Panasonic PT-AE8000U Home Theater Projector Review

Below we discuss the Panasonic PT-AE8000 projector’s brightness in “best” and “brightest” modes, and the effects of certain features on brightness.  You will also find a series of images showing relative brightness of each of themodes. Sharpness, Image and audible noise levels, are also covered.

Panasonic PT-AE8000 Brightness

PT-AE8000 Lumen Output and Color Temp with 100 IRE Field (mid zoom)
Cinema 1 643 @ 7053
Cinema 2 1175 @ 8554
Game 1245 @ 10199
Normal 1285 @ 9746
Dynamic 1898 @ 7757, 1255 lumens with AI off
Rec. 709 622 @ 6695
D-Cinema 643 @ 6437

Mike took these initial PT-AE8000U brightness measurements “right out of the box”. Note that we set the zoom lens at the middle point, so we do not get as many lumens as a manufactuer would, as they all measure at wide angle – closest, which is almost always brighter than mid-point or zooming all the way out.

Again, as was the case with the PT-AE7000 last year only Rec. 709 and D-Cinema are in color temperature, close to the 6500K ideal. For those not familiar, REC 709 is the official standard for color space for HDTV, and there are many projectors that show an REC 709 mode.  Mike often finds that is the best mode to use as his basis for calibration.  This PT-AE8000 is no exception.  Mike did his calibration for “best” mode, starting with the Panasonic’s Rec 709 mode.

All the really bright modes are a lot cooler – higher color temp. Basically, stronger on blues than reds.

Post Calibration: Best Mode = REC 709

The PT-AE8000 measured 602 lumens calibrated in “best” mode.  That’s a massive brightness increase over last year’s PT-AE7000 measuring in at 422 lumens!!!

Using REC 709 mode, Mike made changes from there.  The changes were pretty minor, one reason that brightness only dropped 20 lumens from the uncalibrated REC 709.

Breaking 600 lumens finally brings this series of Panasonic projectors to a brightness level sufficient for some larger screens even in best mode.  Officially, and in reality, you’ve got the horsepower under the hood for, a 130″ diagonal screen in a good room, for great 2D viewing.

Post Calibration: Brightest Mode = Dynamic

Mike did some major settings changes to Dynamic, to improve the color a bit, from the original thin on reds, strong on blues and very strong on greens.  For a limited drop in lumen count from 1898 to 1637 - less than 15%, the picture quality visibly improved, as green became a bit less noticeable.  Mike’s adjustments are found on the Calibration page.

The end result looks pretty good for a brightest mode, with plenty of pop to the picture, a little over the top perhaps, and the underlying color tendencies are still there, but muted. In most cases, Mike’s result is very watchable compared to Dynamic, at the cost of only about a 10% drop in brightness from 1516 to 1355 lumens.

So what does all that horsepower give us? Have a blast….you can handle a decent amount of ambient light on mid-sized screens, for say sports viewing with friends. You can fill a much larger screen for movie viewing – pushing out to the 130″ plus range, if you are willing to sacrifice “best” color accuracy.

All considered the Panasonic measured just below average brightness, in its “best” mode, but is one of the brightest higher quality projectors around when you require a very bright mode! Panasonic claims 2000 lumens – impressive in its own right. As noted we measured over 1600 at brightest but we don’t set everything exactly how Panasonic would tell us to, to squeeze out every lumen.

As a good example, Mike measures with the Dynamic Iris off. In reading Panasonic info, they say the brightest measurements come when the iris is on. That means we may have missed a few dozen extra lumens.

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