Panasonic PT-DW5000U DLP Projector Review

Projector Brightness

In a world where few projectors actually meet their published claims (or even get within 20% of them, the DW5000U did extremely well. The projector’s brightest mode is called Dynamic.

With both lamps running, and the projector set for Dynamic mode, I was able to measure a very impressive 4465 lumens, that’s about as close as one can get to the claimed spec, without hitting it. I should note that the color temperature was a surprisingly warm (leaning toward red) 6636K. I would therefore conjecture that since lamps tend to be cooler temperature than that – more in the 9000K range, adjusting the color balance by boosting the blues, probably would yield an extra few hundred lumens, and still have an excellent color balance for typical presentations.

There are four other preset modes that I measured , and here are the numbers:

Graphics 2954 lumens
Standard 2414 lumens
Natural 2333 lumens
Cinema 2379 lumens

The color temperature for the Cinema mode was 6211K just a bit below the ideal 6500K for video usage. The Panasonic projector also has a High Contrast mode, most likely used for home theater/screening room or other applications requiring blackest blacks, and dark shadow detail. Panasonic uses a physical iris that stops down the lens to increase contrast. When we engaged High Contrast mode in the Cinema setting, the color temperature measurement remained virtually unchanged (within the accuracy range of my light meter). Lumens, however decreased very signficantly as expected, in fact it dropped off about 60% to 948 lumens.

Of course you can also choose to run the projector with only one lamp at a time. That will cut lumen output in half for all measurements, but of course, reduce the cost of operation. For lowest operating cost, you could use the long life lamps, run one lamp at a time, and run the projector in low power mode. That would mean you could go about 8000 hours (24 hours a day for more than a year, or 20 hours a week, for almost 8 years!

With just one long life lamp running, in low power/ dynamic mode, (long life lamps will not run in High Power mode), the projector would be pumping out about 1000 lumens! (The extended life lamps are about half the brightness of the standard lamp when comparing the regular lamps at full power to the long life ones in low power).

Note, the DW5000U is not recommended to run 24/7 operation with both lamps running. For true 24/7 use, Panasonic recommends single lamp mode, with the projector automatically switching back and forth between the two lamps. Or, if you need full power, they recommend the projector run no more than 22 hours a day. I believe from Panasonic’s literature, that they want each lamp to get at least a 2 hour break each day, so if manually controlled, you could run full dual lamp for 20 hours, and 2 hours on lamp 1 and 2 on lamp 2.

Color Accuracy

I’ve got lots of images for you to consider. Let me start by saying that, “out of the box” the Panasonic PT-DW5000U exhibits the traditional weakness of almost all single chip DLP projectors, which is some difficulty with bright reds and bright yellows. Fortunately the DW5000U handles them pretty well, but could use some improvement. From observations (and measurements), the Panny does a very good job on bright reds, even in it’s brightest mode – dynamic. Yellows are not quite as good, with a definite greenish caste to what should be a pure yellow. Again, this is what you would expect. I did play with the advanced color controls, and was able to significantly improve the yellows, but it did take away some lumens. The less powerful modes, such as Cinema, on most projectors normally do better, as they have already given up the maximum lumens to “equalize” (for lack of a better term) the color balance. As a result, the yellows look very good in some of these images.

First are three shots of our Pie Chart. The first is in Dynamic Mode, then Graphic, then Standard. These images were shot without any adjustments to RGB settings. Do keep in mind though, that there are limitations to the capturing of the color with my (or anyone’s) digital camera. You can definitely pick up the greens in top of the yellow slice.

You should also clearly see that the Standard mode (last of the three) does a much better job on yellows, also, the reds, which are pretty good in the other two modes are even brighter in Standard.

Again, you can see the greenish caste, and as you can see from the menu, the projector is in it’s brightest mode – Dynamic.

The bottom line here, is that overall, colors are extremely good for a DLP projector, and if bright accurate yellows are critical for you, dropping down to Standard, or doing some tweaking of the Dynamic modes setting should satisfy you.

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