Sanyo PLV-Z60 Home Theater Projector Review: General Performance
There's plenty to cover about the PLV-Z60 in this section. These links will allow you to quickly get to any topics of interest to you.
Sanyo PLV-Z60 Menus
Sanyo PLV-Z60 User Memory Settings
PLV-Z60 Remote Control
Lens Throw and Lens Shift, Pixel Structure...
SDE and Rainbow Effect
Sanyo PLV-Z60 Projector Brightness
Sanyo PLV-Z60 Light Leakage
Sanyo PLV-Z60 Audible Noise Levels
PLV-Z60 Projector Screen Recommendations
For the most part I like the Sanyo menu layout. One thing you have to watch out for, though, is that several of the main menus are multi-page. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the first page and then one more press of the down arrow, and you'll be on the second page. That the extra page is only indicated by a small 1/2 in the lower right corner of a menu, doesn't make it very obvious.
The first menu shown here, is the basic Image menu, which shows you the color presets. There are three for movies, with Pure Cinema being the best, then Creative, which is a good alternative if you need more lumens (and have calibrated it), and finally Brilliant. Plus four more modes when you need more horsepower. Scrolling all the way down takes you to the 2nd page, which has the user defined presets.
The Image Adjust menu is next and it contains just about all of the controls that affect image color, contrast, etc. Again, there is a second page, shown below:
I like that the lamp control and iris control are here. Note, there is an advanced menu, with more controls. This is only available if turned on in the Setting menus shown below.
There are four additional menus not shown, including the Picture menu for controlling the signal, including PC analog, Screen controls aspect ratio, and similar functions, and, well, Input let's you select from the many inputs. Finally there's an Information menu that shows you key settings.
Bottom line: As long as you remember the multi-page structure, it's a very nice menu system, and you can choose where you want it to show up on the screen.
PLV-Z60 User Memory Settings
The PLV-Z60 offers four User savable settings. The nice thing is you can start with any Preset mode, make changes, and save the whole thing as one of your User memories. Some other projectors can make you life miserable, when adjusting, by only having one default starting point for all user settings. I've encountered projectors where "best mode" is close to ideal, but to adjust it you have to start from a default group of settings that might be much worse, in which case, it's a lot more work.
PLV-Z60 Projector Remote Control
The Sanyo PLV-Z60 remote is a small one with relatively small, packed together buttons. It is backlit, however the backlight isn't overly bright. The size of the remote and packed in buttons might annoy those with large beefy hands, but, other than that, it's a good remote. I found it easy to locate key buttons in the dark, without using the backlight, due to the rather good organization of buttons.
At the top right is power (press once for On, twice for Off), and across from it, is the backlight button. The next row has the Lamp control (four options) on the left, then there's an image mute button labeled No Show, in the middle and an image Freeze button on the right
Next comes the Menu system, with Menu button on the left, four arrows in a diamond shape with an enter button labeled "OK" in the center.
A Screen button toggles between aspect ratios, while Image takes you to the first image adjust menu.
More image controls below that, including direct access to Brightness Contrast, Color, as well as Iris control and a Preset button for access to the color presets (Pure Cinema, Dynamic...) in the middle, and User, for your calibrated user saved modes, on the right.
OK that leaves only five buttons which provide acess to your sources. Component and HDMI are both toggles as there are two inputs for each. Finally there's a button in the lower right to bring up the info screen. Now, I've only overlooked one button, and that is the Reset button across from the Menu. I saved it for last, because I really don't like it sitting up there with the menu controls. Be careful.
Bottom line: A reasonably good remote control. It's best strength is good organization, easy to remember where things are, and the decision to have direct access to most key functions. Range seems about average, which is fine for most. It's a bit small, though, for really big folk.
