Posted on March 1, 2022 By Philip Boyle
The Sony VPL-FHZ85 is a 7,300 ANSI lumens/8,000 center lumens, 3LCD laser, interchangeable-lens projector that sells for $6,999 MSRP.
Sony has been a leading manufacturer of professional/education projectors for decades. While Sony Professional offers a wide variety of large display options, including flat-panels and direct LED, there are many applications where projectors are still the best option. To learn more, check out our article titled: “Why Many Video Enthusiasts Still Choose Projectors.”
This past October, I wrote a news article about the announcement of two new Sony professional projectors. Fast forward a few months later, and now I’ve had the opportunity to put the VPL-FHZ85 on the test bench, putting it through its paces.
The VPL-FHZ85 is one of Sony’s top-of-the-line, mid-tier projectors with a range of features and technologies that will make it perfect for use in higher education classrooms and lecture halls, conference and boardrooms, museums, houses of worship, medical training facilities, retail spaces, and even small to mid-sized entertainment venues. The VPL-FHZ85 is one of Sony’s 3LCD projectors that uses Sony’s proprietary laser light engine. Unlike many competitors, this projector can function in high ambient light environments while maintaining excellent color performance.
This new professional projector from Sony offers a laundry list of great features for commercial applications, including projecting an exceptionally large, high-quality image. The Sony VPL-FHZ85 is the smallest, lightest, and most advanced mid-range pro projection system Sony has introduced. This projector offers a 7,300 ANSI lumens/8,000 center lumens WUXGA (1920×1200) resolution and is the direct successor to the highly regarded VPL-FHZ75, for which my colleague Scott Wilkerson wrote a First Look review in 2019. While many business and education professionals found the FZ75 an incredible resource in the boardroom or classroom with its ability to provide high brightness while maintaining decent color, many still wanted an even brighter, higher-performance unit. No surprise, Sony listened.
I’ll start this review of the Sony VPL-FHZ85 with a brief overview, followed by some highlights, before moving on to that list of notable features. I will also take you on a tour of the projector’s hardware and discuss how it performs. Finally, I’ll sum it all up for you on the last page. By the end of this review, you should have a pretty good idea about whether or not the Sony VPL-FHZ85 is the right projector for your professional needs. Let’s get into it!
The new VPL-FHZ85 is rated at 7,300 ANSI lumens/8,000 center lumens. This rating is an increase over the previous model, the VPL-FZ75, at 6,500 lumens. Sony says that the VPL-FHZ85 is the smallest and lightest 3LCD laser projector available in its brightness class.
The VPL-FZ85 can not only deliver more peak brightness than its predecessor, but the chassis is also five pounds lighter and slightly more power-efficient than the VPL-FHZ75. It is the most compact and lightweight unit in its class and has nearly every type of input users could ever need.
3LCD projectors use three LCD panels (one each for red, green, and blue) to emit the entire range of the color spectrum. This is a significant improvement over DLP projectors which can produce something called the Rainbow Effect (rainbows being seen across the screen). About five percent of the population can see this irritation, including myself. 3LCD projectors also produce as many color lumens as white ones. This is a significant advantage considering that DLP projectors’ brightness claims will look comparable to a 3LCD projector, but looks can be deceiving. When DLP manufacturers list lumens only talking about white lumens (whites), their colors are often significantly dimmer than that claim.
In addition to being very bright, this new WUXGA (1920 x 1200) laser projector offers many Sony exclusive features and technologies. At the heart of this new Sony Pro projector are three new Sony 19mm (0.76 in) BrightEra LCD Panels coupled with the Sony exclusive Z-Phosphor laser light source. This proven Sony light engine dramatically expands the projector’s color volume without the loss of brightness commonly found in other types of projectors that use a built-in color filter. Also, the VPL-FHZ85’s laser light source will last up to 20,000 hours, just about a decade of use before that light engine could fail.
The Sony VPL-FHZ85 comes with powered focus, zoom, and lens shift of its interchangeable lenses, making it easier to set up and adjust when ceiling mounted. The projector also has Auto Calibration. This laser projector has all the inputs and connectors necessary for your business and education applications, including HDBaseT for running AV signals over long distances. We’ll get into other notable features such as Intelligent Settings version 3, Sony Reality Creation with Reality Text, 4K 60P input support, and Sony Ambiance on the next page.
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