Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Projector Review: General Performance
There's lots to cover in this section. These links will allow you to quickly get to any topics of interest to you.
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Menus
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Remote Control
Epson Lens Throw and Lens Shift, Pixel Structure...
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U SDE and Rainbow Effect
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Projector Brightness
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Networking
Other Interesting Features
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Projectors: Menus
Panasonic's menu system is a good one. If I have one complaint, the type they use is a little small. That can make it tough to read if you are standing pretty far back in a mid-sized room, such as some multi-purpose rooms, and large training rooms.
From an organizational standpoint, the logic used, in grouping the controls into different main menus is pretty typical, and pretty well done. We can always quibble about why this control is on one menu, rather than another.
When you launch the menus for the first time, by hitting the Menu button on the remote control or the projector's control panel, the menu comes up, with all the main menus listed on the left side.
The menus photos and the rest of the menu commentary will be posted shortly!
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Projector: Remote Control
These Panasonic Projectors come with a medium sized remote control. It is very well laid out with different groups of buttons nicely separated. The remote control has large buttons, and most major functions of the projector, including controls for wireless operation, has a button. Missing, and less critical are buttons for things like brightness and contrast, which can be easily accessed through the menu system.
There is a big red power button (once for power up, twice for power down), and to its right is an auto setup button for computer signals.
Right below are three source buttons, one for computers, one for wireless sources, and one for video.
Right below that is a page up/page down feature for wireless presenting.
Below the black band that has the page up and down buttons are the Menu, and Return buttons. Right below them, the four arrow keys in a diamond type configuration, with Enter, in the center.
The next group of buttons include Freeze, an AV Mute, and several more buttons that relate to networking, including a Default, Index, Multi-Live, a Computer Search button, and a Function button.
Lastly are two rockers at the bottom, one for digital zoom (in/out) and one for volume up and down.
The remote's range is good, although not exceptional.
Overall, I find this Panasonic remote control to be excellent!
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U: Lens Throw and Lens Shift
As classic portable projectors, these two Panasonic's have no adjustable lens shift, and their zoom lens has the usual, basic 1.2:1 zoom ratio, providing the usual small amount of placement flexibility. Here are the distances for filling a 100 inch diagonal, 4:3 aspect ratio screen. (To figure out distances for other sized screens, just break out your calculator - ie. for a 60 inch diagonal screen, the distances would be 60% of those for the 100 inch screen.)
For that 100 inch screen, the closest these projectors can be placed, is 9.6 feet (2.9 meters), and, the furthest back is 11 feet five inches (3.5 meters). Those distances are measured from the front of the lens, to the screen surface.
While there is no adjustable lens shift, the Panasonic projectors have the usual amount of keystone correction
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Projectors: SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility
Both Panasonic projectors are XGA 1024x768 resolution. As a result, pixel size is very small, and pixel structure is slightly visible at normal seating distances in a conference room environment. In a presentation (theater style seating) environment, only those in the first few rows should notice the pixel structure. While a little screen door effect may be visible with photos and videos for those sitting very close, I would not consider this to be an issue, because, I'm talking very close!
As to the Rainbow Effect - that's strictly for single chip DLP projectors, and of course, these two Panasonic projectors use 3LCD technology - so no rainbows!
Again, these are classic XGA 3LCD projectors. As such, screen door effect issues would be the same with any other 3LCD XGA projectors. DLP projectors have a slightly less visible pixel structure, and therefore do perform a little better in this regard. That said, I must repeat: Screen Door Effect should not be an issue!
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Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Projectors: Brightness
The Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U measured 2850 lumens in Standard (preset) mode, (with color temperature also set to Standard). Yes, it is confusing that they use the same term for a color mode, and for a color temperature mode. The Panasonic PT-LB75NTU measured even slightly brighter, at 2923 lumens with color temperature set to High. Other modes (with color temperature in Standartd) measured as folllows:
Dynamic: 2335 lumens
Blackboard: 2361 lumens
Natural: 1593 lumens
Expect about 20% less lumens in low lamp mode, which, if you use it consistently, will increase lamp life by 50% from 2000 hours to 3000 hours.
One piece of additional information is that we measured the color temperature at different IRE levels (from dark gray to white), for the Standard mode, with Standard color temperature:
100 IRE (white): 6847K
80 IRE (light gray): 7156K
50 IRE (medium gray): 7414K
30 IRE (dark gray): 7155K
This is pretty good color consistency for a business projector. Overall a little cooler (bluer) image than ideal for video, but very good for presentations in general. If you really have need for the warmer color temperature ideal for movies (6500K), try the Low color Temperature setting. Selecting the Low color temperature had very little effect on brightness measurements.
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Projectors: Audible Noise Levels
Both projectors again, have the same specs. Panasonic provides a rating of 29db in eco-mode (lamp on low power). They do not provide numbers for high lamp.
