Panasonic PT-AX100U Projector Review – General Performance 4

four main menus, but most of the action is on the Picture Menu, and its sub menus. Let’s start there. This image shows the main Picture Menu, and as you can see, there are a great many options. The first lets you select the preset (Cinema 1, Dynamic, Normal, etc.),

Light leakage

Minimal, a non issue, and none visible hitting the screen, where you would really care.

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Audible Noise Levels

Bingo. The PT-AX100U also excels at being quiet, very quiet. There are other projectors, even in the price range that are about as quiet as the Panasonic, when both are in their low power modes, and the noise level is insignificant. With the Panasonic PT-AX100U, however, even in full power, the projector, while noiser than low power mode, is extremely quiet. It is far quieter, for example than the Optoma HD72, or the Epson 400, which we recently reviewed, both of those are definitely noisy enough to bother some users.

PT-AX100U Projector Brightness

I’ve already raved about how bright this projector is. Now, I will provide you the results of my measurements. Let me state first that when measuring, the PT-AX100U was set up so the lens was in widest angle mode (allowing the largest image from any distance). This is the mode that lets the most light out of the lens. Zoom into full telephoto mode and the projector will lose some brightness – I estimate possibly up to 30%, but I’m guessing here. Obviously, with the lens in a more middle position in terms of zoom, the brightness loss will be more minimal.

This time I’d like to start with brightest mode, Dynamic. Without adjusting the settings the PT-AX100U measured a whopping 2025 lumens! Dynamic is going to be the least accurate mode in terms of color balance, contrast, color saturation etc., as manufacturers set brightest mode to do the best job under bad lighting conditions with the idea that maximum brightness is the goal. I also measured the projector in Eco (low) power mode, which saves lamp life. Eco-mode reduced brightness to 1470 lumens, a reduction of roughly 27%. This drop in brightness should be pretty consistant across all image modes.

For watching sports with a fair amount of ambient light, I mostly used the Dynamic mode to see how well the PT-AX100U could do under adverse situations. I did, however, adjust the colors, removing a fair amount of green, and making other changes, to get a more pleasing image, without sacrificing too much brightness. I didn’t measure this as this was in my “theater” and I do my measurements in the “testing room”. If I had to guess, my adjustments might have lowered brightness by 10% or so, to perhaps 1800 lumens or a touch less. Purely a guess, mind you!

The other bright modes: Panasonic offers two other “bright modes – Vivid Cinema (obviously for watching movies with too much room light) and Normal, which I found worked great on HDTV and TV (such as The Tonight Show, sports, Discovery HD, etc).

In Vivid Cinema mode, the PT-AX100U produced an extremely impressive (and bright) 1181 lumens (full power on the lamp) and Normal Mode was even brighter, weighing in at 1418 lumens!

Dropping down to the “more perfect” dark room modes, which provide the best pure image quality, here’s what I measured:

  • Cinema 1 mode: 707 lumens, ( slightly lower after I did a basic calibration on this mode – the only mode I did calibrate)
  • Cinema 2 mode: 668 lumens
  • Video mode: 678 lumens
  • Natural mode: 709 lumens

Remember, if you don’t need all that muscle (brightness), drop into low power mode, and your lamp will last longer (3000 hours vs 2000 – approximately), and the lumen count should drop about 27%. For example, that would mean Cinema 1 mode would be about 511 lumens, etc.

By any measure, that is truly bright, with the Optoma HD72, the next brightest projector, in its best mode with full lamp power measured at only 518 lumens, and close to 1400 lumens when the Optoma was pushed to the limit (and uncalbrated) Panasonic gets a WOW rating for brightness, even in its best movie modes.

To give you an idea of the relative brightness and color handling of each mode, here is a sequence of images, showing all modes, but shot with the same camera settings. Thus, the darker modes are somewhat underexposed, while the brightest are overexposed. Still this should give you a good idea.

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