Epson Powerlite Pro Z8450WU Commercial 3LCD Projector Review

Epson Z8450WUNL Projector - Brightness

The Z8450WUNL is rated at a relatively dazzling 7000 lumens.  Brightness actually will vary depending on the lens used, and with the position of the zoom (wide angle, mid-point, telephoto). Ultimately this can result in some wildly different lumen measurements.

That said, we worked with the “standard” zoom lens (which is by spec, the brightest lens, though not by much.  The low (brightest, wide angle) f-number of 1.65 on this lens, is slightly lower than any other lenses, all of which are 1.8 or 1.81 (except the fixed ultra wide angle, which is close at 1.85).  As a result, the standard lens at wide angle (closest placement to the screen), is almost 10% brighter than the other lenses, and almost 12% brighter than the wide angle.

That may in part explain why this Epson Z8450WU easily blew out Epson’s own claims.

Standard lens
Brightest Mode:   Dynamic: Mid-point on the zoom =      7986 lumens
Brightest Mode:   Dynamic: Wide angle on lens =    8352 lumens 
Brightest Mode:   Dynamic: Telephoto on lens (far) =       6336 lumens

Now that is impressive - handily beating the 7000 lumen claim, and the Dynamic mode itself isn’t bad looking, whereas some projector’s “brightest modes” can be overwhelmingly “off” such as having way too much green in the image.

Let’s look at the other modes, which are all measured at mid-point on the zoom.

                    Lumens
Dynamic         7986
Presentation   7306
Theatre           2625
Sports             7424
sRGB             2692
Mulit-Proj       5923

If you want to figure those modes at brightest position on the zoom (wide angle, just multiply the lumens listed below, by 1.05 for a fairly good approximate number (technically 1.0458).

To understand the importance of lens brightness at different zoom points, let’s now consider how bright the projector is, when using:

Ultra-long throw telephoto zoom lens

The longest throw of the zoom lenses (back of the auditorium), when at its maximum zoom – furthest back (telephoto), in Dynamic mode:  6492 lumens

Note that what’s important, isn’t how long the throw of the lens is, but the f-number associated with that lens, in that position.  For example, the standard lens has f number range of 1.65 – 2.51.  By comparison, the ultra long zoom has an f number range of 1.81 – 2.45.  The fact that the range of the numbers is less on the ultra-telephoto, probably indicates that the zoom lens itself has less range (between wide and tele) as a percentage, than does the standard lens.

As it turns out, that’s correct. The standard lens zoom ratio is 1:1.61 (that’s a good amount of range).  By comparison, that ultra-telephoto’s zoom ratio is a shorter 1:1.39.

Getting back to the f-numbers, though, the simple fact is, of the two lenses the standard lens is not going to be as bright (at telephoto) as that ultra-long throw telephoto lens.

Bottom line:  The ultra-long throw zoom, at its maximum range for a screen size, will still manage to put 6492 lumens up on the screen.  Consider filling a 200″ wide screen, with those 6492 lumens with that lens at full telephoto.  That would have the projector sitting about 136 feet back!

Fixed Ultra-wide angle lens for rear screen projection

Since the Epson Powerlite Pro Z8450WU will operate tilted, that’s a huge advantage for rear projection in tight spaces.  Epson makes a very short throw fixed (no zoom) lens for such applications.

From a brightness standpoint, in Dynamic mode, the Wide angle lens produces 7122 lumens!  That’s still higher than Epson claims overall. This lens has a throw ratio of 0.77, fairly typical of a fixed wide angle lens, but not as wide as you can find with some other manufacturers (in some cases high end manufacturers offer more than one fixed wide angle lens).

From a math, distance standpoint, the wide angle lens would be postioned only 67 inches from a 100″ diagonal screen. That’s about 5.5 feet of throw.  Thus, in a tight rear screen setup, using a single mirror array, can probably reduce needed depth to under 3 feet, thanks to being able to mount the projector heavily tilted, such as being set up below (and behind) the screen, with the projector pointed straight up, at a 90 degree mirror.  Since most cannot work tilted, they need to be flat, and that 2+ feet of depth typical of larger projectors means more depth needed.   That under 3 feet, is a really great, desireable number!

Z8450WUNL Eco Mode

The Epson Z measured approximately 28% less lumens when running in low power – “eco mode”.

As a result, with the standard lens, at mid zoom, in eco mode, brightness is:  5746 lumens

Relative brightness of Epson Powerlite Pro Z8450WUNL Picture Modes:

These images taken with the same exposure, show the actual difference in brightness:

Z8450WUNL Eco Mode

Dynamic Mode
Multi-presentation Mode
Presentation Mode
Sports Mode
sRGB
Theatre Mode
Dynamic Mode
+Multi-presentation Mode

Z8450WUNL Sharpness and Clarity

These images were taken at full WUXGA resolution, that is 1920×1200.  As a result, type sizes like 10 points, are extremely small and while readable, say at XGA or WXGA, are probably too small to read with this high resolution projector.

Overall, no matter what the hi-res source thrown at this Epson projector, the clarity and sharpness is extremely good.  All of these were taken with Super-Resolution turned off, which means an even sharper looking image is possible.

Z8450WUNL Sharpness and Clarity

Dynamic Mode
Presentation Mode
Theatre Mode
Dynamic Mode
+Presentation Mode

Epson Z8450WUNL Projector - Audible Noise

The Epson Z8450WUNL is a high power projector, and therefore in the vast majority of applications, its been selected for larger rooms.  As such, a really quiet projector is not expected.  The Epson Z series claims 40 db at full power, and 35 db in eco mode.  For perspective, the loudest of the home theater projectors get up to about 33 db, so 35 db is especially quiet for a beast of a projector like this one. Even 40 db isn’t bad.  No one’s going to hear that in a a hotel ballroom except maybe the AV guy sitting there.  Even in a small command and control room full power should not be a problem.

Epson Z8450WUNL Projector - Wired and Wireless Networking

The Z8450, with the addition of an optional wireless module, allows for wireless connection to any desktop or laptop with 802.11 a/b/g capability.  While we were not able to test the wireless capability of the Z8450, it uses the same wireless module and software as other previously reviewed Epson projectors (like the 1735W).  As a result, any comments about wireless connectively, other than the quick connect USB key feature of the 1735W, apply to the Z8450 as well.  Suffice it to say, the wireless connection works quite well for anything other than video, which requires a wired network connection.  The wireless connection can be obtained in an Ad Hoc point-to-point mode or with a wireless access point (WAP) to allow others on the network to access it. When you do use a wired connection, you get a host of features and control options.  In addition to the usual remote monitoring (including email notification) and admin features, you get the ability to have multiple projectors on the network contribute to the presentation.  The EasyMP software (see the Special Features section of this review) allows the user to switch between other computers on the network, allowing display of Powerpoint or Keynote slides or other images from remote computer locations.   All in all, the Z8450’s networking capabilities will fill just about any organization’s needs.  The Tour page shows most of the Networking menus.

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