Z3 blacklevels vs. AE700 vertical banding (?)

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Bart_R, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello everyone,

    I take it this is not a new topic, while these projectors will most likely creep up here very often, but I have searched and didn't find specific info on these topics (if I'm mistaken and someone could direct me to the relevant thread I'd be very grateful).

    So, here goes... Like many a newcomer and/or person with a modest budget for a projector I'm looking at the Sanyo PLV-Z3 and the Panny PTAE700 at the moment. It seems the latter gets the better professional reviews, yet the former seems to be the most popular one (or the one with the least complaints).

    What I'm interested in are the downsides to both. I've read about people experiencing "vertical banding" with the Panny after a couple months of usage. How common is this? Also, how life-like are the blacklevels on the Z3? I've heard that it can be too gray-ish. Is there any truth in this?

    Finally, is CRT an option at all for home theater use? I only hear about LCD and DLP, but what's wrong with CRT Front Projectors? What's the biggest drawback about these machines. Too noisy?

    Thanks in advance for any info you could give me.

    Bart.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    I'm mildly interested in the 700 question, too - I'm pondering upgrading my PT-LC75.

    As a quick response to the CRT question, the big difficulty with using a CRT front projector is actually obtaining a decent one.

    The big drawbacks with the CRTs are physical size, weight, and lack-o-brightness.

    On the other hand, they're said to have the best dynamic range, 'natural' colors, and a few other things.

    A serious challanger to all three, apart from cost, are the D-ILA projectors...

    Leo Kerr
     
  3. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Leo,

    Thanks for responding.

    Yes, I'm very much wondering about the disadvantages of these popular and highly rated (affordable) projectors. I mean, I don't need to have the most perfect image there is, but I don't want to get distracted by specific flaws, since that would take me out of the movie-experience. Basically if the image quality (including contrast/black levels) is as good as a decent/above par television set, I'm happy. I also don't need a mega-size screen. A 90" diagonal will do just fine.

    So, that PT-LC75 of yours, is that also a Panasonic? And why do you want to upgrade?

    Weight wouldn't be much of a problem. I wouldn't mind moving the thing around. We would only be speaking of a couple of meters anyway... As my room can get pretty dark, brightness wouldn't be a problem either. If the picture looks better that's quite important, imo. And if the noise isn't too loud, it should be worth looking for a decent one.

    What are D-ILA projectors? Do they make use of yet another technology? And what are good/affordable ones?

    Anyway, thanks for your time...

    Greetz,
    Bart.
     
  4. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    If it were me I would jump on the Z3. The price for this FP is just too hard to pass up. People need to understand that EVERY FP in this price range is going to have some sort of drawback. Are there a lot of complaints about VB on the 700??....Yes. Is it terrible and can't be fixed...NO. Is the 700 and AMAZING machine for the money...YES. The thing is absolutey loaded and I would not let an occasional VB complaint stand in my way of getting it. I have seen both the 700 and Z3 and it really is a toss-up. If you can mount it anywhere adn do not need to use the great zoom that the 700 has then get the Z3. If mounting is an issue and you need to put it further back then get the 700. Both will be great and you be very happy with either one. Oh and blacks and CR on the Z3 are great.....are they DLP quality....no....but I am sure you will be perfectly happy with it.
    As for CRT. They are still the "best" at producing a great picture and will produce the best blacks since it actually projects black......digital projection does not project black....it just doesn't project any light (if that makes sense LOL!!). The obvious drawbacks are finding a good used one or shelling out a lot of cash for a good new one. You get burn in with CRT, they are HUGE and VERY heavy. After mounting it....moving it is not an option. You will have to have total light control and they can be a pain to maintain. With that said though, if you take care of it, it will last "forever" and of course give you the "best" picture.
    One other thing to ponder......if blacks are a big deal to you then you may want to check out a few of the very poopular DLP FP's such as the 4805 or H31. You will have to sit a bit further away to avoid SD as these are 480p FP's but you may be shocked at the PQ you can get these days for under $1000.
     
  5. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your extensive reply, Evan.

    That's interesting. So, VB can be fixed then. Hmmm... that changes things. And yeah, the price of the Z3 is pretty good. I might go with that one.

