Panasonic PT-VX400NT Projector - Image Quality
5/15/12 - Mike Rollet
Panasonic PT-VX400NT Color & Picture Quality
The Panasonic PT-VX400NT looked great with any type of material. It displays a sharp image that is notable for its accurate, well-saturated colors in most modes. Colors were quite accurate in any picture mode, with the exception of a slight blue-green cast to whites in the brightest image mode, Dynamic. Even so, colors appeared natural, with canary yellows and reds that did not look like burnt orange. Dropping down into Standard mode improves the color over Dynamic, with a minimal loss of lumen output. Real and Cinema modes improve the picture further, again without a huge drop in lumen output. As a practical issue, unless your presentation is dependent on very accurate color or brightness in not an issue, Dynamic mode will be more than adequate as a go-to mode.
As a result of the good color, photo presentations are excellent with the PT-VX400NT, particularly in either Cinema or Real modes. As mentioned in the Setup and Menu section of this review, there are a number of adjustments available to improve the picture quality. If you need to increase the contrast of your presentation, the gamma control will allow you to keep blacks from looking gray and vice versa. Similarly, the red, green and blue adjustments will provide the proper basis for accurately displayed colors at any level of brightness.
There is a movable electronic zoom that allows the user to zoom in on a particular section of the screen. This is combined with an on-screen pointer that can be very handy for pointing out details in photos or charts.
Below, the Panasonic PT-VX400NT projector in its brightest mode, Dynamic mode:
Panasonic PT-VX400NT Projector: Readability
The PT-VX400NT provided a sharp image at any resolution or aspect ratio. Using our usual spreadsheet with a range of text sizes and colors, there was no problem reading small (8 pt.) text on an 80” diagonal projected image. This level of readability was maintained with white text-on-black and yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds as well.
With resolutions higher than its default 1024 x 768, the PT-VX400NT continued its sharp, readable performance. We tried switching to 1280 x 800 and then 1920 x 1080, to test its ability to scale and resize these higher resolutions and different aspect ratios. As seems to be the norm these days, there was little difference with the higher resolutions. In each case, the displayed text looked essentially the same as it did at the PT-VX400NT’s native resolution. Unlike DLP projectors (which use a single panel with individual colors projected through a color wheel onto the panel) LCD projectors (which use separate panels for red, green and blue, and are usually pixel converged through a prism and the lens) can often be prone to color fringing around smaller lettering. This was not the case with the PT-VX400NT, as small text remained quite readable and there was very little color separation or overlap.
Based on our testing, there’s little doubt that the Panasonic PT-VX400NT will do an excellent job maintaining readability at any of the supported resolutions.
The Panasonic PT-VX400NT projector in native resolution:
Panasonic PT-VX400NT Projector: Video Performance
To check the PT-VX400NT’s video performance, I used the DVD playback from my laptop computer, still connected via HDMI. Starting in Cinema mode, I viewed a few DVDs that I am quite familiar with from evaluating home theater projectors. As I expected from the Color and Picture Quality evaluation, these DVDs looked quite good on the PT-VX400NT. Skin tones were quite natural and color depth was at the level we’ve come to expect from LCD projectors. The relatively high lumen output combined with the low contrast ratio of the PT-VX400NT made viewing darker scenes less enjoyable. Black levels were average as compared to much of the competition. That being said, using the Auto lamp setting enhanced black levels quite nicely.
Below, the Panasonic PT-XV400NT projector in Cinema mode:
For video viewing in an average lit room, the good color reproduction of the PT-VX400NT in high brightness modes provides for a pleasing image, making it a good choice for classroom video presentations. While the PT-VX400NT is not really designed to be used for movie or TV viewing, it’s nice to know that it certainly could be used in that way, while still providing solid picture quality.
As a lot of video also has sound, it should be noted that the PT-VX400NT’s built-in 10-watt speaker will be adequate for any normal-sized classroom, negating the need for add-on, powered speakers.