Panasonic PT-FRZ60BU7 WUXGA DLP Laser Projector
Our Take

Filled with a slew of technological goodies usually reserved for flagship projectors, Panasonic's PT-FRZ60 punches above its weight to light up a mid-sized church, conference room, auditorium or lecture hall with more than 6,000 ANSI lumens of light, a no-maintenance design and a wide zoom lens.

Pros
  • Bright 6,000 ANSI lumen laser engine
  • 2x optical zoom lens
  • Zero maintenance design
Cons
  • No On-board Wi-Fi
  • Manual image shift
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Panasonic's PT-FRZ60 single-chip DLP laser projector isn't the least expensive 6,000-lumen,WUXGA model in the company's line—that would be the 3LCD-driven PT-VMZ60, whose 5,000-lumen sibling PT-VMZ50 ProjectorCentral reviewed favorably in 2019. But the PT-FRZ60, which retails for $4,299, is its newest and most advanced in this lumen and resolution class, and is by far its most flexible. An overachiever that hit well above its target brightness in our tests, it's loaded with setup options and some advanced design features found on Panasonic's higher end projectors (such as the recently reviewed PT-RCQ10), and it boasts an attached 2.0x zoom lens with generous lens shift designed to let it drop in quickly as an uber-bright replacement for almost any existing install. With its laser illumination engine and a filter-free design, the PT-FRZ60's zero-maintenance approach translates into many dollars saved over its lifetime. It can be an organization's imaging workhorse for years to come.

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Features

Based on a single 0.67-inch Digital Light Processing (DLP) imaging target, the PT-FRZ60 pumps out bright and sharp 1920x1200 resolution images at an aspect ratio of 16:10. Behind the scenes, the projector is completely solid state and will never require a lamp replacement. The light from its bank of blue diode lasers goes through a phosphor wheel and a color separation wheel to create beams of yellow, blue, green and red light that are bounced off of the imaging chip and on to the output lens. Panasonic's Failover Circuitry takes advantage of the projector's multi-diode laser architecture, assuring that should one fail, the remaining diodes keep working and help maintain high brightness.

Overall, the PT-FRZ60's spec sheet is impressive with a rated output of 6,000 ISO21118 lumens (essentially equivalent to ANSI lumens) or 6,200 center lumens. Its rated contrast ratio is 20,000:1. In real-world use, it actually put out a lot more light, but more on that later. List price is $7,999, but it's widely available for a $4,299 street price. The PT-FRZ60 comes in either a white or black chassis, and has a laser rated for 20,000 hours to half-brightness. That's more than 10 years of typical use of 8-hours a day for 200 days a year.

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The PT-FRZ60 stands at the top end of economy projectors that come with a set lens. To its credit, there're no expensive lenses to buy and it is a good pairing of optics, illumination and imaging. It's able to fill a screen from 40-inches to 25-feet, measured diagonally. Of course, the downside of a fixed lens is that it may not fit every room. You can consult ProjectorCentral's PT-FRZ60 throw calculator for the range of throw distances at your preferred image size.

A big bonus is that the lens has a very wide 2x zoom that gives it great flexibility as to where it's set up. The price to pay for this range is that the lens eats up to 36% of the available light at its longest telephoto position compared to its widest zoom position. Still, this feature makes the PT-FRZ60 one of the easiest projectors to install because you have a large leeway as to where it gets mounted.

There are three LEDs up front to show that the projector is turned on, is displaying video or is in danger of overheating. Next to it is an ambient lighting sensor for using the PT-FRZ60's Daylight View feature that adjusts the color of the image to suit current conditions. The projector's control panel is on the side away from the exhaust air flow. In addition to basic buttons for turning it on and off and controlling the Menu, the PT-FRZ60's power port comes with a locking connector so that the cable won't work loose over the years.

The projector is able to work with up to 4K video signals at up to 60 frames a second, which it accepts via its HDCP 2.3-compliant HDMI and DIGITAL LINK HDBaseT ports and displays at its WUXGA native resolution. The connection panel features two HDMI inputs in total, plus two VGA and a composite video input. The PT-FRZ60 is also one of the rare commercial projectors offering the option of HDMI-CEC control via its HDMI ports. There are 3.5mm and RCA audio-in jacks and a 3.5 mm audio-out; the projector lacks any internal speakers. In addition to a RS-232 serial port, the PT-FRZ60 has a Type A USB 5 volt/2-amp plug to power an accessory, though the USB doesn't support any internal media player to display content from a thumb drive or work with a mouse for streamlining navigation of the projector's menu.

