Sony VW 675-ES Dim Picture--Iris Not Working/Closed?

basspig

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#1
Just picked up a store demo with almost 2600 hours on it. The colors are cold, even on D55 temp setting, lamp on "high" and the picture is dim--much dimmer than my InFocus IN82 with over 2000 hours on that lamp on "low".

I'm driving it with DCI 4K HDR footage that I shot with a cinema production camera. I have all HDMI 4K 60P 4:4:4:4-rated cables, purchased just for this installation.

I notice that the iris controls do nothing. Looking at the lens from the side while it's on, the aperture looks nearly closed--only about 3/8" diameter opening where the light comes through. Is the iris malfunctioning?

I spent the entire week reading the manual I downloaded from Sony, and the entire evening trying to figure out why the picture is so dim.

Also, I updated the firmware this morning, but I still can't get BT.2020 on the Color Space menu.

I am disappointed, as the picture has no more "pop" or color gamut than my decade old IN82. The image doesn't have the sharpness of 4K, despite doing the panel alignment and carefully focusing the lens. It's still soft. Almost acceptable at the center, but soft a couple of feet from the center.

Other than the lens shift, and the wider zoom range, my wife and I think there's no advantage.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

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#2
Not sure about the specifics, but a lamp run entirely on bright mode may have lost well more than 50% of its brightness over time. I would be wary of the issue with the iris though as that will also have a major impact on brightness.

Be aware, that the Sony's don't accept HDR 4K/60 as their HDMI connection is bandwidth limited from what I recall. They can only accept HDR 4K/24 information.
 
basspig

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#3
That much? I'm thinking that my InFocus IN82, which is over a decade old, purchased used and still on the original lamp, is still nearly as bright as when I first got it. Usually when a UHP lamp fails, it turns pink for a day and then fails to strike an arc after that. Happened with the HID lamps on my wife's SUV. Put in new bulbs, but they weren't noticeably brighter than the old ones before they turned pink.

So I'm thinking a new lamp may only give me 10-20% more apparent brightness.
With the contrast maxxed out and all settings set to boost brightness, I get an "acceptable" picture for a 'bat cave' blacked out theater. But even the light from a computer monitor in the back of the room competes with the screen image.

I'm thinking, "how can this thing do HDR, when it isn't even bright enough to do 3D?". I have a studio HDR monitor and I can tell you that looking at peak white on that thing is almost like staring at the sun. This projector's image is like being in the shade after sunset.

While I did manage to fix the cold colors and achieve a better match with my calibrated production monitor after running the automatic calibration procedure, the picture still lacks the punch and "mojo" that the older DLP projector has.

So we have two projectors with a couple thousand hours on them.. one is running strong and the other produces an image that's a strain on the eyes to watch, unless it's an outdoor, sunlit scene, at which point it's passable, but not bright.

When I got this unit, the lamp was on HIGH and all the controls were pushed to the max brightness. I saw a washed-out image at first with no contrast and thought "uh-oh, Sony didn't fix the panel degradation problem". Once I got the contrast right, it was way too dim if there was the slightest ambient light in the room. The light of a cigarette lighter would wash out the picture! I had to shut off everything in the room that has an LCD display to get the room dark enough to see the image from bright to shadow.

If a new lamp quadruples the brightness, then that would probably be acceptable, and I may even be able to operate it in lamp LOW mode for longer life. A mere doubling would be iffy, especially for 3D and absolutely a joke for HDR.

So I'm still on the fence about returning this unit. If a new lamp isn't substantially brighter, then this isn't going to fly well enough on my screen, which has a picture height of 60". Even the color gamut doesn't seem any better than my DLP-based PJ, which surprised me, given all the hoopla over HDR and the (so far) nonexistent REC.2020 (can't find anything but REC.709 and a bunch of 'custom' slots on the colorspace menu. I shoot in a color space that exceeds REC.2020 by quite a margin, so a wide gamut projector is fairly important to display the intense reds, violets, greens and blues, etc. When anything with aggressive color is in the picture, the VW675 crushes the color detail, while it's perfect on the production monitor. For instance, a red sweater in one of the scenes I shot appears flat red, shifted a little orange on the PJ, but on the production monitor, the fabric texture is clearly there and the red is much more intense. The PJ mutes those intense colors.

