Sanyo's "best" mode - Pure Cinema, isn't so much its best performance, as it is the Sanyo's least tinkered with image. Various dynamic controls that the PLV-Z3000 offers (as do most), are turned off in Pure Cinema mode. Most users will run in Creative Cinema, with the dynamic iris turned on, etc. From a practical standpoint, I believe Sanyo's Creative Cinema setting is the one to use for comparing with other projectors, and will do so here.
Even in the brighter Creative Cinema, the PLV-Z3000 doesn't come particularly close to the Home Cinema 6500UB in brightness. Our measurements show the Sanyo at 373 lumens (Pure Cinema was only 235 lumens), compared to the Epson's 491 measured lumens.
Of course both projectors have many modes, and Sanyo also has a third Cinema mode - Brilliant Cinema - that one pulls out all the stops, but is less film-like, and better suited for cutting through lumens. The Epson's LivingRoom and other modes can also provide big brightness increases for that projector.
Ultimately though, we consider the Epson to be about 25-30% brighter than the Sanyo in "best" mode operation for movie viewers wanting a great image.
When it comes to pulling out all the stops for HDTV, TV, and especially sports, we switch to "brightest" mode. The Sanyo does very well here, with a measured 1046 lumens. That makes it the next brightest projector in "brightest" mode, behind the assorted Epson projectors in this group of 11 mid-priced projectors in the comparison. Still, while the Sanyo is slightly above average, the Epson's are the brightest in this class, measuring 1566 lumens, almost 50% more.
All considered, the Epson is easily, significantly brighter, be it "best" or "brightest" modes. Keep in mind though, while you can probably never have too many lumens available for watching a football game with lights on, for most potential buyers, it comes down to screen size. Figure that the Epson will do about as good a job in brightness as the Sanyo, if the Epson is projecting onto a screen about 20% or so larger (in diagonal measurement) than the PLV-Z3000. In other words, the Sanyo will do every bit as good a job on a 100" diagonal screen, as the Epson, can, on a 120" screen. Since most people buy screens of 110" diagonal or less, the Sanyo still works well for those sizes. Certainly, though if leaning towards going with a larger screen, or if you have lighting control issues in your room, the Epson has a significant advantage.
What about sharpness
The Sanyo and Epson projectors are pretty much even when it comes to sharpness. I truly believe that they are about equal overall, but there will be differences from one Sanyo to another, and one Epson to another.
My theory is that pixel alignment accuracy (getting the images from the three LCD panels to converge perfectly) affects perceived sharpness. There is always some variation in pixel alignment from one projector to the next with any 3 chip projector be it 3LCD, DLP or LCoS. If you get a Sanyo, with particularly accurate pixel alignment, it would appear a touch sharper than an Epson with not quite as good an alignment. The reverse would also be true.
To the question of which is sharper, let's call these two a tie. We are talking very slight differences from one projector to another, unless you end up with a projector with blatantly poor pixel alignment (one panel off by at least a full pixel). You would notice a really bad projector as one where you would have no trouble at all spotting red or green fringing around whites (when they come up against a dark area), from Normal Seating Distance! (Every 3 chip projector has visible pixel misalignment if you are viewing from say 2 feet from a 100" screen.)