Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector - Performance
8/16/12 - Art Feierman
This section covers the Z30000's brightness (including many measurements on color temperature), sharpness, and image noise. Also covered on this page,are other physical attributes including light leakage and audible noise for the XV-Z30000 projector.
Sharp XV-Z30000 Brightness
I'll start off by pointing out that the Sharp XV-Z30000 is very typical in terms of "best mode" brightness when compared to other projectors in its price range. Like the Mitsubishi HC7800D - a competing home DLP projector, it isn't a light cannon should you need lots of lumens. In fact, in its "brightest mode", the Z30000 is only slightly brighter than what we consider "average" for "brightest" modes. I should add to that, that many of the new 3D capable projectors are now far brighter than what we're used to. Until 3D hit, few home theater projectors could achieve, or get close to, 1500 lumens in their "brightest mode", but today's 3D competition includes a number of serious projectors that can put 2000 lumens on the screen.
Let's focus on the actuals, and how that might work for you. But first, some info to consider. Unlike most home theater projectors that arrive for review, this Sharp XV-Z30000 came with over 300 hours on the lamp, rather than less than 50. As such, that's enough hours to already cause, perhaps a 5-10% drop in brightness.
Further, this is an original Sample - pre-production, or perhaps an even earlier "engineering sample", although I'd guess the former as everything seems to work. Historically, first generation early samples or pre-production units often aren't quite as bright as full production projectors, but you can't count on that. My point being, between the hours on the lamp, and the SAMPLE status of the Z30000 these brightness numbers could underestimate the brightness of a brand new production Z30000 by 10% or even a bit more. I'd count on having at least some of those extra lumens. As a result, our brightest measurement Stage, zoom on wide angle, which is over 1150 lumens, might actually be more like 1300 lumens. And, as I've written in the past, Mike's meters seem to be a bit conservative. All in all, therefore, a shiny new Z30000 may well be able to put over 1300 lumens on the screen, rather than the roughly 1150 max we report. Figure the lamp situation guarantees at least another 50-100 lumens.
Lumen Output and Color Temp for various Picture modes at 100 IRE:
Standard= 847 @ 8231
Anime= 829 @ 8236
Dynamic= 1063 @ 8319
Movie 1= 531 @ 7198
Movie 2= 270 @ 7274 (w/ Eco+Quiet mode ON)
Game= 829 @ 8206
Monochrome= 270 @ 8699 (w/ Eco+Quiet mode ON)
Sports= 829 @ 8211
Stage= 1090 @ 8276
User 1&2= 838 @ 8192
That's a ton of preset color modes, probably overkill, as many are fairly similar, varying mostly by other settings (such as Eco vs High Brightness, or Iris on High Contrast vs High Brightness). Basically, it seems you can change Movie 2 to be the same as Movie 1, by simply turning off eco mode. All the different modes are at least a bit cool (higher than 6500K).
Note: The two Movie modes are the only ones where default white measures under 8000K. The primary difference is that both of those modes have Color Temp set to -1, while the rest have color temp set to 0.
Post Calibration: "Best" (Movie 1) zoom at mid-point = 532 lumens
That's definitely respectable, but not an impressively bright number - call it "average".
XV-Z30000 Max brightness (Stage Mode) zoom at Mid-point: 1090 lumens
XV-Z3000 "Brightest" mode (after Mike's "quick cal") - Stage mode: 1018 lumens
"Quick cal" is our effort to improve color while sacrificing minimum brightness.
Art's comment: Recently, when reviewing the Mitsubishi HC7800D - a directly competive projector in that it's not super bright, and they are both DLP's in the same general price range. We pointed out that it could do 1200+ lumens, but looked really "not very watchable" and wasn't really fixable. That projector dropped down to just over 800 lumens once Mike improved the picture. That's not the case here. This projector starts out with reasonably good color (if a bit cool) at maximum. Mike's adjustments were relatively minor in creating our "Brightest" mode for the Z30000. That makes this Sharp projector about 25% brighter than the Mitsubishi, when you need all the lumens you can get. That's a plus by my standards!
