Well, I've logged about 20 hours on the Planar..I have to say this really is a fantastic projector vs what I am used to.
The first impression I had was the deeper black level of the image vs the BenQ 5000. Right away, I noticed a richer darker level of black and then it struck me the shades of black and level of detail I was missing in darker objects ie: A character's black suit would have different shades of black along with the texture of the garment or detail of the color...vs a black suit.
The second discovery was the depth present in darker scenes. There wasn't the "haze" present in many of the shadow/dark scenes of films...but a dimensionality that wasn't present before.
The third discovery was the more film like (I know it's a "crutch term") image of this projector, yet still sharp. The difference struck me, as one of the aspects of the BenQ was a terrific level of sharpness, but at a point where some transfers appeared digital in appearance. With the Planar, the image was sharp and detailed, yet again very film-like. Terrific color saturation and texture to the image and colors.
The last discovery was the difference in the use of DI. Really nice black level, without the pumping of the black that sometimes happened in my previous experience.
I do have to note that it isn't completely fair to compare the Planar and the BenQ 5000 due to the difference in street prices, esp. when you consider the great deals in the BenQ refurb market. One should expect a higher level of performance. The best way I could explain to friends (and wife
)....The Planar is a new Lexus. The refurb BenQ is a used Honda Accord. Both get you from point A to point B....but in much different level of luxary (and in performance).
My only problem that I encountered is the size/weight of the Planar combined with the Panamorph Pro AK8 attachment plate equals about 40 pounds...the layout of the Planar's configuration to the plate makes the back end of the load unbalanced. So when you attach the plate to the Chief RPM universal mount, the mount can not hold the weight level. The projector and plate lean towards the rear. I had to add a wire to the rear end of the plate and wind it to the extension column to help support the back end (uneven weight distribution). It works, but isn't the easiest one man install. So if you have the same combo of plate and planar...go with the cheaper RPA mount, since it has the ability to manage the uneven distribution of weight that's inherent in that combination.
Another comment on the Panarmorph AK 8 Pro is the lack of pre-drilled holes to accomodate a fixed lens bracket. They didn't take that configuration into consideration (like they did on previous models of their attachment plate), so I had to take the plate to a metal fabricator to have them drill the holes.