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Tough decision - Projector

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Jackson L, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. Jackson L

    Jackson L Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, I know there aren't many on these forums that are into projectors but I know there are at least a couple. I have wanted a projector ever since I saw one in action for the first time. I'll be getting the funds within two months (hopefully) so the purchase date is creeping up. I had narrowed it down to two models. The Panasonic AE700U or Sanyo PLV-Z3. Both use LCD, both are native HD resolution, and both are highly praised. They can be had for under $2,000 despite the high MSRP on the site I linked to.

    Then things got complicated. Very recently a new player has come into the ring. The Toshiba MT-700. It has a street price of around $2,500. The main difference is that this model uses DLP. I have always wanted a native HD DLP projector. DLP is capable of producing deeper blacks than LCD which can come across as bluish. It seems cut and dry that if I want DLP I should get it. Right? Well, it's not that simple. There are two main issues that have me completely stuck.

    The first issue is lens shift. This is significant because of the geometry of my room. If I got the AE700 or Z3 I could mount them very close to the ceiling and use the lens shift feature to move the image onto the screen which will be about 29in from the ceiling. However, there would be a trade-off in image quality.

    If I went with the MT700, wich does not have lens shift, I would need to mount the projector 29in from the ceiling. At that height it would be possible to hit your head on it. I would be able to make it work though.

    The second issue is the fact that I have no way to view any of these projectors in action before making a purchase. I hate buying blind but in the case of projectors I don't have much of a choice. I just might be able to view the AE700 before buying but that's a slim possibility.

    I guess what it all boils down to is this. Is the "trade-off" in image quality worth it for more flexible mounting options? Is the trade-off really that noticable? I'll admit, I'm not as much of a videophile as I am an audiophile. I don't go nitpicking at every detail in the dark areas. However, I don't want the black starfield in StarWars to look blue either. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Jackson, have you read reviews on these 3 projectors? How tall is your ceiling? I would not want my projector hanging 29" below the ceiling, that's just asking for it to be damaged, bumped, etc. The Panasonic 700 and Sanyo Z3 are very popular projectors. The Panny was reviewed this month in Sound and Vision magazine, along with the Sony HS51, and Hitachi PJ-TX100. The Sony was the author's favorite, a close second was the Hitachi, then the Panny 700. These new LCD projectors don't have the black level problem anymore, they're much improved. Definitely read that article, and the reviews at Projectorcentral.com.
     
  3. Jackson L

    Jackson L Stunt Coordinator

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    Yep, I've read tons of reviews and I've been researching these things for months. I am getting tired of waiting. The main problem is not being able to see them in person. I was sure about the AE700 for quite a while. Then I heard of some issues like vertical banding. Having never seen a DLP projector in person it is very difficult to make a desicion. I am still leaning toward the AE700.
     
  4. Jon Oliva

    Jon Oliva Agent

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    I am in a similar situation. I was set on the Panasonic AE700 but saw the new Toshiba MT700 and the BenQ 7700 (almost identical unit) coming up. For only $500 more you get a better quality picture, but with less mounting flexibilty.

    For me, I think that *if* you can make the mounting solution work, then it is best to go for the image quality if you can afford it. To me a few headaches in setup or just being careful standing up are much better than buyer's remorse over, "Oh, I could have had a real 2000:1 CR."

    Also, note that the BenQ 7700 is supposed to be an *improvement* over the venerable 8700+, and is just about the same pj as the Toshiba. These 2 HD2+ dlps look like winners to me. I'm just waiting for a few more reviews and a paycheck....

    Happy shoppping....
     
  5. Jackson L

    Jackson L Stunt Coordinator

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    I think I'm just going to taket he plunge and go with the AE700. I'm sick of waiting. Seeing screenshots like THIS just make me want it more. Even without the filter I like the picture. I know screenshots don't mean crap but if it looked half as good I'd be happy. Projectors are comparable to PC's in that if you are always waiting for what's coming around the corner you will never buy anything. I am positive I'll be happy with the AE700 for years since it will be the first projector I have owned and I won't be seeing any newer models in person. I won't have the urge to upgrade. Now I need to decide what screen will work best. I want an 84in screen. It will be perfect for the room. Should I get a grey screen or a white one? Glass bead or not?
     