Let's take a look at all those color modes listed above. All these images were taken with the same exposure so that you can see relative brightness. That does make some somewhat dark, and others a bit over the top, making color hard to precisely determine. Still, these should give you a respectable idea as to how they differ. The Movie 1, and Stage modes' images (best and brightest) were taken with Mike's settings in place:
Stage mode: Slightly the brightest, a bit too much saturation at default, which is great for cutting through ambient light. An extremely impressive "Brightest" mode. If a darker room, just dial back the color saturation a little, or go for the punch!
Dynamic mode: Close in brightness to Stage, it seems not quite as well balanced. Note that all the modes except for Movie 1 and 2, use a Color Temp setting of 0, and they are cool. Movie 1 and 2 use -1 for Color Temp and are warmer, but still a touch cool. Further lowering of color temp towards 6500K is accomplished by calibrating the grayscale with the provided RGB controls.
Standard Mode: A very nice intermediate brightness mode with over 800 lumens.
User 1 Mode (still at default):
and of course our calibrated Movie 1 mode:
Movie 2 defaults to Eco mode, other changes, and is noticeably darker:
There are other modes not shown, but all are variations on the controls provided. That is, you can change just about any mode, into any other just by using the Color Temp, Eco, Iris controls, etc.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
Zoom out: 1150
Mid zoom: 1063
Zoom in: 821
I'm not sure why Mike switched to Dynamic for these measurements (after all, Stage was slightly brighter - old habit since most projectors have Dynamic as the brightest, or so I assume). As a result, expect Stage mode to be a touch brighter than the 1150 listed here for Dynamic with the zoom on wide. More importantly, if you are rear shelf mounting, note that you will be giving up more than 25% of brightness compared to ceiling mounting at the closest point. By comparison mid-point on the zoom is only down about 8% from closest.
Optics design should be pretty good, in that many projectors with 2:1 zooms have a bigger drop off in brightness going from wide angle to telephoto.
Sharp XV-Z30000 Pre-Calibration Color temp, Movie 1 Mode:
Mike looked to find the best mode to start with, it was down to the User Memory defaults, or Video:
Color Temp over IRE Range, Best Mode:
Color Temp over IRE Range, Best mode, (Movie 1):
30 IRE – 7464
50 IRE – 7458
80 IRE – 7147
100 IRE – 7198
Mike calibrated the Movie 1 mode, and came up with the results below.
XV-Z30000 Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration):
20 IRE - 6710
30 IRE - 6818
40 IRE - 6456
50 IRE - 6501
60 IRE - 6509
70 IRE - 6448
80 IRE - 6455
90 IRE - 6438
100 IRE – 6688
Average gamma = 2.27 (Using gamma=0 yields a 2.15 average gamma)
Art's comment: Mike set gamma to -1 (2.27) which I found to be a little dark (2.2 is technically ideal) in the mid-range. Of the two, I prefer the 0 setting yielding the 2.15 gamma. There is a custom gamma control to further tune, however it is not active in normal modes. To use the custom gamma, you must use User 1 or User 2 modes. There's nothing to stop you from putting all the Movie 1 settings in User 1, if you want to work with the custom gamma. If I owned this projector I would no doubt do that, and come up with a gamma somewhere between these two. It should be easy enough based on the preliminary manual provided with this Sample projector
The Z30000 projector remains just a tiny bit cool in the brightest and darkest ranges, but overall, it's a good color temp calibration.
We still do not do a CMS calibration of the individual colors. As Mike points out here, there is some error there, but the Sharp has the controls to compensate.
Mike's Notes: Good looking picture overall. Blacks could be better (even with Iris 2 on). Odd that there’s only RGB gain controls, but they do affect the full range pretty evenly and the calibrated grayscale was very good. Don’t understand why there are so many picture modes that are similar (Standard, Anime, Game, Sports and both User modes). Movie 2 mode, in its default Eco mode, is too dim for anything but a smaller screen in a totally light-controlled room. Colors are a little off, particularly green and magenta (see CIE chart), but there are two CMS modes that could be used to improve the situation.
