For what it's worth, I have an Epson 8350 and shine it through a Panamorph 380 lens onto a 150" diagonal screen and LOVE it. It is plenty bright enough IMHO, running it in the quietest mode. I considered the Panasonic AE8000, but budget was a concern for me at the time of purchase. If I was in the market again, the AE8000 would definitely be a projector I'd consider. That said, I think people give the 8350 a bad rap in terms of black level/contrast ratio. The black level is nothing to scoff at, but I realize other projectors can do better. Without seeing "grey" black bars above and below the picture (like when a 235 movie is properly formatted on a 235 screen) the black level does not bother me at all. But if you do see the "grey" bars, I think it psychologically makes you think they should be black, and then you start thinking about black level too much.