The system's two Ethernet ports are split between network control and signal duties. One is labeled for the aforementioned DIGITAL LINK HDBaseT-compliant connection that, with an external box, can support a long-distance CAT cable run of up to 492 feet for control and signal input. The network port also works with control systems like Crestron, AMX, Extron, Art-Net and PJ Link. Additionally, Panasonic's own Multi Monitoring & Control Software is supported. It allows control of up to 2,048 networked displays and devices, and offers Early Warning functions to detect and flag various failures and errors.

ptfrz60 remote

One thing the PT-FRZ60 does without is any ability to link to the building's Wi-Fi network, not even with an optional USB accessory as is found with some projectors. But Panasonic does offer its recently introduced PressIT wireless presentation system. It costs an extra $1,250, and lets those with PCs and some mobile devices beam images and video to the PT-FRZ60 or any projector with an HDMI input and USB power connection. The compact transmitters plug into a laptop's USB-A and HDMI port, and wireless devices are supported with dedicated USB-C transmitters.

The projector's remote control is a little thicker than most but a gem when it comes to making the most of the PT-FRZ60. In addition to volume-up and -down and mute, the device can change the input, change the aspect ratio and projection mode as well as bring up any of the projector's eight test patterns. It had a range of 30-feet but lacks the required 3.5mm IR jack or a matching remote-in connection on the projector that would allow a longer wired connection using an audio cable. It takes a pair of AAA batteries.

Thanks to an ingenious thermal pipe design that draws the heat away from the imaging chip, the PT-FRZ60 is one of the coolest projectors around, literally. The PT-FRZ60's temperature never rose above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, even after it was running for a few hours. That's at least 25 degrees cooler than most of the competition. A big bonus is that the optics are sealed and the projector doesn't need a dust filter. Under normal conditions, the only upkeep needed is a periodic vacuuming of the intake vents.

The projector comes with a three-year warranty; illumination parts are covered for three years or 12,000 hours whichever comes first.

Setup

At over 35 pounds and measuring 6.6 x 19.6 x 19.4-inches, the PT-FRZ60 is a lot of projector; you'll likely want two techs on hand to install it if it's destined to live on a ceiling bracket.

panasonic pt frz60 wide with beam image2

Underneath, it has four attachment points to mount it on a ceiling. Panasonic sells mounting brackets for low (ET-PKD120S) and high (ET-PKD120H) ceilings that cost $549 and $599, but the PT-FRZ60 worked with a generic mount. Happily, it supports 360-degree orientation and can be set up at any angle for everything from an inverted ceiling mount to having the image aimed down to use an inspirational message as digital scenery. The PT-FRZ60 will automatically reorient the image if it's flipped over to be hung from a ceiling thanks to an internal accelerometer. Round-the-clock 24/7 operation is also supported for demanding signage or security applications.

For those interested in setting the PR-FRZ60 up in a nook or on a table, it has a pair of adjustable front feet. To keep the projector from overheating, it requires at least 20 inches of open space around it for cooling, although it doesn't need a special scoop to draw in more air when aimed down as is the case with some projectors.

With the PT-FRZ60's 2x zoom, you only need to approximately set it up and fill the screen by adjusting the zoom level. There's a novel joystick control next to the lens that can mechanically shift the lens up (by 64 percent) and down (44 percent) as well as left (27 percent) and right (34 percent). Some will miss having motorized image shift but this approach is simpler and less expensive to implement, and the knob screws in to lock the lens in place when everything looks good.

In addition to its lens shift, the projector can correct for up to 40 degrees of vertical and 20 degrees of horizontal keystoning. In other words, there's enough range to account for tilt and still end up with a final image that's perfectly rectangular. The projector can also correct for use with a curved screen, but this lowers its range of keystone correction. As usual, activating keystone results in some loss of brightness; at a tilt of 15-degrees, the PT-FRZ60 lost 20 percent of its brightness.

