Panasonic PT-D3500U - Image Quality
PT-D3500u DLP Projector - Performance - Image Quality:
In its native mode, this Panasonic produces a crisp, precise image. Small spreadsheet type is pixel precise. The whites are good, and as you can see from the image; red, green, blue, yellow all look right on (within the limits of my digital camera to accurately capture them).
Compression technology - handling non-native resolutions:
I also tested WXGA (1280x800) the popular resolution of most widescreen laptops, and UXGA (1600x1200). As you can see from the closeups of small type, the Panasonic PT-D3500U does a first class job of compressing the image and providing easily readable small type. At both resolutions the small type simply looks a little soft, unlike many lcd and dlp projectors where the text might be readable, but look pretty ugly.
The Panasonic projector also did a very acceptable job on high resolution drawings at both higher resolutions, indicating that the compression technology manages to maintain even extremly thin lines without them vanishing, or breaking. This makes the Panasonic PT-D3500U, an excellent choice for engineering, scientific, architectural, medical imaging and other applications with
detailed drawings, renderings and images. I also fed the Panasonic projector signals as high as 2048x1536, and it had no trouble locking in on the signals. (That resolution has 4x the pixels of XGA, so small type was not very readable, but it looked fine on large type Powerpoint.
Panasonic PT-D3500U Color Saturation and Contrast:
As a single chip DLP projector designed to exceed the overall performance of competiting LCD projectors, the Panasonic is every bit as strong on video as on data. On inspecting movies and Hi-def content, the colors and saturation were very impressive, and the contrast ratio of 1600:1 produces superior blacks and shadow details than any LCD projector in the price range.
This same high contrast ratio enhances presentations and spreadsheets. One example of how would be on spreadsheets, the higher contrast of the Panasonic PT-D3500U projector allows those "blacker blacks" which means that the lines between cells and black text on a spreadsheet are very dark - approaching black, while on most other projectors, they are merely dark gray. The result, everything stands out better and is inherently easier to look at and read.
As you saw above, this Panasonic projector produces rich primary colors, and a clean accurate yellow as well. Most business DLP projectors struggle with reds and yellows. (Reds typically are dark, sort of the color of red wine, and yellows tend to be mustardy with a greenish caste. Not so the Panasonic PT-D3500U. The colors are all vibrant and accurate. (note there are built in test patterns accessable from the control panel or remote).
Quicktip: The reason many DLP's are not strong on accurate color in "data" modes, is that the manufacturer's are too concerned with high lumen ratings. They therefore push out maximum (cool) light typical of the lamps they use. At those high kelvin temperatures, however they don't get good color. When kicked into video mode, those same projectors now adjust to bring the colors more into balance, but typically lose about 50% of their lumens before reds/yellows look right. With the Panasonic projector you get the accurate colors at the rated 3500 lumens - who knows what it would rate at if all they cared about was the lumen spec and not the color. (In one older review - NEC's lightweight portable LT170, we actually measured the difference between full power (with terrible color) and then adjusted for good color. We lost over 50% of the lumens when measured! In its native video mode, it also performed about half the lumens of "normal" data mode.
The overall picture quality of the Panasonic PT-D3500U DLP projector is simply excellent. Great on data, and downright superb on video. In fact, if you can live with a 4:3 projector and need a high power home entertainment projector for a multi-purpose room that can't be fully darkened, this (despite the high price) should be near the top of your list!