Sanyo PLV-Z5 Home Theater Video Projector
Lumen output on the Z5 can be fine-tuned to fit any theater environment. For bright rooms, "Dynamic" mode focuses mainly on lumen output while compromising contrast and color, but outputs 780 ANSI lumens. "Living" mode gives excellent color fidelity and contrast while producing up to 350 ANSI lumens. "Brilliant Cinema" does not quite provide the contrast performance of "Living" mode, but does produce 440 ANSI lumens. For dark rooms, "Pure Cinema" gives the best color and contrast performance, and cuts lumen output down to 180 ANSI with the iris halfway closed. The PLV-Z5 provides at minimum a 10 to 15% increase in lumen output over the PLV-Z4 in every image mode, and in some cases more. Brightness uniformity is still 90% or better.
It should be noted that in projectors with long zoom lens ranges like the Z5, lumen output varies considerably between the lens' widest angle and its most telescopic. If you need maximum light output, you'd want to use the widest angle possible and set the projector as close to the screen as possible. This is not recommended however. The further back you set a projector, you reduce the angle of the projected cone of light. This reduces the incident angle that the light strikes the screen, and thus reduces the angle of reflected light, providing more even illumination. Nevertheless, with lenses as long as 2.0x zoom range, lumen output can vary as much as 40% between the two extremes, so setting the projector closer to the screen will produce a brighter image. As a matter of practice, we generally take lumen measurements with the lens at its most telescopic in order to get the most conservative readings, and we have done so in this review as well.
Contrast has been improved over the Z4. Black levels are deeper and highlights are brighter. For dark theater situations, we recommend closing the iris halfway. This cuts extraneous lumen output and greatly improves black level, making the Z5 competitive with some single-chip DLP home theater projectors in dark room settings.
Possibly the Z5's greatest improvement comes in color performance. Even using out of the box settings, the Z5 produced extremely accurate color with better saturation. Color from every source we tested was rich and accurate. Grayscale tracking measured within 100 degrees Kelvin of 6500K from 30IRE up through 80IRE, with 90 and 100IRE showing a bit more warmth and dropping towards 5900K. This is exceptional performance from any projector, and is all but unheard of from a budget LCD projector like the PLV-Z5.
In the original PLV-Z4 review, deinterlacing was identified as a noteworthy flaw. However, when testing the Z4 again side by side with the Z5, it became apparent that we had made a set-up error in testing during the original review, because deinterlacing is excellent on both the Z4 and Z5, especially in "Film" mode. From appearances, we'd guess that the two projectors are using the same chip for deinterlacing, because we could see no discernible difference.
The Z5 projects a very sharp image. Edge enhancement is set too high out of the box, so we ended up turning Sharpness down to its absolute minimum (-7) and changing Transient Improvement to L1. This gave the image ample sharpness without artificial, unnatural enhancement. When we pushed Transient Improvement to L2 or L3, detail was lost and flesh tones in particular took on an artificial, porcelain smoothness that looked decidedly unnatural.
Finally, one of the most remarkable features of the Z5 is that it has almost no image noise, and in fact delivers as close to a noise-free image as we've seen in projectors in this price range. This, along with the other advantages listed, enables the PLV-Z5 to produce an exceptionally clean, sharp, and natural image.
Not many projectors warrant a rating of five stars across the board. Even on high quality performers we can usually find some flaw or design limitation that causes us to knock down the rating in one or more categories. However, there is no justification for rating the PLV-Z5 any less than the full five stars. For a price of just $1,695 including a three year warranty, the buyer gets an extensive feature set, stellar image performance, and one of the best values in home theater projectors we've ever seen.
|Review Contents:||General Impressions||Additional Impressions||Performance and Conclusion|