PLV-Z60 Lens Throw and Lens Shift
The Sanyo's 2:1 manual zoom lens allows the projector to sit as close as 9.8 feet from a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen, or as far back as 20 feet (measured from the front of the lens). From these numbers you can figure out the range for any screen size. For example, if your screen is 10% larger - 110" diagonal, then add 10% to those distances. The PLV-Z60 has extensive vertical and horizontal lens shift range as well.
You can move the image up, or down as needed. If you are not using horizontal lens shift (most don't), there's enough range in the vertical lens shift to move the image up or down 1.5 screen heights from the center position. For that 100" screen, that means you can mount the projector as high as about 24.5 inches above the top of your screen surface, or place the projector as low as 24.5 inches below the bottom of the screen's surface, or anywhere in between. That's about as much lens shift as you will find on any home theater projector. If you do need to use some horizontal lens shift, it will limit somewhat, the amount of vertical lens shift available.
The combination of wide range zoom, and lots of lens shift, make the Sanyo PLV-Z60 equally flexible, whether shelf mounting, sitting on a table top, or ceiling mounted.
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PLV-Z60 SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility
Since the PLV-Z60 is a 3LCD design, there is no spinning color wheel, and therefore, no rainbow effect issue.
Pixel visibility is very good for a 720p 3LCD projector. As improved LCD panels keep coming out, each generation seems to have a slightly less visible pixel structure, than preceding models. While pixel structure is still more visible than with DLP projectors, it isn't much of an issue for the PLV-Z60, unless you like to sit very close. I spent most of my time viewing the Z60 at about a 100" diagonal size. Sitting 11 feet back, (roughly 1.4 times screen width), the pixel structure is just visible on credits and signage (such as info boxes with scores and other information, used constantly on sports). I would say that most people could even sit a little closer and still not consider pixel visibility to be a problem. Screen Door Effect is essentially getting a patterning, caused by pixel structure combining with certain types of content, to give you the appearance of looking through a screen door. At normal seating distances, I did not encounter any real screen door effect, not even on grass on a football field (an easy place to spot it).
PLV-Z60 Projector Brightness
One of the reasons the PLV-Z60 is one of the less bright projectors, is Sanyo's decision to use a 145 watt lamp. Most of the rest of the 3LCD projectors use a 160 watt or 200 watt lamp, so they have the brightness advantage. DLP home theater projectors mostly use 200 watt lamps or larger, but are less efficient ("green"?), and need the brighter lamp to match the 160 watt lamps in 3LCD projectors. Either way, though, the Sanyo uses the least bright lamp out there, and it shows when it comes to brightness measurements.
Before calibration, Pure Cinema - the "best" mode, measured a paltry 265 lumens with the zoom in the middle of its range. Creative Cinema, however, is also a very usable mode, and musters a respectable 441 lumens. Brilliant Cinema jumps up to 576 lumens. The Z60 will appeal to those seeking image performance, though, so most will want to use Pure Cinema or compromise just a little for Creative Cinema.
Other modes include: Natural - 476 lumens, Living (room) 542 lumens, Dynamic 1243 lumens, and Vivid at 1033 lumens.
All of the above measurements were done with the Lamp setting in Auto 1, which uses lamp control to improve black levels in dark scenes. Turning that off (set to Normal) does provide additional brightness, with, for example, Brilliant Cinema output increasing from 576 lumens to 671 lumens
After calibrating based on Pure Cinema mode, we measured an almost identical 260 lumens, only 5 less than the default setting.
A quick and dirty calibration of Dynamic mode, improved color and dropped brightness only slightly from 1243 to 1190 lumens (about 4%).
Eco-mode in Brilliant Color produced 531 lumens compared to the 671 lumens with no lamp dimming function. That works out to just over a 20% drop in brightness. That 20% should be consistent, irregardless of which preset mode you are using.
PLV-Z60 Projector Light Leakage
No significant issues here!
