Sharp XV-Z30000 Home Theater Projector Review

Sharp XV-Z30000 Black Levels & Shadow Detail

Black level performance:

Very good, but not spectacular.  I hate to say it, but even with dual irises, overall black levels are typical of a good DLP projector these days, in this price range. There are still a couple each of LCD and LCoS projectors that can definitely beat the XV-Z30000 when it comes to black level performance.  Nonetheless, the Sharp XV-Z30000′s blacks are definitely what I consider “ultra-high contrast”.  That’s my subjective point where blacks are good enough that other factors become noticeably more important, in getting the best overall picture.  In other words, if everything else works for you, blacks certainly shouldn’t be a deal breaker.  After all, they are very good!

Below, “starship” image (from The Fifth Element), overexposed, for estimating black level performance.  Consider it this way:  If the starship is equally bright when comparing projectors (images below), then the one with the darker letterbox is the one with the better blacks.  Unfortunately exposures (try as we do), vary quite a bit.  We are converting these to gray scale which makes things easier to see, but some may not be converted yet when you view this.

Black Levels Comparison

Sharp XV-Z30000
Mitsubishi HC7800D
Optoma HD8300
JVC DLA-RS45 or DLA-X30
Optoma HD33
Runco LS10d
Sony VPL-VW90ES
Sony VPL-HW15
Sharp XV-Z17000
BenQ W6000
Epson Home Cinema 8700UB
Additional dark scene
Additional dark scene
Darkest scene I could find in this Harry Potter film

Shadow Detail Performance

Exquisite.  I have been extremely impressed with the dark shadow detail.  The performance on the train image below was really good!

Overall, I am more concerned with black level performance than dark shadow detail; however, with that said, having great performance in both categories is where you really want to be.  If however, you can only have one, be aware that the “lighter” your blacks are, the easier it is to make out the darkest shadow detail.  As a result, it’s not surprising that the XV-Z30000, which has only average blacks, would have particularly good dark shadow detail.  As usual, we have lots of images for your consideration, including the standard night train scene from Casino Royale and the starship image above (that was used for black levels), which works very nicely for looking at dark shadow detail as well.

Our primary comparison image is the night train scene from Casino Royale. Look to the trees and shrubs on the right, especially just above the tracks. Don’t worry about the great deal of color shift from one projector to the next.  Color gets a bit iffy when we’re doing long time exposures.

The XV-Z30000 brings out a great deal of the darkest detail, just slightly brighter than the really good blacks.

Shadow Detail Comparison

Sharp XV-Z30000
Mitsubishi HC7800D
Optoma HD8300
Optoma HD33
Epson Home Cinema 5010
Sony VPL-VW95ES

A few additional images that let you observe how the Sharp XV-Z30000 handles darker scenes, and those with lots of black areas.

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