Panasonic PT-AE7000 Projector vs. Epson Home Cinema 5010

Greetings one and all.  Check out this link to our Comparison of the PT-AE7000 projector and the Home Cinema 5010.  These two projectors slug it out in 2D and 3D.

If you’ve carefully read the individual projector reviews, you won’t be surprised, but…We’ve got lots of side-by-side photos for your consideration.  And maybe we’ll throw you a curve?

Each year, it seems the two best selling non-entry level projectors are the Epson UB projectors, which the Home Cinema 5010 is the latest (despite the dropping of the Ultra-Black reference), and the Panasonic 1080p projector, this year, the PT-AE7000.

We pick a projector winner for 2D and one for 3D.  You’ll have to figure out your balance of importance between 2D and 3D, a couple of other choices, and then then your final selection shouldn’t be too difficult to determine!  Have a blast! -art

News and Comments

  • Art,
    Did you look at the 2D to 3D conversion options in either/both projectors. I am curious about how they work, what their techniques are to extract 3D and how they compare. Did you play with that feature?? Thanhks when you get a chance to respond.

    • Hi Pete,
      2D – 3D conversion is not for me. I think it will be a personal call. the issues:
      1. the conversion always looks like 3D
      2. there are artifacts – 3D thats just wrong, like the a street lamp looking to be 25 feet away, but the light on the top being 50 feet away on the wrong side of the street…
      3. To suffer – incorrect 3D (oh it’s not terrible), you have to wear the glasses, view a less bright image…

      I just don’t think it’s ready for primetime, but I can see a lot of kids watching their old Disney in the conversion mode…

      Remember, everyone’s fav bitch is about wearing glasses… -art

  • Bert

    Hello Art,
    Do you believe that enabling of the Dyanmic Iris during 3D playback on the Epson 5010 is possible with a firmware update? It’s very baffling that Epson did not allow the user to enable or disable this feature. Also, if the firmware was updated by Epson, would the projectors have to be shipped back to Epson to be updated or is this something that can be done easily by the user? Thanks for all the hard work that you put into your projector reviews and for keeping us informed.

    • Hi Bert,

      Ahh, I really opened a can of worms. Technically, sure, firmware updates could activate these features – as I can’t imagine there’s any real hardware that would need changing. That said, to date, Epson has always updated by bringing the projectors back in – and since they pay freight both ways, that’s at least very expensive to bring back “all of them”.

      do I think Epson will allow CFI and the Dynamic Iris to work in 3D on the 5010, via update? I don’t really know. I seriously doubt it, for the following reasons:

      1. 3D tends to be dark – we all know, so without very bright 3D, dark areas (like everything else) will be relatively dark, in 3D so less of an issue.
      2. Remember, there’s nothing out there I’ve seen (or anyone, to my knowledge) that can match or beat the black levels of this $2700 projector, without spending 2x the price or more. And more to the point, the 5010, can pretty much do blacks with the iris off, that rival most lower cost projectors with their irises engaged, including the Epson 3010. (So, the issue, is technically a bigger one for 3010 owners).
      3. CFI – So far, CFI and 3D haven’t impressed me together – I still see more 3D related issues, than any benefit from CFI. Whether the Sony, the Acer, or anything I’ve had, in between. That is, when I watched a small football on a kick off, with 2 different CFI (in 3D) projectors, in both cases, with CFI Off, On low, or on high, the ball would disappear in and out of space. Similar for other fast motion. So while the CFI is no doubt working, I suspect most of us won’t “appreciate it” in 3D the way we do in 2D because there are other greater distractions. Also remember, not all projectors offering CFI in 3D are offering it for both 60hz and 24hz starting content.

      Hey, my job is to help you guys decide… While I would like very much to see the dynamic iris activated (and probably the Super-Resoution, I don’t consider these huge issues. Remember, the Epson’s blacks in 3D with no dynamic iris, for example will easily be darker than the blacks on the Epson 3010, the Mitsubishi HC4000 and other lower priced models. The Acer 9500BD which surprised us with “entry level” ultra high contrast performance, is probably about comparable in 2D blacks with the Epson doing 3D blacks (no iris)…

      The one place where I really felt this was important, and the reason I devoted a lot of words to it in the review (and here), is in the head to head against the PT-AE7000. As I said, the Panny has the edge in 3D due to blacks, and at the same time, the Epson has the advantage over the Panny in 2D. Given a choice, I’m going to take the better blacks in 2D, since 3D blacks are darker to start… -art

  • Scott

    Hey, Art. Once again, you’ve done an outstanding job of reviewing these two projectors. I bought an Epson 1080UB several years ago, based mostly on your reviews, and have been loving it ever since. Now I’ve got the urge to upgrade, and I’m torn between these two fine projectors, the 5010 and the 7000. I’m one who really likes the CFI on films, so I’m disappointed that Epson disabled that feature in 3D on the 5010. I have two questions…I believe you said your review of the 5010 was on a pre-production model. Do you know if there is any chance that the production model might have CFI and the dynamic iris enabled in 3D mode? Also, if I did choose the 7000, how do you think that would compare to my 1080UB, in terms of black levels? I know the brightness (at least in 2D)should be significantly greater.

