Sanyo PLV-Z60 720p 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

PLV-Z60 Projector Brightness

One of the reasons the PLV-Z60 is one of the less bright projectors, is Sanyo’s decision to use a 145 watt lamp. Most of the rest of the 3LCD projectors use a 160 watt or 200 watt lamp, so they have the brightness advantage. DLP home theater projectors mostly use 200 watt lamps or larger, but are less efficient (“green”?), and need the brighter lamp to match the 160 watt lamps in 3LCD projectors. Either way, though, the Sanyo uses the least bright lamp out there, and it shows when it comes to brightness measurements.

Before calibration, Pure Cinema – the “best” mode, measured a paltry 265 lumens with the zoom in the middle of its range. Creative Cinema, however, is also a very usable mode, and musters a respectable 441 lumens. Brilliant Cinema jumps up to 576 lumens. The Z60 will appeal to those seeking image performance, though, so most will want to use Pure Cinema or compromise just a little for Creative Cinema.

Other modes include: Natural – 476 lumens, Living (room) 542 lumens, Dynamic 1243 lumens, and Vivid at 1033 lumens.

All of the above measurements were done with the Lamp setting in Auto 1, which uses lamp control to improve black levels in dark scenes. Turning that off (set to Normal) does provide additional brightness, with, for example, Brilliant Cinema output increasing from 576 lumens to 671 lumens

After calibrating based on Pure Cinema mode, we measured an almost identical 260 lumens, only 5 less than the default setting.

A quick and dirty calibration of Dynamic mode, improved color and dropped brightness only slightly from 1243 to 1190 lumens (about 4%).

Eco-mode in Brilliant Color produced 531 lumens compared to the 671 lumens with no lamp dimming function. That works out to just over a 20% drop in brightness. That 20% should be consistent, irregardless of which preset mode you are using.

PLV-Z60 Projector Light Leakage

No significant issues here!

PLV-Z60 Audible Noise Levels

Very quiet. Definitely not the quietest around, but even with lamp on full, it’s not noisy. I don’t see audible noise being an issue for anyone. Officially, Sanyo claims 22 db, in Eco-mode, and I’ll estimate that it’s 4 db noisier at full power. That’s still substantially below most projectors. The louder 3LCD projectors, as well as most DLP projectors, tend to produce 30 to 34 db at full power, and that’s a big difference.

Bottom line: Very few people will have an issue with audible noise, from the PLV-Z60, even in full power. There are a few, however who demand silence, or as close to it as possible, and even they won’t have any issue in Eco-mode.

PLV-Z60 Projector Screen Recommendations

Considering the low lumen output in best mode, and the better than typical black level performance for a 720p projector, I have to recommend a white screen surface, and for many of you, one with some gain. Screens like Carada’s Brilliant White (only available in fixed wall), or pull-down, motorized or fixed wall equivalents from Da-Lite, Elite, Draper, Grandview, Stewart, etc. with gains in the 1.1 to 1.4 range are probably the best choice. Of course if you are going with less than 100″ diagonal and have some side ambient light issues, then you might want to consider a light gray high contrast surface, which will help with some of that side ambient light.

If you will not have folks sitting far to the sides, then some may even want to choose a higher gain screen, such as a 1.8 gain. I’m definitely not big on gains higher than that, because of the unevenness of illumination from left to right, if you are not sitting extremely close to the center.

PLV-Z60 Projector Measurements and Calibration

First things first. To start off the process, first we found the correct settings for
Brightness 2
Contrast -4
Color 0
Tint 0

Please note, if you “tweak” a mode, say you decide to decrease the Color value in Pure Cinema mode, from default 0, to -3, when you switch to another mode, those will reset back to default.

In other words, calibrate, and use those User memory settings to save multiple improved viewing modes.

Changing between different Preset modes also changes the Color Temp and Lamp modes to default for that mode, as well.

First, Pure Cinema mode, before calibration

With lamp at full power we measured:
White (100 IRE) 6802K
Light gray (80 IRE) 6605K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 6543K
Low gray (30 IRE) 6378K

Very, very, good, for “out of the box” numbers.

 

Calibrating Pure Cinema (which we then saved as User 1), required these changes:
Gain Red 0
Green 0
Blue 0
Offset Red 0
Green -1
Blue 2
Gamma Red -2
Green -2
Blue -2

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