic range has a slight edge as well.

The photo below shows both the AE7000 and the HD8300. Note the higher dynamic range and deeper black level of the AE7000. Both projectors were simultaneously projecting onto the same screen, a Stewart Studiotek 100, using an HDMI splitter and a Blu-ray of 50 First Dates. Both projectors were calibrated using our CalMAN calibration system to put them on an equal footing. We put the AE7000 in high lamp mode and the HD8300 in standard mode. As both images were captured in a single exposure, this photograph illustrates the relative difference between the two projectors. The HD8300 is still brighter despite the lower lamp mode, but the AE7000 shows greater contrast, detail, and color saturation:

AE7000 (top) vs. HD8300 (bottom)
These two projectors are displaying an identical image simultaneously. This is a single photograph of the two images at once.

Color. Both the HD8300 and the AE7000 have very good color before calibration, and both improve even further with calibration. The HD8300 has more granular controls, so it's easier to fine-tune the projector to the exact value you need. On the other hand, the AE7000 is closer to D65 by default and has a stronger red than the HD8300, where red appears slightly weak in comparison. Both projectors are usable without calibration, but both improve substantially with a bit of fine-tuning.



Grayscale tracking. Top: Panasonic AE7000. Bottom: Optoma HD8300.

Placement flexibility. The AE7000 has a 2.0:1 powered lens compared to the HD8300's 1.5:1 manual lens, and the AE7000's lens shift range is greater than that of the HD8300. The two projectors both lose a significant chunk of total light output when using the telephoto end of the zoom lens - the HD8300 loses 32% while the AE7000 loses 40%.

Features. The HD8300 and AE7000 both have frame interpolation systems, detail enhancement systems, and automatic detection of anamorphic content. The AE7000's frame interpolation system exhibited less of the digital video effect when at its highest setting than the HD8300 did, though both eliminated judder equally well.

3D. The HD8300 uses radio-frequency sync 3D glasses while the AE7000 uses infrared sync, meaning that the HD8300's emitter does not have to be in line-of-sight while the AE7000's emitter does. On the other hand, the AE7000's emitter is built-in to the projector itself, while the HD8300's external emitter plugs into the back.

When it comes to 3D image quality, neither projector shows much crosstalk, and it is hard to decide which is better, if either has an edge at all. While the HD8300 has a very bright 3D mode (around 700 lumens), the AE7000 makes use of 480Hz processing to allow more light to pass through the glasses. The end result is that brightness is a wash--in real use, the two projectors appear equally bright in 3D mode. The AE7000's deeper black level gives it an advantage in darkened theater rooms.

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Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
  Shootout vs Panasonic AE7000 Conclusion
Comments (9) Post a Comment
John Hermes Posted Sep 28, 2011 11:29 PM PST
In the comparison picture of the Optoma and Panasonic, the Optoma looks brighter in both the dark and light areas. For the Panasonic to have "better" blacks (at least in this picture), it would seem the lighter areas of both projectors should be about the same.
PatB Posted Sep 29, 2011 10:01 AM PST
I appreciate that you have made an effort to equalize the conditions and setting for the photos of the Panny and the Optoma. But the comparison still doesn't show waht you say it does. The Panny picture seems just darker not more contrasty. Snadler has dark curly hair which in the Optoma picture shows reflected light. That seems appropriate since its outdoors in the sun and Sndler is wearing sun glasses. So the panny picture is better but less realistic.
CJv Posted Sep 29, 2011 9:09 PM PST
I have to agree with PatB. While its true that the panny is obviously darker there doesn't seem to be as good of a balance between the darks and brights when compared to the optoma which had better balance. The panny seem so out of balance it gives the impression that the picture is warmer than it actually is. The color in the face of Adam Sandler face from the Panny screen shot seems a bit too red but not in a "I live in tropical environment I have a sun burned face look". Also, his shirt seems a bit to deep in the orange.......... even for a island type shirt. While the Optoma seems much more balanced and the shirt seems to have a more natural look

Knowing that Optoma can make a higher contrast projector its almost as if they purposely went conservative on the contrast for the HD8300 to keep the picture balanced and natural. I can't believe I'm saying this but I prefer the Optoma picture over the Panny. Another thought; why Optoma spent the effort to create a very bright color accurate projector one, of course, would think to allow bigger screens, but in addition, I believe Optoma created this projector with high gain screens in mind.......that way if somebody wanted to increase contrast they could a higher contrast projector screen. Generally brightness takes a hit when using a projector screen to increase contrast but Optoma has created an incredibly high, color accurate, cinema mode......hmmmmmm