    Keep up the fabulous work!

    • Hi Scott,

      No, I keep asking but I seriously doubt that they will make changes to the 5010 re Iris or CFI. As to CFI, perhaps it’s the way I see 3D, but where I have had the opportunity to watch 3D with CFI on (several projectors), the 3D effects – ghosting, etc. don’t seem to be much affected by CFI, so the result is, whatever it seems to be doing successfully when in 3D is more than offset by other 3D visuals, that remain. That is, when an arm is swinging fast – it tends to almost move in and out of existence when in 3D. Turning on CFI, and it’s still slips in and out, but there is also some smoothing that’s detectable, but the “artifacts” are far, far more noticeable (to me). Thus, I have commented that CFI in 3D should be a plus, but, due to the above, no where’s near the big deal it is for many in 2D. -art

  • Robert Sevigny

    Hi Art,
    Since your review of the Epson 5010, nearly 2 weeks ago, I look at the calibration page for a revision since it shows the information of the Panasonic PT-AE7000.

    When do you think you will update and show the correct info.


    • Hi, just catching up on comments, and saw yours and a couple others. Thought I had put up the numbers, will take care of, as soon as I post this Sony VW95ES review, that’s starting to go live this afternoon and finished tomorrow. By monday morning on the Epson Cal info. (I truly hope).

  • Stephen Philip

    When are you going to be updating the calibration page on the Epson 5010 review. It is still showing the calibration from the Panasonic 7000, that was supposed to have been replaced. Thanks Stephen

    • Hi Stephen,

      Ouch, didn’t realize I hadn’t updated. it. I’m posting a Sony VW95ES review today/tomorrow. Will also get the calibration page for the Epson up, before sunrise on Monday… (I truly hope).

  • Hi Michael, Both projectors have various controls. I tend to leave the sharpness and dynamic controls in their normal positions, and that can make a difference. I will adjust if one gets over the top. Edge sharpening type contrast and dynamic versions do make a difference. I will be dragging an Epson to Vegas for CES, where I’ll be hooking up with Evan for our own little shootout against the Panasonic they provided him. Will be much fun. Evan and I go back more than a decade…
    He and I have already discussed this same matter, and it’s on the list. We’ll no doubt be comparing related controls. As I told Evan, so far, “it may well be” but which is more important – and to whom: A touch more “sharpness” or better blacks on dark scenes. This, I think, will be the primary debate! -art

  • Art, thanks for the response. In my case I use the projector for imaging still,high resolution pictures. Detail is a big deal for me as is the ability to resolve small differences in brightness in bright areas of the picture such as in cloud detail. I bought the AE7000 and have found that it can match my computer monitor in resolving these small brightness differences. However, I live in two locations and am looking to buy another projector and want to get the best one for my purposes.
    Mike Adler

    • Hi Michael, If you are really happy with the Panasonic PT-AE7000, and your requirements are the same, I’d say stick with it. If there’s something you don’t like, or specifically find lacking, then start looking around. -art

  • Chuck Crow

    Hi Art, I’m new to projectors, but my Church Pastor asked me to look into them for our church. It would be ceiling mounted in an approx. 40′ wide by 80′ deep room. I would like to know the specs {lumens, contrast ratio, etc.} needed for such an area (sometimes brightly lit}. We would play music videos, movies, etc., and would like to include 3D, HDMI, 1080p, 16:9 technology. Also, what screen size would you recommend? Most websites I’ve looked at list Home Theater projectors. Would these work in a Worship setting of this size? We are a small Church with a small budget, so I’d like to stay in about a $5,000 range. Thank you for your time and effort. Chuck Crow

    • Hi Chuck,

      Everything comes into play in the “Worship” arena. When I was a “dealer” we sold several thousand projectors to churches of all sizes. It comes down to your screen, the lighting, both ambient and controlled… Projectors – even bright ones, really aren’t designed to do large images in “brightly lit” areas…

      Drop me an email, at [email protected], and I’ll see if I can point you in a couple of “right directions”. -art