Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector - Image Quality
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 images below are from either Blu-ray or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the PLV-Z3000 projector projects on the screen. There are color shifts (too much yellow, in this case), saturation differences, etc.
The images are provided to support the commentary, so don't read too much into them, such as expecting an exact reproduction of skin tones. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews.
12/7/2008 - Art Feierman
PLV-Z3000 Out of the Box Picture Quality
The Sanyo PLV-Z3000, out of the box provides a watchable image, but not a great one. This is a projector for which you will need to have calibrated, either yourself, with a consumer calibration disc, or by a professional calibrator. Pure Cinema mode, is cool, needing more red. That is even more true of Brilliant Cinema (Sanyo's brightest movie mode). Out of the box settings are a bit cool (shift away from red, to blue), and have a bit too much yellow green in the images. Calibration eliminates most of that yellow-green tendency, but not all, and also gets the red-blue balance, and overall color temperature measurements, much closer to the ideal 6500K color temperature.
Post calibration, skin tones are very good, given the slight yellow-green emphasis. I find that in Pure Cinema mode, however, (perhaps, in part due to limited brightness), that faces tend to look a little dark and flat, resulting in my wanting to get a bit more pop and wow out of the Z3000. In that regard, switching to the brighter Brilliant Cinema mode, satisfied me more than Pure Cinema mode. Creative Cinema mode, using all those dynamic features also improved the pop of the images especially in dark scenes. You will notice the slightly strong yellow-green in these images, although the end result of the images being captured, exaggerates this color shift, far more than you see when watching the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 on the projection screen.
Here, first are a pair of images from my favorite movie not available yet on Blu-ray: Lord of the Rings, played from standard DVD.
Here are three images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale, under different lighting conditions. The point here, is that correct skin tones vary, depending on the lighting. You can expect significantly different looking skin tones, when switching from bright sunlight, to nighttime, fluorescent lighting, incandescent lighting, or even lighting in the shade, or a cloudy day. Consider these three images, the first, in direct sunlight, the second is a scene with fluorescent lighting, and the third, a sunny day, but Bond is sitting in the shade - indirect lighting.
Next are images from the sci-fi flick, Aeon Flux:
From Men In Black:
Black Levels & Shadow Detail
First is a seriously overexposed shot of the starship in The Fifth Element. Immediately below it, is a less overexposed version, for better comparing with the same image in older reviews. In the first image, I have left in part of the letterboxing, so you can see the basic black level more easily.
For comparison, here's the same image from the Mitsubishi HC6500.
And below is the Panasonic PT-AE3000, which slightly bests the Sanyo PLV-Z3000:
Immediately below is the JVC DLA-RS2, which still seems to have the best black levels of any under $10,000 projector, although the soon to be shipping JVC DLA-RS20 may even be slightly better.
As you can see, the PLV-Z3000 has a long ways to go to catch the JVC RS2, in terms of black levels. The Sanyo's black levels are very good, but the least impressive of these high contrast projectors, most similar to the Panasonic, but not quite that good.
OK here's what many of you have been waiting for, side by side images for comparing black levels. I had the opportunity to shoot the PLV-Z3000 against the Panasonic, the Mitsubishi HC7000, and the Sony VPL-HW10. All three are more expensive projectors, with only the Panasonic close to the price of the Sanyo.
The image below is just slightly overexposed. The Sanyo in all of these, is on the right. Don't worry about color shifts - at these long exposures (up to 10 seconds) subtle differences in color are exaggerated. Note, the Sanyo being a little less bright, is a bit dimmer, so fewer stars are visible.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 (right), Panasonic PT-AE3000 (left):
Next, the same drill, but the Mitsubishi HC7000 on the left, Sanyo on the right:
Lastly, here is the Sanyo, vs. the more expensive LCoS powered Sony VPL-HW10:
I also took side-by-side images with a fully black "image". There are no larger versions to click on. The interesting thing about shooting fully black "scenes" is that different projectors will close down their irises to different degrees. Just because one projector looks blacker on a black scene, does not guaranty that that projector is still blacker on a dark, but not fully black scene.
Below: Sanyo on the right, Panasonic PT-AE3000 on the left:
Below PLV-Z3000 on the right, Sony HW10 on the left. Here you can see a clear difference, and the Sony is much darker.
Consider two additional images which are good ones for considering black levels. Look for the richness in the black part of some of the buildings and, also, the sky, in the second image. Both of these are digital hi-def images from the DVE-HD calibration disc.
Shadow Detail Performance
The PLV-Z3000 exhibits rather excellent shadow detail performance. It slightly bests the Panasonic PT-AE3000, and a touch more so, beats the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB. And all of them are at least very good. Shadow detail performance is a non-issue with the PLV-Z3000, it reveals plenty.
Top left: PLV-Z3000, Middle: Panasonic PT-AE3000U, Right: BenQ W5000:
The next set of comparison images is from Space Cowboys. This is a very dark scene with Clint Eastwood, on Blu-ray disc. The photos are intentionally way overexposed. Look for the blacks in the shades, and the details in those shades in the form of the white trim. (At this level of overexposure, don't even worry about the skin tones, as in these type of photos they always look terrible, and way oversaturated/too high contrast).