The PT-FRZ60's menu structure is logical, straight-forward and easy to get the hang of. In addition to selecting from the seven picture modes and adjusting the contrast, color, brightness and tint, it's easy to use the system's Dynamic Contrast, Noise Reduction and the Daylight View setting to keep the image intensity constant even if the lights are turned on or the sun starts blasting in through a room's unshaded windows. These changes can be entered and used via the projector's built-in control panel or through the remote control.

Along with its lack of integrated Wi-Fi the PT-FRZ60's utility in learning environments may be diminished somewhat by not having a side-by-side or picture-in-picture inset function to allow, say, a chemistry lecturer to appear in a corner window of the image inside with a larger view of a blackboard diagram.

Panasonic has built into the PT-FRZ60 advanced image controls and optimization, such as its Rich Color Harmonizer that optimizes the color wheel's rotational timing depending on the picture mode to better allow the delivery of vibrant rich colors. Meanwhile, the Solid Shine technology attempts to keep the projector's brightness constant as the laser diodes slowly decline in output over the long life of the projector. They combine to make the PT-FRZ60 into a projector that looks good new and after several years of use.

Performance

On the test bench, the PT-FRZ60 started up in under 15 seconds and immediately went to its full brightness. A Quick Startup menu option also allows it to be restarted instantaneously at any time up to 90 minutes after the projector is placed in Standby. When done, the PT-FRZ60 shut itself down in 2.3 seconds, making it an excellent choice for a room that gets used by different people throughout the day. The projector can be controlled by a light switch and will automatically go from standby mode to full operation when it detects an active HDMI video signal.

Panasonic PT FRZ60 lifestyle1

There are seven projection modes that range from the high-output Dynamic and Graphics to the warmer Cinema and very accurate Rec709 settings. In between the system can be set to its Natural or Standard modes, while the DICOM Sim setting is for projecting medical scans. A bonus is that these modes can be tweaked and saved for future use. The projector, however, lacks the ability some have to compensate for projection on a painted wall or use in a classroom with a blackboard. There's no support to project 3D images for architectural renderings or high-end gaming.

The Dynamic mode was the big surprise for the PT-FRZ60, with the system putting out 6,990 ANSI lumens according to our measurements. That's an extra 14 percent of brightness above Panasonic's 6,000 lumen spec. On the downside, like the brightest mode in many projectors, the images were overwhelmingly blue and green biased. But they were more than adequate for presenting text and charts.

If you move to the Graphics setting, the output drops to 5,920, just under its all-out spec, but with a more neutral view of the world. The Standard and Natural settings are similar but slightly warmer and yielded 5,910 and 4,660 lumens from our sample, respectively. The PT-FRZ60 does well with projecting movies with the Cinema modes, which warms up the overall feel quite a bit. It delivered 4,920 lumens of light.

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While the projector lacks a sRBG projection mode, it does have a REC709 setting that attempts to achieve the color balance of a high-quality flat-screen display. With 4,640 lumens, it delivered the best color compromise with surprisingly good rendering of flesh tones and natural scenes. Finally, the projector's DICOM Sim mode is a good way to show black and white images as well as medical scans; it put out 5,500 lumens.

The PT-FRZ60's power use is modest and adjustable. At full power, it used 403.1 watts and at idle 10.3 watts. There is a lower power standby mode available but it ignores commands sent via an RS-232 serial connection. All told, if the PT-FRZ60 is turned on for eight hours a day and 200 days a year, it will cost roughly $95 a year to operate. That assumes the cost of electricity is the national average of 13 cents per kilowatt hour. Barring component failures, without lamps or filters to replace, this is the projector's full annual cost over its lifetime.

The projector's ECO mode reduces the draw by about 20 percent, although there's a User command that lets you reduce it further. In ECO, the projector's output ranged from 5,330 in Dynamic to 3,590-lumens in Natural mode. It used roughly 320 watts regardless of the mode chosen.

