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Sanyo PLV-Z700 Home Theater Projector Review: Image Quality - 2

Posted on October 8, 2008 by Art Feierman

Sanyo PLV-Z700: Skin Tone Handling

Once we got the PLV-Z700 calibrated, it started looking really good. Skin tones turned out to be extremely good overall, although in low lit scenes, it seemed they shifted just a little bit too much to red. This was even more the case, when watching TV in standard definition. I must comment now, though, that the numbers Mike came up with when calibrating for color saturation (+5), provided what was to my eye, a bit too much saturation. For much of my watching, I readjusted, instead using +1, and some might even go down to -1. (Photos were shot with the +1 setting) This may be in part due to my chosing to use the black level enhancement feature, and different iris combinations that I found more pleasing, than the core feature set Mike uses for calibration.

Once the color saturation was reduced, the slight shift to red in dark content was no longer an issue.

Please note, overall, at least on my computer screen, these images are just a little low in terms of color saturation. They certainly are that, compared to what appeared on the screen. Once again, this is related to the limitations of my dSLR software, working on my computer, and of course the limitations of your computer monitor, which doesn't come close to the performance of any good projector in terms of contrast, black levels, etc. In other words, the images are useful, but take them with "a grain of salt" (or more).

For your consideration, we'll start with two images from standard DVD format - the movie Lord of the Rings - Return of the King:

The image of Arwen above, looked particularly good. One thing I notice occasionally on this scene, is that due to the rich green forest, some of that green impacts the skin tone. On most projectors it isn't noticeable, but it should be. In the case of the Sanyo Z700 you can pick up on this, it's subtle, but more noticeable in her forehead. Nicely done.

The image of Gandalf is very natural looking, whereas pre-calibration it definitely was not as good.

Moving to hi-def content from Blu-ray disc, let's start with images from Aeon Flux, a sci-fi flick:

Again, skin tones look good. Unfortunately I picked a slightly overexposed frame (by accident) so the umbrellas in the background are somewhat faded compared to this image in other reviews. On screen, the umbrellas looked just fine!

Then there's an image of Leeloo from The Fifth Element, that is also found on all reviews:


In all reviews, I like to point out that determining great skin tone performance isn't easy. You have to consider the scene itself - obviously a person's face will have a different color balance depending on the scene lighting. Direct sunlight, incandescent light, cloudy day, fluoresecent lighting and night will all change the way a face looks.

Here are three images of Bond - Daniel Craig - from Casino Royale. The first - direct sunlight, the second - fluorescent lighting (in an airport), and "filtered" sunlight. As you can see, they vary significantly but all look very reasonable for the scene. In addition, below these, is one more image of Aeon, from Aeon Flux, which is a good example of how severely the color can shift when the director wants a certain effect. (Think - the green tint to everything in The Matrix movies.)

Here's that aforementioned image of Aeon. In this scene, the room is bathed in whites, washing out most color. The Sanyo PLV-Z700 handled this frame very well, with a very realistic result when it comes to the skin tones:

House of the Flying Daggers is a movie with very rich colors, although, I would say it's another example of the director wanting something a little "not dead on", which results in skin tones tending to be shifted slightly toward a pinkish shade. What you see here is consistent with other good projectors, post calibration:

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