Posted on October 10, 2021 By Philip Boyle
The Panasonic PT-MZ880 comes with an ET-ELS20 1.61–2.76:1 powered zoom lens that allows remote control of focus, lens shift, and zoom. All lenses with the exception of the ET-ELW21 for the MZ880 offer lens shift, which is a significant plus during installation or after many hours of use. The ability to remotely adjust lens settings is not only a time-saver; it is also a massive safety feature. Without the built-in remote lens setup and adjustment functionality, almost all work would have to be performed at the projector. Without these remote tuning features, installing a projector in challenging environments will probably require a ladder and a maintenance worker, resulting in increased labor costs and, more importantly, increased risks to the technician.
For any of you who have set up a single projector, much less multiple projectors, you should appreciate the generous lens shift Panasonic provides on specific PT-MZ880 optional lenses. Panasonic allows technicians to adjust for vertical and horizontal movement, shifting the projected image vertically and horizontally providing the technician the flexibility to compensate for a wide range of errors!
The PT-MZ880 projector series supports a range of optional fixed and zoom lenses designed to make installations at challenging locations less complicated. These optional lenses include a new zero-offset ET-ELU20 ultra-short-throw (UST) zoom lens that should be available roughly the same time you read this review. The ET-ELU20 UST lens allows students and teachers to approach the screen with minimal shadows, allowing the rest of the class to easily view the content without distractions.
In addition, the ET-ELU20 provides a throw ratio of 0.330-0.353:1 (WUXGA) and has e powered zoom and H/V lens shift for adjustment flexibility after the projector is installed, saving time and effort. This UST lens is designed to ensure images are projected in a crisp, clean, and unobstructed manner, providing a maximum 400-inch (16:10) image from ~4.5 feet with zero offset for immersive LCD projection in tight spaces.
The PT-MZ880 uses a SOLID SHINE multi-laser module light source along with a sealed phosphor wheel to deliver a rated brightness of 8,000 lumens. Like most 3LCD projectors, the PT-MZ880 produces as many color lumens as it does white lumens, which ensures an incredibly bright and vibrant image.
Panasonic claims 20,000 hours of laser life for the PT-MZ880. As with a lamp-based system, the life rating is when 50% of the brightness has been lost. If the PT-MZ880 were used 40 hours per week, 20,000 hours would equal more than 9 ½ years of operation.
For maximum reliability, the PT-MZ880 laser diodes are grouped into multiple modules. If one diode in a module fails, only the laser diodes in the affected series are bypassed, and the remaining diodes continue to operate. This redundant technology allows the projector to maintain close to full brightness despite having lost the use of one diode in the system. Compare this to many laser projectors that shut down the entire module resulting in a dramatic loss of brightness. The Multi-Drive Laser Optical Engine used by the PT-MZ880 adds an extra layer of insurance that many other laser projectors don’t provide.
The Phosphor wheel is also sealed to protect it from dust particles and cooled to extend reliability. The PT-MZ880’s airtight optical unit makes this projector ideal for use in dusty environments, from high-traffic classrooms and lecture theaters to large-scale outdoor events. The PT-MZ880 projector’s reusable filter can be washed, reused and should last as long as the laser light engine, which is 20,000 hours.
There are four modes to adjust the brightness output of the laser light source:
Normal – When high brightness is required. At 100% brightness plus high fan speed, results in an estimated laser light source life of about 20,000 hours.
ECO The luminance will decrease to about 70% of the projector’s Normal mode. In this mode, the projectors estimated light source life is approximately 24,000 hours
Quiet – This mode is for when you want to prioritize the projector’s operation with low noise. The light power is 70%, which reduces fan speed, resulting in less noise. Estimated laser light source life of about 20,000 hours.
User – Allows the user to set the laser light engine’s brightness to his or her. The estimated light source life will vary depending on the specific light engine chosen by the user.
Panasonic has developed various tools to support creating a single image from more than one projector. While this feature may not be used regularly in education environments, events, large venues and others can benefit greatly from the multi-screen capability.
The PT-MZ880 is equipped with several features if you need more light output or want to utilize multiple projectors to display a larger image. Edge Blending allows you to split an image over numerous projectors and display it as one large image while making the hard transition from one projector to another virtually indistinguishable. This is done by using the brightness settings of the projector to match the black level at the points of image overlap.
Using the Geometric Manager Pro software, you can fine-tune the blend’s starting position and the width of the blended area. The result is an image that looks seamless like a single projector is displaying it.
Color Matching is another feature Panasonic provides designed to match the color of multiple projectors used to create one single image. This feature is controlled using the Panasonic-included PC control software to correct color reproduction variations on each projector separately resulting in a single-color matched image that should look as if it is being displayed from one projector.
Contrast Sync adjusts the Dynamic Contrast value among multiple projectors connected via serial in/out terminals. This function increases the uniformity of individual images in a multi-screen system and reduces the visibility of overlapping areas of adjacent images for a seamless widescreen image. Shutter Sync, meanwhile, synchronizes shutter on/off timing for professional fade-in/fade-out effects.
DIGITAL LINK™ is Panasonic’s trademarked version of HDBaseT™ and is compatible with a wide variety of HDBaseT transmitters from manufacturers like Gefen, Extron, and Atlona. You can choose to control the PT-MZ880 via a dedicated LAN terminal or the HDBaseT based DIGITAL LINK connection. Both support 100Base-TX- and 10BaseT-compatible control signals via Panasonic, Crestron Connected™, AMX, and Extron® applications.
Once you have connected your projector to your network, you can control the PT-MZ880 using a Windows PC, Smartphone, or tablet. Using Panasonic’s free Smart Projector Control app, you can operate and check the status of a Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) connected projector from your iPhone or Android device. This allows you to access the projector remotely and adjust such things as input, focus, zoom, shift, and test patterns. You can also use your mobile device to monitor the status of multiple projectors and get information such as power status, errors, and warnings.
In addition, Panasonic’s Multi Monitoring & Control software allows network administrators to check status, perform various projector operations, and immediately be alerted to projector abnormalities for quick troubleshooting. It’s easy for your administrator to select individual projectors or projector groups to check detailed information such as the usage hours of the projector light source, the current input, and any errors.
If you opt for the software’s paid license, you will have access to additional early warning features. These advanced functions enable real-time monitoring, abnormality detection, and notification before servicing is required. You can even set up a networked projector to send you an email alert if there is a problem. The email will list the name of the projector experiencing a problem and detailed information about the issue.
Using DIGITAL LINK, you can transmit 4K video up to 50m (164ft) with a single LAN cable. For meetings where several presenters are trying to share a single HDMI cable. With control enabled via LAN, DIGITAL LINK is free to transmit video over long cable runs of up to 150 m* (492 ft). Panasonic offers the optional DIGITAL LINK Switcher, which allows the connection of multiple sources to be routed to a DIGITAL LINK-ready projector like the PT-MZ880 via a single CAT5e or higher ethernet cable.
Using the DIGITAL LINK Switcher (ET-YFB200G) or any other compatible HDBaseT switcher eliminates the need to move a single HDMI cable from one presenter to another because multiple presenters can be simultaneously connected to the PT-MZ880.
Depending on which one of these software applications you choose, you’ll enjoy a host of features, including Push notifications, browser monitoring, command and control of the projector using a browser, and more.
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