Panasonic PT-D3500U Review
Panasonic Projector Lenses
First of all, the PT-D3500U uses interchangeable bayonet type lenses. When my evaluation unit arrived, the standard lens was shipped seperately (not in the box with the projector). Once extracting the projector and the lens from their boxes, it took approximately 10 seconds to install the lens. Just too easy.
Panasonic offers 5 additional optional lenses to choose from (the same lenses work with their more powerful, 5000 lumen PT-D5500u. In addition to the “standard” zoom lens, there is a extremely short thow fixed wide angle lens, ideal for tight rear screen applications, plus a wide angle zoom, a medium telephoto zoom, an long telephoto zoom and an extremely long throw zoom. The extreme zoom can place the projector as far back as 54 feet from a 100″ screen, which is ideal for back of room mounting of the projector.
Projector Lamps and Brightness
In addition to the standard lamp provided with the projector, which is rated at 1500 hours, Panasonic offers a longer life replacement lamp option. If you chose the long life lamp, you will get up to 4000 hours, but brightness drops to about half.
Panasonic is very serious about you replacing your lamp on a timely basis. With a standard lamp it warns you starting at 1300 hours (3800 hours for a long life lamp). At 1500 hours (4000 long life lamp) the projector will only power up for 10 minutes and then shut down. In other words, get a spare lamp when you get the first warning, if not before.
The Panasonic PT-D3500U remote control is compact, offers discrete buttons for each input, has remote mousing for your computer (with the Enter – left mouse – accomplished by a button for your trigger finger, under the remote, or by pressing down the disk pad (marked Enter). In order to do remote mousing, however, you will need to order the optional IR receiver – a tiny device that plugs into the USB port on your computer (Panasonic part number: ET-RMRC2). Just point the remote toward the computer, not the projector, to make use of the remote mousing functions.
Panasonic realizes that this class of projector may be used in multiple quantities. For example you might stack two together (thanks to lens shift) to virtually double the brightness, or you might have several in a large auditorium, church or command and control center. As a result, there is ID control, so the remote can control multiple PT-D3500U’s together, or hit the button, use the keypad and select a specific projector to control. All-in-all, its a very slick setup that should work beautifully.
The remote also allows you to enter numeric passwords. This ties into one of the security features of this Panasonic – which includes the option of locking out the projector’s top control panel. That way, without the remote and password, the projector can’t be used!
The remote also offers freeze frame, and a button for the mechanical shutter to completely shut down light hitting the screen, without powering down the projector. The PT-D3500U also offers 3:1 digital zoom, which is controllable (in and out) by two buttons on the remote. A single button marked Lens, allows you to rotate throw the three lens controls: Power Focus, Power Zoom, and Power Vertical Lens Shift.
Projector Lens Shift
This Panasonic projector, like its big brother – the PT-D5500U DLP projector offers powered vertical lens shift, and manual horizontal lens shift. Lens shift allows you to place the projector over a wide range of positions without having to go to image degrading digital keystone correction to maintain a rectangular image. With the vertical lens shift the center of the lens can be located well above the top of the screen surface when ceiling mounting, or on a table or shelf, down noticeably below the bottom of the screen surface.
The other benefit of lens shift is that it allows you to stack 2 or 3 projectors vertically (also horizontally in the case of these Panasonic projectors since they have both vertical and horizontal lens shift. By stacking you can effectively double or triple the brightness. Perfect for large auditoriums, bright churches, sports bars, and casino sports books, etc. (Stacking also gives you redundency – if one projector should fail, the other is still operational.
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