Sharp XV-Z3000U DLP Home Theater Projector Review

XV-Z3000 Lens Throw and Lens Shift

Lens throw as mentioned in the overview physical tour is limited by a 1.15:1 zoom lens, with the closest you can place the projector (measured from the lens to the screen) of 9 feet 8 inches to 11 foot 3 inches. That puts the projector in the middle to middle back of most rooms. The lack of lens shift pretty much prevents users from shelf mounting (unless low, below the screen surface), so most people will either ceiling mount or put on a coffee table.

The lens offset is nice. Most of today’s DLP projectors without lens shift, have a great deal of offset, requiring the projector to be placed either well above the top of the screen when ceiling mounted, or well below on a table. (A major exception is BenQ’s PE7700, a competitor with 0 offset, so it goes even with top or bottom of screen surface.) The XV-Z3000 splits the difference, requiring only 7 inches of offset for a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen. Most projectors, like the Optoma HD70 and HD72, Mitsubishi HC3000 and HD1000, etc, have about 16 – 18 inches of offset. With the Sharp, like some of those, the fact that it uses a 1280×768 DLP chip, instead of the “pure” 1280x720p” there can be an additional 1.6 inches offset. (A good use, if needed, for the Image shift). You are not using that extra 1.6 inches at the bottom or the top, when watching 16:9 content.

Overall, I like this middle ground in terms of placement. Those with high ceilings will need to have the projector hang down about an extra foot compared to those with the much greater offset, but on the other hand, those with low ceilings will find that the Sharp XV-Z3000 will work in their room whereas many of the others won’t. Whether you like this “compromise” amount of lens shift, will depend on your room. It’s something you need to keep in mind.

XV-Z3000 Screen Door and Rainbow Effects

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The Sharp is a typical 720p type DLP projector in terms of pixel visibility, which basically means that you can sit 9 feet back from a 100″ diagonal screen and only notice pixels in credits and text, and occasional very bright stationary area. In other words its not an issue for the vast majority. For those more “pixel adverse”, they should be very happy 11 or 12 feet back from that same 100″ diagonal screen. I watched a couple of movies with the Z3000 filling my 128″ from a viewing distance of 11 feet, and it behaved like my BenQ, another DLP.

As to the Rainbow Effect, the Z3000 is typical in that it uses a 5X, 6 segment wheel. (Some of the less expensive DLP’s use only a 4X color wheel. As a result of the 5X wheel few should detect or be bothered by rainbows. I am slightly sensitive, on occasion, and this projector performs like other 5X DLP projectors. Not an issue except for a few percent of the population.

XV-Z3000 Light leakage

While there are no real issues with leaking out the lens, the right side (looking from the back) of the XV-Z3000, does leak significant light. If you are sitting on that side, even, or slightly behind the projector, you are likely to notice it. It’s not real bright, but will be considered a minor nusiance to some, particularly if you are watching a very dark scene, the light you’ll see inside the projector will be brighter.

XV-Z3000 Audible Noise Levels

Ouch! This is the one area of real dissapointment. The XV-Z3000 is one of the noisiest home theater projectors I have encountered in the last couple of years. Sharp publishes a spec of 30db, but doesn’t specify whether that’s with the lamp in full or eco-mode. It apparently is the eco-mode, and in that mode, it should be acceptable for almost everyone, but just barely. Unfortunately in full power, it gets at least 3 or 4 db louder, possibly more. Anyone who is inherently adverse to fan noise, is going to have a problem with the XV-Z3000 at full power,, unless it’s mounted high. The fact that its zoom lens probably means you are going to be sitting around the same distancefrom the screen as the projector, is what really makes it an issue.

Sharp uses a slightly higher power lamp than most other projectors (275 watt, compared to 160 – 240 watt for most others), so needs more cooling, but, considering the airflow out the vent isn’t that powerful, it’s surprising they couldn’t have designed it with the noise level a bit lower.

Many people will, therefore, not want to use the XV-Z3000 in high power mode for movie watching, but since the projector can be plenty bright, in the Movie modes with the Iris to Hight Brightness, or, in Dynamic mode, with the lamp set to low power, most can live with the fan noise. In our measurements the projector is about 20% brighter in full power lamp mode, a far smaller difference, than, say, between the High Contrast, Medium, and High Brightness iris settings.

All told, the high fan noise is, in my opinion, the only major problem with this Sharp projector, and one that requires some consideration on your part.

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