Panasonic PT-AX100U Home Theater Projector Review

There’s a lot to cover in this section, and I have plenty of photos to help illustrate. Let me point out that the images (photos taken of the PT-AX100U) cannot fully capture the dynamic range (from darks to bright) that projectors are capable of. As a result, in a typical scene, if the overall exposure is right for mid and bright areas, the camera will lose all the details in the darkest areas. Therefore, there will be a couple of images where I show you the normal exposure, and then a seriously overexposed image of the same frame, so you can see the shadow details the camera lost on the first shot.

In other words, projectors look a lot better than the photos here indicate. It’s sort of like trying to imagine how good HDTV is from watching a commercial for an HDTV on a regular TV with its poorer performance and lower quality TV signal.

Panasonic PT-AX100U Home Theater Projector Review: Image Quality

 

There’s a lot to cover in this section, and I have plenty of photos to help illustrate. Let me point out that the images (photos taken of the PT-AX100U) cannot fully capture the dynamic range (from darks to bright) that projectors are capable of. As a result, in a typical scene, if the overall exposure is right for mid and bright areas, the camera will lose all the details in the darkest areas. Therefore, there will be a couple of images where I show you the normal exposure, and then a seriously overexposed image of the same frame, so you can see the shadow details the camera lost on the first shot.

In other words, projectors look a lot better than the photos here indicate. It’s sort of like trying to imagine how good HDTV is from watching a commercial for an HDTV on a regular TV with its poorer performance and lower quality TV signal.

PT-AX100U Home Theater Projector - Brightness

Click to enlarge. So close

Before we get going with the the usual start – considering how well the Panasonic handles flesh tones – I want to start with brightness instead. This is the brightest home theater projector I have tested yet, with the exception of a $20,000 SIM2.

And that is a wonderful thing. The Panasonic PT-AX100U can work in brighter rooms than most other projectors. It’s not a night and day difference, as you will see, but it’s enough extra horsepower to make a real difference for most owners. I’m a sports fan – especially college football (go Penn State). When you have some friends over to watch, you don’t want the room really dark, it’s just not appropriate.

Click Image to Enlarge

The Panasonic has that extra edge that will let you have some lights on, or even a little light from outside, and still enjoy an excellent image.

True, movies are still best in a fully darkened room, because there are often very dark scenes, but that’s certainly not the circumstances normally with sports, or regular TV/HDTV. And even for those movies, not everyone has a dedicated home theater room that can be made almost totally dark. Welcome to the age of the home theater projector that has the versatility to end up in the family room or bonus room with less lighting control than a theater would have. No, it won’t work well if the room is bright, but again, the PT-AX100U can work in low to moderate lighting.

Click to enlarge. So close

The image above and the one to the right, were taken with several shades partially open, letting in light from outside. The upper image has the projected image slightly overexposed so you can get an idea of the room lighting. The lower image was shot under the same lighting but properly exposed.

This makes the PT-AX100U a more versatile projector than the rest of the field, although a couple of projectors come close (Epson’s Cinema 400 and Optoma’s HD72 come to mind).

 

Click Image to Enlarge

In best mode, it is just slightly brighter than the HD72, and in brightest mode, it is definitely brighter than that Optoma doing its brightest output. The Epson is darker in best mode, but close to the Panasonic when both in brightest modes. This makes the Panasonic projector excellent for those liking especially large screens, or having some ambient light in the room to deal with.

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