Sanyo PLV-Z3 – Overview

The Z3′s zoom lens, as mentioned in the overview, is typical: a 1.3:1 ratio (30%). It places the projector about 10 to 13 feet from a 100″ screen. That is fine for just about everyone except those who want to shelf mount in the back of the room. If your room is not very long, that might work too.

The Sanyo is best at being ceiling mounted or on a low table top. That is due to the excellent flexibility provided by the optical lens shift. This is a huge advantage over the Panasonic, which has, by comparison very limited lens shift, or the InFocus Screenplay 5000 which has none.

If you have a somewhat high ceiling and are mounting, you may be able to keep the projector almost flush with the ceiling because of the lens shift range. And you can almost certainly get a rectangular image when placed on a low table below the bottom of the screen. By comparison, both are real problems for the Panasonic. On a low table top you will need keystone correction, to get the image rectangular, and that simply adds distortion to the image. (From a ceiling mount, you will need longer piping for the Panasonic, so that it comes down to the top of the screen surface).

As to the rest of the setup, the Z3 is very plug and play. The only confusion, as mentioned earlier, is figuring out which color/image mode you prefer.

Since the Sanyo allows you to save user settings (4), you will have fun calibrating. I suggest you save at least two custom settings – your preferred setting for movies, and another for when you want more ambient light, such as watching sports.

User maintenance: Unlike other LCD projectors, the Z3 allows the end user to clean the optical path with a provided tool that allows you to blow air through designated holes in the casing. This saves expensive third party or factory cleaning. Few LCD projectors (biz or home) offer sealed light paths, and that translates to eventually getting some dust inside, especially if you don’t perform the demanded occasional filter cleaning. Sanyo has been criticized with their Z2 about dirt getting inside and being visible as smudges. They have come up with an elegant solution, one that no doubt will be copied by the competition in future models.

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