I'm seriously hoping against all hope that the replacement lamp the vendor is sending me will fix these problems. If this is how the VW675 really is, then I need a LASER based PJ with no less than 5000 lumens. Realistically, to do HDR, probably 20,000 lumens is required to produce a convincing 10-12 f/stops of D range on the screen. But for a PJ that costs 15 grand, I expected it to be substantially better than the aging IN82 that has been serving me well all these years. I just need 17:9 and DCI 4K and a wider lens to fill up my screen, but I don't want to give up the brightness and punch of the DLP.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

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#4
That's super frustrating as I would expect the Sony to be significantly brighter than what you are describing.

Have you had any luck with operation of the iris? I can really see how that would dramatically impact light output if it is closed down.

But, at the end, if this model is just not cutting it, then you may want to look at the DLP 4K chip with the laser.
https://www.projectorreviews.com/optoma/optoma-uhz65-4k-laser-projector-review/

Now, I'm not sure this is your first choice model, but it should improve upon brightness significantly with an expanded color space and UHD support.

I just wouldn't typically expect it to look better than the Sony, so I'm super concerned that something is going on with that model that you have.

I saw one Sony 4K projector and I thought it was about the best looking image that I had seen in a home.

But, I wouldn't call it super bright, just very well detailed with excellent contrast.
 
basspig

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#5
The reason I chose the 675ES was it was one of the few DCI 4K projectors on the market under $30K. Everything else is either faux-K pixel shifting, or UHD. My production content gets cropped or letterboxed on those displays. So a native 17:9 is the best fit. The VW5000ES would be ideal and maybe even bright enough to fake HDR without the shadows being too dark to discern.

The seller said they are going to send me a new lamp, and that was included in the sale listing. I calculate that this unit was on high lamp for 8 hours a day for one year, as it was in a home theater showroom as a demo model. So I guess the lamp is on it's last minutes of life. My IN82 lasted over 2000 hours with very little dimming because I always ran it on econ mode, as it was bright enough on that setting and any brighter and the black levels would be too high.

The other problem that's driving me nuts is that the EDID drops out twice while the projector is starting up, causing my editing workstation to shuffle monitor and tablet drawing area assignments at random. So every time I turn on this projector, I have to spend about ten minutes reprogramming the monitor assignments and moving my Windows desktop from the projector back to my desktop display, then using a mouse, because my tablet stops working, to open the Wacom driver settings and reassign the tablet back to whatever monitor is now assigned as the desktop. Then I have to do the same thing for application setups for the tablet, as those get scrambled.
My old IN82 never disconnected like that when it was off. Only if I unplug the power. So even though the Sony is on standby, it's the bootup process that causes disconnects. I wish Sony would fix that! If it were a LASER projector, I would just leave it on 24/7 so I don't have to go through this rigamarole every day.

Also, the REC.2020 that is talked about in the manual isn't showing up in the color space menu. I even updated the firmware to the .003 latest version, but still no REC.2020. Maybe that's why the colors are so dull looking?
 
BMXTRIX

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#6
I'm not sure what Rec2020 the Sony is capable of since I don't believe they are using 18Gb/s HDMI inputs. Their HDMI is limited to HDR at 24fps and I believe is is only capable of DCI-P3 output no matter what is fed to it.

This review discusses that in detail with the Sony:
https://hometheaterreview.com/-sony-vpl-675es-4k-sxrd-projector-reviewed/?page=2

The same review talks about almost 50 lumens per square foot on a 100" diagonal screen. That works out to over 1400 lumens from the projector after calibration on high lamp mode. That's a significantly brighter projector than most.

So, whatever is going on with image brightness is a real question mark.

One thing that is certain is that you aren't going to go beyond DCI-P3 quality for colors and image performance. The review I linked to has some discussion of that and links to more discussion on the subject.

I'm not sure what your overall setup and conditions are. These are still, very much, home cinema projectors and are built around the 120" or so screen size in the best blackout conditions possible. That said, if that matches your setup, then you don't get much better for the money, but if the projector isn't working right, or has a bad lamp... well, then all bets are off as to the results you will actually get.
 
basspig

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#7
I'm seeing it on other owner's screen shots of their color space menus on AVScience, where there is a 675 owner's thread. I just don't have that feature on my menu, even after firmware update.

I realize that no commercially available displays under $25K support REC.2020 in terms of actually DISPLAYING that gamut, but I'm wondering why other 675s have REC.2020 as an option and I only have REC.709. As you know, REC.709 offers pretty dull colors.

I shoot cinema cameras with a gamut that exceeds REC.2020 and constantly grapple with the challenges of tweaking LUTs that best convert that color space to REC.709. If not done right, the result is weird colors, such as greens that appear aqua after grading.

