Projector Reviews

Panasonic PT-VMZ50 Projector- Hardware Tour

Panasonic PT-VMZ50 Projector – Hardware: Overview, Control Panel, Inputs and Connectors, Lens, Remote Control, Menus

Overview

At under 16 pounds, the PT-VMZ50 is smallest and lightest 5,000-lumen business or classroom LCD laser projector in its class. While you can find a few ultra-bright DLP Laser projectors that are close to the same size, most 5000 lumens 3LCD Laser projectors are larger and heavier. We have reviewed several 5000 lumens 3LCD laser projectors that weighed more than double that of the PT-VMZ50.

After handling many business projectors over the past year, the compact size of the PT-VMZ50 made it a joy to set up. Lifting the PT-VMZ50 to place it on top of my projector stand was easy due to its lightweight.

The projector’s lens is located on the left side of the front panel. Focus is done manually by turning the lens focus lever on the left side of the lens. The image can be zoomed in and out via the zoom lever on the right side of the lens. The window for the IR remote receiver is located toward the left side of the front panel.

The top corner of the projector has status lights along the left side of the front edge. Horizontal and vertical lens shift adjustment knobs are located on the top of the projector above the lens. The control pad is also located on the top of the unit.
On the left side of the projector is a door to access the reusable filter along with a mono speaker. The entire right side of the projector is covered with an exhaust ventilation grill.

The right rear of the projector has all the signal and power connectors and near the top-left corner is a USB input where you can plug the optional wireless network module or you can use it to project images stored on a USB memory stick.

Control Panel

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The PT-VMZ50 has its control pad on the top side of the projector. At the right top of the control, pad is the power button. The input button (to toggle to the desired signal input) is located on the top left. The 4-way menu navigation buttons plus the enter button are in the middle. Below those are the Menu button (to display the on-screen menu) and an Auto Setup button. There is also a shutter button so you can temporarily mute the picture and sound.

There are 3 lights along the front edge of the projector’s top panel. The left light is the Power indicator which shows if the projector is ON/OFF/SLEEP. The Status light is located in the center indicates the status of the light source. The light to the right indicates if the projector’s temperature status. The indicator lights can provide projector status information by blinking various of colors.

Inputs & Connectors

Panasonic-VMZ50-rear

The power and signal connectors for the PT-VMZ50 are located on the rear panel of the projector and it has two computer inputs, two HDMI inputs, a composite video input and a LAN part. In addition, there is also an Audio IN/OUT stereo mini jack and a PC control serial port. On the upper left side a USB-A input which can be used to either connect the optional wireless LAN module (AJ-WM50) or view images from a USB memory stick. On the upper left side of the connection panel is a DIGITAL LINK/LAN terminal to connect a Digital Link (HDBaseT) device to transfer video/audio signals to the projector. It can also be used to connect the projector to the network.

Lens

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The projector’s lens has a manual zoom lever along with a focus lever at the front of the lens barrel. The PT-VMZ50U has a 1.6x manual zoom with a throw ratio of 1.09 to 1.77:1.

The PT-VMZ50U has mechanical lens shift adjustments located on the top panel of the projector for both vertical and horizontal optical lens shift. The lens shift range is reasonably wide with +/- 20% (of screen width) in the horizontal direction and +44%/-0 % (of screen height) in the vertical direction.

Remote Control

The supplied Panasonic remote control is a compact size with no back light. The Power and Auto/Setup buttons are on the top of the remote. The next section are buttons used to access and navigate the projector’s menu they include the MENU, RETURN, Arrow Buttons with the ENTER button located in the middle of the arrows (up, down, left, right).

In addition, there is a DEFAULT button which resets the settings of a sub-menu to their factory defaults and a FUNCTION button which provides a shortcut to frequently used menu items. The next section contains buttons to directly access the projector’s inputs (HDMI1, HDMI2, DIGITAL LINK, Computer 1/ 2, VIDEO, and NETWORK//USB).

The section below that contains includes Screen Adjustment button, a SHUTTER button that can used to turn off the audio and video temporarily. Between those are DZOOM+ & DZOOM- buttons for zooming in and out of objects on screen. The FREEZE button pauses the image on screen and there is a MUTE button to mute the projector audio/video. The P-TIMER button operates the presentation timer function and the ASPECT button can be used switch the aspect ratio of the image.

Below those buttons are the ON SCREEN button to access the projector’s on-screen display and a STATUS button to access projector information along with TEST PATTERN button to display the test pattern.

At the very bottom of the remote, the ID ALL can be used to simultaneously control all the projectors in a multi-projector environment. The ID SET determines the ID number of the remote control in a multi-projector setup. Lastly there is an ECO button to switch the projector in and out of Eco mode.

Menus

The PT-VMZ50 has a well laid out menu structure. When the menu button is pressed the top-level menu is displayed offering 7 groups of menus across the left side (i.e., Picture, Position, Language, etc). The images of the menu included in this section represent only a small number of all the sub-menus available. I tried to show the submenus that contain frequently used adjustments (image, setting, and networking, etc.).