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Sanyo PLV-Z5 Projector Brightness

Posted on November 2, 2006 by Art Feierman

Sanyo PLV-Z5 Projector Brightness

One thing I need to address here, is that for these measurements I set the Sanyo's zoom lens as close as I could get to being in the middle, between wide angle zoom and telephoto. Because of the wide range of the zoom, the lens lets out more light in wide angle than in telephoto. As a result, if we move the lens to full wide angle (for those that can place it there) expect lumens to jump by more than 30%. Being practical, though, people shelf mounting will likely be about mid range or somewhat telephoto.

Ok, we have lots of different Preset modes, and as a result, lots of brightness measurements. To keep things simple, I have simply listed each mode, as they appear on the menu, with the lumens in Full power, next to it:

  • Brilliant Cinema: 540 lumens (iris Open, default iris at -22) (brighter with iris at 0)
  • Creative Cinema: iris setting at 0, iris closed) 369, iris opened 479 lumens
  • Pure Cinema: 262 Lumens ( iris closed), 304 iIris opened) (manual iris at -42)
  • Natural: 455 lumens (manual iris at default -30)
  • Living (room): 559 lumens, (iris open, 0)
  • Dynamic: 963 lumens, (iris open, 0)
  • Vivid: 861 lumens iris open, 0)

As you can see, I have included in the cinema modes iris open and closed numbers, there are also manual iris numbers which affect brightness regardless of whether iris is open or closed. Since the other modes tend to be brighter, and for use with ambient light, I did not post measurements for them with the iris closed.

I must admit, that somehow, I never measured with the lamp in low power mode, a major error on my part, when I was measuring. As I write this, I have the projector on in my theater room, and have toggled back and forth between low and high power lamp modes. My best estimate would be about 25%, for what that's worth.

The bottom line on brightness. The Sanyo, in its darkest mode, lamp at low (eco), and you are looking at not much above 200 lumens. Conversely, it does crank out 900 lumens in its brightest mode, and if you really fool around with controls, there's probably another 150 lumens available, but the image quality will suffer if you really trick it out for every last lumen (which is true for just about any projector's "brightest" mode).

Overall, the Sanyo is on the low side of average in terms of brightness. I found viewing movies to be very good, with impressive black levels, using the Creative Cinema mode, with iris on automatic, which would indicate that as needed, it could crank out close to 500 lumens.

Please note, since the Sanyo PLV-Z5 projector competes directly with the Panasonic PT-AX100U, consider that for the Panasonic's measurements, the zoom lens was in almost full wide angle, generating the highest lumen measurements. I would recommend dropping the Panasonic's measured lumens by about 30% to compensate for the difference in the zoom lens positioning. That still leaves the Panasonic significantly brighter than the PLV-Z5, but would mean, with a similar, mid-position lens setting, the Panasonic would produce just over 1400 lumens.

With only 900 lumens in its brightest mode, it will not match the couple of significantly brighter projectors like the Panasonic PT-AX100U, but remember everything is relative to screen size, screen surface, and ambient light. Consider - If the Panasonic can deliver 60% more lumens with comparable image performance, that's about the difference between a 100" diagonal screen and a 125" diagonal screen.

Sanyo PLV-Z5 Light Leakage

The Sanyo is extremely clean, with no noticeable light leaking out anywhere.

PLV-Z5 Audible Noise Levels

The PLV-Z5 is the second really quiet projector in a row, that I have reviewed. It claims a really quiet 22db in low power. It seems to jump about 5-6 db in full power, still making it one of the quietest projectors around.

Lamp Life and Replacement

Sanyo is the only projector manufacturer that I can think of, that doesn't rate lamp life on their projectors. My understanding as to why, from having sold Sanyo for many years, is that they recognize that while you can have an average lamp life rating, the actual lamp life will vary significantly from one lamp to the other (with many failing way before expected) regardless of brand. Add to that the fact that most people are not good at keeping their filters clean (or changing them - depending on the projector), and partially clogged filters increase the internal temperatures of the projector, which degrades lamp life.

If you must have a number, I would say use the "typical" figuring on about 2000 hours at full power, and 25 - 50% higher at low power. If you are using the auto lamp (A1, A2), however, I would guess that life would be about the same as full power.

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