    On the other hand, blacks are a fairly big deal for me. Now I don't know how PJ's compare with Tv's in this respect but if I'm confronted with dark scenes and it is hard to make out the details in them (e.g. a character with a black suit can make a solid block with his dark background, and you will hardly be able to distinguish his body) it bothers me. I want to be able to enjoy the nuances in dark scenes in films as The Matrix or Alien or The Lord of the Rings. However, I have no idea how much of an issue this is in projectors and how much more money you have to shell out for a significant improvement in this area. Currently I'm reading some reviews on projectorreviews.com on a couple of Optoma and BenQ projectors and looking at screenshots. If the blacks are significantly better in some of these projectors I might even be willing to save some more cash and spend up to 2000 dollars on a projector. Yet, if there is hardly an improvement, it's not worth the extra money.

    The thing is, I don't know how much of a "purist" I really am (even though I probably can't really afford to be one). I'm fearing that it goes fairly far. Pixellation and unrealistic or off-colors (such as flowering reds etc.) can also be problems for me.

    Anyway, same as everyone I guess, I want to get the best PQ for the lowest possible price, but like I said, if a significant improvement can be had for about a thousand dollars more, it'd be worth it for me.

    Regards,
    Bart.
     
  6. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    The reason I'm considering upgrading the Panny is that it's a 4:3 projector, and not HD - although the HD issue may be going away, since all the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray people seem to be cutting their corporate throats. Plus, if I did upgrade, I have a home for my current unit.

    CRT projectors will have other problems that the digital projection won't. For one, if you project a 'full white' or otherwise very bright screen, the image will distort and shrink, swell, or otherwise become geometrically nonlinear.

    Plus one area where all current digital projection has a tremendous advantage is that the entire screen is illuminated all the time. A CRT projector, like a TV set, but in such a worse way, is only illuminating a very small spot at any givin instant.

    Color in digital projection is very much an issue of how it is set up by the user, and set up by the manufacturer. If the maker really likes hot reds, well, be wary.

    LCoS/D-ILA is a reflective LCD technology. Unlike conventional LCD, the panels are vastly more resistant to degredation due to high heat and light. Unlike DLP, there are no moving parts. Unlike conventional LCD, the wiring can go behind the cells, rather than around them. Thus, most DILA panels have >95% fill factor, meaning there is no screen door. Most DILA front projectors (if not all) have been 3-panel devices, so there hasn't been a color flicker issue there. Some DILA RPTVs have been single panel or multi-panel, so there is some potential issue there.

    The DILA contrast isn't quite as good as DLP. On another hand, the 'low resolution' DILA chips are 1440x768 or so. They've had 1920x1080 panels for quite some time, and have shown of QUXGA or whatever the name is in the laboratory. Some people quit with the varients of #GA and just call it QHD - 3840x2160.

    Good DILA is expensive, though - the JVC DLA-HD2K-SYS is a fantastic unit, listing (according to Projector Central) at $20,000. Last I had heard, though, I thought it was closer to $30,000. This projector solves the contrast issue by being CRT-bright - 500ANSI lumens in the hi-con mode. But in that mode, it is absolutely fantastic. It's not until you're within about 2' of a 16'x9' screen that you can start seeing pixels.

    Leo
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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  8. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    There are a lot of other factors that you need to think about if you want the best blacks possible from whatever FP you decide on. The room often times will have the biggest impact. A room with a little ambient light will of course effect it because like I said earlier....digital FP can't produce its' own black. The black you see is actually the actual screen color. The color of the room also has a large impact on the image. If the room and ceiling is painted a bright white and reflective sheen of paint (eggshell or semi-gloss) then you will have a lot of reflected light hitting the screen which is a killer for blacks. A lot of people paint the walls and ceiling a darker color to avoid this. Some people also do not realize that their FP is too bright and is killing the blacks too. Sometimes the FTL's are waaay too high and need tobe put lowered to about 12. This can be done by changing the screen to get the right gain or through the use of a ND filter. So if you want the best blacks possible there are a lot of other factors to think about besides the FP itself.
    It is also starting to sound like you may want to start checking out DLP. There are a couple of DLP's out right now that are 720p and under $3500 right now if you want HD. If not then seriously consider the the 4805 or H31. The ACTUAL CR of the 4805 is 2000:1 and when calibraed I have seen people get 2200:1 in HOME THEATER MODE. The LCD's tout CR of over 2000:1 but actual HT measurements have been measured at less then 1600:1(still fantastic for an LCD.....don't get me wrong). This brings me up to another thing......FP companies inflate numbers whenever they can. The big numbers to inflate are lumens and CR. When you see HT projectors saying they are over 1000 lumens......that is not true. Those numbers are for high power mode or presentation mode and are still too high. Plus you do not want to watch a movie in high power mode. The only company that lists actual numbers in the lower price range is the Screenplay lineup from Infocus. The CR is dead on and the lumens is dead on. The 4805 is listed as 750 lumens high power and 600 low power....those numbers are dead on. And by the way.....600 lumens is still too much and most people opt for an ND2 filter.
    Well, I am rambling now LOL[​IMG]!! Just rememeber that a lot a lot of things wil effect blacks....not just the FP itself.
     