  6. Jon Oliva

    Jon Oliva Agent

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    Hey man - the Panny is a great PJ from what I can tell. I think I would be happy with it too. I'm not ready to buy for about a week or two, so I'm content to wait on just these two...NO MORE. heh.

    As for screens...ugh. I'm just going to get two white "do-able" boards from Home Depot cut about 85.33x48" for a 98" for 2 x $12, and use one as a temp, and then another to experiment with screen samples, goo/behr paints, and whatever I feel like until I make up my mind. I'll probably just paint it in the end to save money.
     
  7. Oren Paul

    Oren Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the L500 Panasonic and could not be happier.
     
  8. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I was thinking about getting the 700, but It seems like every day on other forums I run into another post with another bug or complaint about some petty issue with it, I think Panasonic has a serious Quality Control issue with this PJ, I see more and more posts like

    this and this
     
  9. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    You are correct Travis...there is a lot of threads about Pannys having issues, but keep in mind that people at AVS (me included) are VERY picky about the picture quality and EVERY little thing that they notice gets talked about and analyzed to death. Plus the Panny 700 is I think the #1 selling home theater projector, thus the more out there, the more you will hear about it...positive or negative. I actually was suprised to hear that the Panny was the #1 selling projector....I would have thought the 4805 was. But this is according to projectorcentral so take that info for what it's worth.
     
  10. Tony Loewen

    Tony Loewen Stunt Coordinator

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    I know alot of people try to avoid keystone adjustment like the plague, but is that an option on the Tosh? That way you could have it mounted fairly close to the ceiling, angle it down and correct with keystone.

    If this is your first PJ, I would strongly suggest that you go and view a LCD and a DLP side by side for a few minutes with anyone who might be watching it as often as you will. I did this with my wife, and found out that she is one of the few who are extremely affected by rainbows, to the point that she watched for 5 min and had a blinding headache that lasted for about 5 hours. The salesmen was completely clueless, didn't even know what Rainbow Effect was, and told me that she was having problems just because the screen was so big.

    This was not a budget model DLP either. Not sure the exact model, but I believe it was in the $10K range. Alot of people say that you can train yourself to watch them without problems, but my wife wouldn't want to suffer through that pain for "training purposes", plus who knows which one of your friends will be affected similarily. I'm not trying to badmouth DLP's, I definitely wanted to go that route, but I didn't want to kick my wife out of the room every time I wanted to watch a movie either. Once higher speed color wheels or *fingers crossed* 3-chip DLPs become more affordable, then I can make the switch. I went with a Z2 by the way, and am very very happy with it. As far as black level goes, I have absolutely no complaints. Blacks are actually black, and I have full detail in, for example, scenes with shadows on tuxedos. Both the panny and the Z3 are great machines, I am looking into each of them for a setup for a friend.
     
  11. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    People also tend to get headaches on some projectors due to their brightness (not rainbows). I know some infocus projectors are light cannons and you would need to put on a Neutral Density filter to bring down the brightness. I think this is one of the reason why the movie theater brightness standard is set to 12footlamps. I think projector manufacturers should come with these filters, esp. home theater projectors with 1000+ calibrated lumens (some do I believe). I use an ND2 filter with my infocus 4805 to bring my brightness down to 12ftl and it has worked for many other 4805 owners that have experienced headaches before getting one.
     
  12. Tony Loewen

    Tony Loewen Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info James, I'll have to look into this.
     
