Posted on August 2, 2011 By Art Feierman
This year the Sharp XV-Z15000, which also appeared in last year’s report, has dropped just enough in price to make the cut for our Entry Level projector class. While I really like the picture of the XV-Z15000, it is the least bright of the whole group. With only 312 lumens in Best mode, and no particularly brighter other modes that would be close to a “best” mode in piture quality, the Sharp will pair best with smaller screens, probably 100″ diagonal at the largest, unless you go with a high gain screen. The 1099 lumens in brightest mode, will give you a serious boost when you want some lights on, so the best mode lumens are the limiting factor, when considering this Sharp projector.
The Viewsonic is another projector best suited for movie watching, or smaller screens, say up to 100″ diagonal, maybe a bit larger. With a below average 453 lumens in “best” mode, it’s still pretty respectable, as many projectors are right around 500 lumens. In brightest mode though, it’s 922 lumens are on the low side as well. In other words, not a lot to spare if you want say a popular 110″ diagonal screen size. You might have to supplement with a higher than normal gain screen.
The Viewsonic Pro8100 projector, when it comes to brightness characteristics, most closely resembles another LCD projector, the Panasonic PT-AE4000, whos comparable measurements are within 25 lumens of the Pro8100. Note I have always considered the popular PT-AE series from Panasonic to be definitely below average when it comes to brightness, perhaps my biggest complaint about an otherwise excellent projector.
Like it’s almost identical twin, the BenQ, the Vivitek H1080FD is a cross-over projector. It has a slow (3x) color wheel (not as slow as the 2x in the BenQ W1000), which will help with the Rainbow Effect, but cause the Vivitek H1080FD to have about 20% less lumens than the W1000. It’s a straight trade-off for everyone – go with the faster color wheel, and the still very bright lumens of the Vivitek, or go all out for lumens, with the BenQ.
Lumens – Other mode: While we focus on the “best”, and “brightest” modes, there are cases where it is useful to point out an additional mode. In some cases it’s a somewhat less bright “brightest mode” but with a lot better color, sometimes it’s an intermediate or almost “best” mode, that is noteworthy because of having a lot more lumens. We describe each of the Other modes listed, when discussing that projector.
Designed from the ground up to be both bright, and have a high quality picture, the W6000 has the brightest lamp of any projector in this report. The W6000 succeeds at being bright, with a measured “best mode” performance of 866 lumens with Brilliant Color turned off. Turn it on, and things get even better (brighter) with 1039 lumens! We list Brilliant Color On best mode as the “Other” mode in our table above. It is worthy of listing because the BenQ does a very good job in terms of picture quality with BC turned on. Many DLP’s with Brilliant Color engaged are a bit over the top. With the W6000 projector, having Brilliant Color off is still the more natural look but there’s an extra 20% more lumens waiting, if you need them, without a major compromise in image quality.
When it comes to brightest mode, the BenQ kicks out 1750 lumens after we adjusted it. That makes it the brightest overall projector in the report, over $999. (The two bright $999 projectors are “crossover” (aka; also double as business portable) projectors, with fast color wheels. The BenQ’s color wheel is much faster, minimizing the rainbow effect. In fact the W6000 is far superior overall, but those two rock bottom projectors are every bit as bright. BenQ’s brightest mode does exhibit a heavy green shift, which is most unfortunately since it really can’t be adjusted away. That will work fine if you need every last lumen to deal with ambient light. If not, the BenQ’s Standard mode with BC on, after calibration can produce just over 1250 lumens, still very impressive, and with very good color.
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