Among the more useful of the Panasonic PT-AT6000E’s calibration tools, are advanced gamma adjustments available in both 2D and 3D mode; a full colour management system; and the ability to monitor and adjust the 3D image’s parallax level should you find the default settings too tiring with a particular film. Though purists, of course, will prefer to leave a film’s 3D settings at their default ‘as-mastered’ levels.
Also extremely handy for people with 2.35:1-ratio screens is the Panasonic PT-AT6000E’s lens memory function, which can store different lens settings for different aspect ratios. Unlike the Panasonic PT-AT5000E, this system also works with 3D content too.
If you’re feeling alarmed by the potentially complicated setup stuff we’ve just waded through, don’t worry: when it comes to just getting its pictures positioned in the right place and at the right size on your screen, the Panasonic PT-AT6000E is actually blindingly simple. Well, mostly...
For starters, the projector enjoys a hugely helpful 2x optical zoom, making it adaptable to many room sizes and set-up positions. Its vertical and horizontal image shift, meanwhile, is achieved simply by moving a joystick tucked under a cover to the right of the lens. As for focus and zoom, both are motorised, with control via the small but hefty, backlit and well thought-out remote control. The patterns generated to help you optimise focus for both 2D and 3D images are both unusually good too.
The only niggle we found with this level of set up is that the shift joystick is too stiff and unresponsive, making it very tricky to try and achieve small image movements.
Given how much effort Panasonic has apparently poured into the 3D performance of the Panasonic PT-AT6000E, there are a couple of 3D-related points about the device that seem a little odd. First and worst, you don’t get any of the necessary TY-EW3D3ME active shutter glasses free with the projector, so you can’t actually use its supposedly important 3D talents without finding around £80 for each pair of 3D glasses you need.
The other slight surprise is that Panasonic has stuck with the IR transmission system for its 3D glasses signals rather than moving to the RF system generally considered to be more stable - especially in the sort of large, multiple-viewer environments projectors are more likely to be used in.
To be fair regarding this latter point, though, we did a test viewing with three viewers in a 5.5m x 4.5m room, and once everyone was settled into place we got through an entire two-hour film without anyone suffering a single lost glasses connection.
Having talked so much about 3D, the 2D abilities of the Panasonic PT-AT6000E’s lead the show and to say we were impressed by this two-dimensional capabilities would be a major, major understatement.
The Panasonic PT-AT6000E exceeds the already terrific 2D efforts of the Panasonic PT-AT5000E on practically every level, kicking off with the image’s contrast, which manages to combine deep, natural black colours with extremely bold whites and potent colours - all within the same frame. This is a seriously outstanding achievement from an LCD projection engine.
Prior to the Panasonic PT-AT6000E, the only brand that’s been able to deliver so convincing a black level and contrast performance for less than £5,000 is JVC, with its outstanding D-ILA line of projectors that includes the JVC DLA-HD950 D-ILA. Having referenced JVC here we must stress that JVC achieves its gorgeous black level response ‘natively’, meaning it doesn’t have to use a dynamic iris like the Panasonic PT-AT6000E. However, the dynamic iris in the AT6000E is so fast and well-calibrated that we saw hardly any sign of the sort of instability and brightness ‘jumping’ during dark scenes usually associated with dynamic iris systems.
Also beggaring belief for its price level is the amount of shadow detail contained in dark areas of the Panasonic PT-AT6000E’s pictures. This proves just how much the projector’s black response is down to the sheer quality of its optical engine, for if it was achieving its black depth simply by removing loads of light from the image, far more shadow detail would get crushed out.