Sanyo PLV-Z3000 - Review Summary
A summary of the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 projector's pros and cons and capabilities.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector - The Bottom Line
I must admit that I am not as impressed with the PLV-Z3000 projector as I had hoped. Still, when all is considered, including its status as the lowest priced of the ultra high contrast projectors reviewed so far, it is an excellent value.
A better final calibration than we ended up with (not one of the easier projectors to calibrate), may well improve black level performance slightly, and more importantly, add a little more life to dark scenes. Using the Color Management section when doing a full calibration should eliminate much if not all of the yellow/green emphasis. Those are the three areas where this Sanyo comes up a a bit short of it's most direct competitor, the Panasonic PT-AE3000.
On the other hand, it provides more wow and pop on brighter scenes than the PT-AE3000, as well as several other competitors. Price wise, the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 costs more than most of the the "standard" (typical contrast) 1080p projectors, but not by very much, whereas all the ultra high contrast projectors are at least $400 more from the Panasonic, to the Epson UB (an expected close to $3000 selling price), not to mention Sony and JVC projectors, some costing upward of three times the Sanyo projector's selling price.
The Sanyo PLV-Z3000's Dynamic mode, with its impressive 1400 plus lumens is one of the brighter projectors around, and it provides a more natural picture in terms of color balance, than most other projectors in their equivalent brightest modes.
Below average brightness (326 lumens, calibrated) in its best mode - Pro Cinema, does limit screen size a bit, and I like the Sanyo, in most cases, best, with a 100 inch diagonal or smaller screen. The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 can go a little larger without going to really high gain screens, or changing the iris setting from -60 to, say -25 (which I used for most viewing in Pure Cinema mode). I can picture the Sanyo performing extremely well in a nice home theater, with a 100" diagonal screen, and a light gray high contrast screen. It will deliver nice dark black levels (even if others are better), and excellent shadow detail when watching a movie, or produce a still good looking, four times brighter image for watching sports and HDTV in general. With a 100 inch screen, the Z3000, in Dynamic mode, really pops!
I believe most folks, however, will favor Creative Cinema mode, for the better looking dark scenes, but users likely want to set the Lamp to full, to maintain brightness, and possibly adjust the iris setting upward from -20, to perhaps -10.
In past battles between Sanyo and Panasonic, I tended to find the Sanyo to be favored by enthusiasts and purists. This time around, it's the Sanyo that, I think has more appeal to the more general consumer. I'm talking about an owner that wants a really good picture, but won't quibble about subtle differences, but demands for more brightness for viewing things like sports with some lights on, or other ambient light sources.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector: Pros
- Good color accuracy post calibration in best mode (minor yellow/green push)
- Rich, dynamic image in brightest mode, with extremely good picture quality, for a brightest mode
- Excellent shadow detail performance
- Black level performance better than most projectors but not quite as good as the other ultra high contrast projectors
- Images really pop on bright scenes, and mixed scenes with a good amount of bright areas
- Two HDMI 1.3 inputs, full support for 24 fps, Deep Color, etc.
- Creative frame interpolation for smooth fast motion, with 96/120fps frame rate
- Support for an anamorphic lens
- Very sharp image
- Plenty of user savable settings
- Excellent remote control
- Excellent placement flexibility with 2:1 zoom and lens shift
- Audible noise is extremely quiet in low power, and quieter than average in full power mode
- Very good menus
- Lowest cost, ultra high contrast 1080p projector
- Excellent price/performance
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector: Cons
- More difficult to calibrate than most, and lacks separate color gain and offset for grayscale calibration
- Slight yellow/green push, noticeable on skin tones, may be correctable with adjustments in the Color Management section
- Black levels not as good as the competing ultra high contrast projectors from Panasonic, Epson, Mitsubishi, or the (even more expensive) LCoS projectors from JVC and Sony
- Could be brighter in "best" modes (below average brightness) Pure and Creative Cinema. In most situations not bright enough for larger screens (over 110 inch diagonal).
- Our review unit had more pixel mis-alignment than we find normal. However, this is not unusual when working with a pre-production sample
- Image tends to look a bit flat on dark scenes in Pure Cinema modes
- Documentation is very weak in terms of explaining the effects of the many dynamic features
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Selection of inputs
- Physical appearance - basically a box, but with nice edges, two toned, a clean look
- Lamp life (unpublished)
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