Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000
Two Hot 1080p Projectors Compared
Every fall, Panasonic and Sanyo release their latest home theater projectors, and every year there is a competitive face-off between them. These two vendors have been particularly innovative over the years, and both have been aggressive in price as well. Quite often, new ideas and features appear on Panasonic or Sanyo products before they appear on any other brands. This year is no different. Both the Sanyo Z3000 and the Panasonic AE3000 have the distinction of sporting unique features that exist on no other home theater projectors on the market.
The Panasonic AE3000 was the first home theater projector to come to market with on board frame interpolation. It also has a novel Lens Memory system that allows the lens to automatically reconfigure itself at the touch of a button to accommodate Cinemascope format projection on a 2.35 format screen. This provides a cost-effective and practical alternative to the use of an anamorphic lens.
As far as the Sanyo Z3000 is concerned, it is the first home theater projector to come to market with 5:5 pulldown, a unique feature that eliminates 3:2 pulldown judder for any NTSC source being transmitted at 60i or 60p. And it is just the second model to hit the market with a frame interpolation system.
Now, not everyone is interested in frame interpolation, or 5:5 pulldown, or 2.35 projection without benefit of an anamorphic lens. But the fact is, none of the other home theater projectors under $10,000 have any of these features. The marketing value of these capabilities is priceless. They get people talking and thinking and arguing about the relative merits of one feature or another. So the Sanyo Z3000 and the Panasonic AE3000 have stimulated a lot of new discussion of home theater projection technologies and solutions.
Which is the better projector?
Let's start with the basics. The AE3000 and the Z3000 are both 1080p resolution LCD projectors. They use the same inorganic LCD panels built by Epson. They both have 2.0x zoom lenses, the same throw distance specs, and extensive vertical and horizontal lens shift. They both have a variety of operating modes that offer a range of different lumen outputs that you can select based on your particular needs.
When it comes to basic picture quality, there is not much difference between them. The AE3000 is slightly higher in contrast, and can produce a somewhat deeper black. But we would not characterize the difference as earthshaking. The decision to go with one or the other of the two models is unlikely to be based on contrast differences since there are more important features and functions which distinguish these two projectors.
In terms of color calibration capability, they both have extensive controls that can enable anyone armed with a meter that measures color temperature to dial in optimum gray scale tracking close to 6500 degrees. With respect to digital noise, they are about equal. As far as image sharpness is concerned, neither has an inherent advantage over the other. At the arbitrary factory defaults, the Sanyo Z3000 appears very slightly sharper. However, either one can be made to looks slightly sharper than the other based on small tweaks to the sharpness controls that fine tune the image without introducing any noticeable or objectionable edge enhancement. Fan noise is not a serious concern on either unit. The AE3000 is the louder of the two. But we do not find the fan noise level on the AE3000 objectionable. In short, if we were buying for ourselves, none of these things would be factors to consider in choosing between the two.
In addition, though the Panasonic is somewhat brighter in all modes, the difference is not drastic. Both units, for example, have a very bright mode that can nevertheless be reasonably well adjusted for acceptable color balance. The AE3000's Normal mode on our unit measured 792 lumens, whereas the Z3000's Living mode measured 687 lumens. Either of these modes produces a vibrant picture, and viewed side by side the 100+ lumen difference is almost invisible. In more refined calibrations for maximum contrast and ideal color temperature, both products have modes that deliver about 400 lumens. If you want maximum brightness for lights-on viewing of a football game, the AE3000 can produce 1273 lumens in Dynamic mode, whereas the Z3000 measured 1187. Once again, the Panasonic is a bit brighter according to the light meter, but the difference would never be noticed.
The bottom line, then, is that the Panasonic AE3000 has a slight edge in contrast and lumen output, but the overall basic picture quality of the two projectors is comparable, and the lensing on them provides equal versatility for installations in a variety of room environments.
|Review Contents:||Overview||The Differences||AE3000 Lens Memory and Conclusion|
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