Last night I did some side by side images with this Sharp projector going head to head with the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB. That Epson has been the reigning black level champ of the mid-priced class we used in our 1080p Projector Comparison Report that published a couple of months ago (projectors in that class selling from about $2100 to $3500).
No, the Sharp did not beat the Epson, but came exceptionally close. In most the black levels on the Sharp (Movie 2, Iris one set to High Contrast, Iris 2 - the dynamic iris set to On) were extremely close, and essentially indistinguishable from the Epson, without viewing them side by side. On other scenes, the XV-Z15000 wasn't quite as good as the Epson, but still in the ballpark.
Based on the side by side viewing, and translating what I saw to other competing projectors, I'd have to say, overall, the XV Z15000 is about comparable to the more expensive Mitsubishi HC7000, and every bit the equal to the Panasonic PT-AE3000. It should pretty consistently beat out the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 in black level performance, and that Sanyo is the least expensive of the ultra-high contrast 3LCD projectors, the one that is pretty much priced the same as the Sharp.
Immediately below: From The Dark Knight:
It's been too long since I've had one here, but I'd also think that the BenQ W5000 can't quite match this Sharp projector, either, although like with the Sanyo, it would be fairly close. That's an important point, because for those sold on the look and feel of DLP technology, the W5000 is the one to beat at this price point.
In other words, I'm impressed!
First, here are a couple of side by side images with the Sharp projector on the RIGHT.
As usual, we attempted to get the two projectors as close to each other in brightness, and as usual when neither has an individually controllable manual iris, we couldn't quite get them the same. In these images we ended up with the Epson (who's lamp now has several hundred hours on it), with the lamp on low power mode, and the Sharp at full power. This did end up, however, with the Sharp, on average, being a bit brighter overall. You'll have to deal with that when viewing the side by sides: