Panasonic PT-AX200U SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility
The PT-AX200U, thanks to its Smooth Screen technology, has pixels so invisible that you'll have to get within a couple or three feet (or so) of a 100 inch screen to even see them. As a result there is no screen door effect visible at anything even remotely considered normal seating distance. If you like to sit 3 feet from a 100 inch screen, sure it's there, but then it would be far, far worse on any other 720p projector on the market.
Since this is an LCD projector, there is no spinning color filter wheel, and no rainbow effect.
Well, you can't beat the PT-AX200U, in this regard.
As mentioned, the pixel structure is invisible at normal seating, however this is a 3LCD projector, and that means convergence of the image from the three LCD panels, can be off. On this PT-AX200U, they are off, but not enough to spot during normal viewing.
This image shows the red panel being a little low, blue high. Left to right convergence is better. Most importantly, though this looks pretty bad in this image or the larger one if you click, you still can't see this much misconvergence in your favorite seat.
Another issue that has affected LCD projectors, relating to the 3 LCD panels, is having the projector be consistent in color from one side to the other. Sometimes there are shifts so that some of the left side of the screen might be warmer (more reds) than the left side. We saw that in the original PT-AX100U review (which was a pre-production version), but not in a follow up piece. As you can see from this image below, however, this Panasonic is consistent from edge to edge.
How really bright is the Panasonic PT-AX200U?
With all those Preset modes, there is a wide range of brightness measurements to report. Because of the 2:1 zoom ratio, and the nature of optics, the Panasonic (or any other projector), will be significantly brighter when the lens is in its widest angle mode (largest image from a given distance). The difference between full wide angle and full telephoto, is roughly twice as bright. In positioning the projector in my testing room, it was set up, with the lens just slightly on the telephoto side of middle. As a result an extra 30+ percent more lumens should be available in full wide angle, and about 30% less in full telephoto. As a side note, the fact that this projector was set a little more telephoto than the PT-AX100U when it was tested last year, probably explains why many of the measurements came in around 10% less. Theoretically, both should have the same brightness.
The PT-AX200U's Cinema 1 mode we used for most all movie viewing, with the lamp at full power, managed 672 lumens, before adjustment. In Eco-mode, that drops to 592 lumens, a drop of only about 12%. That 12% should be similar in any mode.
After we did our adjustments to Cinema 1 for better grayscale balance, the PT-AX200U's output drops to 536 lumens, still brighter than just about anything else out there at 720p resolution.
Cinema 2 mode, which I really didn't work with, produced a native 498 lumens.
Natural (a dark room mode primarily for TV/HDTV), manages 671 lumens.
What the PT-AX200U is about, or rather, what separates it from the competition, is how it performs in rooms that are not fully darkened. It is the best projector in its class for dealing with ambient light.
For movie watching when it's not dark, Panasonic provides the Vivid Cinema mode. Not as film-like, nor as perfect overall as Cinema 1, but it still does a nice job on movies. The Vivid Cinema mode cranks out 1110 lumens! That's two to three times the brightness of most other projectors brighter movie modes. I spent a fair amount of time watching this mode, and it is very respectable, if you are not a perfectionist. It certainly can't compare to Cinema 1, but it really makes a difference with a modest amount of light in the room.
There are even brighter modes of course.
Normal, ideal for standard TV/HDTV/Sports viewing, measured 1388 lumens!!! It's the mode I'm in, as I write this page, while also watching an HDTV college football in the background.
Still not impressed, I've got 2 more modes for you.
Game: For video gamers, is almost as bright at 1287 lumens
And finally, for sheer horsepower, Dynamic Mode. Definitely not the best color balance, with too much green (as is typical for projectors in their brightest modes), but an impressive 1771 lumens.
In an attempt to see how many lumens I could generate, by adjusting brightness, contrast, and other settings, and I was able to get Dynamic up to 2361 lumens!