The new Panasonic PT-RZ670 was announced this morning, and this laser-driven WUXGA DLP projector has a lot going for it. Ideal for rental and staging, command and control, constant-on, digital signage and other applications that require 24/7 operation, the RZ670 can run for 20,000 hours at full power with zero maintenance required.
We had the chance to look at a pre-production test unit, and we've learned quite a bit about the RZ670's capabilities. An MSRP of $24,399 with lens (or $23,999 without) marks the RZ670 as a serious installation projector, but the wealth of features make the price more understandable. When you need a projector ideal for heavy use, but can't afford to compromise on image quality or feature set, the RZ670 is a great option that will keep shining for years.
The Viewing Experience
As the RZ670 is intended for a number of market segments, each with its own requirements, the projector is built with customization in mind. It's easy to adjust the RZ670's image to make it appropriate for the viewing environment.
The RZ670 is rated at 6500 lumens, but our test unit slightly exceeded the listed specifications. On our projector, Dynamic mode's factory settings result in blown highlights, but this could very well change before the projector is released. It is useful to know that the projector is capable of an even brighter image in situations when highlight detail is not critical.
Graphic and Standard modes offer different calibrations but the same basic bright image. Color saturation is quite high in all three modes and there is more than enough contrast to give the picture some punch.
The projector's Cinema, Natural, and Rec709 modes provide balanced images with less brightness, higher contrast, and more accurate color. Natural mode, at about 5100 lumens, stands out as particularly well tailored for film and photography use thanks to its accurate grayscale and gamut at factory settings, though perfect 6500K does require some fine-tuning.
In rooms with less ambient light, or when a smaller screen size is called for, the RZ670's Long Life modes reduce brightness significantly (the dimmest measured about 1600 lumens) but multiply the estimated life span of the laser diodes. What's more, these modes automatically adjust light output over time to keep image brightness constant.
Setup and Configuration
Panasonic has made hybrid LED/laser projectors in the past, such as the excellent PT-RW430UK which we reviewed in July 2013, but the RZ670 is their first projector to use a non-hybrid, 100% laser light engine. Bigger, brighter, and more fully-featured than the hybrids, the RZ670 shares the same end goal: a great image with zero maintenance. To this end, the RZ670 has no air filter, a dust-resistant light engine, and an estimated maintenance-free period of 20,000 hours at full power. Panasonic claims to have reached this 20,000 hour estimate by running the RZ670 in a very dusty test environment. In less dusty environments, the projector should last even longer. The airtight engine obviates the need for an air filter, so there's nothing to maintain once the projector is set up.
The RZ670's 6,500 lumen brightness specification is conservative, though higher output results in some loss of highlight detail. Brightness can also be lowered to 1600 lumens or less in the projector's Long Life modes, so this isn't just a projector for well-lit rooms. Final brightness numbers may change before release, but our readings should provide a reasonable estimate of the final specs.
The RZ670 can be used with many of Panasonic's interchangeable lenses for 1-chip DLP projectors, including a super short throw option (model ET-DLE030) that will put up a 100" diagonal image from less than three feet of throw distance. The other lenses in the lineup can produce that same 100" diagonal image from any distance between 5' 8" and 60' 11".
When it comes to mounting, the RZ670 has no restrictions on orientation. Beyond the standard landscape and portrait orientations, you can aim the projector at any point and mount it at any angle without negatively affecting function or lifespan. This gives the projector 360 degrees of freedom in all three axes and opens up a range of mounting options not previously available.