Sony VPL-FHZ85 Commercial Interchangeable Lens 3LCD Projector Review - Performance

March 1, 2022 / By Project Reviews Staff

COLOR REPRODUCTION

When it comes to preserving color quality on extremely bright projectors, Sony Professional does an excellent job. I'm not talking about color accuracy because Sony doesn't publish any specifications for this class of projector. The lack of exact color performance data is not exclusive to Sony. It also applies to almost all the other manufacturers of this class of projector. So when I talk about preserving color quality, I'm talking about perceived color quality in brightness settings that would normally wash out colors.

The preservation of color quality can be directly attributed to Sony's focus on processing and presets. The built-in presets Sony offers are: Dynamic, Standard, Brightness Priority, and Multi Screen. 

Dynamic and Standard are the two best modes and are similar in color performance. Dynamic displays a higher brightness while producing a vibrant image when content such as PowerPoint presentations and websites are projected. The VPL-FHZ85's Standard preset's mildly warmer tones make it a better choice for video and film content. 

When there is a lot of ambient light, Dynamic will get the job done, as you can see in the side-by-side below.

Brightness Priority is the brightest preset with pretty good color for a bright mode, albeit with a somewhat green hue to projected images. This type of trade-off is typical of projector bright modes, but it is certainly good enough to use in the direst of ambient light circumstances without sacrificing too much in terms of color. 

The last of the four presets is Multi Screen, which resembles, most closely, the projectors Standard preset mode.

SKIN TONE

BRIGHTNESS

Sony claims the VPL-FHZ85 can produce 7,300 ANSI lumens/8,000 center lumens.

The VPL-FHZ85 is a really bright projector. It's clear that Sony's priorities for this projector are to blast through a rooms ambiant light in a big way all while preserving visibility and color quality. Based on my observations I feel quite safe in saying that Sony appears to have met and exceeded their goals with the VPL-FHZ85. The images this projector produces are stunning even when placed in rooms with really bad lighting issues.

Unfortunetly my light meter died before I could finish my brightness measurments. I've decided to publish without brightness results as it is only one element of the review. I will update this review with brightness readings as soon as my replacement meter arrives and I can confirm the projectors actual ANSI lumens numbers.

PICTURE QUALITY

The photos above came from a range of high-quality sources such as Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO Max. Each image includes some observations in the captions regarding overall picture quality.

The video image quality on the Sony VPL-FHZ85 is quite good. This quality can be attributed to a combination of Sony technologies such as the Z-Phosphor laser light source combined with Sony BrightEra 3LCD technology that provides as many color lumens as white ones, making the colors vibrant, even during the daytime.

BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL

Sony rates its projector with a dynamic contrast ratio of infinity to one. Sony decided they didn't like how manufacturers defined a display's contrast rating about a decade ago. In short, Sony felt the process used to determine contrast was misleading and did not provide customers with an accurate idea of any given projector's contrast rating.

Sony even provided a couple of ways to improve the projector's black levels. For example, going into the projector's Expert Setting sub-menu within the Picture menu, selecting "High" in Contrast Enhancer, and "2.4" for Gamma does provide a bump to the VPL-FHZ85's black level and shadow detail.

The infinity:1 contrast ratio of the VPL-FHZ85 does little to change the fact that the projector's black levels, to my eye, are dark gray at best when using the projectors out-of-the-box presets. The only way to significantly make the projector produce a black level that is more black than gray is to start turning down the light output. Turning down the projectors light output helps inprove black levels but pretty much eliminates this projectors massive brightness benefit.

I understand that black-level performance isn't considered the most important feature on a business and education projector, especially when it's used for presentations. The photos below show several dark scenes, which allow you to get an idea of this projector's black level and shadow detail performance.

TEXT AND PRESENTATION IMAGE QUALITY

The photos of the presentations, websites, and our text test images offer excellent detail.

Small text was quite readable from a distance of fifteen feet in my lab. Even 8-point text could be read from the back of the room. I would venture to guess that it could be read from quite a distance depending on how big of a screen you use. Everything was crisp and clean, and I couldn't be more pleased with this projector's ability to project text and presentations.

AUDIBLE NOISE

Sony rates the audible noise, or what they call "Acoustic Noise," at 38 dB (Standard light output)/36 dB (Middle light output), respectively. We don't measure sound output here at Projector Reviews since how it sounds to my ear is as much about the projector's performance as my testing room, which is likely to have different acoustic properties than your space.

My opinion about the sound level of the VPL-FHZ85 is very noticeable but I don't think this will matter in a boardroom, classroom, or retail installation. If the noise becomes an issue you can change the preset modes to reduce light output and the cooling system will reduce fan speed which will reduce noise.

 

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