  9. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Chris. Thanks for chipping in.

    You seem to know quite a bit about CRT projectors. Would you happen to have any recommendations by any chance? I hear Barco is a good brand. Also, how affordable are these things?
     
  10. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Re: Evan

    Those are good points to consider. Still, with all other things being equal (or the best), we would be left with different projectors and different contrast or blacklevels. And naturally I would want the best projector (not too much) money can buy in this respect. Or is the case that different viewing conditions can make cheaper projectors or pj's with inherently less spectacular blacks and contrast better than the more accomplished/expensive ones? Because, if this is not the case, then we would still have the same quality difference to work with, right?

    But anyway, the walls surrounding my projection space are pretty bright, except for the ceiling which is light brown/black. I can make the room very dark, with perhaps only a shimmer of light seeping through. However, this will hardly be an issue at all, since I'll be using the PJ at night mostly. In this sense I guess I could settle with not too many lumens. I have no idea what an ND filter is, btw.

    So, let's talk projectors. Blacks are a big issue to me, but I hope I've made clear what I mean in this respect. It's not so much that I want to see a lot of black (or very black blacks), it's just that I want to be able to distinguish different shades of darkness/blacks in dark scenes. So, perhaps this is more of a contrast-issue, I don't know.

    Yeah, I'm also thinking about DLP now, although I really need to see them in action first, on the off-chance I'll be receptive to RBE's. Basically, if the PQ is good enough (with special mention going to the black levels/contrast) then I'll go with any technology out there. Provided it won't cost me more than about $2000. On that topic, I've seen two projectors for around that price that might be interesting. They are the BENQ PE7700 and the Optoma H57. There's a store around where I live that has them both for 2100. They seem to be getting pretty good reviews.

    The Infocus 4805 sounds interesting too, although I was a bit disappointed by its contrast/black levels, when compared to the Optoma H27, in the screenshots used for a review at projectorreviews.com (http://www.projectorreviews.com/revi...reid=47&page=2). The price is good, though, as are the overall specs.

    Anyway, the journey continues... [​IMG]
     
  11. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    bart:

    barco is a solid brand, I use one myself. the Electrohome Marquee series is also superb. Both are high quality and modular in design for easy repair, parts availability is excellent on the used market, especially for the marquee series. Sony is a little less modular, as well as NEC, but superb machines with also good parts availability. NEC is notorious for being more difficult to set up. Barco and Marquees are super easy, sonys and NEC I don't have setup experience with.

    I recommend you check out www.curtpalme.com and read up. And explore the CRT forums at AVS if you are interested.

    FYI: it is handy to include your location in your avatar, as there are folks in different areas who may offer to let you see their setup, or have units floating around. I always think people should see what a display can do in person before they make a big decision.
     
  12. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    Do not EVER judge a FP according to screenshots. There are waaaaay too many factors that go into the photo that is not the FP's fault.....such as what now the digital camera is set up....the white setting of it.....the MP of it etc....
    The H27 is a great machine.....it is no 4805. When tested and both were callibrated the CR of the 4805 was 2200:1...the H27 was 1500:1 and the H31 was 2200:1. Colors are also more accurate on the 4805. The 4805 is waaaay more tweakable then the H27 as well. Again, the h27 is a fantastic machine and certainly worth considering but it really does not compete to the 4805 or H31. It was made more or less to compete with some of the cheaper FP's....such as the Benq 5110.

    Oh yeah....an ND2 filter is a neutral density filter. In a nutshell it will cut the light output in half. A lot of people use these with the 4805 because it is a bright machine.....brighter than the H31 (even though the H31 supposedly has more lumens....remember...do not trust what Manufactors rate their lumens at..other then Infocus SP models).
     
  13. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Good stuff Evan. [​IMG]
     
  14. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Guys,

    Sorry for this late response. Things have been kind of hectic over here. And next to that I had to reboot my cpu because of errors/conflicts.

