Sanyo PLV-Z4000 - Performance
9/7/2010 - Art Feierman
Sanyo PLV-Z4000 Brightness
The Sanyo PLV-Z4000 (this link takes you to our full specs/brochure page), is below average brightness in its "best" movie mode (no surprise, as that is typical for Sanyo designs). Also of little surprise is that the Sanyo is a bit below average brightness in its "brightest" mode as well.
The Sanyo simply is not the projector for larger screens. (True you could go large with very high gain screens, but they narrow the viewing cone of good seating area, and because illumination is less even than with lower gain screens, in general).
I consider average brightness to be anywhere from about 400 to 550 lumens in its "best" mode, and average tends to be in the 1000 and change range, in "brightest" mode.
Before we get going with measurements, it's time to address the issue of the impact of many of the image enhancement features and the overall settings of the various Preset modes (Pure Cinema, Creative Cinema, etc.)
Let's start, by defining the two primary movie modes: Pure, and Creative.
To appreciate this, it's important to understand the difference. Pure Cinema, is what its name implies. All the fancy features are turned off (such as Dynamic Gamma, Auto Black Stretch, Dynamic Iris etc.), and the lamp is on full power (as opposed to Low power or either of the two dimming lamp modes). In other words - "pure" performance, lacking dynamic enhancements. (In addition, the manual iris is closed down to almost maximum (-60, making for low lumen output).
Creative, on the other hand, is a mode with most of those image enhancing features turned on. The default settings have the Lamp on one of its auto dimming modes, the dynamic iris is on, as are the other dynamic features. Thus, Creative Cinema, is Pure Cinema plus everything fancy Sanyo could throw out the image to improve it. The manual iris is opened more than in Pure, using a -20 setting, which adds brightness.
Because the Auto lamp modes on the Sanyo projector are both dimmer than a setting of full lamp, and because the Dynamic iris modes are dimmer than Fixed iris, this tends to bring about dramatically varying differences in brightness depending on those settings.
We had to pay more attention to what makes sense, then simply concentrating on default settings.
Sanyo PLV-Z4000 Dynamic mode: Here's a case, in my opinion, where Sanyo wasn't logical, in setting up its defaults. I believe for most projector users, Dynamic mode (or whatever other names other manufacturers use), is expected to be the brightest mode, one that compromises maximum image quality (including color accuracy, etc.), in exchange for the maximum lumens to cut through ambient light.
I don't expect users to watch movies in Dynamic mode. On the other hand, it's great for Sports, and educational content (Discovery HD, Natl. Geographic channel, Science HD, History Channel HD, etc.), when the room is not fully darkened.
Here is the issue. You neither need nor want, a dynamic iris working for the majority of such content, with ambient light present, but Sanyo chose to have both Auto Lamp dimming and Dynamic Iris working in their default settings. If you don't have an ambient light issue, you don't need anywhere near the lumens that Dynamic offers, so one of the less bright, better image quality modes makes more sense.
In this case, the difference between having those extra "special features" operating or not, takes a rather dramatic toll on brightness.
With our preferred settings for Dynamic mode, Dynamic measures 873 lumens, not the 461 using Sanyo's defaults. That's about an 80% increase!
Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE:
Brilliant Cinema= 255 @ 8345, 454 lumens with Lamp on Normal
Creative Cinema= 180 @ 7373, 320 with Lamp on Normal
Pure Cinema= 220 @ 6980
Natural= 354 @ 8136
Living= 607 @ 7480
Dynamic= 461 @ 6784, 823 lumens with Lamp on Normal, 873 lumens with Lamp on Normal and Iris Fixed at 0 (wide open)
x.v.Color=278 @ 7205
Below are the effects of all the different settings on Dynamic mode. They will have the same relative impact on any of the preset or user defined modes.
Effect of Lamp settings on lumen output (Dynamic mode, Iris Fixed on 0):
Normal (full on)= 873
A1 (default for Dynamic mode)= 489
Effect of Iris on Lumen Output (Dynamic mode, Normal lamp):
Fixed on 0= 873
Mode 1 on 0= 823
Mode 2 on –20= 800
Fixed on –60= 614
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode, Normal Lamp, Iris fixed on 0):
Zoom out= 1008
Mid zoom= 873
Zoom in= 674
Post Calibration: Sanyo PLV-Z4000
Living mode - Quick Cal:
Mike worked on improving the color slightly, while still trying to get out about the maximum lumens. That resulted in a measured 596 lumens with white - 100 IRE measuring 7180K. Personally, I favor grabbing the extra 275 lumens of Dynamic, which is definitely cooler (more blue) measuring about 8300K up from almost 7200K.
