Sanyo PLV-Z700 Home Theater Projector Review: General Performance
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Sanyo PLV-Z700 User Memory Settings
PLV-Z700 Remote Control
Lens Throw and Lens Shift, Pixel Structure...
SDE and Rainbow Effect
Sanyo PLV-Z700 Projector Brightness
Sanyo PLV-Z700 Light Leakage
Sanyo PLV-Z700 Audible Noise Levels
PLV-Z700 Projector Screen Recommendations
PLV-Z700 User Memory Settings
The Sanyo Z700 has five user savable settings. I recommend you use these, as switching back and forth causes the regular presets, like Creative Cinema to reset to default settings. You want to create the variations you will be using and store them into these memories. You can calibrate yourself, hire a professional, or drop in the settings we list below, from our calibration.
PLV-Z700 Projector: Remote Control
Overall, the Sanyo PLV-Z700 has a great remote. The backlight is a bright reddish-pink (pure red backlights are hard to read, this has more white component, and is easy to read).
Power, Menu, and the keypad are all up near the top. Down the left side below the Screen button (aspect ratio), are all the direct input buttons.
Going down the center and the right sides, first come the Preset, and User savable memory access buttons. Then are a host of direct access buttons: Brightness, Contrast, Color Temp, and Sharpness. Down at the bottom right, are more controls, including No Show (blank screen), Lamp control, and image Freeze.
PLV-Z700: Lens Throw and Lens Shift
The Sanyo PLV-Z700 has a 2:1 manual zoom lens that 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-Z700 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 PLV-Z700 has support for an anamorphic lens! Of course, an anamorphic lens and sled runs about twice what the projector does, so it is unlikely that many will consider that option.
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.
PLV-Z700: SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility
Since the Sanyo is a 3LCD projector, there's no rainbow effect. When it comes to screendoor and pixel visibility, today's 1080p 3LCD projectors have pixels small enough and not noticeable enough to be an issue, unless you like to sit very, very close. I no longer consider today's 1080p projectors, regardless of technology, to have any issue with screendoor or pixel visibility. The faint pixel structure does add a little on things like movie credits and graphic overlays, but mostly you are seeing the slight lack of resolution of 1080p on a large screen.
PLV-Z700 Projector: Brightness
Sanyo PLV-Z700: Pre Color Calibration
A lot to report here. Because of all the options, that can be used with the different preset modes, and user saved settings, brightness will vary rather dramatically depending on what options you are using.
This should provide you a pretty good taste of the Sanyo PLV-700's brightness under different circumstances. Initial measurements assume default iris and lamp settings (unless otherwise noted):
For all measurements: Brightness +4, Color +5, Tint 2, Contrast 0 - (except Contrast contrast at -10 for Dynamic mode). These settings are used for all measurements - when I describe "default" below, I'm referring to RGB settings, lamp, and iris settings unless otherwise noted. The default for lamp is Auto 1.
Best mode - Creative Cinema: 350 lumens
Brilliant Color: 743 lumens
Natural: 823 lumens
Living: 860 lumens
Dynamic: 957 lumens
Note please that how you set the lamp has significant impact. For example, above, Dynamic's default is lamp on Auto 1, but changing lamp to Normal, increases brightness dramatically:
Dynamic, with Lamp set to Normal: 1310 lumens (a 37% jump).
This shows you the brightness changes caused by different lamp modes (Brilliant Cinema mode, Iris fixed) is used for this example, but the percentages should be consistent for any preset mode:
Auto 1: 743 (default lamp setting)
Auto 2: 698
The Iris setting also has a similar, large impact (Brilliant Cinema, Lamp on Normal):
Fixed Iris: 900 lumens
Mode 1: 644 lumens
Mode 2: 561 lumens
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Sanyo PLV-Z700: Post Calibration
Creative Cinema mode ("best") (lamp on Normal, Gamma -3, Iris fixed, all advanced features off): 675 lumens
Brilliant Cinema (same individual settings as above): 887 lumens
Dynamic (same individual settings as above): 1157
Of note, the post calibration measurement of Dynamic "brightest mode" is 12% lower than pre-calibration, and a bit below the average 1080p projector in brightest mode.
Z700 Brightness: Bottom line
With the PLV-Z700 you have a huge number of options. Let's just say, that with iris and lamp in their "dynamic" adjusting modes, the projector can produce slightly better black levels, but at the expense of significant brightness. As you can see from above, we have a range on Creative Cinema, that is as low as 350 lumens and as bright as 675 lumens. That's pretty extreme.
Perhaps more to the point - at 350 lumens, that makes the PLV-Z700 one of the least bright projectors in terms of "best mode", and on the other hand, 675 lumens makes it definitely brighter than average. Currently, I would say that the average for best modes on 1080p projectors is right around 500 lumens.
Depending on how you set it up, will be a factor in how large a screen you can use. Down near that 350 lumen mark, you'll want a screen 100" diagonal or less, but defintely can go larger, with at least one of the irises not functioning dynamically.
PLV-Z700 Projector: Light Leakage
The Sanyo PLV-Z700 has only one notable light leakage issue. Light escapes from the left side (assuming you are looking from the front), from the fan exhaust. It's not bright, but, if you are placing the Sanyo on a table (not likely), you wouldn't want to sit on that side (actually, the hot air from the projector's exhaust would be much more bothersome than the light).