There's also a Quiet mode that lives up to its name by reducing the projector's exhaust output. The PT-FRZ60 is rated for fairly low noise in lab conditions, as little as 30 dB in this mode or 35 dB in its Normal power mode. In casual measurements taken three feet away from the exhaust vents in a room with 36.8 dBA of measured background noise, the Quiet mode measured 40.6 dBA. That's much less than the 44.7 and 44.3 dBA measured for the Normal and ECO modes and more or less aligned with the specified attenuation of noise.

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In addition to black, the Panasonic PT-FRZ60 is also available with a white case.

As mentioned, the PT-FRZ60 is a cool customer, with the exhaust only getting to 80 degrees Fahrenheit— roughly 25 degrees cooler than some competitors. Using the ECO and Quiet modes cut that to 77.5- and 78-degrees.

Conclusion

The Panasonic PT-FRZ60 can light up anything from a large conference room or classroom to a mid-sized church or auditorium. Its ultra-wide 2x zoom, generous mechanical image shift, low maintenance design and the ability to put out at least 6,000 lumens and probably more, easily justify its $4,299 price. It's not without its compromises, including the lack of built-in WiFi to facilitate sharing and the potential for eating up a lot of brightness if you need to use the lens at its longest zoom position. But these issues can be mitigated with an add-on wireless presentation system and careful placement of the projector. All told, the PT-FRZ60 gives way more in its image quality, flexibility, and maintenance-free longevity than it gives up. It's one of the best ways to fill a screen with images and video.

Measurements

Brightness. Using the PT-FRZ60's Dynamic projection mode, our sample put out 6,990 lumens as measured using the ANSI methodology. That's 14 percent over the level that Panasonic rates the projector.

Below are the measured brightness and power usage for each of the Picture Modes in the Normal (full), ECO, and Quiet power modes.

Panasonic PT-FRZ60 ANSI Lumens

Projection Modes Normal (full) ECO (80%) Quiet
Brightness (Lumens) Power Use (Watts) Brightness (Lumens) Power Use (Watts) Brightness (Lumens) Power Use (Watts)
Dynamic 6,990 402.2 5,330 322.1 4,680 316.0
Graphic 5,920 402.3 4,670 320.3 4,650 318.2
Standard 5,910 403.3 4,590 321.5 4,650 317.2
Cinema 4,920 403.2 3,920 321.0 4,180 317.8
Natural 4,660 403.3 3,590 321.0 3,940 318.0
Rec709 4,640 403.2 3,670 319.3 3,950 318.0
DICOM Sim 5,500 402.1 4,450 320.2 4,630 317.1

Zoom Lens Light Loss (from widest to maximum zoom): 36.1%

Brightness Uniformity: 88.1%

Fan Noise. Panasonic rates the PT-FRZ60 at 35 dB and 32 dB for its Normal and Quiet modes in a sound-proof chamber, following the ISO 21118 measurement standard that averages noise coming from all four sides at a distance of 1 meter. As usual, our casual measurements came in higher due to the difference in methodology. Using the PT-FRZ60's default settings, a measurement taken at 36-inches away from the exhaust vent (in a room with 36.8 dBA of measured ambient noise) came in at 44.7dBA. Using the ECO mode reduced exhaust noise to about 44.3dBA, while the projector's Quiet mode lowered it to a barely noticeable 40.6dBA. This level of exhaust hum is unlikely to get in the way of a class, religious ceremony or business meeting.

Connections

frz60b connections
  • HDMI 2.0 (x2) with HDCP 2.3, CEC support
  • Computer RGB in (x2), 15-pin D-Sub
  • Computer RBG out (x1)
  • Composite Video in
  • RS-232C Serial Port
  • USB (Type A, 5V/2A for accessory power)
  • Wired LAN (RJ-45)
  • DIGITAL LINK (HDBaseT-compliant RJ-45)
  • Audio in (3,5 mm, x2, RCA x1)
  • Audio out (3.5 mm)

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Panasonic PT-FRZ60BU7 projector page.

To buy this projector, use Where to Buy online, or get a price quote by email direct from Projector Central authorized dealers using our E-Z Quote tool.

 
Comments (1) Post a Comment
David Gurney Posted Feb 17, 2021 12:41 PM PST
That's a nice rundown of features, but did I miss the part where you discussed image quality? How's the dynamic range? How good are gradients in the shadows? Contrast? Black levels?

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