For Pure Cinema (Creative Cinema with the dynamic features turned off, basically), post calibration numbers are excellent:
Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration):
20 IRE - 6151
30 IRE - 6432
40 IRE - 6551
50 IRE - 6551
60 IRE - 6588
70 IRE - 6530
80 IRE - 6576
90 IRE - 6475
100 IRE – 6571
Mike notes: Greyscale is very flat from 30 to 90 IRE. Delta E grayscale error averages 1.4 which is very good performance (lees than 3 is good).
Gamma set to -1 averaged 2.2 which is exactly the target.
Note: A calibrated Living mode, is our "best" choice for most HDTV and sports viewing, when lighting conditions do not call for every last lumen. The image is better than Dynamic mode. That said, the Z4000's dynamic mode looks a lot better than the old Z3000's, and isn't far behind Living mode, in color terms. You will get about a 40% boost in lumens going from Living, to Dynamic.
The other dynamic features, such as Auto Black Stretch, Dynamic Gamma, and Contrast Enhancement, have little effect on the brightness measurements, although they definitely impact the overall image.
PLV-Z4000 Color Tempurature Measurements (default) for Pure Cinema mode
Color Temp over IRE Range, Best Mode = Pure Cinema, Out of the Box:
30 IRE – 7012
50 IRE – 7350
80 IRE – 7159
100 IRE – 6980
Definitely a little "cool" - shift to blue, but not bad.
Effect of Zoom Lens Positioning on Brightness
As you could compute from numbers found above, setting the projector to full wide angle on the zoom lens (so the projector is as close as it can get to a given sized screen), increases brightness about 15.5%, while moving the projector back - to use full telephoto, drops the brightness (compared to the mid-point placement), by roughly 23%!
The Sanyo PLV-Z4000 is sharper than the average 1080p projector. It's a touch better than most 3LCD projectors and also most of the LCoS models. On the other hand, many of the similarly priced DLP projectors (single chip) will be a bit sharper still than the Z4000. These are differences that are going to be pretty subtle when watching movies, but more so, with all digital 1080p content. Overall, sharpness is pretty good!
For your consideration, our usual close up images:
Top left: Sanyo PLV-Z4000, Top Left Center - LG CF181D, Top Right Center - JVC RS25, Top right - Mitsubishi HC7000. 2nd Row from left: Mitsubishis HC6800, HC3800, Epson 8500UB, Optoma HD20.
Please note, we are slowly switching to using the Playstation video logo as our sharpness example, instead of the old dts-hd logo. The original sample test disc from dts died, and they can't find me another.
Below: Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right: Sanyo PLV-Z4000, Mitsubishi HC6800, Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, and BenQ W6000. The DLA-RS25 holds its own against most, but not a few of the sharpest DLP projectors.
Sanyo PLV-Z4000: Bottom Line Sharpness
It would be hard to be displeased with the Sanyo sharpness. Yes, you can find sharper, but they will likely be single chip DLP projectors. A more expensive Mitsubishi or two might also best the Z4000 (among other 3LCD projectors), but certainly by only the slightest amount. Don't think for a moment, that the content won't be the more important aspect of sharpness. Yes, the best digital HD content, can be done sharper on some others, but, we're really quibbling, especially if you are comparing, say, lower content material (standard DVD, or non-HD broadcasts), on a "sharper" projector, compared to HD on the Sanyo, the Sanyo (or any other 1080p projectors should blow away the sharpest projector on lower res content.
Even if you are a total sharpness freak, the Z4000 may not be at the top of your list, but it should satisfy you. Sanyo, I should note, upon grilling them about the changes from the Z3000 to the Z4000, primarily emphasized refinements in the optical engine, yielding improvements in both color and sharpness. Works for me!
Very clean. No noticeable light leakage from the lens. There is definitely light from the venting coming off the right side, if looking at the projector from the back. However, it is very muted and you are not likely to have an angle to see it, if ceiling or shelf mounted. Light leakange therefore is not an issue. Still, if your side walls or ceiling are light colored, you will probably be able to just spot a little light from the exhaust, over on the right side of your room.
As with the previous Sanyo Z, the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 performs well, when viewing the usual tests from the the HQV HD test disc. Jaggies were handled very well, mosquito noise was a little better than the average projector. No complaints for any normal viewing.
The Sanyo PLV-Z4000 projector is very quiet. In its low power eco-mode, the Sanyo claims 19 db, making it one of the very quietest. At full power, the noise level increased more than most, but it's still quieter than most projectors. It's definitely quieter than any of the 1080p DLP based projectors I can think of, and also quieter than the likes of the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB. Noise in either mode should not be a problem for owners. Few projectors are as quite in eco mode as the Sanyo is at full power. That should give some thought to those of you who are really noise adverse, that might be important relative to brightness. For example, if you found the BenQ W6000 too noisy at full power, and had, therefore to run it at low power, then the lumen differences, would be somewhat less.