Epson 2030 or 3500 Projector - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 4 Old 03-28-15, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Epson 2030 or 3500 Projector

Hello All,

It has been a while since I've posted at Home Theater Shack. My new job has me pretty busy, along with kids and life in general.

So after years of absence I'm looking for some expert advice on picking out a projector to replace my 10 year old Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 550 (720p). I have two that are in my price range and available to me and I would like to stick to LCD rather than DLP. I'm also wanting 3D (more for WAF).

The first projector is the Epson Powerlite 2030 which I already have but can return. The second is the Epson Home Cinema 3500 which is on sale this week for about $1500 (Best Buy Canada). Placement is not a huge issue as I have a centered ceiling mount. The money isn't really the big issue, but any more than $1500 and the wife will nix the whole idea.

What I'm looking for is some practical advice. I can see the stats of the projector and that the 3500 boasts 70,000:1 vs 15,000:1 contrast. I'm not sure how much better the picture would actually look. Is the extra $600 justified? Has anyone seen both models on a screen?

I do notice a big improvement in picture quality and color with the 2030 in comparison to the 550.

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-29-15, 01:41 PM
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-30-15, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Epson 2030 or 3500 Projector

Well, I took the plunge and purchased the Epson Home Cinema 3500. It would have eaten me up with buyer's remorse and always thinking of the what if.

I have to say that I am very impressed by the 3500. There are many areas where it far exceeds the Powerlite 2030. My opinion of the 2030 now is that it is much more suited to a non-light controlled board room, living room, or one that you let the kids use 8 hours a day or for a portable projector.

The 3500 puts out more light per the spec but in Cinema mode, comparing the two, the 3500 seems a lot more refined and not overly bright. The 2030 in Cinema mode seemed too bright with the room lights off. From reviews I've read the 3500 is a tad brighter in Cinema mode but perhaps it's better contrast and black levels make help the image not looks as washed out.

Another thing to note and one of the biggest differences is the audible sound from the unit. The 2030 was like a hair dryer in full light output and even in ECO mode it produced quite a bit of fan noise. Considering my projector is right over my first row of seats, the noise is pretty distracting during quiet movie scenes. The dynamic iris on the 2030 was also noisier and comparable to what it sounded like on my older Epson Powerlite 550 (a 10 year old model).

One thing that threw me at first was that the speakers were emitting some static which made it sound as noisy as the 2030 in ECO mode. As soon as I turned down the internal volume to 0 the projector went silent. I doubt I will ever use the built in speakers. They are considerably better than the single speaker in the 2030.

The 3500 is a much larger unit than the 2030 but build quality for both seem about the same (without opening them up). The remote for the 3500 is much nicer with illumination. The 2030's remote is about as cheap as they get.

The fact that the 2030 does not have lens shift make placement a little more tricky. My old projector was on a shelf mounted against a bulkhead at ceiling level. The 2030 has to be mounted upside down in ceiling applications so a projector mount is required. Projector mounts incur a whole new challenge on centering the projected image. Mounting the 2030 close to the ceiling still required a slight angle to get the image on to my screen which required a very slight keystone correction. Perhaps a better mount with more vertical adjustment would have been more ideal.

With the 3500 I went back to using the shelf with no adverse reaction. I did not feel comfortable using the same mount even though it was rated to hold 25lbs. The 3500 is heavy and the last thing I wanted was it falling from 7ft. I think that would be more of a distraction than a noisy fan while watching a movie.

The lamp for the 2030 are pretty inexpensive at $99 vs over $300 for the 3500. In ECO mode the 3500's lamp should last up to 5000 hours so I won't have to buy a replacement lamp any time soon. I have seen the 3500's V13H010L85 lamp from other reputable etailers for half of what is listed on Epson's website.

So all in all I am very impressed with the 3500 and am glad that I made the switch. It is a big step up and closer to being a true home theater projector rather than a home video or home entertainment projector as they call them.
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-30-15, 10:59 AM
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Lightbulb Re: Epson 2030 or 3500 Projector

Only one click of digital keystone correction will destroy substantial amounts of resolution. The same goes for digital picture size options other than pixel-for-pixel. A single click can essentially turn a 1080p projector into a 720p projector. It is always better to mount the projector and screen correctly to begin with.

Best regards and beautiful pictures,
Alan Brown, President
CinemaQuest, Inc.
A Lion AV Consultants affiliate

"Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"
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2030 , 3500 , epson , epson powerlite 3500 2030 , projector

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