Panasonic PT-AE8000 Projector - The Bottom Line
No question about it, the PT-AE8000 (PT-AT6000 in the EU) deserves, and receives our Hot Product Award. Great in a dedicated home theater room, but also every bit at home in less desireable, brighter rooms. You may not be able to appreciate, for example, every last ounce of the PT-AE8000's black level performance on dark scenes as well as in a theater room. No matter, it's as bright as any other home projector you will be able to find for your living room, bonus room, family room, etc.
Its placement flexibility is pretty much unbeatable. One could point out that the Epson competition has a 2.1:1 zoom lens instead of Panasonic's 2.0:1, and a touch more lens shfit. When you consider though, the Epson can't really be paired with a Cinemascope 2.35:1 shaped "widescren", but the Panasonic with its Lens Memory feature, can make that a reality.
Let's summarize, here, key aspects of the PT-AE8000U projector that are talked about in length, in the individual topics on the previous pages.
Panasonic PT-AE8000 Brightness:
The PT-AE8000 is a proverbial light canon. Measuring by our conservative method, the Panasonic produced 1898 lumens with the zoom lens at mid-point. At full wide-angle (closest to the screen), an impressive 2178 lumens were counted.
Mike did our typical "quick-cal" not a real calibration, but an attempt to look at the brightest (Dynamic) mode and adjust it to improve color, but without giving up more than a little brightness. Sometimes color can improve significantly if still not as accurate as the "best" mode. Well, bottom line, after Mike's Quick-cal, the Panasonic measured 1637 lumens. And it looks really good doing it!
3D brightness is about as good as it gets for an under $10,000 projector! I can fill my 124" diagonal, 2.35:1 Studiotek 130 when watching 3D, and have reasonable brightness. No one will accuse it of being "very bright", and not as bright as I'd like, not as bright as I like to watch 2D. Still, the PT-AE8000 does well enough to enjoy even darker movies like Alice, Tron, and Avatar, at that size.
At 100" diagonal, the PT-AE8000 in 3D is pleasantly bright enough, with the medium setting for the glasses selected.
3D performance, beyond the brightness, is excellent, and any crosstalk, minimal. As was demonstrated to me by Panasonic, there are some real refinements in the 3D. One form of parallex is being dealt with effectively, that I don't think most others have been addressed. If you set the glasses control for Medium, the image is pretty clean in terms of crosstalk, etc. Dark is better still. I think you can have a nicely lit 100" size image with the Dark setting, for those of you who consider eliminating essentially all crosstalk a priority over more brightness.
The PT-AE8000 Projector's Picture Quality
Panasonic offers up some really good looking preset modes, both "best" and fairly bright modes. Even their brightest - Dynamic, looks a good bit better than many competitors.
Finding respectable skin tones is no effort with several modes to choose from.
Calibrate the projector and you can have even more accuracy. Mike says it calibrates easily, and the end result when it comes to color, is excellent. There's an underlying tiny extra red in skin tones after Mike's calibrations, but that's to my eye. I'm saying that the skin tones look great, but if you need to find any shift, that's it.
Another real strength of the Panasonic PT-AE8000 is its low noise levels. It is quieter at full power than any of the other 3LCD projectors and all but maybe a Mitsubishi DLP or two, but most projectors are louder, and several by 2-6 decibels. In Eco mode, the projector is quiet enough that you need not give that issue any thought at all, even if you are really demanding in this regard.
Menus are well designed, type small, some things aren't located exactly where I think they should be included, but, that's more important to a reviewer looking for features than it is for an owner, who will quickly learn where everything is.
Back to 3D for a second. I just wanted to say, it's probably the best I've seen, when you consider both picture and the brightness. The glasses are very comfortable and light. And the glasses work well over my own glasses.