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Sony VPL-VW70 - Competitors-5

Posted on May 20, 2009 by Art Feierman

VPL-VW70 vs. Planar PD8150

I really would have loved to have these two projectors in house at the same time. The Planar PD8150 projector is the more expensive of the two, and the best of the recent DLP projectors I've reviewed. Neither is particularly bright, so they are very similar in that regard.

Both projectors have excellent black level performance, the Sony one of the very best, and the Planar, well probably very close to the Sony, and possibly its equal.

The Planar, though, does possess the sharper image of the two.

The battle for placement flexibility is close, despite the Planar's zoom lens not having as much range as the Sony. In reality, the Planar is the more likely of the two to be rear shelf mounted in most rooms, as for a 100" screen it can be as far as 17.4 feet, while the Sony can only be as far back as 16.3 feet. On the other hand, for ceiling mounting, the Sony can be placed substantially closer - only 10.1 feet vs. 13.4.

Click to enlarge. SO close

When it comes to lens shift, the Planar offers unequal shifting. For ceiling mounting, it can be placed (center of the lens) about even with the top of the screen or lower, and down to as low as about 29 inches below the bottom of the screen (with a 100 inch diagonal screen). The Sony can be placed a little higher still (7.5 inches above the top of the screen surface, and the same 7.5 inches below the bottom), or, of course, anywhere in between.

Overall picture quality is a tough one to call. Both are particularly excellent even among a strong field of competitors. As good as the skin tones are with the Sony VW70, the Planar PD8150 likely bests the Sony by a little bit.

Click Image to Enlarge

Both support an anamorphic lens, neither has creative frame interpolation. With the Planar, you get the look and feel of a DLP projector (Darkchip3) enhanced with a dynamic iris for better blacks. With the Sony, it's LCoS, also with a dynamic iris.

And that brings us to brightness. The Planar has about 1/3 more lumens in "best" mode with 468. The Sony's 636 measured lumens in "brightest" mode beats the Planar by 30 lumens - about 5%. All considered they are very close with the Planar having the advantage for those primarily interested in movie viewing.

Between these two pretty equally matched projectors, the Sony's much lower street price makes it the better value for most.

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