EPSON PRO G7905 PROJECTOR REVIEW - PICTURE QUALITY: Handling Color, Black Levels and Shadow Detail, More on Pixel Shifting 2K, 4K content, Pixel Shifting vs Other Features - Trade-offs
The Epson Pro G7905's picture quality is typical of Epson's business/education/commercial projectors. That is, there are multiple modes. Several of them have extremely good color right out of the box. As one would expect - Dynamic mode, is the one that is the most off, sporting too much yellow-green, but not near as bad as many projectors. Still, the shift is apparent if you are comparing it with Cinema or the other better modes. For that reason, I put Dynamic first in the player below, on our test pattern. It doesn't look bad there - until you start comparing. Still, that is the trade-off for getting maximum brightness out of a projector.
In our discussion of picture quality we cover normal 2K color, and also the advantages when using true 4K content since it visibly improves the overall picture. I have been able to view a lot of 4K content, and will discuss below.
While Epson has introduced home theater projectors that accept 4K with HDR, neither the new G or L series commercial projectors that accept 4K content support HDR. This was previously misreported here, and has since been updated.
Epson Powerlite Pro G7905U Projector - Handling Color
Photos above start with our standard spreadsheet based test image. The first six images show the six different preset modes. Dynamic - the first one, is, of course the brightest, and the least accurate, but still looks reasonably good, until you compare it with Presentation or Cinema modes. The modes of the six are displayed in yellow in the upper right. The last four photos above are 4K images, with the projector engaged with pixel shifting on.
If you click on any of the close-up 4K images (above or below), and some of the non-closeup ones, they will enlarge to 2000 pixels wide to give you a more realistic idea of how sharp the G7905's image can be.
As is typical we do not calibrate commercial projectors in our reviewing process (only home theater ones). That said, Cinema produced some pretty excellent skin tones right out of the box. Unlike the Epson L1505 I recently reviewed (one of Epson's laser projectors, with similar capabilities overall, other than the light engine), these photos came out looking great, and closely approximate what was projected on the screen. (My Canon 60D dSLR camera doesn't seem to like faithfully producing images from laser and led projectors!)
Our usual reminder: Even at best, some color accuracy is always lost in the process of photographing what's projected on the screen from any projector, which is further complicated by massive file compression, and the limited ability of the display you are viewing to accurately reproduce colors, contrast, and dynamic range accurately.
Pro G7905U Black Levels and Dark Shadow Detail
As many of you may be aware, the typical transmissive 3LCD panel cannot match the native contrast of a DLP chip, so DLP's inherently have an advantage in black levels. This is why dynamic irises are found in most 3LCD projectors. Still, the DLPs will have a bit more dynamic range, even if the iris will lower black levels on darker images. The G7905 does well enough, but if ultimate black levels are your primary concern, there are alternatives to consider.
4K image from Journey To Space
Mock-up (4K) of Orion, which will transport the first human explorers of Mars
ISS in low earth orbit - 4K image
For most commercial, education, and business applications, the G7905's black level, and contrast performance should be more than good enough. After all, it's unlikely that many applications will find this projector in a room devoid of ambient light. Even a modest amount of ambient light will destroy much, but never all, of the advantage of a projector with better native contrast.
Bottom Line on Black Levels and Contrast: This is not an area of the G7905's strength, but it's performance should be more than acceptable in all but a few specialty applications.
Pixel Shifting on 2K and 4K Content
I've already provided many words and images about this in the Special Features section, but not everyone goes there, so here's some more on the topic, and some additional photos showing what a difference the pixel shifting can make.
I typically consider sharpness as a Performance aspect, rather than Picture Quality, but for this (and other) pixel shifting projector - because of their 4K processing, and the pixel shifting, "Picture Quality" seems a more logical place to discuss.
When it comes to the picture, this Epson projector, thanks to its ability to process 1080 and WUXGA (2K) images for the purpose of using pixel shifting, produces images that simply look sharper than the typical WUXGA projector! Drastically so? No, but visible on smaller type, fine lines.
Pixel shifting 1080 and 2K content will not give you a big increase in perceived sharpness and detail. But, when you start with 4K content, there's a bigger jump. So, smaller jump with 2K when you engage pixel shifting, but you'll see a bigger improvement viewing 4K w/pixel shifting compared to 2K with pixel shifting. The point being, 4K content with pixel shifting on, has to be considered a serious improvement over basic 2K/no pixel shifting.
Consider: Having pixel shifting would enhance the Pro G7905's value proposition compared to other commercial WUXGA projectors without it, even if it couldn't handle 4K content, but the big advantage is the combination of pixel shifting with 4K content.
Would pixel shifting 2K content be enough to convince someone who has a critical need to project true 4K to gain extra sharpness and detail? I'd say "Not!"
The first 10 photos from 4K content, some have close-ups at higher resolution, others pairs show pixel shifting On vs Off.
The last 9 images in the sequence (starting with "Texas") are 2K res (WUXGA or 1080).
In the photos above, none show the improvement of pixel shifting better than looking at the text on the closeup "Open Space"
But as pointed out (many times), this Epson G7905 projector can also input true 4K content, process and use pixel shifting to output it at 4 megapixels (true 4K is 8 megapixels). While that won't be as sharp/detailed as a true 4K projector, the bigger question is:
Is the Epson's ability to process and pixel shift true 4K content be enough for someone to choose it over a true 4K projector? [That assumes, of course, that 4K content is available. Without 4K content, who really needs a pricy 4K projector?] When the huge cost difference is considered, I suspect the answer will be "Yes" more often than not. A true 4K projector is definitely a budget buster for most projects.
So to refresh you on price differences, here's a 7000 lumen $6499 projector. Consider two alternatives: Canon's just announced REALiS 4K501ST, a lamp based true 4K projector with 5000 lumens, at just over $58,000, or Sony's GT270 and GT280, both 5000 lumen 4K laser projectors are harder to nail down a price on, but should be in the same general range as the Canon.
Bottom Line: People, true 4K is obviously the better solution, but with a cost factor typically 6 to 8 times the price at this time, of a pixel shifting 2K projector like the G7905, . True 4K projectors could be hard to justify compared to the G7905 and other pixel shifting 2K projectors, in many situations even when 4K content will be used.
Epson's overall Picture Quality (when doing 4K) is obviously enhanced when taking advantage of all this advanced 4K processing, and pixel shifting. It varies from subtle to blatant in our various photos, but the picture always looks better when comparing pixel shifting On, to pixel shifting Off.
Pixel Shifting On, Some Other Features Turn Off
All this talk about pixel shifting is great stuff, when you are running a single projector. If you are going to run a multi-projector setup, though, for edge-blending or projection mapping, remember, that you can't use pixel shifting. Keep that in mind.
Of course if you have a 4x4 matrix of these projectors doing edge blending, that's enough projectors to handle a true 8K image without pixel shifting so it's not needed. (No harm, no foul.)
Also CFI, (smooth motion) and mpeg noise reduction (and a few other features) also will not work with pixel shifting. There are times when CFI is useful. It would have been nice if it would work while pixel shifting. Well, I guess you can't have everything you want, for only $6.5K!
Bottom line regarding the feature trade-off: There may be times when you have to trade off the extra sharpness/detail in exchange for a different feature, but overall, if it's that sharpness/detail, you need, the other limitations are not likely to be all that important by comparison.