Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6100
The Epson Home Cinema 6100 is the new base 1080p model, (replacing the Home Cinema 1080), and it lacks the higher contrast/black levels, the 96/120 fps support and creative frame interpolation. Thus, this Epson, from a technical standpoint is not the direct competitor - the 6500 UB is.
That said, this Epson, claiming merely 18,000:1 contrast (vs. the Sanyo's claimed 65,000:1), may well come close to, or even match the Sanyo's black levels.
The Epson is even less expensive, with a MAP of only $1999. Other than those "newer" features mentioned in the vs. Home Cinema 6500 UB, it should be very similar to the 6500 UB, and that includes how it compares to the Sanyo projector.
We haven't received our Home Cinema 6100 review projector yet, but still hope, and expect to have it reviewed by year end (2008). If we don't get it done by then, it will most likely be that the Home Cinema 6500 UB arrives first or at the same time, in which case the UB is the priority.
PLV-Z3000 vs. InFocus IN82
The InFocus IN82 is a phyically larger DLP projector. It really isn't a direct competitor in almost any way, as it is far brighter, lacks the better black levels of the Sanyo, and has very limited placement flexibility. The IN82 will appeal to those looking for larger screens, and a DLP feel, but who won't mind the more average black level performance. The InFocus black levels though are achieved without a dynamic iris, so are consistent. Like most 3 LCD projectors, the Sanyo's dynamic iris is at its most effective on a very dark scene with no bright areas. If you have a mostly dark scene but with significant very bright and white areas, the dynamic iris becomes mostly ineffective.
Most likely, as you put together your list of what's important, only one of these two projectors would end up on your list, as they are very different.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000
Each year, it seems Sanyo and Panasonic like to slug it out. This time around, it is the Sanyo, that is the brighter of the two projectors in "brightest" mode, which is a change of pace. In best mode, the Panasonic is still slightly brighter than the PLV-Z3000, which is typical.
Both projectors offer high frame rates, and creative frame interpolation to minimize motion blur. Both have similar placement flexibility, extensive preset image modes, and lots of user savable memory modes.
The Panasonic calibrates easier, and provides more precise 6500K tracking though its grayscale range from white to dark gray. Its skin tones are really excellent, lacking the slight yellow/green push found with the Sanyo PLV-Z3000
The Panasonic also offers its anamorphic lens emulation capability, which saves big bucks for those wanting to go 2.35:1 screen for watching Cinemascope (most) movies, without letterboxes at top and bottom.
The Sanyo has its list of advantages as well. It comes with a better, longer warranty - three years, compared to Panasonic's one year (but often Panasonic offers free second year of warranty by mail-in rebate). Even with that, though, the Sanyo has the distinct advantage in warranty.
The Sanyo is physically smaller, and while not a pretty projector, so to speak, it is physically more attractive than the Panasonic which has a more industrial look.
The Sanyo also offers a just slightly sharper image.
The Sanyo needs to be unmounted to change out its lamp, while the Panasonic does not.
The Panasonic's zoom and focus are motorized (allowing for their anamorphic lens emulation), while the Sanyo is manual. That's not a big deal unless you are going "pseudo anamorphic", where the Panasonic lets you save and recall different lens zoom settings.
I definitely have to give the advantage to the Panasonic for those really into movie performance. I think the slight black level advantage of the PT-AE3000, plus it's more dynamic looking dark scenes.
On the other hand: I definitely favor the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 for watching sports, and general HDTV, etc. as it has more pop, and wow factor in brighter scenes, when compared to the Panasonic.
In other words, as expected, it isn't a clear cut choice.
One last thought, I do think the Panasonic is the slightly better overall projector between the two, but, when it comes to an individual's specific room setup and viewing preferences, the Sanyo will earn the business of a good percentage of those shopping between these two, and I think that would still be true if they were both at the same price point. With the Sanyo being about $400 less expensive at the time of this review, that will sway even more folks. When considering selling price, I'd say the two are about equal in terms of price/performance.