Remember, the settings we do recommend, including basic controls like Color, Contrast, Brightness, can be found on our Calibration page. One nice thing about Mike's settings. This time they were taken with roughly 300 hours on the lamp. That really is a slightly better place to calibrate than with a brand new bulb.
Sharp XV-Z30000 Sharpness
Sharpness is excellent. We expect that from single chip DLP projectors, as they always have an advantage. That advantage is that the other technologies converge three separate beams of light, and there's always a tiny bit of miscovergence. Single chip DLP's have one beam, not convergence issue.
For your consideration, our usual close up images:
Top left: XV-Z30000, Top Center: JVC DLA-X30/RS45 (LCoS), Top Right: BenQ W7000 (DLP), Lower left: Epson Home Cinema 5010 (3LCD), Lower Center: Panasonic PT-AE7000 (3LCD), Lower Right: Optoma HD8300 (DLP)
I'm not sure this is the sharpest (no pun intended) optical glass around, I think the Mitubishi H7800D, for example, is a touch sharper, but the Z30000 is definitely very detailed, and at least a touch better than the 3LCD projectors in the price range (LCoS too).
Sharp XV-Z30000: Bottom Line Sharpness
Bottom line: There's nothing like a good single chip DLP projector for sharpness. Sharpness is a specific plus of the XV-Z30000 projector.
You'll especially appreciate the sharpness and detail more with digital content, than film, since film based content starts out a little soft.
For your consideration Lots of numbers, from Cramer, on CNBC. Note, the broadcast is 1080i. Pausing to shoot captures only one of the 2 interlaced frames, effectively lowering resolution:
I didn't expect as much light leakage out the vents as this Sharp Z30000 delivers. The light - which leaks from the front right vent (if facing the projector) goes out off angle, so, toward the the front of your left side wall (facing the screen). I'd rather see less of it, but do not consider this a problem unless you are placing this on a table, and sitting a couple feet away just forward of the projector on that side, in which case you might notice the "white." It's not enough leakage, though, to grab your attention while viewing. Minor issue!
No surprise, as this is a DLP projector. I do expect a touch more background image noise, than the other two technologies, as that seems to be pretty standard. Perhaps this is due to the higher native contrast of DLP's compared to the other types. I did not notice any unusual motion artifacts with slow pans. Pretty clean I'd say. Keep in mind my attitude toward various image noise is this: I spend most of my time watching content.
I spend relatively little time "watching the projector". (Oh, I will on my favorite video clips for black levels and dark shadow detail, or a few fav scenes for skin tones). Normal here, is that I put on a movie, settle in, watch 10 or 20 minutes, then maybe an hour on the next movie, with occasional distractions. Mostly, though, when I'm viewing, I am not looking for flaws. I'm instead watching content, essentially to see if any flaws are going to jump off the screen and clamor for my attention (or yours), such as bad handling of slow panning. What I'm saying is, that this Sharp seems typically clean overall, devoid of anything that looks to be a real problem.
That said, some noise is added when using dynamic features, such as detail enhancement. There are always trade-offs.
At full power, this DLP projector is, as expected, a bit noisy. However, it is actually pretty quiet compared to most DLP's and definitely compared to the full power mode of, say, the Epson 5010 and a couple of other very high brightness 3LCD projectors. Those 3LCD projectors are all over the map. Some are extremely quiet...The Panasonic PT-AE7000, another, slightly less expensive competitor (3LCD), unlike the Epson, is quieter than the Sharp.
Kick the Sharp XV-Z30000 into eco-mode, and 'voila', the Sharp becomes almost silent. Excellent.
From a claims standpoint, the Sharp XV-Z30000 claims only 22db, a beautiful spec. I'd have to guess that this Sharp is between 30db and 32 at full power. Sharp does not publish an audible noise spec for full power.
All considered, full power will likely be too noisy for those who are particularly bothered by audible noise, but that's a pretty small group of folks. Hopefully you know who you are.