Sharp XV-Z30000 - Review Summary
In this Summary page, we will only be able to touch lightly on many of the topics covered in this review. For those of you who have read the entire review, there should be little new here, except perhaps an opinion or two. For you who scan, this page should give you a pretty darn good idea of how the Z30000 projector performs, its greatest strengths, its most noticeable limitations, and hopefully, a good understanding as to whether this projector is for you. Enjoy!
8/21/12 - Art Feierman
Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector - The Bottom Line
The XV-Z30000 is a very solid DLP home theater projector. Selling upward of $3500 (best we can tell), it has some stiff competition, but it holds its own.
The Z30000 isn't particularly spectacular in any one way, but the overall package has to be considered pretty good. There are some other projectors noticeably better at some things, but often weaker on others. There doesn't seem to be any major flaw.
Personally this is a projector I could own, assuming it gets placed in a dedicated home theater or properly set up cave, and if I could live with smaller screens than I prefer. Still, 3D viewing notwithstanding, this projector is very comfortable on a 110" screen and could be pushed larger, without needing a really high gain screen.
As is the case with most of these new 3D capable projectors in the over $2000 range, very few have enough brightness to dazzle you with 3D on a 100" or larger screen. The Sharp XV-Z30000 can just do a decent job on a 100" screen, with a lamp that's not too old. Since we received this projector with a lamp with 300+ hours on it, we know it's not quite as bright as a new one would be. The thing is, that lamp is going to get a good deal dimmer before it's time for replacing it.
So, as has been the case with, I believe just about every other 3D DLP projector over $2000, I see it primarily as a 2D projector. For those of us really into 3D and wanting respectable brightness, there are competitors out there far more suitable.
If, however, you are just "playing" with 3D, and don't really care about it, then, no problem.
Once we get to 2D brightness, things start to shine. A new one of these Sharp projectors can put 1250 lumens on the screen, or a bit more (I'm figuring new lamp, placed closest to your screen.).
With more than 500 lumens in best mode, in a theater environment 120" diagonal is perfectly doable. 120" might get a little thin at the end of lamp life, but 110" should be just fine.
Below: Florence and the Machine in concert:
The overall image is very nicely sharp. The Detail enhancement feature can further give you the impression of more sharpness, but, can quickly become a little over the top (such as the 10 setting defaulting in Stage mode). As mentioned earlier, even the 10 setting tends to make closeups of faces look "leathery" or hard. Dial that back except maybe on sports. 0 is the default for Movie modes!
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 Carribean. 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 dyanmic 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.
The Very Bottom Line on the XV-Z30000 projector:
First of all, here's a DLP home theater projector for those of us who are rainbow sensitive. It's rare I can watch a movie on a DLP projector and not notice rainbows from time to time. Didn't notice a single one last night watching Pirates of the Carribean, and it's got plenty of darker scenes that are good for spotting those pesky rainbows.
This Sharp will slug it out with other DLP projectors like the Optoma HD8300, the brighter BenQ W7000, and the slightly less bright Mitsubishi HC7800D. From that overall brightness standpoint, also add these to the list of most direct competitors: The $3K - $5K LCoS projectors be they JVC or Sony.
The rest of the competition is more different - primarily those really bright 3LCD projectors: Epson's 5010 and 6010, and the Panasonic PT-AE7000. Those guys have the big advantages of being able to move out into the family room with lots of lumens, but are great in theater too. They have what the Sharp lacks - enough brightness to have a reasonably bright 3D image on a decent sized, typical screen.
All considered though, it is a fairly elegant projector. No rough edges that I've noticed so far. And don't forget you can go wide screen, thanks to lens memory.
While this Sharp XV-Z30000 may seem very similar to a few other projectors, personally, I'd choose it over two of it's closest competitors - the Optoma HD8300 and the Mitsubishi HC7800D, for my own use.
Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector: Pros and Cons
Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector: Pros
- A just above average measured lumens in "best" mode, is enough for standard screens up to 110" or a bit larger, no problem, for movie viewing in best mode. (In a proper darkened environment, of course)
- Very good overall color, and also skin tones, DLP "look and feel"
- Especially good dark shadow detail
- I never saw a rainbow! 6 segment 5x color wheel! Outstanding!
- Impressive 2:1 zoom lens, lens shift, all motorized, for placement flexibility
- Blacks are ultra high contrast - not the best, but real good
- The iris action was essentially unnoticeable
- HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) allows for support for Blu-ray 3D content
- No problem with any 720p or 1080 content from any DirecTV 3D channel
- 2 pair of included 3D active glasses plus emitter provide plenty of range for 3D
- Lens Memory + - that is, Two memory modes "also" remember lens settings
- Use the Lens Memory to work with a Cinemascope wide screen
- Lamp Life is excellent (rated 5000 hours) when running in low power mode
- Low maintenance - no filters to change
- Lamp can be replaced without unmounting the projector
- Excellent warranty 3 years parts and labor
- A cool looking projector
- Overall, a very good value proposition, especially among DLP projectors
Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector: Cons
- Definitely could use more lumens for 3D viewing
- Lamp life shorter than average. Sharp rates 3000 hours in eco-mode no rating (figure 2000 hours) at full power
- Black level performance could definitely be a bit better (though rather good)
- Fair amount of audible noise at full power, (many other good projectors are louder including some competing DLPs and a few especially bright LCD projectors)
- Control panel could be better laid out
- Remote lacks backlight - soft glow is insignificant as in useless. Buy a 3rd party remote...
- No CFI - not a huge loss, but some folks might want it. It's more surprising than an issue
Just a couple of last images for your consideration:
Above, from Star Trek: Captain Pike. Below from X-Men: First Class
Star Trek, of course:
That's all folks!
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