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

Sanyo PLV-Z60 Home Theater Projector: Out of the Box Picture Quality

Actually, the PLV-Z60 does a very good job out of the box, when it comes to color accuracy. In a perfect world, for movie watching, you want a color temperature of 6500K, across the range from white, thru gray, to black. The PLV-Z60 does just that in its best mode, Pure Cinema, averaging just less than 6600K (which is extremely close). As a result, you get exactly what you should expect, nice natural looking skin tones, and a proper balance between warm (reds) and cool (blues).

Other modes all tend to be significantly cooler (more blue, thin on red), althought Brilliant Color and Creative Cinema presets are on the cool side, and need work, they aren’t really bad.

Bottom line – for movie watching, in the PLV-Z60′s best, and least bright mode, is extremely good, for out of the box performance, while the others are more typical. The brightest modes are way cool, and definitely need work to end up with a mode that’s both bright, and has acceptable color balance. All considered, the PLV-Z60 is better than much of the competition.

Sanyo PLV-Z60: Skin Tone Handling

Post calibration, handling of skin tones gets even better (Pure Cinema mode), than the already most impressive performance. At this point, however, I need to pause to explain the photos below. There is some color shift from left to right, as noted. I must also explain, that due to an error on my part, when I did this photo shoot, I did not use the settings I normally use. I ended up with a significantly higher contrast setting on my Olympus dSLR, than I normally use. For the first time, I have felt it necessary to modify all the images to compensate. In this case, I reduced contrast, and color saturation slightly, in the RAW photo format, before cropping and resizing. All of the images were adjusted the same way. No attempt to alter the color balance was attempted, just contrast and saturation. I’m still not thrilled with the final, they are still a bit too saturated, but keep all that in mind. Please note, because of the background issue, when Sanyo sends out a new PLV-Z60, I will reshoot a few of the images and provide at at least one direct comparision which should help you out.

As always, though, there are limits to the photography, they can be useful to you, in that they support my commentary, but what you will see on your screen if you buy a projector, will always look better than the best these images can look on your computer screen. Always!

Other than the slight color shift from left to right, you should be able to appreciate the naturalness of skin tones. We’ll start with the usual 2 “low-def” images of Gandalf and Arwen, from Lord of the Rings (standard DVD – SD-DVD). All other movie images are from Blu-ray disc. (Note, you can see that color shift I mentioned, by comparing the buildings in the background, on the left, to the right side.

Remember, when looking at images, that skin tones, and color in general will vary, depending on the supposed lighting on the subject, and the director’s intent. The same person’s skin tones will look different when you compare direct sunlight, filtered sunlight (shade), cloudy days, incandescent lighting, fluorescent lighting, night lighting, etc. There are three images of Daniel Craig as Bond, in Casino Royale. The first is direct sunlight, the second, florescent lighting (in an airport), and lastly filtered sunlight. You should get the idea!

Bottom Line: The Sanyo has no trouble handling skin tones, and provides a pretty natural feel to them. In some ways, the Z60 is a bit more film-like than some of the other 3LCD projectors, reminding me a little like some of those very natural DLP projectors, albeight without quite the sense of depth that some of the best DLP’s provide. Overall, very solid performance, but modes other than Pure Cinema definitely need a basic end user calibration to appreciate what the Z60 is capable of!

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