I was reading the specs for the lens on the 675 and was dismayed to read that it's F/3-f/4--that's very slow. Usually the T-stop is even slower. My InFocus has an f/1.9 on it if I recall correctly and a higher wattage lamp (300W),but is only rated for 1500 lumens.

So with the Sony's 280 watts, I guess it's just not going to get me the picture brightness of the InFocus DLP. Funny thing is, the reviews for the 675 all say it's intended for screens up to 300" and since mine's relatively small at 154", it should be able to do 3D and 'sort of' HDR.

My room is totally light controlled. That's why even a computer screen left on in the back of the theater, competes with the projector.

I thought size was an issue, so I zoomed in a little to make the picture 1/2 the area, but it didn't help much with brightness.

Spoke with the seller and he informed me that the replacement lamp is on backorder with Sony. So I'm in a quandry about whether to stick it out and wait for possibly months and lose my return option, or just return it and give up on 4K until an affordable LASER comes on the market.
 
basspig

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Apparently, on an earlier model of this line, switching to REC.2020 expands the color space (even though it can't reach REC.2020 levels) over BT.709:

"Rec2020 is the right color space to use for UHD discs that have expanded color space, Studios, when they use expanded color space to master a UHD disc are using DCI/P3 color space but it is inside the Rec2020 envelope so the coordinates for DCI 100% red, for example are not DCI coordinates in this case, they are coordinates for that same color in Rec2020 color space. So do use the Rec2020 color space setting, even though the 665ES won't reproduce nearly all of Rec2020 space. The 665ES's color space expands almost enough to show all of DCI/P3 color in Rec2020 mode."
 
basspig

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I'm down to the last few days of eBay's 14-day return policy and I'm concerned that I won't get the "included" replacement lamp in time and that them telling me it's backordered from Sony might be a stall tactic to get me to wait til the 14 days are past.
A new lamp is not cheap.. at least $700.
I'm a little miffed at the fact that the listing wasn't accurate in stating "replacement lamp included" when it was not. They promised a new one was en route from Sony. Then a few days later they tell me it's backordered. Then after I applied more pressure, they said that 87 lamps are shipping to NJ and they are going to try to negotiate to get one shipped to them. But that would be end of April. April 16 will be 14 days from delivery date. After that, I'm out of recourse through eBay.
Folks on the eBay member forums advised me to invoke a return, not as described claim, now. The seller has 100% positive feedback, so I want to give them benefit of a doubt, but after Monday, I'm screwed if they never send the lamp.
Counting my options now.
 
basspig

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I got the seller to refund me a grand, since he can't seem to get the lamp in any reasonable time frame.

I went to B&H to order it (it was in stock last week) and now I see it's out of stock. :(

I'll have to go a couple more weeks with eye strain watching this dim picture.
 
basspig

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I finally got a new lamp installed on Saturday.
Makes quite a difference.

I used a lux meter to get a reading. White screen output from PC. Measured 187 lux off the screen. It was hard to know if this is accurate because the meter and my hand were casting a shadow, so the meter was likely averaging the shadow and illuminated areas.

A quick conversion:

187 cd/m² is equal to 54.58 fL
 
basspig

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#12
Well the VW675ES is off to United Radio Service to have a magenta fade at the bottom of the frame fixed. I sent a photo of it to Sony service and they said one of the panels has slipped out of alignment. So they set me up with a warranty service and issued me a paid shipping return label. It's on its way to E. Syracuse, NY for repair. I mentioned to look at the iris too, to make sure it's opening all the way.

So I'm back to my InFocus IN82 for a while, which doesn't fill entire screen due to narrower lens. The InFocus does live up to its name though, being that the lens focuses the image so sharp that individual pixels are clearly delineated, including the dark space between pixels, creating a screen door effect. Colors are dull though. And I just put a new lamp it in. Reds look like browns, and none of the colors really pop. You really don't notice how good the Sony is until you go back to REC.601 color space.

Also, the lack of MPEG noise reduction is very evident with some of the low bitrate stuff I stream. The Sony made low bitrate .MP4 videos look like Blu-ray. The InFocus doesn't do any interpolation, and as a result, jaggies, block noise.. just horrible looking low bitrate video. I never quite noticed how much work Sony was doing to repair the images before they reach the screen.

The only advantage of the IN82 is a friggin BRIGHT picture. I have to use the next higher range on my lux meter when measuring white field off the screen.