    Anyway, on to your posts...

    Chris:

    Thanks for your recommendations. I'll certainly do some investigating when I find the time. I had only heard about Barco when it comes to crt projectors. I had seen some models on pics, and they looked quite sturdy to say the least. Intimidating even. However, these were both used and one of them needed some "work" and I'm not really up the task. I haven't seem them new yet, but I'm not sure if that's the better choice necessarily (for one, they may be too pricey when bought new). But basically, when they are not too noisy and moving them isn't "too" problematic (I mean, I realise they are [much] heavier than DLP's or LCD's), I'm definitely willing to give crt a go.

    Including my location might be a good idea (even though I doubt many around here are from my country). Thanks for the tip. [​IMG]

    Evan:

    "Or is the case that different viewing conditions can make cheaper projectors or pj's with inherently less spectacular blacks and contrast better than the more accomplished/expensive ones?

    That is the case. Digital projectors are quite a diffrent breed when it comes to black levels. You can have a very expensive FP with a lot of great blacks.....but look like a $800 projector because of any ambient light and room factors."

    That is interesting. See, I would say that in this scenario the $800 projector would in turn look like an even cheaper one (for argument's sake. I mean, I don't know if they even sell for less than 800). But if indeed the cheaper one could sometimes look better than the expensive ones with the same conditions/circumstances than it's a whole other ballgame and I have many more parameters to consider, and how these relate to specific projectors. The plot thickens... [​IMG]

    "What it sounds like you want is a lot of both. Obviously CRT will reign supreme but the 4805 and H31 will also be VERY good. The Benq and Optoma model you mention are great machines by the way....."

    Yeah, what it comes down to is that I want to see what you're supposed to see. If there are different shades/objects of black in the image, I want to be able to distinguish them, and not be confronted with just one big black area where everything is meshed together.

    Hmm, the 4805 is starting to look better and better then. Yet, it is an old model, and I'm not sure about those rainbows. Regardless though, I need to see some in action, because all this is very subjective anyway. One might see rainbows or screendoor and the other might not. And aspects one finds problematic, the other doesn't... Still, it doesn't hurt to ask around (here) [​IMG].

    Now I remember what you said earlier about more expensive machines not being necessarily better than cheaper ones, according to personal set-up/viewing environment issues, but when you say the benq and optoma models I mentioned are
    great machines do you mean they are (significantly) better than the 4805? As in, do you think it's worth the price difference when it comes to pq?

    (To everybody: I understand if you have moved on since last time I responded. In any case I want to thank you for all your time and comments so far. You have all been a great help [​IMG] )

    Bart.
     
  15. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Well, I read above your budget is about $2K, so if you're looking at a new CRT you'll want to add another zero to that budget [​IMG].
     
  16. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Re: Chris

    Ouch! So, secondhand is definitely the way to go if I'll want a crt. Got it. [​IMG]
     
  17. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    Let me clarify what I was talking about earlier.......
    I have seen people buy relatively expensive digital FP's but not set them up in a good viewing room (ie....white walls and ceiling and some ambient light). I have also seen "cheaper" FP's set up in excellent viewing room that look fantastic. My point being that the room has a lot to do with the quality of the picture. Often times people blame the FP but it is really them they should blame for not properly taking advantage of the FP's capability.
    Wil the Benq or Optoma models you mentioned (PE7700/H57) outperform a 4805 OF COURSE.....they better!! But if they are not set up in the right conditions you will not be taking full advantage of those units capability's. If one is going to set it up in a less desireable place than why buy a more expensive unit in the first place.......or more importantly.....why get a FP to begin with?
    What you really need to think about more than which to go with right now is what will you be using the FP for? If you are going to use it for TV viewing, HD viewing, Gaming and DVD's and doing this all pretty close to the screen than maybe a more "expensive" 720p FP is the way to go. If you are going to be strictly watching DVD's and do not mind sitting 10-15' away from the screen than a 4805 or other 480p DLP FP's may be the way to go. So first think about your (and your family's) viewing habits. Once you know what you will be using it for now and a few years down the road than you can start figuring out if you want LCD/DLP/CRT and which models you should be looking at. A good place to help you answer some questions on which TYPE of FP is right for you is www.projectorcentral.com but I would not get to engrossed with their "reviews" of projectors. I find some of their methods a reviews questionalble at the least. Best of luck to you and if you have anymore question please feel free to ask anytime!!
     

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