Optoma HD8600 1080p Home Theater Projector Review
Optoma is recognized for their outstanding budget-priced projectors, such as the HD20, which was the first 1080p projector to cross the $1000 mark. Now, they've released the HD8600, which is a high-performance 1080p DLP projector sold through specialty dealers. It is built to offer the pinnacle of 1080p performance, and it performs as advertised. It is extensively customizable, with great calibration controls. The HD8600 has some of the best color we have ever seen, coupled with great contrast and a smooth, film-like picture. It sells for $7499 with the standard lens.
Light output. The HD8600 has a very bright cinema mode. In fact, it has one of the brightest Cinema modes we've seen thus far; the only thing that even comes close is the LG CF181D at 1219 lumens. The HD8600 is a great choice for large-format cinema.
The HD8600 defaults to Cinema 2 mode, which entails a few things. First of all, the lamp defaults to Eco-mode (called "Standard" on this projector, as opposed to "Bright"). Second, there is a manual iris, and it defaults to position 6 of 8, which is mostly open. Third, these measurements were taken with the projector's "Standard" lens, which is a 1.25:1 manual zoom model, in the widest position.
With our changes to color balance, which were fairly subtle, Cinema 2 mode measured 735 ANSI lumens on our test sample. Remember, this is with a partially-closed iris and low lamp mode, so it represents real performance, not a theoretical maximum. If you do need more light output, you can switch to high lamp mode, labeled "Bright." Bright mode does not cause any loss of image quality and raises lumen output by 29%, to 945 lumens on our test unit. If this still isn't bright enough, opening the iris the rest of the way boosts lumen output to 1200. Even if you do have a 150" diagonal screen, 1200 lumens is probably too bright. But since you can customize the lumen output of the HD8600 through iris settings, this is a benefit rather than an inconvenience.
The standard zoom lens causes an 18% drop in lumen output, which is slightly higher than average for a 1.25:1 lens. Using the maximum telephoto end of the lens, our standard calibration (which measured 735 lumens at the lens's widest angle) drops to 600 lumens. The manual iris has eight stops, and can decrease lumen output by 71% or increase it by 27%, with approximately equally-sized stops in between. Using the same standard 735-lumen calibration, the iris can increase output to 933 lumens or decrease it to 213 lumens.
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