Seeking an affordable projector with powered zoom. Recommendations / advice wanted. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-18-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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So my dedicated theater room is nearing completion, and I'm starting to shop for a projector. I can't seem to find one projector that has everything I need for a reasonable price point. My max budget is $3000

I have a 135" 2.39:1 Jamestown 1.2 gain white screen. Room is 19x13 with projector mounting flexible anywhere behind 15'.

The one feature I have to have is powered zoom, as I will be switching between 2.39:1 and 16:9 depending on the content I'm watching. I don't want to have to stand up and manually re-size, re-focus, and re-shift the image each time the format changes.

I was set on the Panasonic 8000U, but the more I'm reading about newer projectors with better black levels and 3d performance, I feel like I'd be buying old technology. I'd hate to spend 2k+ on a projector that gets beat by a $800 budget projector in image quality.

I like the JVC X35 / RS46 but again, I read about low brightness and lack of enjoyable 3D because of low brightness. Probably 75% of the content I watch will be in 2D, so I'm not sure how important this really is.

I've considered buying a new model BenQ or Optoma, but they don't have the zoom flexibility to offer both 16:9 and 2.39:1 on my screen - I'd have to have some sort of sliding projector mount. I really really wish Epson would put powered zoom in their projectors.

Do I have any other options? Am I going to be forced to manually zoom, or exchange my screen for a 16:9 model and just use masking?

Please tell me I'm crazy or I've overlooked some awesome projector that meets all my needs!
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-18-2013, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitel View Post



I was set on the Panasonic 8000U, but the more I'm reading about newer projectors with better black levels and 3d performance, I feel like I'd be buying old technology. I'd hate to spend 2k+ on a projector that gets beat by a $800 budget projector in image quality

What $800 projector beats the AE8000?
I'm building a HT room at the moment. I had a AE7000 briefly but ended selling it and installing it a friends house because I was no where near starting my room.
It was onto a 130" 16x9 screen and looked great.
I will most likely be buying a AE8000 for my room but I will see what's available in 4-6mths time.
BTW I've had 3 Panasonic projectors an AX200, AE2000 and the AE7000. Each one way better than the last one.
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-18-2013, 11:40 PM
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That is a huge screen. To zoom an image on a screen that large, it would be like filling a 143" 16x9 screen. That's a screen with just over 60 square feet. There aren't many projectors bright enough, including the JVCs which are actually decently bright, that will be bright enough for 3D content on a screen that large in the under $10000 price range that also offer a decent amount of contrast within the image. That contrast performance is definitely needed for a great looking 2D image. Though, I'll let others offer recommendations. You may also find that zooming an image that large will limit your options for a 2D image too, as most of the recommended projectors that people suggest in this forum are also not bright enough for 2D content with that screen size too. I'd take a look at the BenQ W7000, Epson 5030, and the Sony HW50ES. They're probably your brightest options that can be had around your price range, the Sony may be a little more money though. Unfortunately, none of them offer powered lens functions.

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post #4 of 13 Old 11-20-2013, 05:37 AM
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The thread title said that he wants powered zoom. That eliminates a lot of the "usual suspects".
We also needed an affordable projector with powered lens controls, including powered zoom. Panasonic, JVC and Sharp were on our short list.
After Art at PR gave the Sharp Z30K his "best in class" ($2K) award we went with it. If you want bright, punchy 3D and very good 2D, give it a try.
There is a good thread in the >$3K Forum. It's original MSRP was about $5K, but it's still available for about $2.5K. The 3 year warranty and low cost of operation (cheap bulbs) are also a plus.
Good luck smile.gif
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-20-2013, 05:51 AM
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Not only is that a large screen, it is a low gain screen. Expect to get around 1.0 gain, not 1.2. If you want to go large, I would switch to 16:9 and go with one of the bright LCD projectors. If you would like to discuss, give us a call.

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post #6 of 13 Old 11-20-2013, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess I didn't realize 135" was that large with seeing some of the screen sizes other forum members talk about using. I'm currently looking at the Epson 5030UB. I've realized I might have to give up the powered zoom convenience to get the brightness that is needed for enjoyable 3D. Image quality / black levels are my number one concern.

Does anyone know if Jamestown offers exchanges if I decided to go down to a smaller screen? I haven't taken this one out of the box yet. I was really hoping to stay with the 2.39:1 aspect due to my 8' ceilings and stage up front, as well as needing my center channel to be in front of the screen. 90% of the movies we watch are in 2.39:1 so I want the largest image possible for those. I also prefer a smaller 16:9 image for playing video games.
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post #7 of 13 Old 11-20-2013, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitel View Post

I guess I didn't realize 135" was that large with seeing some of the screen sizes other forum members talk about using. I'm currently looking at the Epson 5030UB. I've realized I might have to give up the powered zoom convenience to get the brightness that is needed for enjoyable 3D. Image quality / black levels are my number one concern.

