SIM2 C3X 1080 Saint John NB
Saint John, NB
SIM2 C3X 1080
February 2, 2009 By David Birch-Jones
“Hello, old friend”, I said to myself as we unpacked the Grand Cinema C3X 3-chip 1080p projector, which features the same gorgeous cabinetry of its 720p predecessor that we reviewed two years ago.
Unlike last time, when that earlier review sample showed up on my doorstep via overnight delivery, this latest model was hand-delivered by SIM2’s affable and knowledgeable Alberto Fabiano.
Within minutes, the C3X was up and running on my projector test stand, and Alberto and I set out to make some initial measurements prior to calibration. While we waited for the projector to fully warm up, Alberto shed some light on the various improvements made to the set, compared to the earlier model.
For a starter, the new C3X features all-glass optics, whereas the earlier model (as is often the case with projectors) featured a combination of glass and acrylic optics—the new all-glass design said to improve light output and uniformity.
As well, he pointed out that the new design includes an all-alloy light engine housing, which helps with internal cooling. With DLP, when the overall picture is dim, excess light is directed to a black-colored “landing area” off the main optical path, which with extended dark scenes can cause significant internal temperature spikes. With an all-alloy engine, excess light and the heat that accompanies it is better tamed, with reduced temperature fluctuations that helps to extend bulb life.
Once the C3X was warmed up, I ran a few initial measurements with the color analyzer and, with the projector’s default factory settings, found that the out-of-the-box results were indeed fairly close to where they should be—mirroring exactly my experience with the projector’s 720p predecessor.
SIM2 touts the C3X as the smallest-sized 3-chip 1080p DLP projector, and indeed the case is roughly the same size as many single-chip models, such as the Samsung SP-A800B tested earlier this year. But the C3X is a light output powerhouse, providing about twice the light output of comparable 250-watt single chip DLP projectors. A quick check with of my spreadsheet shows that the C3X should have no problem at all providing a sufficiently bright image with very large screens up to around 16 feet diagonal.
Since my Stewart CineCurve variable aspect ratio screen is nowhere near that size, we dialed down the lamp to the lowest 200-watt setting, and throttled back the variable iris to further reduce light output, and we were rewarded with improved overall contrast and superior deep black reproduction. Plus, the fan noise (already fairly quiet) dropped significantly as well, to whisper-quiet levels.
Next I tested the set’s video processing competence, feeding the projector a 1080i deinterlacing test pattern from a Samsung Blu-ray player, which had been set to 1080i output. Here, the C3X performed like a champ, with near-perfect results of the kind I’m used to seeing with well-performi...