More of the same! Both of these projectors produce a nice sharp image. Both, I regard as producing a crisper looking image than many other projectors - all of which cost more. Both, in fact are visibly sharper than our top two winners in the most expensive category. That's got to count for something!
There isn't enough difference between these two, in terms of sharpness, to even spend any time discussing.
Here lies one of the two major differences between these projectors. The Sanyo happens to be one of those less bright projectors, measuring 363 lumens in its "best" mode - which is Pure Cinema.
By comparison, the Mitsubishi was almost twice as bright, with 688 lumens, making it one of the brightest of all the projectors considered in this report.
I should point out that the Sanyo Z2000 has two additional Cinema modes: Creative (which I didn't really work with), and Brilliant Cinema. Good news for those willing to sacrifice a bit of "best" for more lumens, as Brilliant Cinema measured 572 lumens.
When you need maximum lumens, again the Mitsubishi HC4900 has the advantage, with 962 lumens, compared to the Sanyo PLV-Z2000's 601 lumens.
Bottom line, the Sanyo is a small screen projector, and probably best serves those who really are buying it for movie watching, as, even in brightest mode, it lacks the muscle to deal with any significant ambient light, unless, say, your screen size is 92" diagonal or less. The Mitsubishi, while not overly impressive in brightest mode, still has more than a 50% advantage.
Out of the Box Projector Performance
The Sanyo was "pretty good" with good overall color temperature measurements, but a steady shift from slightly cool (higher temperature) whites, to slightly warm (red) dark grays. Green was also just a touch heavy. The projector was easy to adjust.
The Mitsubishi HC4900 is a little better than the Sanyo. I would definitely say its out of the box performance is very good. All measurements were between 6500K (ideal) and 7000K (still not bad at all). Green, if anything was a little weak. Basically, the HC4900 is good to go, out of the box, but can be improved a bit.
Overall Picture Quality
Forgetting brightness, here the Sanyo shines. It produces a great, well balanced picture, with good black levels and shadow detail. It will definitely appeal to those looking for the most perfect image they can get, for the least dollars.
The Mitsubishi also has good shadow detail performance, but if falls seriously short in terms of black levels. When it comes to black levels, all the other projectors in this report did better, and typically, much better. I described its black level performance as mediocre. It is more typical of an average 720p projector than a 1080p projector.
Both, by the way, do a very nice job on skin tones, once final adjustments are made, and both do a respectable job, out of the box, although definitely a bit different.
Other Projector Features
User savable memories are handled differently on these two projectors, with the Sanyo being fairly traditional, with a number (7) user savable settings. By comparison, the Mitsubishi offers one user savable main mode, but has multiple savables in specific areas like gamma, color temp, etc. Overall, the Sanyo, I believe is more flexible, in this regard. The Mitsubishi HC4900 has some built in test patterns, such as a crosshatch that makes for easy focusing.