29db is actually better than many home theater projectors can do in full lamp power, and noise levels are far more critical to home theater fanatics.
Overall, these two projectors are quieter than the majority of portable projectors. I do not measure noise, but would buy into the 29db spec, or close to it, and therefore about 33db - 35db for High power lamp mode, still quieter than most.
At full power, in a conference room, you will be able to hear the fan, but it will be quiet enough that the presenter won't have to "talk over it".
In other words - audible noise is not an issue.
Panasonic PT-LB75NTU and PT-LB75U Projectors: Networking
I love Panasonic's wireless networking solution. OK, it's more powerful in terms of capabilities than almost any environment calls for, but that's OK, because, Panasonic also made it about as easy to set up and use, as possible.
Sure, these days there is no shortage of portable projectors with wireless capabilities, and even better, most projectors now support 802.11g (as well as 802.11b), which means they handle wireless fast enough to do almost full screen at a fast frame rate, for smooth video. One thing that differentiates the Panasonic NT projectors from much of the competition, is that they have software, and full support for Mac computers, as well as PCs.
Where these Panasonic projectors go "above and beyond" is in their ability to not only show you one computer's wireless presentation, but to actually do all kinds of neat things with multiple computer sources. This includes being able to:
- Put up a window that shows the current display screen of every computer wirelessly logged into the projector, up to a total of 16 computers, each with its own small window
- Split the screen into four equal sized windows, each showing one of four computers wirelessly hooked up to the projector
- Put up one large window with one of the wireless computers, while, across the bottom of the screen, showing content from multiple computers
- Have multiple computers' content live on the screen at one time Multi-Live mode
- Use their software to allow the content to display on multiple Panasonic projectors simultaneously
- To selectively limit the size of the image from the computer, for example, filling the projected image, with only a portion of what is on the computer's screen
- Do even more things than listed above
Below is the main wireless menu that is part of the Panasonic PT-LB75NTU's menu system. As you can see, you can assign names to the projector for the network, as well as establish a password. If you would like more information on some of the configuration, Panasonic has several Mac and Windows networking guides (pdf) on their website.
As to testing many of these capabilities, sorry, we're not set up to do that here. I can tell you, that a few years back, we did have one of the earlier Panasonic projectors set up at my old company, with three different laptop computers configured, and it really worked - we were able to quickly select which laptop we wanted to project, and were also able to use the split screen and multi-live features, including having most of the screen doing one of the laptops, and two small windows at the bottom, showing what was on the screens of the other two. It worked as advertised back then, and is essentially the same today, but faster, and with a few additional features added.
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Extra Features of the Panasonic PT-LB75U and PT-B75NTU portable projectors
Let's start the "extra features" list with Daylight View 4.
Simply stated, there is a sensor at the top of these projectors, that measures room ambient light. If DaylightView 4 is engaged, the Panasonic projectors will modify the picture image, in its opinion, to best compensate. It alters brightness, contrast, color saturation, and likely color temperature, to help the image perform better in ambient light. It actually works. The difference, however is not "night and day" There's only so much you can do when you are already using all the available lumens. Is it fully necessary? No, you could manually adjust the image, but it is a nice touch. We took a closer look at Daylight View, when we reviewed the older LB30NTU. Here's a link to the PT-LB30NTU Daylight View section, that shows some with/without Daylight View performance. The PT-LB30NTU used an earlier (two generations, perhaps 3, I think) version of Daylight View.
Dust resistant design: The focus and zoom door is covered, there is an extra piece of glass in front of the lens, and all the buttons are touch sensitive, eliminating all the non-ventillation related sources of dust and dirt. In addition, Panasonic has switched to an electrostatic filter, which they say also reduces problems with dust, etc.
Fast Projector Power On, Safe Power Off: It only takes three seconds for the Panasonic to put an image on the screen after power up. When you power down, a fan continues to run after the projector is powered down, even if the projector is unplugged. Warning, you may be able to unplug it immediately, but don't stuff it back into the provided shoulder case, until the fan shuts off. The projector is still hot, and can't dissipate the heat properly if in its case, which could damage the lamp and components.
Digital Zoom In: For that pesky really small type, or fine, small drawings, the digital zoom lets you magnify any portion of the screen up to a factor of three, to make small areas more easily visible to viewers.
Index Window: When adjusting the image quality of these projectors, you can use the index to split the screen and bring up a second version. One will remain unchanged, so you can see how much your setting changes have affected the image.
Security Features: Although nothing unusually exceptional, these Panasonic projectors are well endowed, with: Password protection, Control Panel Lock, and a heavy duty security anchor. Personally, I'm still waiting for projector manufacturers to install Lo-Jack, at least for models that are widely sold to K-12 schools, where projector thefts are far more common that most would suspect.
Of course, as with most projectors, there are many additional minor features, but these above, are the major ones not mentioned elsewhere in this review.