PLV-Z700: Audible Noise Levels
The Sanyo Z700 is one of the quietest projectors around. Let's just put it this way. If you aren't happy with the audible noise levels of the Z700, then of the roughly 50 home theater projectors under $10,000, there are at most, 5 or 6 that are quieter, and only two or three, that are significantly so. Even with the lamp on full power, the Sanyo PLV-Z700 is quieter than most projectors running in their "low lamp, eco-mode".
In other words, this shouldn't be an issue, except for a very few who are fixated on even the tiniest bit of audible noise. As noted in the Sanyo PLV-Z60 review last week, my Sony PS3, that I use for playing Blu-ray discs, is dramatically louder (probably at least 6-8 db louder). Also noticeably louder, are the sound of heating or air conditioning coming out of the vents in the room.
Bottom line: Not to worry!
PLV-Z700: Projector Screen Recommendations
Well, the Sanyo PLV-Z700 is an entry level 1080p projector. What that translates to, overall, is black level performance well below the best 1080p projectors under $10,000. You will have to make a trade-off decision, against overall brightness, in which your room layout (ambient light, and where it comes from), will be a factor. For those looking for the best image from the Z700, brightness issue notwithstanding, I'll recommend any good High Contrast Gray surface. This type of screen will lower those black levels a bit, and make them more acceptable, than with a white surfaced screen.
I've viewed the Sanyo on both my Firehawk G3 (HC gray), and on my Carada Brilliant White (1.4 gain white surface). I definitely preferred the Firehawk for this projector, and that means HC gray surfaces in general are my recommendation.
Take your pick, every major manufacturer makes high contrast gray surfaces. If you need the lumens, go for one with a light gray, if you don't, a darker gray will do even better on those black levels.
If your budget is tight - and you are looking motorized, look at screens from Elite, Da-Lite, Draper, Grandview, etc.
For fixed wall, all of the above, and you can add in Carada.
If budget is not a huge issue, definitely consider the Firehawk G3 or Greyhawk from Stewart. They are pricy though, with motorized screens costing far more than the Sanyo projector.
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PLV-Z700 Projector: Measurements and Calibration
With lamp at full power, Gamma at -3, Iris fixed, Brightness +4, Color +5, Tint 2, Contrast 0, and all other advanced settings off (these are the settings that generated 675 lumens:
White balance: R=0, G=-3, B=-3
That resulted in these measurements:
White (100 IRE): 6395K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6569K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6552K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6554K
Over all, that's a pretty good set of numbers post calibration with a range of only 174K from 30 IRE to 100 IRE.
Gamma, with these settings averaged 2.23, very close to the ideal 2.20.
A quick calibration was also done to Brilliant Color: For best results, the adjustments made were:
White balance: R=6, G=0, B=-7
Measured brightness: 887 lumens
Measured Color Temp for white (100 IRE): 6696K
A quick calibration was also performed on Dynamic:
White balance: R=0, G=-8, B=-10
Measured brightness: 1157 lumens
Bottom Line on calibration. The Z700 is a strange beast when it comes to controlling RGB. Virtually all projectors (including the PLV-Z60 and the PLV-Z2000) have separate R,G,B controls for Gain and Offset (or alternate names, but those are the most widely used (also brightness/contrast, black level/white level, etc.)
The PLV-Z700, however has only a single control called White balance, with separate R,G, and B. This makes calibrating the color temperature of this projector somewhat trickier than on other projectors. Nonetheless, we were able to get pretty good results. Sanyo is bringing out a guide to calibrating the Z700, which I believe is being written by well known reviewer Peter Putnam. It should be available soon.
Of at least equal importance, turning on features like the iris and lamp controls, the dynamic gamma, dynamic black, etc., all seem to impact the color temperature. Thus, as you play around, and find the combination of advanced features you prefer, you might take this approach: Use our settings above, to start, then after playing with the advanced features, and deciding on the ones you will be using, and then have the projector calibrated for your preferred settings.
That means likely at least two calibrations - one for your "best mode" and one for your "brightest mode" and of course you can keep our settings as well, as they are going to be brighter if you use lamp modes other than Normal.
I did some quick math - there are so many options, and virtually all of them affect the color temperature - and concluded that one could conceivably come up with more than 50 different combinations to calibrate. Of course, you only need a handful at the most.
Bottom line: A bit more difficult calibration to do than most projectors, and advanced controls affect the final results and color temperature. Nonetheless, at least for the modes we calibrated, we were able to end up with more than satisfactory results.
One last note, a personal preference. I found that the setting for color saturation of the Z700 that we recommend of +5 for Creative Cinema, slightly oversaturated the image when I used black level enhancement feature. As a result, I'll recommend a lower setting for Color Saturation, if you plan to use that feature, probably between -1 and +1.
PLV-Z700: Image Noise
Sanyo uses Pixelworks TopazHD image processing, and it seems to be very respectable. No jaggie issues at all. I'm not real sure how good 3:2 pull-down, as most of my Blu-ray discs are now 24fps, in which case none is needed. I noticed nothing beyond the normal judder that 3:2 causes. In brief watching of SD-TV, performance was reasonably good with default settings. This is little stuff, unless one finds a real problem. None found
Bottom line, no real issue, especially for an entry level 1080p projector.