Hi all. I have been doing seemingly tons of research and I want to double check my work and get some opinions from this amazing community. My theater room is fully light controlled, and the projector is ceiling mounted 14' away from a 140" 1.1 gain screen. In order to get my feet wet to the idea of a projection based home theater I purchased an Epson 8350 a few years ago as a low risk/cost purchase, and now I am wanting to upgrade to a somewhat higher end projector. My biggest concern amongst the contenders I am choosing between is brightness in calibrated 2d "best" mode, as I am guessing color and contrast will both be such a vast improvement I will be blown away by any of the upgrades I am considering. My current 8350 has always seemed a bit dim to my eyes for the 140" screen size, not helped at all by having to run it in ECO mode to avoid the nasty droning noise it makes in Normal lamp mode. I sit within a few feet of the projector when it is mounted above us, so any sort of distracting pattern is very not ideal.
Given all that background, I am trying to decide between the epson 5020, the panasonic ae8000, and the jvc x35. They all are within budget, and seem to fit my needs of a much higher 2d calibrated brightness in best modes; all while likely improving a great deal on contrast, black levels, etc. A vast majority of my watching is bluray movies and netflix in a completely darkened and treated room. Also, I am not huge on 3d, but since it is there I assume I will occasionally take advantage (read not a big priority).
I will break down what I believe is accurate from other reviews and seek a bit of feedback from you all on if I have everything straight. (most data comes from projectorreviews.com, with a bit of double checking on forums etc)
Currently, the Epson 8350 in theory puts out roughly 460 lumens in "best" mode, but as I mentioned before, I have to run it in ECO mode to cancel out the obnoxious droning of high lamp mode, which is said to cost it roughly 23%. Therefore, I am assuming my 8350 produces roughly 355 lumens for the 140" screen.
The Epson 5020 is the most affordable option, and is reported to run at 800 lumens in high lamp cinema mode. Being that it is also an epson, I fear I will likely have to run it in ECO as well for audible reasons, which would reduce it to a reported 570 lumens. It is however a possibility that the Normal fan mode on this model might be far more tolerable.
The panny ae8000 is reported at 600 lumens in its "best" mode, and is also reported to be whisper quiet in high lamp mode. If ECO was required though it appears to drop the lumen output to 400, but again it seems less likely I would need to run this projector in the low powered mode.
Lastly, the jvc x35 has very little info out there yet as it is so new. I will instead draw my info from a combo of x30 and a few forum posts on the x35 thus far. I am reading roughly 900 lumens in "best" 2d mode. It is also reported to be fairly loud in high lamp mode though, so its ECO mode is listed as about 600 lumens. Once again, high lamp mode noise might be perfectly fine with this projector, but I cant test it with my own ears, so instead I am considering ECO as certainly possible.
So to break it down in a simple table:
8350: 460 high; 355 ECO
5020: 800 high; 570 ECO
ae8000 600 high; 400 ECO (least likely to run in ECO)
jvc x35 900 high; 600 ECO
I know I am tossing out some variables such as lens aperture closure as a result of zoom and a few things like that, but trying to hold things as constant as possible these are the most directly comprable numbers I could find... I think. Given all of this, is appears they are similarly matched for brightness lumen value in the mode they will actually run. Does anyone have experience or advice on the audible noise issues of the epson 5020 or the jvc x35? Is one far better than the other in high lamp mode? Secondly, I am having issues finding a bulb life stat for the x35 along with the cost of a replacement lamp. Is it remotely comprable to the 5020?
I figure the best overall black / contrast will be won by the JVC to some degree (as it should for about $1k more cost from what I can tell), but I am trying to decide if I have failed to consider anything for getting a nice a bright image to my 140" screen that also has great contrast. I would greatly appreciate any feedback or advice on this decision.
p.s. DLP is/was never a consideration because I see rainbows like crazy.