First image is the PLV-Z3000, followed by the HC6500. Next is the the Sony VW60. The last three in the sequence are the Sanyo PLV-Z700, Panasonic PT-AE3000U and the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB.
The PLV-Z3000 does a really good job on revealing details in the window shades, definitely bettter than most of the competition.
Again, from Space Cowboys, this is a cropped image. The right side is very bright (so dynamic irises will not be effective). The PLV-Z3000 (top left) shows exceptional shadow detail in the dark areas of the satellite. Next to it on the first row, is the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB. Those images are followed by the Sony VPL-VW60 and the PT-AE3000U (second row). The third row is the Mitsubishi HC6500 (left), and the Sanyo PLV-Z700 on the right.
The re-entry image below, is a tough shadow detail test. Projectors with weak black levels and average shadow detail ability tend to generate an image where much of the right side of earth, looks to have that flat, lacking in detail look. All projectors pick up some of the brighter features on the right side, while better ones, pick up a lot more and usually have richer blacks as well.
On the left, is the PLV-Z3000, the middle, the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, and on the right, the Panasonic PT-AE3000. The Sanyo does the best job on shadow detail, followed by the Panasonic, and then the Epson, which has always been just a little weak on shadow details.
Next is the casino image at night from Bond's Casino Royale.
When comparing, look at the detail in the roof (tiles), and also in the assorted trees and plants. The small images below (all from the same projector) show a slightly overexposed scene. Click on the images and the larger versions of the different projectors, are far more overexposed, to allow a closer inspection of shadow details.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 projector:
Panasonic PT-AE3000U projector:
Sony VPL-VW40 projector:
Epson Home Cinema 1080UB projector:
InFocus IN83 projector: (a more expensive projector that I've been raving about)
Mitsubishi HC6500 projector:
Below is a heavily overexposed scene from Lord of the Rings. The overexposure lets you see all the details in the shed on the right, the structure on the left, and the plants and ground along the lower right. The PLV-Z3000 performs very nicely.
Click on left thumbnail image for the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, Sanyo PLV-Z700 in the center, and the right for the PT-AE3000U.
Our last comparison uses the night train scene from Casino Royale. Look to the trees and shrubs on the right, especially just above the tracks. The first image is the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, the second is the Mitsubishi HC6500, and the last one is from the Panasonic PT-AE3000.
(Please note, the image above is a little blurry, must have bumped the tripod. Sorry! That shouldn't affect your ability to see the shadow details. -art)
Now are some side-by-sides of the same scene (Sanyo on the right). The first image compares the Sanyo to the Panasonic, the second, with the Mitsubishi HC7000, and lastly, the Sony HW10:
Another good image for observing shadow detail is this very dark scene from the first National Treasure film. The PLV-Z3000 does great on this one. Look to any dark area for detail, but especially in the upper right area:
Overall Color & Picture Quality
Here's the rub. I think the Sanyo is at its best when handling bright scenes, and even mixed scenes with lots of bright areas. The images tend to be rich and dynamic, while still looking natural.
The weakness is the dark scenes. They do reveal more shadow detail than any of the immediate competition, and, in fact its shadow detail abilities are exceptional. At the same time, though, the dark scenes seem muted, lacking dynamics, and were disappointing compared to those same competitors. I'm a big Sci-Fi fan, so I'm watching lots of dark scenes, special effects, etc. The Sanyo therefore, isn't a top choice for my movie viewing, at least not on movies where dark scenes are prevalent.
Moving to bright modes, the Sanyo is very good. I found it to be an excellent projector for viewing sports, and spectacular content from HDTV sources like Discovery HD, National Geographic, and Palladia (the old M-HD MTV hi-def channel).
In other words, very good for movies in general, but better for HDTV and sports. That, again, is the surprise. Previous Sanyo projectors tended to be favorites among enthusiasts, with better than typical black levels, good shadow detail, but lacking the umph to be a star at HDTV and sports. Go figure!
A mix of additional images to show off the PLV-Z3000:
From the DTS Blu-ray test disk, consider these:
From the DVE-HD test disc:
Back to movies - here's a couple from Dogma and one from Aeon Flux:
And here are two last images, the first from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the second from the latest Indiana Jones movie:
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
This Sanyo is great on HDTV and sports under some ambient light conditions. At almost 1500 lumens, the Sanyo can put out in brightest (Dynamic) mode, and actually has some of the best color balance found among competing projectors, when comparing brightest mode. Sure, the Dynamic mode has oversaturated colors, but that is what you want to help cut through that ambient light. If you plan to use Dynamic mode, with very low ambient light, just dial down the saturation.
The images above and below are from a Moody Blues Concert that has been broadcast in HD, and is also available on Blu-ray disc.
Sports in particular look really good (images to be added). I've logged a good dozen plus hours watching the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 home theater projector perform on football games and other sports. It definitely works for me! Mostly I viewed sports in Dynamic mode, and occasionally in Living (room) mode.
I tend to use either Brilliant Cinema or Living(room) modes, for most HDTV, such as watching The Tonight show, or a music video. That assumes those modes have been calibrated as well.