Does anyone know if Jamestown offers exchanges if I decided to go down to a smaller screen? I haven't taken this one out of the box yet. I was really hoping to stay with the 2.39:1 aspect due to my 8' ceilings and stage up front, as well as needing my center channel to be in front of the screen. 90% of the movies we watch are in 2.39:1 so I want the largest image possible for those. I also prefer a smaller 16:9 image for playing video games.

It is large, for a woven screen. There are many people running larger screens, not most of those screens are not woven AT.

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post #8 of 13 Old 11-20-2013, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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It is large, for a woven screen. There are many people running larger screens, not most of those screens are not woven AT.

Let me clarify, the screen I have is not AT. It's a standard white screen material.

I've ran the numbers on the Projector Calc Pro, and it shows both the Epson 5030U and Panasonic AE8000U will provide 21 fL of brightness at my screen size with mounting the projector towards the front of the mounting range. I was under the impression I'd have more than enough brightness, am I missing something?
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-20-2013, 05:33 PM
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take this for what it's worth(one person's experience) but I watched life of pi on my 120" 16:9 1.0 gain white screen the other day in 3D on low bulb mode(just opened up the iris) and found it pretty enjoyable(aside from the movie which I did not like).

i did try watching it with the iris fully closes(same settings as my 2D) and it wasn't unwatchable in any way either. given a few minutes for my eyes to adjust, it was ok. but i figured there was no good reason not to open up the iris so i did. at least i know i don't need to run the projector in high bulb mode.

i do only have about 350hrs on the bulb though. maybe after 1000 or so i'll want to use high bulb mode for 3D?

Displays: Samsung PN64F8500/JVC X35
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-20-2013, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitel View Post

Let me clarify, the screen I have is not AT. It's a standard white screen material.

I've ran the numbers on the Projector Calc Pro, and it shows both the Epson 5030U and Panasonic AE8000U will provide 21 fL of brightness at my screen size with mounting the projector towards the front of the mounting range. I was under the impression I'd have more than enough brightness, am I missing something?

those calculators don't often use 'calibrated' lumen output. i'm not sure how much changed with the 5030, but I've seen many reports that say the calibrate output of the jvc x35 is effectively equal to the 5020(actually they have the jvc a few lumens higher). most ppl on here want to use a calibrated image, although in some cases it may be more enjoyable to watch a brighter, uncalibrated image for 3D

Displays: Samsung PN64F8500/JVC X35
AVR: Pioneer VSX-1018AH, 5.1 audio
Sources: HTPC(Mediabrowser), PS3, XBOX360, Wii, Sony DVP-CX995V
Control: Harmony One
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post #11 of 13 Old 11-21-2013, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

those calculators don't often use 'calibrated' lumen output. i'm not sure how much changed with the 5030, but I've seen many reports that say the calibrate output of the jvc x35 is effectively equal to the 5020(actually they have the jvc a few lumens higher). most ppl on here want to use a calibrated image, although in some cases it may be more enjoyable to watch a brighter, uncalibrated image for 3D

Yeah, I don't mind sacrificing a bit of color accuracy for a brighter image, if needed for 3D. I used to run my Epson 3850 in Living Room mode all the time, and never had it calibrated. I'm looking to do things a bit more professionally this time around though smile.gif
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post #12 of 13 Old 11-21-2013, 08:31 AM
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for me it isn't the color accuracy that bugs me. it's the dramatic rise in black levels.

i find that a dimmer picture, given my eyes time to adjust to it a bit, is more 'contrasty' and has a better black level than a super bright image.

with the jvc, i don't see much change with high/low bulb. and the iris open/closed, while dramatic at first, seems to yield similar experiences once my eyes have adjusted. in some cases, the bright image actually makes my room appear darker since my iris's open up so much.

Displays: Samsung PN64F8500/JVC X35
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Sources: HTPC(Mediabrowser), PS3, XBOX360, Wii, Sony DVP-CX995V
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post #13 of 13 Old 11-21-2013, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I just purchased the Panasonic 8000U from B&H photo. They have the best return policy (30 days with no lamp hour limit) of all the authorized resellers. Ended up being $2250 after I get the $200 rebate in the mail.

Here are the reasons I went with the Panny over the Epson, even though I know the Epson would have an edge in picture quality:

Motorized zoom / focus / lens shift. My screen is 2:39:1 and that's not changing. Epson zoom / lens shift controls are wobbly and would drive me nuts in between menus / movies / games.

Quieter operation. I've been reading the 5030 owner's thread, and there are lots of reports of annoyingly loud fans in 3D. I'm one of those types that would be constantly irritated with that.

The case is black My ceiling is black and I would not spend the extra money to spring for the 6030.

$600+ cheaper Assuming I pay sales tax purchasing at Best Buy, the 5030 would be over $2800.


I'm the type of person who is indecisive and I often get analysis paralysis, so instead of continuing to agonize over this decision I just jumped in. What I am really hoping is that Epson will get with the program and put motorized functions in their 2014 line-up, at which time I will take another look at my options.

Now I have motivation to get the theater completed! I plan to update my build thread soon.
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