Panasonic PT-AR100U Home Theater Projector Review

Below, we discuss the Panasonic PT-AR100U projector’s brightness in its best and brightest modes, with images showing relative brightness of the modes. We also look at sharpness, image and audible noise levels.

 

Panasonic PT-AR100U Brightness

PT-AR100U Lumen Output and Color Temp with 100 IRE Field (mid zoom)
Cinema 1 798 @ 754
Vivid Cinema 1497 @ 7493
Game 1472 @ 10001
Normal 1571 @ 9114
Dynamic 1914 @ 7586, 1325 with Dynamic Iris Off
Rec. 709 822 @ 7171
Sports 1755 @ 7985

This is important: The PT-AR100U is one of those few projectors that isn’t as bright with its dynamic iris turned off. This is especially true for Dynamic mode, which is what you want for maximum brightness, so turning off the iris defeats that purpose.

OK, let’s look at some numbers.

Post Calibration: Best Mode = REC 709

Post calibration Best Mode Brightness: 647 lumens

“Quick-Cal” Calibration: Brightest Mode = Dynamic: 1767 lumens
Note, with these settings, the PT-AR100U is just a little better looking than the default which is 1914 lumens (also at mid-point on the zoom). At full wide angle: 2377 lumens

This isn’t a D65 (6500K) classic calibration, rather an quick attempt to give the PT-AR100U projector’s Dynamic mode slightly better color balance than it started with. Most dynamic type modes, greens and blues tend to be significantly over the top (though not so this Panasonic). Our goal is to just make a dynamic mode more natural, but with the paramater of not giving up too much brightness. The primary adjustment Mike made, simply reduced blue and green slightly compared to red. See the calibration page.

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Bright mode)
Zoom out 2051
Mid-zoom 1819
Zoom in 1347

In all the talk above about lumens, remember that where you place your projector has a lot of impact on brightness. As with most projectors, for any given sized screen, the further back you place the projector, the less bright the image on the screen. This is both an optical design, and a physics thing, so not all lenses behave exactly the same.

In this particular case, there was one unusual aspect. Going from close (wide-angle) to distant placement (telephoto) resulted in a loss of brightness to the tune of more than 50%! That is unusually high, with other projectors sporting lenses similar in range (2:1), more typically around a 40% drop, and some even less.

As a result, this projector may be blindingly bright when, say, ceiling mounted close to the screen, but if you set it at the telephoto end of the zoom, brightness drops to near average. For example, if you were also considering the more expensive Epson 5010, while the Epson isn’t as bright overall, if you put both in Dynamic, and place both at the maximum range of the zoom, then at that point, the Epson might even be a touch brighter, even though as you place them closer, the Panasonic PT-AR100U will then exceed the output of the Epson, until there’s a very real difference at the short end of the range.

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