SONY VPL-VZ1000ES 4K HOME THEATER PROJECTOR - PICTURE QUALITY: Out of the box, Skin Tones, Black Levels and Shadow Detail, 4K Content, Overall Picture Quality
Out of the Box Picture Quality
Originally, when Sony dropped off the VPL-VZ1000ES for me to review, I was told I would only have one week, as that unit was needed for a Sony video shoot (an unpacking the projector type short video). As it turned out, after the week, the shoot was postponed, so I got to keep it longer. In the end, I had it almost four weeks, but it was extended about a week at a time.
That one week at a time extension never allowed me to have the time to have Eric calibrate it, which he always does at his location. Despite no calibration I did adjust brightness and contrast settings, but not the individual colors or grayscale, other just a slight adjustment to saturation.
I assume that anyone spending the big bucks for a $25K projector will have it professionally calibrated (or perhaps they are fanatics with their own gear and skills). Fortunately, the Sony VZ1000Es color, right out of the box was very, good, but, honestly, not as dead on as some other Sonys, but then this was an early unit. I've reviewed all the other current Sony 4K projectors and they all calibrate beautifully (and typically start with better color than the competition too.)
Despite no calibration I'm prepared to go out on a limb and predict that the VZ1000ES should produce a gorgeous, accurate image in terms of color, once calibrated. I generally find these Sony projectors to also have a very natural look. Natural as in: The picture looks right, notably skin tones - without any awareness of what the projector is adding to the picture. From a practical standpoint, I found that without calibration the projector exhibited a very slight red-purple cast to skin tones. That was evident with 4K HDR, BT2020 content, but with 1080p content, it was almost dead on the money without that tendency.
I watched chunks of The Hunger Games, both in 1080p and 4K. The Sony looked great on 1080p, with very good definition and no sense of harshness at all on the real close up shots of Katniss face. Then playing the same scenes in 4K with HDR, although her facial tones were a bit darker, there was a lot more depth to the image. Skin textures were more visible, but not over the top, rather richer, and a bit closer to real life.
I did the same with several other movies. With Ghostbusters (2016), the difference, on street scenes, in their lab, and, of course, on the streets, when all (ghostly) hell breaks loose, the two most evident differences were the BT2020's wider colors - so much more pop, and building on that, HDR. If you skipped it, check out the comparison images of a Ghostbusters scene between the Sony and the new BenQ I'm reviewing (4K UHD DLP projector, without HDR or BT2020). The difference is really something, the Sony easily looks a magnitude better!