Cinema: Based on my previous reviews, I’ve come to expect manufacturers to use Cinema mode to make overall color performance the most realistic. That’s not the case with the UHD50X. This projector’s Cinema mode is highly oversaturated and, like most DLP projectors, leans heavily toward the color red.
You can see in the picture above that the reds in the girl’s dress are highly oversaturated. Fleshtones lean heavily toward red and orange.
HDR Sim: Colors are vibrant in this mode. However, not quite as much as Cinema mode. Fleshtones appear more natural overall. Images are a little brighter. The tendency of a DLP projector to lean toward reds is still noticeable here, but much less so than in Cinema mode.
Game: This mode is almost identical to HDR Sim, except that details are softer in Game mode.
Reference: This mode maintains the same soft image as Game mode but with slightly less oversaturated colors than Cinema mode. It looks to me like Optoma was trying to find a happy medium between the two. However, I still think colors in this mode are unnaturally orangy red.
Bright: This is what you would expect to find in a mode designed for situations where uncontrolled ambient light sources usually reduce image quality.
That description fits this mode well. So it’s a pleasant surprise that the Optoma UHD50X manages to maintain the color quality in this mode.
User: Designed to be whatever you want it to be, User mode provides the opportunity to adjust the colors and picture settings without changing the out-of-the-box presets of the other modes. That being said, User mode looks very similar to HDR Sim mode. From a strictly color standpoint, I liked it quite a bit. User mode takes on the softer image detail that we see in Game mode.
I think Optoma has done a good job with these out-of-the-box picture modes. However, they’re not perfect by any means. Often presenting over-exaggerated colors and unusually soft images, the OTB (out-of-the-box) modes on the UHD50X aren’t bad; they’re just not where I would have liked them to be.
In the slideshow below, I took several stills featuring a variety of content using various preset modes to show the difference between the modes. The first series of stills are from the 2020 Disney live-action release of Mulan. Cinema mode colors are blown out and unrealistic. Skin tones lean heavily toward red and orange, and the colors are oversaturated. This trend continues through Bright mode, where colors take on a bluish-green hue. I wouldn’t use this mode in an environment like my lab, where I have far better control of ambient light