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

Discussion in 'Projectors & Screens' started by basspig, Apr 3, 2018.

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  1. basspig Full Audioholic

    basspig
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    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.
  2. BMXTRIX Audioholic Spartan

    BMXTRIX
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    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.
  3. basspig Full Audioholic

    basspig
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    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.
  4. BMXTRIX Audioholic Spartan

    BMXTRIX
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    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.
  5. basspig Full Audioholic

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    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?
  6. BMXTRIX Audioholic Spartan

    BMXTRIX
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    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.
  7. basspig Full Audioholic

    basspig
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    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.
  8. basspig Full Audioholic

    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."
  9. basspig Full Audioholic

    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.
  10. basspig Full Audioholic

    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.

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