Review Price £1,499.00
Panasonic PT-AH1000E - Features and First Picture Impressions
Yet more evidence of just how much thought Panasonic has applied to making the AH1000E potentially ‘all things to all men’ can be seen in the seven picture presets it provides. These include everything from Game and Sports modes to Cinema, Vivid Cinema and even Rec 709 modes (the latter being a video industry standard for HD TV).
Despite its ostensibly casual focus, moreover, the AH1000E also boasts Panasonic’s Pure Colour Filter Pro technology, 16-bit digital processing for enhanced colour gradation, a waveform monitor system to aid calibration, and a Motion Effect system for reducing judder.
Now that we’ve started to spot stuff designed to try and satisfy more serious users, it must also be said that the amount of systems provided for fine-tuning colours and gamma settings is startling for a predominantly casual projector. In fact, we’d say it’s over the top, with the fussy menus making colour and calibration far too complicated and ‘teccy’ for the casual users to handle. Still, while the calibration tools might be tough to use, they do at least suggest that the Panasonic is really serious about making the AH1000E a serious dark room as well as a casual light room all-rounder.
Starting out our tests with the lights in our test room turned pretty much to maximum (and using our normal neutral test screen), we were genuinely impressed by just how watchable the AH1000E’s pictures are.
With the Light Harmoniser and Dynamic iris systems both in play, the projector delivered images bright enough to still look punchy during bright scenes but which also remained surprisingly engaging during dark scenes. Certainly there’s a loss of shadow detail when watching dark scenes in such unhelpfully bright room conditions, but the key light ‘highlights’ of any dark scene remain intact enough for you to be able to tell what’s going on without feeling too distracted by the ambient light’s impact. This is a very impressive result indeed for such an affordable casual projector.
Also excellent for the money is how well the AH1000E adjusts the colour balance of its images in response to our bright room conditions. In other words, it’s clever enough to know that when you increase the brightness of an image you also need to adjust its gamma and colour controls if you don’t want colours to become unbalanced or overcooked. Even the tone of the light in the room is taken into consideration.
More good news finds HD images looking phenomenally sharp during our bright room tests, as the AH1000E overcomes the rather soft finish you usually see when trying to watch a projector in a bright environment.
The only two significant downsides to the AH1000E’s bright room performance using the out of the box settings, really, are that the projector runs really quite noisily when it’s pumping out anything like its maximum brightness level, and that the dynamic iris is too aggressive, causing some pretty obvious ‘jumps’ in the image’s overall brightness level.
This problem can, of course, be alleviated by turning the dynamic iris system off. But doing so results in a quite marked drop off in the image’s punchiness. So with only straight on/off options to choose from, we guess you’ll just have to try both options for yourself and decide which you prefer.