The specs say it's only 1500 lumens, but it sure measures brighter.. over 200 lux off the screen, vs. 178 lux with the Sony. I put a new Philips bare bulb in the IN82 yesterday. That made it 15% brighter than the 1600-hour lamp that was in there since 2009.

Who knows.. maybe the service people will figure out how to get more than 1500 lumens out of the Sony.

Anyway, I hope they can fix it promptly and get it back to me before June.
 
basspig

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So first day, projector arrived this morning at United Radio Service (Sony's authorized service center) and am waiting for them to log it in. It's not yet in their tracking system.
 
basspig

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#15
Our area was hit by a tornado last night around 5:45pm. Currently, no phones, no internet, no electricity. Cell service is spotty. I'm tethering off my phone right now to access internet. Much of the town is destroyed, the high school lost part of its roof, many homes damaged, trees down everywhere. We are fine here, due to the WWII bunker style home we live in. But many others not fortunate. Some died when trees fell through their roofs or crashed on top of their cars while coming home during rush hour.
Spent the morning clearing the yard of tree limbs and washing down the roof and sides of the house which had leaves and seedlings stuck to the walls. The vortex passed directly over us at 5:52pm, according to my surveillance footage. It looks exactly like surveillance footage seen on Youtube when tornadoes pass through. Everything turns to night then everything turns white as debris and rain fly horizontally. It all happened in about 90 seconds. I stepped outside to see why it was suddenly dark out, and noticed the wind suddenly blowing very hard. Then felt a rain drop. Two seconds later, a deluge of rain. Then the tornado passed over us. I didn't have time to really process what was going on til after it was over.
Judging by reports across the state, we could be without power for a month or more. 98% of customers in this immediate area are without power. Major roads are closed due to too many downed trees. Schools are closed.

Now, as for projector, finally got e-mail from them. So far a tech is looking at it. They asked for some confirmation of info like address and nature of problem, etc. I sent them a photo of the magenta fade at the bottom and told them that was currently have no phones due to the disaster. Hopefully they will be able to address all problems in short order.
 
basspig

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#16
News from Sony service... they've ordered a new optical block for my projector. Now the wait begins.

So the big question is: which happens first? The projector repair completed, or the power and internet come back on?

We ventured out to get fuel for our generator and the carnage was shocking. Many areas unrecognizable. Every other utility pole snapped in half over a large area. Weather officials saying this was a 'macroburst' with EF2 tornado equivalent winds. Funnel clouds were spotted in many areas by people who posted photos of the funnels. I think we lucked out partly due to the density of forest here, which slowed the winds considerably and being high up on a mountain.
 
BMXTRIX

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#17
Glad you are okay, everything else can be replaced or dealt with in time. A new optical block is a major repair and I'm surprised it was needed on such a model.

I hope it all comes together at about the same time so you can get the enjoyment you deserve.
 
basspig

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#18
We finally got power and internet back. The area is slowly recovering, though the carnage is visible on a drive into town. All new telephone poles line our streets now. Lots of trees down, MANY lucky homeowners, as huge trees fell but missed hitting anything of value. Huge oak trees uprooted and tipped over. One of my friends was not so lucky. His house was demolished by a falling oak and it will be til late fall before it can be rebuilt.

I figure a problem like the magenta fade at the bottom is an optical block problem. Probably easier to replace than to try to fix. At least it will ensure that I have essentially a new projector when it's done repairing.

I have my old IN82 in there, and watching downloaded low bandwidth video, it looks awful with MPEG block artifacts and dull colors. The Sony's Reality Creation is on the par with "magic" as it makes this low band content look almost like Blu-ray. I miss it.
 
basspig

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#19
Here's the latest.. my projector has been at United Radio Service since May 18. On the 25th it's status went to HOLD. I contacted them about it and they said the part had come in but that it had not been logged in to the system yet. So today, seeing as the status had not changed, I had a chat with them.

It turns out there was an error in the parts status and that in fact my part is on backorder from Sony. They are reaching out to Sony to see about a resolution for the delay. They said usually this will be an exchange. I expressed concern that I don't want a used unit or someone else's problem unit. They said they will forward my request that it be a factory fresh unit if an exchange is the resolution due to too long delay on the part.

It also occurred to me that I put a brand new lamp ($700) in the projector, so if they do an exchange, I want to get my lamp back and give them the old lamp instead.

So here I am, 2 weeks without the projector. I'm hoping this will not drag on all summer.
 
Last edited:
basspig

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Just got e-mail from Sony Service. They notified me that they have ordered a brand new replacement VW675ES. I should be receiving a tracking number in 5-7 days.
 

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