Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector - Image Quality
If only the images in this review looked anywhere near as good as they do on the screen from this Sharp XVZ30000. They never do. And my camera is only one part of the long chain which is: "only as good as the weakest link." Even if not for other issues, the camera itself cannot perfectly capture the colors correctly.
In the case of the XV-Z30000 there definitely seems to be a slight shift toward redish magenta that you can see in some of the images, this isn't due to the Z30000, rather, the camera. You can spot it in the few grayscale images, which were definitely more neutral gray up on the screen when I was shooting the XV-Z30000 image. This image was a very good if a touch warm gray, not what you see here with the projector in its monochrome mode:
Let's say that on the screen it looked more like this (I've reduced color saturation in this case to give you a much better idea of what it actually looked like onscreen, eye-balling the change while viewing the frame on the projector):
Those images are captured on a Canon 60D professional dSLR. Even so, there is always some minor color shift and other changes. From there, software (Photoshop), your browser, and your monitor, are also in the path, each adding some "color" to the image, changing it from the original XV-Z30000 projected image. As a result, while the photos can give you a good idea of picture quality, overall, the accuracy of the color on your screen is not going to be accurate enough for really close comparisons of, say the XV-Z30000 projector's skin tones, compared to some other similarly good projector. Take our images, therefore, with a grain - or pound - of salt.
8/19/12 - Art Feierman
Sharp XV-Z30000 Out of the Box Picture Quality
Very nice. The Movie 1 mode might be a touch cool, but looks pretty good for right out of the box. Stage is the brightest mode, with pumped up color saturation. Still, it looks great - no super strong greens or any such thing. Dial down the color saturation (depending on your ambient light) and you have a very, very, watchable "brightest mode" without any real "calibration" type changes.
There are lots of preset modes and only a couple are seriously "over the top". Most of the brighter modes, I should note have Color Temp set to 0, and yield an image stronger on blues than reds, with color temp in the 8K range. Just change that setting to -1 from 0, to drop the color temp about 1000 degrees, for a warmer picture. Still, for example, Stage was just dandy for this weekends preseason football, and previous viewing of the Olympics.
All considered, for those just wanting a great picture to watch, not worried about perfect color, happy with "just fine" color, etc., this Sharp has you covered. If you want better, the Sharp has full color management, and calibrates well.
Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector - Flesh Tones
The skin tones almost always look great post calibration. When I say almost, I mean some times they look absolutely excellent (especially in darker scenes), while some times they are "close". From a technical standpoint, I attribute the variation to a significant degree, to the fact that we don't calibrate the individual colors using the Color Management System, sticking to a more basic Color Temp calibration. As this Sharp XV-Z30000 shows to be a bit more off than most good projectors in terms of magenta and green individual colors, I suspect that a full calibration would make the XV-Z30000 skin tones more consistently excellent.
Above and below, as always - Gandalf and Arwen, from Lord of the Rings, on Blu-ray.
All considered, I had no problem with the skin tones. I was most pleased. It was just on certain content, notably a bright face, tending to end up a touch dull in terms of reds. In more average or darker illumination, though the skin tones look a touch richer, and better. Around this review you'll notice that slightly diminshed reds in some images like Gandalf outdoors, or Captain Pike (last image in this review). By comparison when you look at skin tones in darker scenes, there's no issue re the reds, and, as expected from a DLP, for some reason skin tones in darker scenes look great - with lots of pop, without being over the top.
Below are our three James Bond images from Casino Royale. Each has a different lighting scenario, the first - full sunlight, the second image; indoor fluorescent, and finally, filtered sunlight in the third image. And as one would expect, that causes each image of James Bond - Daniel Craig - to have different looking skin tones. All look pretty good!
More images we like for considering skin tones:
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.
Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector:
JVC DLA-RS45 or DLA-X30:
Optoma HD33 (lower cost, $1599 3D capable projector):
Runco LS10d projector ($27,000+): The Runco was even better, but for 6x the price...
Sony VPL-VW90ES ($6995):
Sony VPL-HW15 (LCoS projector under $3K)
Sharp XV-Z17000 (direct competitor):
BenQ W6000, a "perennial favorite" lower cost DLP
Epson Home Cinema 8700UB ($2199):
A few additional dark scenes to show off the very good black levels:
Now let's look at the darkest scene I could find in this Harry Potter film. Click on the image below (which is fairly normally exposed), and the larger version will also be a more overexposed version. This gives you some idea about how black the blacks are, and also demonstrates the really good shadow detail:
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:
XV-Z30000 projector: Lots of detail in those darkest areas on the right. Very few are noticeably better. The Mitsubishi HC7800D (image right below) is one of those few.
