Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector Review

Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Brightness

The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 (this link takes you to our full specs page), is below average brightness in its “best” movie mode (no surprise, as that is typical for Sanyo designs). When you need maximum lumens for fighting ambient light, the PLV-Z3000 is (a big surprise to me,) above average in brightness, in its brightest (Dynamic) mode.

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 to 1200 lumens 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, 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).

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.

Because of such things, and some discrepancies, we remeasured brightness, with different settings, after the original posting of this review 48 hours ago.

In doing so, this time we paid more attention to what makes sense, then simply concentrating on default settings. In some cases, we provide more than one set of measurements for a particular mode, for clarity, and to include what we think makes the most sense.

I have been having conversations with Evan over at Projector Central, regarding why the two of us are, often getting similar measurements but other times, with this projector we have significantly different ones. The reasons mentioned above pretty much cover our differences. It’s not that we get different measurements of the same modes, but that in some cases, we are measuring with different features engaged.

Sanyo PLV-Z3000 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, travelogue 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, with those two features on Fixed, The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 yields almost exactly 30% more brightness.

Here is a pretty comprehensive set of measurements for the three “Cinema” modes:

Creative Cinema
Default settings Lamp A2
Iris Mode 2
Iris Range -20
Lumens on default 267
Lumens on full lamp 405

If Lamp is set to Full, Iris Fixed,
Lumens w/Iris Range at -60= 326
Lumens w/Iris Range at -20= 445

Pure Cinema
Default settings Lamp Full
Iris Mode Fixed
Iris Range -60
Lumens on default 326
Lumens w/Iris Range at -20 445
Brilliant Cinema
Default settings Lamp A1
Iris Mode Mode 1
Iris Range 0
Lumens on default 369
Lumens w/Fixed Iris 439
Lumens w/Fixed Iris, Lamp on Full 518

Here are the measurements for the four non-Cinema modes, including the color temperatures measured at 100 IRE (white). All are based on Default settings, except where otherwise indicated:

Natural = 600 @ 7431K
Living = 881 @ 7616K , 1261 at full zoom out, 760 at full zoom in
Dynamic = 1113 @ 8158K (dynamic iris; Mode 1, lamp mode A1), and 1453 lumens with the dynamic iris off, Lamp on full (our recommendation for sports, most non-movie HDTV content)
x.v. color = 430 @ 7186K (note: this mode does not allow brightness, contrast or color adjustments)

Note: A calibrated Living mode, is our choice for most HDTV and sports viewing, when lighting conditions do not call for every last lumen. The image is definitely, and quite noticeably superior to Dynamic mode.

Kick the Sanyo projector into eco-mode (lamp on low power), and the lumen count drops by 31% in Briliant Cinema mode. That same 31% should be similar in other preset modes. Note, however, that when the lamp is its Auto (dimming) modes, the projector doesn’t measure as bright as in Normal. Auto 1, is about 10% dimmer, and Auto 2 is about 5% dimmer than Normal.

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.

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