Epson PowerLite Pro Z8000WUNL
Large Venue Projector
January 15, 2010
Air Filter and Longevity. The Z8000WUNL has been equipped with an electrostatic filter rated at 3 micron particle size that is good for 10,000 hours of operation. There is only a single air intake to the case, so this filter protects the optics, moving parts and electronics as well as the light engine. There is also a patented liquid cooling system which uses solid state Peltier thermoelectric devices to remove heat from each LCD panel via the coolant fluid and transfer the heat to the fan airstream. Epson's goal is that the projector will last significantly longer than the technology replacement cycle.
In case trouble does occur, the warranty is worth noting. The unit comes with a two-year projector limited warranty, a 90-day limited lamp warranty, and Epson's "Road Service Program" which provides next-business-day service. There is also a dedicated toll-free support line called Epson PrivateLine®.
Connectivity. Most major analog and digital input formats are supported, including RGBHV on separate 5-BNC and HD-15 inputs, DVI-D, and an HDMI input, in addition to standard-definition composite and S-video inputs. The input panel is located at the front of the projector next to the lens which may make for some awkward cable dressing. But the panel is covered by a trim door with top and bottom knock-outs for cable entry. Inside are cable tie points to help keep connectors such as HDMI from pulling out. Intended for large venues that would necessarily have a separate sound system, the Z8000 does not include speakers or any audio connections.
Lens Refocusing. One of the characteristics of a good zoom lens is how well focus tracks the zoom. We found that the image had to be refocused slightly after a large change in zoom setting. However, the zoom lens is usually not used dynamically on a projector so this is really only an inconvenience. The good news is that the 23% light attenuation between wide angle and full telephoto is modest for this zoom range. However, it is probably greater with some of the longer zoom lens options. Fortunately, the lens focus/zoom issue do not affect image quality. The projected image is sharp from edge to edge and corner to corner.
Menu Structure. The various levels and functions of the menu required multiple keystrokes to reach. Each function had to be highlighted, then selected by pressing enter, and then the same procedure had to be used to get to the adjustable parameter. We have seen more user-friendly remote controls and menus. On the other hand, in an installation, this projector is quite likely to be integrated with an external control system, and a very thorough set of control commands is available for the ambitious programmer to use in creating a highly customized and transparent user interface.
The Epson Z8000WUNL offers an impressive package of high resolution, image quality and professional features in a 3-LCD projector that compares well with DLP models costing significantly more. We expect the Z8000 to pick up a nice share of the mid-venue installation and rental markets, and its success would be deserved.