Sanyo PLV-Z4000 Projector Review

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
A2 674
Eco 394
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

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