Epson PowerLite Pro Z8000WUNL
Large Venue Projector
January 15, 2010
With all of the choices available, selecting or specifying the right projector for a larger venue can be a challenging task. Technology buyers, audiovisual design consultants and system integrators have a convenient tool for this purpose in Projector Central's Feature Search, which allows you to access the projector database. For an interesting exercise, try setting the Resolution box to "1920 x 1200," and the Brightness box to "5000 - 7000 lumens." These two parameters produce a list of 17 matching models at the moment. Now add one more parameter: change the "Any Technology" box to "LCD." The result is now just two model variations of one projector - the Epson Z8000WUNL. This seems to confirm Epson's claim that it is the only 3-chip LCD, WUXGA projector on the market today. Epson evidently had a niche in mind, so let's take a look at how well they have filled it.
Epson has produced a projector in the 6000 lumen class with WUXGA resolution, but at the lower price point of a 3-chip LCD light engine. Offering the possibility of owning two or three of these units for the same cost as a similarly classed 3-chip DLP projector, Epson has set its sights on facilities such as educational institutions with multiple auditoria and lecture halls, and the mid- to large-venue rental and staging market.
Brightness and Uniformity. In the brightest color mode, Dynamic, our test unit measured a 5,300 lumen screen average when using the normal lamp power setting. Even at screen center the effective brightness fell short at 5,650 lumens. However, the brightness uniformity (the ratio between the dimmest and brightest part of the screen) was a respectable 83%.
Reducing the lamp power to Eco mode brought the brightness down to 4,050 lumens, or about 24%. At this setting Epson predicts lamp life to increase from 2,500 to 3,500 hours, and the reduction in fan noise was significant. Other color presets, which we tested in normal lamp mode, are designed to optimize the appearance of various types of content with a corresponding sacrifice of light output. Presentation mode yielded 4,450 lumens, followed by Photo mode at 3,850 lumens. As is typical, Theater mode measures the lowest at 1,600 lumens; this setting is designed to maximize shadow detail and reproduce the "film look" in a darkened room. Finally, we tested the effect of the standard 1.0 - 1.6:1 zoom lens on light output. In Dynamic mode, the 5,300 lumens read at full wide angle drops to 4,100 lumens at full telephoto. This is only a 23% loss, which is somewhat less than the 33% we'd expect from a typical 1.6x zoom lens.