PLV-Z60 Audible Noise Levels
Very quiet. Definitely not the quietest around, but even with lamp on full, it's not noisy. I don't see audible noise being an issue for anyone. Officially, Sanyo claims 22 db, in Eco-mode, and I'll estimate that it's 4 db noisier at full power. That's still substantially below most projectors. The louder 3LCD projectors, as well as most DLP projectors, tend to produce 30 to 34 db at full power, and that's a big difference.
Bottom line: Very few people will have an issue with audible noise, from the PLV-Z60, even in full power. There are a few, however who demand silence, or as close to it as possible, and even they won't have any issue in Eco-mode.
PLV-Z60 Projector Screen Recommendations
Considering the low lumen output in best mode, and the better than typical black level performance for a 720p projector, I have to recommend a white screen surface, and for many of you, one with some gain. Screens like Carada's Brilliant White (only available in fixed wall), or pull-down, motorized or fixed wall equivalents from Da-Lite, Elite, Draper, Grandview, Stewart, etc. with gains in the 1.1 to 1.4 range are probably the best choice. Of course if you are going with less than 100" diagonal and have some side ambient light issues, then you might want to consider a light gray high contrast surface, which will help with some of that side ambient light.
If you will not have folks sitting far to the sides, then some may even want to choose a higher gain screen, such as a 1.8 gain. I'm definitely not big on gains higher than that, because of the unevenness of illumination from left to right, if you are not sitting extremely close to the center.
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PLV-Z60 Projector Measurements and Calibration
First things first. To start off the process, first we found the correct settings for Brightness: 2
Please note, if you "tweak" a mode, say you decide to decrease the Color value in Pure Cinema mode, from default 0, to -3, when you switch to another mode, those will reset back to default.
In other words, calibrate, and use those User memory settings to save multiple improved viewing modes.
Changing between different Preset modes also changes the Color Temp and Lamp modes to default for that mode, as well.
First, Pure Cinema mode, before calibration
With lamp at full power we measured:
White (100 IRE): 6802K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6605K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6543K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6378K
Very, very, good, for "out of the box" numbers.
Calibrating Pure Cinema (which we then saved as User 1), required these changes:
Gain: Red = 0, Green = 0, Blue = -3
Offset: Red = 0, Green = -1, Blue = 2
Gamma: Red = -2, Green = -2, Blue = -2
With those setting we came up with these rather impressive final grayscale color temp numbers:
White (100 IRE): 6642K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6475K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6449K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6542K
Now that's impressive, with a range of less than 200K from dark to bright! It shows up as a great, natural color balance when viewing.
Here's the CIE chart after calibration:
I had Mike do a quick calibration of Dynamic mode as well. When I say "quick" the goal isn't perfect color balance. The goal is to maintain as much brightness as possible, but sacrificing a few lumens to make the overall color accuracy more watchable. Most projectors in brightest modes tend to be over the top on greens and or yellows. Our goal is to tame them a bit, not perfect, but still bright, and definitely more watchable. Some times that has a high cost in lumens. With the Z60, the price was small, only a 4% loss in brightness, in exchange for better color. True, there's still a slightly too strong yellow, but it becomes very watchable for most things, especially sports!
Here are the settings from Mike's "quick cal":
Gain: Red = 15, Green = 0, Blue = -15
Offset: Red = -13, Green = 0, Blue = 0
I would suggest that buyers of the Z60 get a calibration disc, and do four different calibrations:
I would recommend one based on Pure Cinema, one using either Creative Cinema (preferred by me) or Brilliant Cinema, and two more for bright modes, probably based on Dynamic, one where you really, desperately need maximum lumens, so willing to compromise significantly on color accuracy, and one where you give up a few more lumens for better color, when you want both brightness and good color.
PLV-Z60 Image Noise
Very nicely done. I spotted no real issues here. No jaggies, a very good job on motion artifacts and basic background noise levels were very low.
OK, time to look at the General Performance page, which considers brightness, calibration settings, projector screen recommendations, audible noise levels, menus, remote control, and more.