Sharp XV-Z30000 Home Theater Projector Review

XV-Z30000 Color and Overall Picture Quality

Skin tones are very nice, in many modes. Calibrated they are very good, but definitely could still be improved a touch.  The measurements Mike came up with while calibrating are good, not great.  There’s more fluctation in color temp across the IRE range (white to black), than with many others. That is probably attributed to having only RGB Gain, and no RGB Bias controls for the grayscale calibration.

Now don’t get carried away with this… Overall, skin tones and color are very good.  Movie 1 mode as we have it set up, will no doubt provide better color accuracy than most LCDTVs and plasmas.  It’s just that we projector folk are more likely seeking near perfection than folks who start off with the misfortune of having only a small screen to stare at.  (You know, perhaps a nice 50 inch LCDTV suitable for a kitchen…)

The “secretary” image from The Fifth Element is one of my favorites.  As expected, this DLP projector does a great job, with lots of pop, yet the skin tones are very believable (Movie 1 mode).

I’ve watched a lot of content.  Last night, was my last full movie.  I dug out an old favorite – the first Pirates of the Caribbean.  It looked really killer!   It handled that movie spectacularly enough to award the Sharp XV-Z30000 our Hot Product Award on that basis.

Shadow detail proved to be very, very good.

Black level performance is classic DLP.  Great native contrast, enhanced by using a dynamic iris.  The thing is, while blacks are very good, some others just offer blacker blacks.  As the iris action is very smooth – as in not normally noticeable at all, let’s say Sharp might have pushed the iris range further, for some slightly blacker blacks.  Still, these are fine enough for most of us.  They meet my standard of being an “ultra-high-contrast” projector.

Z30000 Projector - Brightness for 2D viewing

As I mentioned above.  The Sharp can handle mid-sized screens 100-110+ diagonal with little problem in a theater environment while using the calibrated Movie mode.  For sports and other non-movie viewing there are very good non-calibrated modes offering from more than 800 to approximately 1200 lumens assuming good placement.

Sure, you can move the Z30000 into a more “family room” environment with some ambient light present, but you’ll be watching your movies most likely only at night.  More importantly, if you watch more than movies, such as sports with that moderate ambient light, the Sharp is no match for the brighter competition better suited for such rooms, including the BenQ W7000, Epson 3010/5010/7010, the Panasonic PT-AE7000 and several others.  Note, that there aren’t any moderate priced DLP’s in this group.   Primarily it’s the LCD crowd building the projectors with real muscle at this time.  Things do change from model year to model year, but we’re talking this Sharp, today!

Lamp life needs a comment.  Sharp claims 3000 hours in eco-mode.  For years, the typical lamp life claims were:  2000 hours at full power, 3000 in eco-mode.  This Sharp claims 3000 in eco, and passes on providing a number for full power, so we’ll assume 2000 hours.

The thing is, many projectors today are offering much longer lamp life, and that makes for a significant cost factor in the long run.  For example there are several competitors claiming 4000 hours at full power and even some 5000 hours in eco mode.  Compared to those, you’ll need an extra lamp or two over your projector’s life, assuming you watch it a lot, and plan to keep it a while.  In all fairness, if you are mostly using your Sharp XV-Z30000 for movie watching, and watch only 10 hours a week, even in full power, that’s 4 years on the included lamp.  Big sports AND movie fans like myself, however, often have our projectors on more than 40 hours a week.  In that case there is definitely some long term extra cost.

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