Shadow Detail Performance
he Panasonic exhibits extremely good shadow detail. There may be a few projectors that can do a touch better, but I'd say that it is a non-issue. Shadow detail is something you don't have to worry about with the PT-AE3000U, it has plenty.
Top left: PT-AE3000U, Middle: Panasonic PT-AE2000U, Right: BenQ W5000 (These links take you to those projectors' respective reviews).
The next set of comparison images is from Space Cowboys. This is a very dark scene with Clint Eastwood, on Blu-ray disc. The photos are intentionally way overexposed. Look for the blacks in the shades, and the details in those shades in the form of the white trim. (At this level of overexposure, don't even worry about the skin tones, as in these type of photos they always look terrible, and way oversaturated/too high contrast).
Again, from Space Cowboys, this is a cropped image. The right side is very bright (so dynamic irises will not be effective). The PT-AE3000U (top left) shows a great deal of detail in the dark areas of the satellite. Again, not the best ever, but very good. Next to it on the first row, is the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, Those images are followed by the Sony VPL-VW60 and the JVC RS1 (second row). The third row is the Mitsubishi HC6500 (left), and the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 on the right.
The re-entry image below, is a tough shadow detail test. Projectors with weak black levels and average shadow detail ability tend to generate an image where much of the right side of earth, looks to have that flat, lacking in detail look. All projectors pick up some of the brighter features on the right side, while better ones, pick up a lot more and usually have richer blacks as well.
On the left, is the PT-AE3000U, the middle, the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, and on the right, at roughly twice the price, is the InFocus IN83 which is about as good as it gets, in terms of shadow detail, although not up to, say, the Epson 1080 UB, in black level performance.
When comparing, look at the detail in the roof (tiles), and also in the assorted trees and plants. The small images below show a slightly overexposed scene. Click on the images and the larger versions are far more overexposed, to allow a closer inspection of shadow details.
First image is the PT-AE3000U, followed by the HC6500. Next is the the Sony VW60. The last three in the sequence are the Sanyo PLV-Z700, Panasonic
PT-AE2000U and the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB.
Below is a heavily overexposed scene from Lord of the Rings. The overexposure lets you see all the details in the shed on the right, the structure on the left, and the plants and ground along the lower right. The PT-AE3000U performs very nicely.
Click on left thumbnail image for the Panasonic PT-AE3000U, Sanyo PLV-Z700 in the center, and the right for the InFocus
Our last comparison uses the night train scene from Casino Royale. Look to the trees and shrubs on the right, especially just above the tracks. The first image is the Panasonic PT-AE3000U, the second is the Mitsubishi HC6500, and the last one is from the more expensive InFocus IN83:
The Panasonic does a great job on revealing details in the window shades, bettter than most of the competition.