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Panasonic PT-AE500 Projector Review (1 Viewer)

Ron-P

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Adam, nice review. I bought a 200u about 6 months ago and could not be happier. I view DVDs only and the PQ is outstanding.

What is this F-DL filter your using? I did try a CC05m and found it to taint the image too much. I also tried a polarizing filter but with my gray screen it made the image too dark. Is that F-DL filter like anything I've already tried?



Peace Out~:D
 

Chris PC

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Ron,

I imagine it is the Hoya FL-D filter, as in FL-Daylight. many a Panny projector owner at AVS used that filter. I saw it in action on an AE100 and it seemed ok. I guess Adam will comment more specifically about the filter he used.

Adam,

Green-cast of the bulb? Thats weird. Haven't heard mention of that elsewhere. Most people say the colour of the 500 out of the box is amazing. The FL-D filter is a good way of achieving better blacks, from what people say. Did you find you had to adjust the colours at all to compensate for using the filter?
 

Adam Barratt

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I tried a few filters (not including the Hoya, which is incredibly hard to find here) but ended up with a Marumi. It seems to pull back the green but without sacrificing much brightness.


Yes, it's very good but I haven't seen an LCD projector yet that didn't look a little green. Most LCD projectors use metal halide bulbs which contain mercury vapour, among other things. This gas combination produces a very white light, but tends to lean slightly toward green/blue. Blue isn't that noticeable (most TVs look a little blue anyway so people are used to it) but green stands out more and makes skin tones look a little unnatural.

It's not a big issue, but using an F-DL filter (used by photographers to get rid of the green hue present when taking photos under fluorescent lighting -- F-DL means conversion from Fluorescent light to DayLight) pulls the green back. This improves skin tones and gives the picture a more 'rosy' look.

Most people don't even seem to notice the green tint under normal conditions, but if you put a filter on then take it off a few minutes later you really do notice the green cast. The upside of an F-DL filter may be better colour and higher contrast, but it also cuts light output which puts many people off. Still, considering how cheap these filters are (from ~$15) they're always worth a shot, IMO. If someone doesn't like what they do to the picture, it hasn't cost them much to find out one way or the other. :)

The filter does alter the AE500's colour balance, but this is very easy to fix on the AE500 as it has individual colour adjustments letting me pull the red back (I only ever managed to get these RGB adjustment options on the AE100 when feeding it an RGB signal from a PC, but they're available on the 500 through all connections).

Adam
 

Chris PC

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Adam,

There is talk on AVS about Sanyo PLV-Z2's and firmware, and likewise, folks are looking into the firmware issues in regards to the PTAE and PTL 500's. Any idea what the firmware version was on the PJ you looked at? Or did you have to send it back already :p
 

Adam Barratt

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Nope, haven't had to send it anywhere: it's a permanent addition. :) If anyone knows which number indicates the firmware version I can tell you, but there's a whole lot o'numbers in the service menu, many of which mean nothing to me (the most likely candidate looks like 'R1.07.A1.00' but that's a guess).

I managed to get a digital camera today and got some shots off, although they really don't do the projected image justice. The digital camera didn't like shooting in low light without a flash, so there's a little grain and a lot of chroma noise which is definitely not visible in the projected image. The following are shrunk (50%, saved as JPEGs at 70% quality) pictures with a handful of full-size pics.

















The following shot was taken from two feet away and has not been adjusted other than cropping. It shows the lack of screendoor and pixellation quite nicely. Again, the chroma noise is from the camera:



These are cropped but otherwise unadjusted images:

http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/adbarr/HTF/full1.jpg
http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/adbarr/HTF/full2.jpg (camera moved, so a little soft)
http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/adbarr/HTF/full3.jpg
http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/adbarr/HTF/full4.jpg
http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/adbarr/HTF/full5.jpg

Adam
 

Chris PC

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Yeah. Digi cam pics are tough. Thanx for posting all of those. The firmware you list looks like the firmware others are talking about.

In reference to your comment about smooth screen, when judging sharpness, I look for individual hairs, eyelashes, the pores on peoples faces, fine detail of small objects and jewelry and small print. Your pics look nice, but the noise and stuff is kinda un-avoidable I guess. I'm going to take some shots with my SLR and develop and scan them in high res some day.
 

Brajesh Upadhyay

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The FL-D filter (or any filter I'd say) only lessens the picture quality IMHO. The filter improves skin tones & color reproduction a bit at the cost of contrast & brigtness. Worse, it softens the picture. Any gains made by using DVI (detail & clarity) are lost. Instead, use the AE500U's AI-2 mode at Normal setting, then calibrate the picture with Avia or DVE. You'll get the best picture this way. The AI-2 mode delivers better blacks & is a good setting if you can stand the high fan noise necessary for this setting. If you have a totally light-controlled room, you'll be fine with low fan & Normal setting.
 

Ron-P

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The other filters I've tried darkened the image too much in conjunction with my gray screen. But, I think I'll pick up one of these F-DL filters. I plan on building a new screen in the coming weeks and instead of painting it gray, I may leave it white and add this filter to see how it compares to my gray screen.

I cannot really say I noticed a softer image using a filter. When the filters were on, the image looked just as clean and sharp, to me. But then again, I prefer the softer image over one that is sharp.


