Sharp XV-Z15000 Projector - Performance
6/9/09 - Art Feierman
Sharp XV-Z15000 Brightness
The XV-Z15000 is, over all, pretty average, in brightness. It's just a little less bright in its "best" mode than average, but substantially brighter than the dimmest competitors, a couple of which are in the mid-two hundreds while the Sharp is around 350 lumens.
I viewed the projector with Bright Boost on for most of my Movie 2 viewing. Movie 2 is the one we define as our choice for "best" mode, although Movie 1 is virtually the same brightness. Bright Boost seems to be their name for TI's Brilliant Color, or so it would seem from its behavior.
Here are the uncalibrated measurements for the XV-Z15000 in the different preset modes, both lumens, and the measured color temperature for white (100 IRE). 6500K is the ideal temperature. Unless otherwise noted, all measurements are taken with the projector lens at full wide angle (largest image). The limited zoom range naturally doesn't affect brightness too much, so we skipped the mid-point. The rest of the settings (Brightness, Color Saturation, Iris settings, etc.) are listed in the Calibration section:
Standard= 1055 @ 6849
Natural= 861 @ 6757
Dynamic= 1099 @ 6834 "brightest"
Movie 1= 305 @ 5909
Movie 2= 312 @ 5807 "best" (after calibration)
Game= 1099 @ 6784
Post calibration, Movie 2 mode measured 355 lumens @6478K.
Switching to low lamp, brightness drops a whopping 48.5%. That would hold in any mode.
As you can see from the numbers above, Dynamic mode, is pretty good, with almost 1100 lumens. That actually makes it the brightest of the "average" projectors in brightness in its price range but still down a good 30% in lumens from the brightest (the Epsons).
Going from full wide-angle to full telephoto (it's really not far to go), drops the brightness by just less than 10%. In other words - not much.
When comparing the brightness of the Z15000 with most of the 3LCD projector competition with their mostly 2:1 zooms remember we measured those at the mid-point of the zoom. With those projectors, their placement range is about the same as the Z15000's when they are in full wide angle. Based on that, projectors like the PT-AE3000, Epson 6500UB, Sanyo Z3000, Mitsubishi HC6500, etc., are all going to be brighter than the mid-point numbers we publish. They will have about 15 to 20% more brightness than those mid-point numbers, when placed at the same distance from the same screen as the Sharp.
Pre-calibration, we measured these color temperatures (target is 6500K) over the grayscale range, for Natural and Dynamic modes:
Natural mode Dynamic Mode
30 IRE – 6626 6707
50 IRE – 6693 6753
80 IRE – 6741 6791
100 IRE – 6757 6777
Now that's an extremely tight range, but in both cases a touch cool (shift to blue).
Movie 2 mode - our "best" mode, however isn't anywhere near as accurate as either of those, with 100 IRE (white) down at 5807K uncalibrated. I've commented that this Sharp projector has good color out of the box, but in this case, it's because it does have several modes that are very good, just not the one with the best blacks.
As you see, Dynamic mode is the brightest, and it turns out to look very good for a bright mode. Even better, if you will sacrifice about 18% of the 1099 lumens by switching to Natural mode, you will find a better picture still.
Reminder, you'll find a lot more gory details in the calibration section.
Sharp XV-Z15000 Sharpness
These days generally DLP projectors are a little bit sharper than most LCD projectors and LCoS projectors. The XV-Z15000 is a bit of an exception though.
When you focus the XV-15000 it looks very sharp. I focus on the menu, doing the focus about 1/3 out from the center. By doing that, instead of focusing the dead center, the focus will be more even across the screen.
The Sharp's lens seems to have a little less depth of field than most other lenses. I can easily spot the part of the menu near the top as being visibly softer than the bottom of the menu where I focused on. In other words, it softens quicker than most moving out from the sharpest point. Still, in normal viewing you won't likely spot that unless you are really looking for it.
Bottom line, let's say, at its sharpest, this Sharp projector is sharper than average, but more average overall. (Some pretty "sharp" writing, hey?)
Top left: Sharp XV-Z15000, Top Center, Sanyo PLV-Z3000, Top right: Mitsubishi HC6500
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AE3000, middle: Optoma HD8200, right: InFocus IN82
Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right XV-Z15000, Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, Sanyo PLV-Z3000, and Sony VPL-HW10.
Sharp XV-Z15000: Bottom Line Sharpness
Overall, the XV-Z15000 is a little sharper than average. It can't quite match the "razor sharp" look of the best in the price range, such as the BenQ W5000, but does a very good job overall, but a little bit of softness towards the corners.
Light leakage is not a problem with the XV-Z15000. There is no noticeable light leaking out the lens to hit around the screen, nor from any vents.
General image noise seems to be less than on most of the other DLP projectors in the price range, and more like the 3LCD models, which tend to be slightly cleaner. Motion artifacts are also very good. I really didn't view much movie content using 3:2 pull-down (almost everything I run is 24fps on Blu-ray), but when I did, the 3:2 pull-down worked well.
The XV-Z15000 is about average at audible noise as well. The Sharp claims 23 db in eco-mode (low lamp power), which is very typical. Sharp doesn't publish a number for lamp on full power, but it's probably about 6 db louder. The noisiest home theater projectors tend to be in the low thirties. Even in full power, the projector should satisfy all but the really noise adverse. Generally, in full power, it's just a touch noisier than the Epson 6500UB (that conclusion from my side by side photo shoot of the two projectors, but quieter than several of the DLP's.
I do notice that the fan tends to be noisy at powerup, and for a few minutes, almost a low soft rattling sound. It definitely quiets down quickly though. I do believe that by the nature of that sound, that it is a problem with this unit, and likely not a production issue. Even at its worse, in the first minute or two it goes away, and my guess is other units won't have this problem. (If you get one that does - please let me know.)