Moving on to the Z17000’s set up menus, they’re kind of OK. They’re crammed into a bizarrely small area of the screen, which makes them trickier to read and navigate than they needed to be, but they’re mostly well stocked with calibration aids.
Highlights include a healthy series of diverse and usually quite astute picture presets, two iris adjustments (a manual ‘high or low brightness’ one, and an on/off auto one), various noise reduction filters, and two separate colour management facilities. These aren’t very standard in their configuration, though, and to us seemed to make the colour calibration process more complicated and time consuming than it needs to be.
Before checking out the Z17000’s performance, we should quickly note that it uses a DLP engine to deliver a claimed brightness of 1600 Lumens and a claimed contrast ratio of 40,000:1. The brightness figure is impressive, while the contrast one looks a little ‘meh’ by today’s standards.
Combine these specs with the issues we have with the Z17000‘s build quality/set up tools, and it’s fair to say we didn’t hold out any particularly great hopes for the Z17000 when settling down to watch it in action. However, within mere seconds of firing up Monsters Vs Aliens on 3D Blu-ray, our ‘meh’ had turned to ‘wow’.
The single biggest reason for this is the near total absence of crosstalk from the Z17000’s 3D images. Even during the classically tough Golden Gate Bridge sequence of MvA we failed to detect even the faintest hint of a halo, ghostly echo or ‘dark shadow’, even around the bridge’s most distant struts. The Z17000 in this respect offers the cleanest 3D image we’ve seen aside from Sim2’s Lumis 3D-S – which costs £30,000.
Not suffering with any crosstalk makes it much easier to appreciate the depth of the 3D image, as well as the truly HD levels of detail and sharpness delivered by the active 3D format. This all comes as nothing short of a revelation at the Z17000’s price point.
We didn’t detect even a hint of flicker from the glasses either, so long as we watched in a darkened room. It’s worth adding, moreover, that the glasses are both comfortable and good at stopping extraneous objects or light from impinging on your 3D view.
3D images look quite punchy and bright as well, provided you use the projector’s Dynamic preset, and colours are reasonably vibrant and subtle when it comes to reproducing tonal blends and shifts.
However, one or two colour tones – especially greens – look slightly off-key in 3D mode, making us wish the Z17000 copied Sony’s recently reviewed HW30ES 3D projector in offering dedicated 3D presets, where you can store settings calibrated to compensate for the colour shifting influence of the 3D glasses.
Another issue with the Z17000’s mostly outstanding and unusually unfatiguing 3D images is a degree of judder where fast motion is concerned, making us think again of the Sony HW30ES, with its unusually effective (and crucially not too heavy handed) motion processing options.