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Sony VPL-FHZ55 Projector Review - Performance

Posted on February 4, 2014 by 


The VPL-FHZ55 is rated at 4000 lumens.  Similar to other laser light source projectors we’ve reviewed, the lumen output drops significantly in anything but the brightest mode at full wide zoom.  That being said, the Sony came reasonably close to it rated output under those conditions.  In Presentation mode (the brightest, using the High lamp and Text gamma settings), I measured 3436 at full wide zoom and 3261 lumens at mid-zoom range.  At full telephoto zoom, the output decreased greatly to 2462 lumens.

This is still quite bright, but you’ll want to mount the projector close enough so that you can keep the zoom between the midpoint and full wide zoom.  Using its default gamma setting (Graphic 1), the wide zoom output dropped to 2805 lumens at mid zoom.  However, at that gamma setting, color balance and contrast are greatly improved.  I also measured the output with different lens shift settings, but there was little effect.  There are two other gamma settings that can be used:  Graphics 2 – at 2709 lumens and DICOM GSDF Sim – at 2095 lumens.  Despite the lower lumen output with all but the text gamma setting, the FHZ55 shouldn’t have a problem displaying a viewable image in most lighting conditions.  As usual, all subsequent readings were taken at mid zoom and with the High lamp setting.

Using Dynamic mode, the output dropped significantly to 1980 lumens.  This mode displayed good color balance and better contrast than the Presentation mode.  If the best possible color balance is desired, Standard mode, at 1856 lumens, is the way to go. The VPL-FHZ55 offers a number of lamp brightness settings.  Dropping the lamp from High to Standard brightness (in Presentation mode with Graphic 1 gamma) resulted in a drop in lumen output to 2095 lumens (a 25% drop).  Auto lamp, which adjusts the output automatically depending on image content, was at 2725 with a full white image.  Finally, there is a Custom mode that allows you to manually set the lamp’s brightness.  Using this control, I got 646 lumens at the Minimum setting, 1764 at the 50% setting and 2805 lumens (same as High) at the Maximum setting.

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Sony does not list any noise ratings for the VPL-FHZ55, but it was comparable to other projectors of this size and brightness.  This means it’s probably in the 35-40 dB range in High lamp mode.  While that’s not particularly quiet, it’s not likely to be an issue in almost any presenting environment you’d find the FHZ55, as it’s meant to be permanently installed, not sitting on a cart next to the audience.  If a quieter environment is desired, dropping the FHZ55 into Standard lamp mode reduces the noise level considerably.  If the aforementioned 25% drop in lumen output is acceptable, the FHZ55 would easily be quiet enough in Standard mode for comfortable video or movie viewing.  Basically, for a projector this bright that is intended to be permanently installed away from viewers, the noise level is not an issue.

Wired Networking

The FHZ55, with a wired network connection, offers the standard control and notification options.  You get the usual remote monitoring (including email notification) and admin features, as well as control features pretty much equal to those from the remote control.  Unfortunately, there is no network presentation ability, or the ability to use a wireless network natively.  The FHZ55 does support a variety of network monitoring and control protocol however, including Advertisement, PJ Talk, PJ Link, SNMP, and AMX DDDP [Dynamic Device Discovery Protocol].

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