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Video Review: Mitsubishi FL7000U

A projector that balances high brightness with 1080p video quality. 10/01/2008 8:00 AM Eastern

Video Review: Mitsubishi FL7000U

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

A projector that balances high brightness with 1080p video quality.




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When we think of 1080p, we generally think about it as the native resolution for home-theater video — whether it's on a quality home-theater projector, on a current-generation plasma, or on an LCD. Yet ambient-light-controlled home theaters aren't the only screens that show high-quality video. Corporate auditoria, houses of worship, and educational campuses also often present motion-video content, and increasingly, that means using today's high-definition sources — whether that's a live HD camera, a Blu-ray player, or HDTV programming.

Of course, business projectors that are bright enough to fill larger spaces are typically designed with data source material in mind, and motion-video quality is usually secondary; home-theater projectors just aren't bright enough to fill a large space, particularly against the ambient light of business hours. Mitsubishi bridges that gap with a native 1080p projector that delivers as much as 5000 lumens of brightness, which is enough to fill potentially sunlit spaces.

Priced at less than $15,000, the FL7000U finds a smart middle ground between typical color- and quality-lacking portable business projectors and high-performance large-venue and stage-and-rental models. Its 22lb. chassis means it's portable enough to move (it does have a solid handle beside the lens on the front face), but it was designed as a fixed-installation projector to serve business, educational, and worship spaces where quality video is a major requirement.

Mitsubishi has put all of the connection ports on the side as well as cooling vents on the side and front so it can fit into tighter quarters if necessary. Connection options include two BNC sets for two SD/HD component video inputs, one of which is a 5-BNC set that can accept an RGBHV data source. There is also a DVI-D, as well as a 15-pin RGB with loop-through and S-Video and composite ports. There are audio inputs for video (stereo RCA) and data (stereo mini) as well as 10W audio output to connect to an external audio system. For control, there are RS-232 and RJ-45 Ethernet that, when used with Mitsubishi's Projector View software, can access all of the projector's administrative functions — including input selection, image adjustment, and power control from a control-room computer.

Projector View can also control the FL7000U's vertical and horizontal lens shift, powered focus and zoom, and offset to facilitate easy installation and fine-tuning should the projector be mounted out of easy reach. A wired or wireless handheld remote can access the same features.

For security, Mitsubishi has included the built-in motion alarm that the company first introduced a couple of years ago. It's a password-enabled feature that, when activated, uses a built-in motion sensor to sound an alarm if the projector is physically lifted or moved from its fixed location. There is no Kensington lock system, but the handle is big enough for a bicycle lock cable.

BALANCING BRIGHTNESS AND COLOR

The FL7000U uses Mitsubishi's typical onscreen menus. On the surface, it offers the standard fare of brightness, contrast, and other image-control options and mode presets. A knowledgeable installer can go deeper into the advanced imaging modes and color-temperature controls — including individual brightness, contrast, color, and tint controls of each red, green, and blue. More interestingly, you'll find Gamma mode control with three Gamma mode presets that regulate the brightness ramp from dark to bright white. Dynamic, natural, and detail, respectively, move from pushing bright colors brighter and dark colors darker toward more detail in the shadows and, ultimately, better grayscale range with less overall brightness. The installation choice of Gamma mode will, of course, depend on the room, ambient light, and to some extent, preference; the Gamma mode presets offer flexibility to go back and forth quickly.


Video Review: Mitsubishi FL7000U

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

A projector that balances high brightness with 1080p video quality.




Not surprising to anyone who reads between the lines and matches features with specifications, Mitsubishi's 5000-lumen reading is based on the Dynamic Gamma setting and peak brightness. That's not at all likely to be how the projector will be set up, at least not by a knowledgeable professional. Based on a more reasonable configuration, I measured just less than 4000 lumens in Dynamic Gamma mode; the brightness dropped off considerably, down below 1000 lumens, as I worked through the various image mode presets such as sRGB and Theater. However, brightness uniformity was rock-solid at better than 90 percent in all of the various configurations. That is very good under any circumstances, but it's particularly good for a native 16:9 projector with a wider area of screen real estate to cover.

I was able to measure a full on/off contrast ratio of 1276:1, and that's actually better than Mitsubishi's 1000:1 claim. That also varied greatly depending the image preset, and switching from the business-oriented modes to the video-oriented modes lowered contrast significantly. My ANSI checkerboard contrast measurements ranged from 200:1 to 350:1, depending on setup.

The FL7000U did an excellent job in my tests reproducing solid red, green, and blue primaries, but again, depending on configuration, it moved the secondary colors by surprisingly amounts. Cyan was rather green and magenta closer to blue than it should be in presentation modes. However, the Theater or sRGB mode presets improved color accuracy, and I was able to do even better by spending some time working with the rich-color setup options. Ultimately, it's all about finding the right balance between color, brightness, and contrast for the space that you're working with. The good news is that the FL7000U has the flexibility to create good images and color in a variety of potentially unforgiving spaces.

Naturally, with a native resolution of 1920x1080, the FL7000U does a wonderful job producing sharp images — particularly with good-quality source material and high-resolution data inputs. Just as importantly, it does a very good job scaling images up, whether those are standard-definition video or lower-resolution computer text. In my video test, the FL7000U was able to handle a number of different video resolutions without breaking down into moiré patterns. Computer text and graphics retained shape despite input resolution.

With the FL7000U, Mitsubishi is taking a bit of a gamble that the corporate world is ready for something more than 4×3 presentation slides. Certainly houses of worship have a use for a bright video-oriented projector, as do smaller conference centers and educational campuses. However, the corporate use may be more of a balance between traditional data content and video. But that's just where the FL7000U is strongest: matching the brightness of the typical business projector with the added color accuracy and native wide resolution of a video projector.


PRODUCT SUMMARY

  • Company: Mitsubishi www.mitsubishi-presentations.com

  • Product: FL7000U

  • Pros: Native 1080p resolution; excellent image sharpness, brightness uniformity, and color; control via Ethernet-based Projector View software.

  • Cons: Still must balance between highest brightness and best color.

  • Applications: Corporate presentations.

  • Price: $14,995

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Brightness: 5000 ANSI lumens

  • Contrast: 1000:1 full on/off

  • Native resolution: 1920×1080

  • Configuration: Three 1.1in LCDs with microlens array

  • Light source: 220W lamp (2,000 hours; 4,000 hours in low mode)

  • Lens ratio: Powered focus, 2.1-2.75

  • Zoom: Powered optical zoom, F=1.8-2.1, f=51mm-64mm

  • Projection distance: 8.6ft.-37.3ft.

  • Screen size: 60in.-250in. diagonally

  • Loudspeakers: 10W monoaural

  • Dimensions (W×H×D): 17.4"×8.1"×17.1"

  • Weight: 21.6lbs.

  • Warranty: Three years parts and labor


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