A digital zoom feature for zooming in on a section of the picture is available and is accessible from the remote control. This projector does not have an optical zoom control at the lens, so to size the image, you must physically move the unit or the screen back and forth. Focus is manual and available only at the lens.
Connectivity is a bit limited, but that is to be expected in a product in this price range. One HDMI input is the most important connection. There is also one 15-pin RGB/Component video input for a second HD capable source. For older NTSC sources, one S-Video and one composite video input are both included. I was pleasantly surprised to find an RS-232 control port, which I find unusual for a product in this price range.
The MP512 ST is not a serious home theater projector, and that was not BenQ's intent when they designed it. But for Wii gaming and other SD sources at a reasonable screen size of say 6-feet wide or so, it will deliver a pretty darn good picture for the money. It can' really compare with more-expensive HD projectors, however, so don't expect miracles from the MP512 ST in terms of picture quality.
The "screen door" effect, where the pixel structure appears overlaid like a screen door atop the image, is a real issue because of this unit's low 800x600-pixel resolution. This means pairing it with a smaller screen, where the structure will be less visible, is important. The BenQ is incapable of producing bright pictures, so again a smaller screen will yield a much higher contrast ratio, and consequently a better picture. I used it on my 92-inch diagonal Stewart Grayhawk RS screen and measured 10.5 footlamberts (ftl) of peak light output, which is slightly lower than the projected film specification in a movie theater of 12 ftl. I'd recommend a screen no larger than mine, and preferably smaller, in the 72-inch-wide range.
Those caveats aside, I have to say I was surprised how good a picture the MP512 ST delivered from both Blu-ray Discs and HD cable sources. The BBC 1080p version of "Planet Earth" looked impressive with nicely saturated colors and good detail. The T3 color temperature setting also produced a reasonably accurate grayscale, which was a welcome plus.
Black level performance on the MP512 ST was impressive for an 800x600-pixel resolution DLP projector, as evinced by its reproduction of The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford on Blu-ray. This is an awesome transfer, but the movie's colors are somewhat muted and cold. The MP512 ST does a reasonably good job of reproducing the film's unique look.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6250/6400||Good|
|After color temp||N/A|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 131||Good|
|After grayscale variation|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.644/0.348||Average|
|Color of green||0.344/0.53||Poor|
|Color of blue||0.145/0.072||Average|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Y||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Pass||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Fail||Poor|