Peace Out~:D
 

Adam Barratt

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No, I haven't ever noticed softening of the image with a filter unless it was specifically designed with that in mind. This includes checking the VE/DVE frequency sweeps with the filter on and off. No difference. I suppose some people might not be cleaning the shipping coating from their filters, but that seems a little unlikely.

Given that these are photographic filters intended for images with much higher resolution than any HDTV standard, any filter that softens the image wouldn't be on the market long, I suspect.

Chris you're absolutely right, if I still had an SLR I could take some fantasic looking pictures without any noise, no problem. Digital cameras are handy, but still not as flexible or capable as the oldies.

Adam
 

Nick.H

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Since reading this post, I went down to my local HT shop and had a look at this AE500 Projector and wow was I impressed! I wanted to take it home then and there! Unfortunatly they only had the floor stock and said it would be 2 weeks till the next shipment. Which for me was a good thing, as the next day I went out hunting around and managed to find it for a cheaper price. :))

So if all goes well I will have a AE500 kicking around my HT room in a few weeks. Ive just got to sort out the screen. Also with my current setup Im using a rack which has my tv and centre speaker on, I will now need to find something to hold my centre speaker just under the projector screen. Any suggestions?

I watched a few movies on the AE500 with and without the lights on and in dark and light scenes, still walked out very impressed and for the price its a knockout!

Adam thanks for the review. Joseph thanks for the diffrence between the X1 and AE500. I found the X1 in dark scenes was making my eyes hurt and was unable to see the picture clearly.

:)
 

Chris PC

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I was in the exact same situation. I had a 32" TV on a stand with all my equipment in it. Before I got rid of the 32" TV, I built a stand for it and put my subwoofer right smack underneath the stand. Now that the TV is gone, I used a small stand on top of the old TV stand for the centre speaker. I can send you a pick. It works perfectly for me.
 

Adam Barratt

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I have a similar setup: my TV sits on the equipment rack with the TV on top. The centre channel speaker sits on top of the TV. I simply move the TV away and place the centre channel speaker where the TV sits. A good solution if you don't mind picking up the TV and moving it (which some may not: mine weighs nearly 100lbs). :)

I've considered buying a pair of 70cm speaker stands and using those to hold the centre speaker instead, or a custom stand like Chris'. A hydraulic cabinet that raised and lowered the TV would be ideal: I'll have to remember to pick one of those up at the same time I get my solid gold bath tub. ;)

Adam
 

Chris PC

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The 500 seems somewhat troublesome for vertical banding. Its a little bit hit and miss. Some people get a PTAE500U or PTL500 and have quite a bit of vertical banding. The Sanyo Z2 seems similar. I was interested in the 500 but now I'm looking at getting one of the remaining 300's for now.
 

David_Jr

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Any chance they'll have these issues worked out within a year or so when I am ready to buy? Is it a problem with LCD technology or is it just these particular units? Waiting to get in on these is KILLING me!!!!:D
 

Chris PC

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You and me both! The reason I'm not jumping is because the Canuck market for these is over priced. If I import a 500 and I've got problems, I may have to ship it back (and forth?) to and from the US to have the vertical banding taken care of.

I don't know if they're ever going to fix it. We're guinea pigs in the pioneer HT market. We were expecting to see better results with the PTL500 vs the PTAE500U but so far, its not looking any better. Frustrating. The D4 panels are prone to this, as some Sanyo PLV-Z2 projectors, which share the same 1280 x 720p panels, also have some vertical banding. Its a crap shoot. Some 500/Z2'a have vertical banding, some hardly have it, and some have too much it and can't get rid of it.
 

Adam Barratt

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FYI, I've been running the AE500 using a custom resolution from the Momitsu for the last few days for 1:1 mapping. The picture is now 'smoother' (yeah, I know, but it's a little hard to describe) and the entire panel is being used from corner to corner. I'm very happy with the way it's looking, but the VB is still present occasionally and changing connections and resolutions makes no difference at all.

Adam
 

Dan M

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as a potential buyer for the L500, could someone please explain to me what the heck vertical banding looks like??:frowning:

thanks
 

Chris PC

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Faint vertical lines on the display. They are faint in that they appear see-through. Kinda like scum on a window. Don't panic, its not a total write off yet. People are working on a fix. Panny does try to fix them when people complain. On my AE100 they are very faint, and you really don't see them unless the conditions are just right. Foggy, light sky or low light water scenes. I watched a whole movie last night without seeing the vb once. On the 500 apparantly for some owners it is fairly bad.
 

Dan M

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thanks Chris.....a little discouraging.....but hopefully the problem will be addressed soon
 

Carlo Medina

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Just wanted to thank Adam for the wonderful review and follow-up, and all the posters who have added to the discussion. Unfortunately, California economy being what it is (c'mon Governator! Get us out of this mess!) I have had to delay any video upgrades. But as soon as I know I won't be losing my job (hopefully come the new fiscal year any layoffs will be announced and we'll know by August/September if we'll still be drawing a paycheck) I will be on the market for an FP.

Since my local dealer (on friendly terms with them) is a Panny dealer, I can score a pretty good deal on this. I would just have to research building my own screen because I know that I can't bust the cash on one of those nice Stewart screens.

Thanks to all!
 

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