Overall, Mitsubishi's HC5000 is a bit underwhelming in the picture quality department when compared to that of many other 1080p projectors in the $4,000-to-$5,000 price range. Problems with the iris directly affect black level performance in a negative way. By way of comparison, the Epson Home Cinema 1080 at $3,000, and better still, our reference Samsung SP-H710AE 720p 1-chip DLP projector (about the same price as the Epson), both handily outperform the HC5000 and will save you quite a few dollars in the process.
My biggest complaint with the Mitsubishi HC5000 was lack of adjustability with the iris. The Auto Iris settings allow the contrast level to change on the fly, which simultaneously floats the black portions of the image, making them brighter, when displaying bright material. Unfortunately, this is painfully obvious when you are trying to watch a movie -- it's another classic "feature" that destroys picture quality. I would normally advise you to turn it off, but the only setting on this projector that disables Auto Iris is the Open setting, which opens it up completely, making blacks too unacceptably light. The best compromise here is the Auto 1 setting.
Although bright material mostly looked good, on darker scenes the picture appeared a bit washed-out looking, an issue I attribute to Auto Iris. On King Kong, blacks appeared muddied, and not as deep and rich as I'd would expect. This was clearly visible in the scene where they reach Skull Island on the boat in the dark fog. On the other hand, Chapter 25 of Batman Begins, a black level torture test, was rendered fairly well with decent shadow detail. Blacks were also comprised on what I consider medium bright scenes in Batman Begins. This effect was especially when there was a bright image on a black background; blacks "floated" up, turning a dark gray. I saw this on the Discovery HD channel with a nighttime rocket launch scene, for example.
Color accuracy on the HC5000 is pretty decent overall. Primary and secondary colors are about average for the category. Color decoding is spot on for both SD and HD sources, and grayscale tracking is pretty good for an LCD projector. Gamma leaves a bit to be desired, and that, coupled with the inability to stop down and fix the Iris to a setting that produces better blacks, makes the black level performance of the HC5000 substandard to what is available in both LCD and DLP 1080p resolution projectors at similar price points.
The lens on the HC5000 is impressive for a sub-$5,000 projector, as evidenced by a distinct lack of chromatic aberrations, and extremely well defined and crisp images. White field uniformity is also pretty good for a transmissive LCD product. Video processing was clean and relatively noise free. The unit also passed the Video Resolution Loss test on Silicon Optix's new HQV Benchmark HD DVD test disc, which tests how well it deinterlaces 1080i HD material. This means you get all the resolution from 1080i HD signals, which not all inexpensive projectors can claim. However, I was disappointed to find that the HC5000 doesn't handle 1080p/24 well, lopping off some resolution at the HDMI input, and it won't accept 1080p in any format at the component input. It also truncates the resolution of 1080i signals at the component input somewhat, so I recommend using HDMI when possible.
|Before color temp (20/80)||8,150/6,250||Average|
|After color temp||6,250/6,400||Average|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 683K||Average|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 111K||Average|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.650/0.325||Average|
|Color of green||0.259/0.602||Poor|
|Color of blue||0.145/0.064||Average|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24fps||Yes||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|