That Mitsubishi also did a better job than the more expensive (and also DLP based), Optoma HD8300, which is probably not quite as good as the Sharp projector.
Optoma HD33 (lower cost projector):
Below, the Epson Home Cinema 5010. Note the much darker tree, shrubs, details, in the darkest areas on the right, and the trees on the right, that the Epson offers. Shadow detail is fairly comparable with the Sharp.
Sony VPL-VW95ES: Here's $7000 worth of LCoS projector, not quite as good as the Sharp in revealing the darkest details:
A few additional images that let you observe how the Sharp XV-Z30000 handles darker scenes, and those with lots of black areas:
Oxford, from the movie X-men: First Class:
A distant Mordor, from LOTR:
Two from Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix:
Click on this thumbnail for a different look at shadow detail. This time, in a rather bright scene, but one with some fairly dark areas. This scene from Lord of the Rings is heavily overexposed so you can see the detail in the shed, in the beams, etc.
Black Level and Shadow Detail Performance: XV-Z30000 Projector - Bottom Line
The XV-Z30000 doesn't blow me away, rather I'm thinking "solid performance" The really good, but not truly exceptional black levels are complemented by much better than most dark shadow detail. The result is a projector that is capable of reproducing good dark scenes, without feeling flat and "grayed out."
I'm sufficiently pleased with the combination, that I'm comfortable in saying I could definitely get by with a projector that performs as well as this one, when it comes to these two traits. As I am definitely a black level fanatic, that's a good thing!
Sharp XV-Z30000 - Overall Color & Picture Quality
A mix of additional images to show off the Sharp XV-Z30000:
Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
The Sharp XV-Z30000 looks especially good and sharp, on all digital content, such as HDTV sports. Part of that is due to being a single chip DLP device, and therefore no convergence issues.
Mode used for all the sports photos here was Stage, which on the screen looked a lot better than the photos that resulted. These seem a bit to orange.
I've got well over 30 hours of HDTV viewing in. This projector served me very well at just below 100" diagonal for a lot of pre-season football, and a wide assortment of Olympics. I really didn't miss having CFI - creative frame interpolation.
The image was always nice and crisp looking on both sports and most of the digital content I viewed. Plenty of pics for your consideration here.
Let's start with room conditions. Football images were taken with the size and one of the rear shutters partially open, except for this room photo and the one that follows it, where the side shutters are wide open. You an see here, the impact of the window. All the other HDTV images were taken with the shutters mostly closed, leaking very little light by comparison. The second image is simply a closeup of this room shot. Keep in mind, if I couldn't fully control that shutter's light, I'd be using a different screen with good side light rejection like a Stewart Firehawk or Screen Innovations Black Diamond, both of which would do a dramatically better job in this case.
The rest of the football images have a fair amount of ambient light hitting the screen, but that side shutter is perhaps only 25% open.
Switching to the Olympics, same mode, but without the significant ambient light.
Without the ambient light affecting the color, these Olympic images look a lot better than the football photos.
Below, from Howl's Moving Castle which I recorded from satellite. The two Howl's images had a fair amount of ambient light happening as well.
Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector: Bottom Line on HDTV and Sports
With the nice crisp image and an overall dynamic look in its brightest mode, brightness is probably the biggest issue. That's because it's- pretty much average brightness, doesn't leave you much room for any moderate ambient light.
This again is justification that the XV-Z30000 projector is likely going to work out best for people with adapted, darker surfaced rooms, rather than family rooms.
I found that to be exactly the case. This projector never would have survived sports with the fair amount of ambient light I prefer, in my old house on the 128" diagonal Firehawk. On the other hand, sports are no problem in my new dedicated theater, only becoming an issue if I choose to really open up that window on the right, full bore, and add to that some of the back shutters open. The roughly 1100 measured lumens did fine with my back of the room seven down facing LED recessed lights, with the image taking only a slight hit.
With anything resembling low ambient to no ambient light, the projector really pops, in the DLP tradition.
For the Victoria Secret images in this review, we changed to Movie 1 mode. The women deserve the best skin tone reproductioin...
Victoria Secret's fashion show:
I repeat again, for the record: All home theater projectors, including the Sharp XV-Z30000 definitely look will look better live, than in even the best looking images here might suggest.