Sanyo PLV-Z4000 Projector Review

Below, we consider several aspects of The Sanyo PLV-Z4000 projector’s picture quality, including performance right out of the box, skin tones, black level performance, shadow detail, color, and how it performs for sports in particular, but also HDTV in general.

The images are provided to support the commentary, so don’t read too much into them, such as expecting an exact reproduction of skin tones. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews, but the images are far more useful in comparing things like black levels and shadow detail, than skin tones, or overall color accuracy.

PLV-Z4000 Out of the Box Picture Quality

The Sanyo PLV-Z4000, looks a lot better than I expected. I recalled that the older PLV-Z3000 was unimpressive, when first fired up, in terms of color. Not so the Z4000, I would say that the PLV-Z4000 looks pretty good. The image is a bit warm, a little over 7000K, instead of being down around 6500K where it should be.

Dynamic mode, as expected, was not wonderful, in pure color accuracy, but, for a mode designed for maximum lumens it looks better than most competitors. I was particularly pleased with Dynamic for football viewing, even right out of the box.

Flesh Tones

Post calibration, PLV-Z4000 skin tones are not only extremely good, but again better than the Z3000. With the older projector, Mike couldn’t quite get rid of a yellow green caste, which was always slightly noticeably on skin tones. The PLV-Z4000, on the other hand, is virtually free of that shift. Overall, I would describe skin tones as rather pleasing, although in very dark scenes, they do seem to pick up a little extra red. (Keep in mind, that there’s plenty of variation in color, in the content you watch, often far more than these subtle shifts.)

To start, Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, in HD on Blu-ray. The older projector’s review pre-dates the blu-ray release.

Gandalf image from the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 projector.

Lord of the Rings image from the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 projector.

Here are three images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale, under different lighting conditions. The point here, is that correct skin tones vary, depending on the lighting. You can expect significantly different looking skin tones, when switching from bright sunlight, to nighttime, fluorescent lighting, incandescent lighting, or even lighting in the shade, or a cloudy day. Consider these three images, the first, in direct sunlight, the second is a scene with fluorescent lighting, and the third, a sunny day, but Bond is sitting in the shade – indirect lighting.

Black Levels & Shadow Detail

First is a seriously overexposed shot of the starship in The Fifth Element. Immediately below it, is a less overexposed version, for better comparing with the same image in older reviews. In the first image, I have left in part of the letterboxing, so you can see the basic black level more easily.

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Consider two additional images which are good ones for considering black levels. Look for the richness in the black part of some of the buildings and, also, the sky, in the second image. Both of these are digital hi-def images from the DVE-HD calibration disc.

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