  13. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Agreed. I actually think its possible that I could get used to a DLP projector, however, when you think about what would happen when you invite guests over, they would never be able to "get used to it". I have seen DLP projectors, and while they aren't perfect, as they also have some screendoor and supposed dithering issues, they do look very very nice and have such great contrast. While I'd love to use one, its not practical when it causes me headaches, and could cause headaches in my guests too. LCD projectors like the AE700 are perfectly fine in my view when compared to DLP projectors.
     
  14. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    To tell you the truth, I have never seen a rainbow or had guests over who've complained about headaches or rainbows on my 4805. I've had plenty of movie nights. I guess it really does depend on the individual and how sensitive they are.
     
  15. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a 4805, I can see them if I REALLY look hard and jink my head about VERY rapidly.


    (I stopped doing that when I ran out of Tylenol. [​IMG] )
     
  16. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

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    I have the AE700. With the KR6 81EF filter (like the one in the link to screenshots you provided), you'll be amazed at the deep blacks and contrast you can achieve - something that's usually been the biggest bugaboo for LCD projectors.

    Panasonic has also whipped the other bugaboo - screendoor affect - with their "smoothscreen" technology. You can easily sit 1.5x from the screen and not see the pixel structure with this projector.

    It's also unbelievably quiet compared to my previous LCD projector (Sony 400Q).
     
  17. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Unless you're moving you're eye's, "jinking" your head won't show rainbows. I almost hate to explain how to best see rainbows. All you need to do is keep your head still and move your eyes back and forth. Nevermind moving your head any more than you normally would while viewing. For example, you are looking at a character who is talking on the left side of the screen, and then the scene changes and you are looking at the upper right where a monster is coming. When you move your eyes from looking at one location on the screen to another, some people see rainbows. I'm super sensitive to it. I've gone to meetings where an X1 is projecting and had to look away from the projector and/or screen just to reduce my pounding headache! I'm sure it varies from person to person. I've sat and looked at a n Infocus 4805 and BenQ 5120 and while they are better than the X1, I still see rainbows and am bothered by it.

    Anyways, LCD projectors are putting out a great picture now-adays.
     
  18. Rick Westfall

    Rick Westfall Stunt Coordinator

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    Allen,

    Where can you get one of those filters?
     
  19. Mike.N

    Mike.N Extra

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    the MT700 does have keystone correction for tilted mounting.
     
  20. Tom Kay

    Tom Kay Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Jackson and others;

    I have seen the rainbow effects while trying out the Optima 30. It's like Chris said; move your eyes hard left to hard right quickly, and bang, there it is. I didn't stay long enough to see if I got headaches, but the rainbow effects are real, for me at least. So DLP's are OUT altogether for me. I cannot have my hockey team over to watch a movie and have one or two leave with pounding headaches.

    I have "interviewed" a lot of projectors, almost all LCD.
    I really loved the Epson 500, and the Epson 200 is pretty good. The Epson 10, entry level beast is not good. The Panasonic 700 is probably the way I'll go. Good sharp images with vibrant colours. Crisp lines and edges.
    I used "2001 A Space Odyssey" for all of my projector tests. That way I am comparing apples to apples.

    There's a part where the pod bay door is opening to let the little space pod go outside and do some repair work. With some of the projectors, such as Sanyo Z2, Hitachi pj TX100, there was a ugly rolling effect to the edge of the pod bay door. It looked soft, not like a hard door edge at all. With the Panny 700, it looked sharp, like the hard edge of a door, which of course, it was ! Somebody told me that the onboard scaler makes a big difference if the image is sharp or crappy. I'll assume there's some truth to that, since I really don't know. Also, I liked the black levels and shadow detail that I saw, but I must caution that there would be others who find this more of a concern. I thought I could see slight blueness to the black areas, but well within my acceptable limits. It did not detract from the look of the scene I was watching. Not at all.

    If I had to make up my mind today, it would be Epson 500 if I had a bag full of cash, then the Panny 700. I'd be very happy with my second choice, especially since I'm forking out the money. I also think that the Epson might lack some of the more modern connections, but I am not certain on this.

    Hope this keeps you thinking. Cheers, Tom.
     

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