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Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector - Performance

Posted on July 26, 2013 by Art Feierman
This section covers the Z30000's brightness (including many measurements on color temperature), sharpness, and image noise. Also covered on this page,are other physical attributes including light leakage and audible noise for the XV-Z30000 projector.

Sharp XV-Z30000 Brightness

I'll start off by pointing out that the Sharp XV-Z30000 is very typical in terms of "best mode" brightness when compared to other projectors in its price range. Like the Mitsubishi HC7800D - a competing home DLP projector, it isn't a light cannon should you need lots of lumens.  In fact, in its "brightest mode", the Z30000 is only slightly brighter than what we consider "average" for "brightest" modes.  I should add to that, that many of the new 3D capable projectors are now far brighter than what we're used to.  Until 3D hit, few home theater projectors could achieve, or get close to, 1500 lumens in their "brightest mode", but today's 3D competition includes a number of serious projectors that can put 2000 lumens on the screen.

Let's focus on the actuals, and how that might work for you. But first, some info to consider.  Unlike most home theater projectors that arrive for review, this Sharp XV-Z30000 came with over 300 hours on the lamp, rather than less than 50.  As such, that's enough hours to already cause, perhaps a 5-10% drop in brightness.

Further, this is an original Sample - pre-production, or perhaps an even earlier "engineering sample", although I'd guess the former as everything seems to work.  Historically, first generation early samples or pre-production units often aren't quite as bright as full production projectors, but you can't count on that.  My point being, between the hours on the lamp, and the SAMPLE status of the Z30000 these brightness numbers could underestimate the brightness of a brand new production Z30000 by 10% or even a bit more.  I'd count on having at least some of those extra lumens.  As a result, our brightest measurement Stage, zoom on wide angle, which is over 1150 lumens, might actually be more like 1300 lumens.  And, as I've written in the past, Mike's meters seem to be a bit conservative.  All in all, therefore, a shiny new Z30000 may well be able to put over 1300 lumens on the screen, rather than the roughly 1150 max we report.  Figure the lamp situation guarantees at least another 50-100 lumens.

Lumen Output and Color Temp for various Picture modes at 100 IRE
Standard 847 @ 8231
Anime 829 @ 8236
Dynamic 1063 @ 8319
Movie 1 531 @ 7198
Movie 2 270 @ 7274 (w/ Eco+Quiet mode ON)
Game 829 @ 8206
Monochrome 270 @ 8699 (w/ Eco+Quiet mode ON)
Sports 829 @ 8211
Stage 1090 @ 8276
User 1 & 2 838 @ 8192

That's a ton of preset color modes, probably overkill, as many are fairly similar, varying mostly by other settings (such as Eco vs High Brightness, or Iris on High Contrast vs High Brightness).  Basically, it seems you can change Movie 2 to be the same as Movie 1, by simply turning off eco mode.  All the different modes are at least a bit cool (higher than 6500K).

Note:  The two Movie modes are the only ones where default white measures under 8000K.  The primary difference is that both of those modes have Color Temp set to -1, while the rest have color temp set to 0.

Post Calibration: "Best" (Movie 1) zoom at mid-point
Lumens 532

That's definitely respectable, but not an impressively bright number - call it "average".

XV-Z30000 Max brightness (Stage Mode) zoom at Mid-point
Lumens 1090
XV-Z3000 "Brightest" mode (after Mike's "quick cal") - Stage mode
Lumens 1018

"Quick cal" is our effort to improve color while sacrificing minimum brightness.

Art's comment:  Recently, when reviewing the Mitsubishi HC7800D - a directly competitive projector in that it's not super bright, and they are both DLP's in the same general price range. We pointed out that it could do 1200+ lumens, but looked really "not very watchable"  and wasn't really fixable.  That projector dropped down to just over 800 lumens once Mike improved the picture.  That's not the case here.  This projector starts out with reasonably good color (if a bit cool) at maximum. Mike's adjustments were relatively minor in creating our "Brightest" mode for the Z30000. That makes this Sharp projector about 25% brighter than the Mitsubishi, when you need all the lumens you can get. That's a plus by my standards!

Stage Mode
Dynamic Mode
Standard Mode
Anime Mode
Game Mode
User 1 Mode
Movie 1 Mode
Movie 2 Mode

Let's take a look at all those color modes listed above.  All these images were taken with the same exposure so that you can see relative brightness.  That does make some somewhat dark, and others a bit over the top, making color hard to precisely determine.  Still, these should give you a respectable idea as to how they differ.  The Movie 1, and Stage modes' images (best and brightest) were taken with Mike's settings in place:

Stage mode:  Slightly the brightest, a bit too much saturation at default, which is great for cutting through ambient light.  An extremely impressive "Brightest" mode.  If a darker room, just dial back the color saturation a little, or go for the punch!

Dynamic mode:  Close in brightness to Stage, it seems not quite as well balanced.  Note that all the modes except for Movie 1 and 2, use a Color Temp setting of 0, and they are cool.  Movie 1 and 2 use -1 for Color Temp and are warmer, but still a touch cool.  Further lowering of color temp towards 6500K is accomplished by calibrating the grayscale with the provided RGB controls.

There are other modes not shown, but all are variations on the controls provided.  That is, you can change just about any mode, into any other just by using the Color Temp, Eco, Iris controls, etc.

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Bright mode)
Zoom out 1150
Mid-zoom 1063
Zoom in 821

I'm not sure why Mike switched to Dynamic for these measurements (after all, Stage was slightly brighter - old habit since most projectors have Dynamic as the brightest, or so I assume).  As a result, expect Stage mode to be a touch brighter than the 1150 listed here for Dynamic with the zoom on wide.  More importantly, if you are rear shelf mounting, note that you will be giving up more than 25% of brightness compared to ceiling mounting at the closest point.  By comparison mid-point on the zoom is only down about 8% from closest.

Optics design should be pretty good, in that many projectors with 2:1 zooms have a bigger drop off in brightness going from wide angle to telephoto.

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