Projector Reviews

Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector – Image Quality

These XV-Z17000 home theater projector images below are all taken using Blu-ray or HDTV sources. These Sharp XV-Z17000 projector images are far from perfect reprentations. By the time the projected image gets to your eyeball, via digital SLR, software, browsers, and your monitor, there are definite color shifts, saturation differences, contrast differences… We attempt to have the images as close as possible to what was on the projector screen, but even then, I’m trying to match on the display of a MacBook Pro. Your setup will likely look different. The XV-Z17000 images are here to support the commentary, but keep in mind these limitations when trying to compare images from the XV-Z17000 projector with other home theater projectors. Take them “with a grain of salt”. Those images relating to black level performance and sharpness, however, are pretty reliable, color accuracy, getting to you (and dynamic range) are the tough issues.

Let me say that all home theater projectors, including the Sharp XV-Z17000, definitely look better live, than in even the best looking images here would suggest. (If you have a decent screen, and good lighting control.)

Sharp XV-Z17000 Out of the Box Picture Quality

The Sharp projector looks better than most, “out of the box”. The color temperature (Movie 1 or Movie 2 mode) is only slightly above the ideal 6500K, in fact it looks like this:
30 IRE 6607
50 IRE 6510
80 IRE 6546
100 IRE 6623

Click to enlarge. SO close

In reality, while the color temp was great, the image was a touch thin on greens, which fixed right up when calibrated. Due to that, my initial out of the box impression was that skin tones were a bit ruddy. Not too bad, but it might make you want to turn down the color saturation a bit.

Click Image to Enlarge

Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector - Flesh Tones

Do a little bit of calibration, and the already good, out-of-the-box performance of the Sharp Z17000 projector gets better. That thinness on greens corrects nicely, and skin tones just start looking really good. Remember also, this is a DLP projector, and in general they do tend to have a natural feel to skin tones.

Leeloo, above, from The Fifth Element truly looked great, her hair was rich and vivid, like the film, but the skin tones are subtle, despite the dirt etc., her skin “looks” soft and smooth, supporting her role as “the perfect being”.

Skin tones, and “room lighting”:

Below are to be our four James Bond images from Casino Royale. Each has a different lighting scenario, the first – full sunlight, the second image; indoor fluorescent, and then, filtered sunlight in the third image, and finally a night scene. And as one would expect, that causes each image of James Bond – Daniel Craig – to have different looking skin tones.

In this image of Legolas from Lord of the Rings you can still make out, despite the dark scene, that his face does have some skin tone color, with many other projectors, the night blues, overwhelm his face, and don’t leave the feeling of a natural skin tone.

Sharp XV-Z17000 Black Levels & Shadow Detail

What we have here, is a “classic” of sorts. You’ve got a DLP single chip projector, sporting a nice, premium Darkchip 3, a great start towards great blacks. Add to that a dynamic iris, and this XV-Z17000 does a very good job on blacks, despite, what almost seems to be a modest (by today’s standards) 40,000:1 contrast ratio. We don’t worry about contrast specs, not when dynamic irises are involved. There really isn’t much point.

Nonetheless, this Sharp is very good. I would place it (in terms of blacks), to be about comparable to the Sony VWPro1 I recently reviewed. That would have it not quite as good a performer as the Epson 8700UB and 9700UB projectors, but as good as, or even perhaps a touch better, than the Panasonic PT-AE4000, or the Sanyo PLV-Z4000. It’s not a match for the JVC DLA-RS15, but that projector – well, we’ll be reviewing its replacement, the RS40, real soon.