Optoma HD8300 + Back Diamond G3 (comes in gains: 2.7(may only be commercial accounts), 1.4, and .8) and is designed with 3D viewing in mind........ could be a Home Theater Enthusiast dream come true
TRoher Posted Sep 30, 2011 10:04 AM PST
Before I offer my comment, it should be noted that I handle the PR for Optoma. But I also agree with both PatB and John Hermes in that the Panasonic picture just looks darker. To that point, if you looke at the Optoma image, you can actually see the white of Adam Sandler's front teeth, where as in the Panasonic image you don't see it. So while the blacks are deeper, in the example, at least, it is at the expense of lighter details.
Evan Powell, Editor Posted Oct 3, 2011 12:26 PM PST
The comments posted here regarding the screen shot illustrate the limitations of screen shots and why we do not normally use them. The camera imparts its own interpretations of what it sees, then the image is compressed and displayed on a variety of different monitors, which is a different type of display technology than a projector and screen. What you end up with is a rough interpretation of the original scene, but it does not and cannot look precisely like the original.

The shot in this review was intended to illustrate the relative differences that we were seeing in real life, which is that the HD8300 is the brighter of the two, and the AE7000 has greater dynamic range and saturation. In order to get the two images on the same screen so they could be photographed together in a single exposure, we reduced the size of the projected images to about 70" diagonal. The images would look different if displayed at different sizes. Perceptions of brightness, contrast and saturation change based on the size of the projected image.

In general, screen shots NEVER look like a projected image. In real life you are seeing light reflected from a (hopefully) relatively neutral screen. A computer monitor on which you view a screen shot is light-emitting, a completely different type of video display that imparts a different quality and character to the image. Screen shots displayed on computer monitors make projected images appear more like flat screen TV pictures than they do a genuine projected image. For this reason we typically avoid screen shots since they are by nature misleading. No one should ever buy a projector thinking they will end up with a picture on a 120" screen that looks like the screen shot they saw in a review on a website.
Frank Bitterhof Posted Oct 21, 2011 12:55 AM PST
Thanx for a great review, I own the HD83(00)myself and am absolutely taken by its PureMotion Frame Interpolation. Where I beg to differ is that in the high FI mode it doesn't add "digital effects", what it does add is reality. The problem WE are having, is that since the day we were born we've all gotten used to the motion blur in theatrical films and on home video. But our eyes can do much better and in reality capture movement vastly exceeding 24 frames/sec.

Douglas Trumbull first noticed the problem and introduced 30fps for the showscan theme park rides, filmmakers like Peter Jackson and Jim Cameron are investigating possibilities to overcome the limitations of our now almost a century ancient camera filming process with only 24fps.

Thanks to the PureMotion FI details, previously obscured in motion blur, suddenly become noticable, especially objects in foreground that are out of focus, providing valuable information to our brain for a better depth perception of the overall picture and scenery. The scene from ALIENS where the aliens break into the command center almost looks 3D in 2D and the scene from CRIMSON TIDE, where water breaks into the engineering section, made me want to run to the kitchen to fetch a water bucket for all the water I was expecting to drop from my projection screen.

We are now watching scenes exactly like the filmmakers watched these while they were shooting, but we will also notice limitations of the studio sets and certain CGI (LotR: Battle in RETURN OF THE KING). Purists and those that have gotten used to the motion blur will probably reject FI, others that have been annoyed by the motion blur (especially ever since these awful handheld, shaken camera movements became fashion) will welcome the PureMotion FI the HD83 provides with open arms.

Since "digital effect" has such a negative connotation (Digital Noise Reduction etc.) I felt it necessary to elaborate on the issue and apologize for my lengthy post.
Josh Posted Oct 24, 2011 1:11 PM PST
Is the HD83/HD8300 shipping? I've found one online retailer in Canada (linked to via your helpful link above to Optoma HD8300 Merchants) but none in the US. Is it available in the US yet? If so, can someone point me in the right direction to purchase it? Thanks!
paul Posted Mar 16, 2012 9:54 PM PST
I am surprised that the review says that the panasonic PT-AE7000 does not have visible crosstalk. I went to 3 different stores to see it and it clearly had highly visible crosstalk in my opinion. You can see it easily on a highly contrasted scene with black over white. Batman Dark Knight has a lot of these.
Louie Posted Feb 21, 2015 4:04 AM PST
i read a review that compared this with the benq w1070, but which is better? i can´t decide which one i should get.

The projector will hang from the wall and with 3.8 meters distance

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