At this point, it’s high time I stepped in and made it categorically clear that contrary to what you’re doubtless starting to think, the Z3000 is certainly not a bad projector. For instance, it handles black levels extremely well for a projector at its price point. There may be a touch more greyness over the very darkest of blacks than you get with Panasonic’s PT-AE3000, but I’d say that the Z3000 actually slightly outguns the Panasonic when it comes to reproducing subtle shadow details in dark areas. This means the Z3000’s dark scenes can look slightly three-dimensional.
The Z3000 also produces a really sharp image, usually on a par with the Panasonic except for maybe a touch more blurring when showing motion. Not that the Z3000 is bad with motion, mind you. In fact, when it comes to reducing judder it’s actually better than the Panasonic.
There’s still definitely judder to be seen – even using the Smooth Motion mode set to full. But this judder seems marginally less in your face than it can be on the brighter, crisper Panasonic. And in any case, I’d rather have the laid back approach to judder reduction exhibited by the Z3000 than the nausea- and side effect-inducing aggressive approach witnessed with some of the settings for Sony’s MotionFlow projection technology and Philips’ HD Natural Motion system.
I was also pleased to note no sign of LCD’s dreaded ‘chicken wire effect’, even when watching the projector on a 100in screen, and should remind you too that since this is an LCD rather than a DLP projector, there’s also no need to worry about DLP’s rainbow noise.
Overall, while I wasn’t able to completely conquer the projector’s colour issues, I did get them close enough to reveal that the Z3000 can produce pictures that really do look excellent for a sub-£2,000 projector.
I might as well cut straight to the chase here and say that if money’s no object, I personally would go for Panasonic’s PT-AE3000 ahead of this Sanyo. Partly on account of the Panasonic’s seriously handy integrated anamorphic lens adjustment, but mostly because I find its out-of-the-box colour settings markedly better and its presentation of dark scenes more dynamic.
But if you’d rather save a couple of hundred quid to blow on a few Blu-rays – as well as getting a handy three-year warranty into the bargain – then you can rest assured that the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 is still a very talented machine. Albeit one that you might need a bit of help with initially if you want to get it looking its best.
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