Panasonic PT-DZ770UL Color & Picture Quality
The Panasonic PT-DZ770UL displayed a sharp, clear image with very good color reproduction in any mode, except the brightest. Where many DLP projectors fall down is color balance in their brightest mode. Reds are usually quite dark and yellows often look more like mustard than lemon. In the case of the PT-DZ770UL, reds did exhibit the darkness usually associated with single-chip DLP projectors, but yellows were nearly green. However, this color shift is less noticeable in actual presentation material, so in most cases you can make full use of the projector’s lumen output, without the result looking unnatural. However, if you don’t need the full lumen output, dropping down to Standard mode gives you wonderfully accurate colors, while still outputting over 4000 lumens. For the best color balance with videos or photographic presentations, the Rec. 709 setting (the HDTV standard color space) provides the best possible colors, albeit at a 1000 lumen reduction from the Standard mode. The PT-DZ770UL has a couple of processing features that help to improve the color balance and reproduction. One is their RGB Booster, which works in conjunction with lamp modulation to improve color brightness. The other is a Daylight View setting that improves brightness perception by adjusting gamma and color in a venue that has little light control. Both help to render the very good color balance is most modes as described above.
In addition to its solid color performance, the PT-DZ770UL stood out with its depth of image. With source material like high pixel count photographs; the high resolution and sharpness of the lens made still photos appear quite lifelike. Look at the Video Quality and Readability sections of this review for more detail regarding picture quality with other sources.
Panasonic PT-DZ770UL Projector: Readability
I connected my laptop via HDMI and set it to display at the PT-DZ770UL’s native resolution (1920 X 1200). The resulting image was excellent, as sharp and clean as any I’ve seen in any projector reviewed to date. This is undoubtedly due to the lens quality. We were given both the standard lens and a shorter throw lens to test and there was no difference between them in the image quality. Small (8 pt.) text was sharp and easily readable on a 100” diagonal projected image. This was true of white text-on-black and yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds as well.
Switching to UXGA (1600 x 1200) and XGA (1024 x 768) resolutions to test the PT-DZ770UL’s video processing, there was no drop-off in image sharpness (not that I was expecting any). Basically, this projector will be readable at virtually any text size and resolution you can throw at it. Being a single chip projector, there are no potential convergence issues to worry about and the image remains sharp with any color combination.
Finally, switching from HDMI to an analog input did not noticeably affect image sharpness.
As is the case with many multimedia projectors, there is the ability to either freeze or blank the displayed image via a button on the remote.
Below, the Panasonic PT-DZ770UL projector in native WUXGA resolution:
Panasonic PT-DZ770UL Projector: Video Performance
Many multimedia projectors feature passable video performance at best. Video processing and black levels are usually a far cry from what you see on even lower-priced home theater projectors. While black levels were lacking with the PT-DZ770UL (not surprising with a projector this bright), video quality was excellent. With its standard lens and being fed by an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player, the PT-DZ770UL displayed a depth of image that was very good, really creating the detail you look for with high definition sources.
There is a switchable auto iris, which when combined with the High Contrast setting and one of the lower lumen output modes, results in an improved contrast ratio of up to 2500:1. While a 5000:1 contrast ratio would be a yawner among home theater projectors, it is a good ratio for a projector this bright. This contributes to a more film-like image than is often seen with multimedia projectors. While the PT-DZ770UL falls short of most home theater projectors when faced with a lot of dark scenes, it more than makes up for that deficiency with its sharpness and lifelike image. Taking a look at my old standby Blu-ray disk, Casino Royale, skin tones were right where I’d expect them to be with Rec. 709 mode.
Of course, for video viewing in a minimally light controlled environment, a home theater projector cannot compete with the Z8000. Its high brightness provides for a very enjoyable picture that is not washed out, as most home theater projectors would be.
Video performance over an analog connection from a laptop was also quite good, though lacking (understandably) the depth of image of a Blu-ray disk over HDMI. As the PT-DZ770UL is clearly designed for out-of-the-way installation in a large venue, it has no built-in speaker or even an audio pass through. An external speaker system is required for presentations with sound.