Panasonic PT-AE4000 – Performance

Panasonic PT-AE4000 Brightness

No surprises here. The new  PT-AE4000  projector is very similar to last year’s RS20 in terms of brightness. In this case, the Panasonic PT-AE4000 – and, therefore also the JVC HD950 – measured just a little less bright than the older model, in some modes, and a little brighter in others. (Bolded modes are the ones we worked with. Ultimately a calibrated THX mode was saved in User 1, and a calibrated “Brightest” mode was saved in User 2.

Panasonic PT-AE4000 Projector - Uncalibrated

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom):

Cinema 1= 411 @ 7180
Cinema 2= 457 @ 7751
Cinema 3= 457 @ 8945
Normal= 789 @ 9520
Dynamic= 1071 @ 9093, 1159 with Contrast set to 8
Color 1= 430 @ 6660
Color 2= 440 @ 6357

Best Mode: After doing our calibration of “best mode” for which Mike chose to use Color 1 (which as a color gamut very close to the REC 709 standard for HDTV), The Panasonic PT-AE4000 measured 430 lumens.

Brightest Mode: As usual Mike attempted a “quick-cal” of the brightest mode, which in this case is Dynamic. In doing so, we don’t attempt excellent color, but to take the usually, somewhat inaccurate brightest mode, and make it more watchable.
Doing so dropped Dynamic mode’s brightness to 930 lumens, while noticeably improving color. Note please that buy raising the contrast setting to +8 from the default 0, you will get about an extra 60+ lumens. You will end up with some crushed near whites, but it will help when fighting ambient light.

The Effect of zoom lens positioning on brightness: Our standard measurements reported are done with the zoom at its mid-point. Here are relative numbers from the Cinema 1 mode, for different lens positioning From a percentage standpoint, the differences will be the same for any mode, as you change the lens angle:

Zoom out: 1235 (closest to the screen – wide)
Mid-zoom: 1071 (mid-point on the zoom)
Zoom in: 711 (furthest from the screen – tele)

Thus, at the maximum zoom distance, the lumens are 34% lower. At the closest distance (wide angle), they are 15% greater, than with the projector lens at the the mid-point of its zoom range. (The same ratios should apply to any preset mode). The full range from wide angle to telephoto is a drop of 42.5%.

The Effect of Low lamp (eco) mode on brightness:

Low lamp power (“Normal” lamp mode), for Cinema 1: 271 lumens
High lamp power (“High” lamp mode) for Cinema 1: 411 lumens

That works out to a drop of 34% of brightness when running the lamp in Low lamp mode. That same percentage difference should be unchanged, regardless of preset mode.

To you give an idea of how placement and lamp settings can drastically affect your room, consider these two extremes:

Using the uncalibrated Color 1 mode numbers, let’s say you mount at the closest distance (ceiling mount, or placing on a tabe), and have the lamp on full power. That would have the PT-AE4000 produce a maximum of “best mode” lumens of 495 lumens. By comparison, if you shelf mount in the rear of your room, with the lens at full telphoto, and lamp power set to eco-mode. That yields an undazzling 182 total lumens.

Considering all that together, between placement and lamp settings the projector goes from 496 to 182 – a drop of 63%.

Another way of looking at it would be longest throw (tele) combined with full lamp power = 283 lumens , vs. shortest throw in low (eco) mode: 326 lumens.

When you consider all of this you realize that in many/most room setups, ceiling mounting (closer to the screen) will give you a significant increase in lumens compared to the typical rear shelf mount which usually has you near the telephoto range of the zoom lens on all of these typical LCD projectors, most of which offer 2:1 zoom lens range.

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