I've played with a lot of fancy projectors, but this is the first one that gave me the same feeling as the one time I got to drive an honest-to-goodness race car - exuberant joy at having all the power I could ever use, plus a lot more.
At Lemus's suggestion, I first dropped in the Blu-ray Disc of Patton, one of the few releases available in the 2.2:1 aspect ratio. Hitting the Channel button on the remote brought up the picture memory menu. I selected the memory for 2.2:1 HDMI, and the DCX-1000i's big lens promptly zoomed to the proper size, eliminating the bars at top and bottom while leaving very thin bars on the sides of the picture. When you change aspect ratios, the lens takes an additional 15 seconds or so to focus after it zooms.
My screen soon filled with a razorsharp image of George C. Scott silhouetted against a huge American flag. I could see every detail of Scott's facial features, and could clearly make out the webbing behind the bushy gray eyebrows that the makeup artists had applied. (Don't blame them, though. Who in 1970 could have imagined their work would someday appear via a projector like this?)
Baraka, another 2.2:1 disc Lemus recommended, inspired me to do something I've never done while reviewing a projector. When a scene appeared showing an outdoor temple with tiled walls, I actually ran up to the screen to confirm that the projector was really replicating the intricate detail in each and every one of the hundreds of tiles. (It was.)
My measurements showed that the DCX-1000i was delivering a modest contrast ratio of 1,866:1, but subjectively the black level looked much deeper than this measurement suggested. When I watched The International, a movie in which contrast is slightly exaggerated for visual effect, I kept marveling at how deep the blacks looked. In a scene where Clive Owen wears a black jacket in an office lit with just a few very bright lights, I noticed how dark and detailed the blacks looked, even when juxtaposed against the glare of the lighting behind him.
The sole flaw I could find in the DCX-1000i's video processing was that its noise reduction was only modestly effective; it couldn't tame The International's noisiest scenes without noticeably reducing detail. Also, the lens produces some light scatter outside the picture, but a screen-masking system would easily absorb that.
My time with the Wolf Cinema DCX-1000i left me wishing. Wishing I had the space to install a screen big enough to exploit its power. Wishing I could build a soffit into my home theater so I could install the projector as it's supposed to be installed. Wishing I had rows of seats so I could invite 15 or 20 friends over for one hell of a Super Bowl party. It's hard for those of us with normal incomes to imagine spending so much for a projector, but I'd sure rather have this than most of the other things that rich people spend $85,000 on.
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