Chirpie's Review going from a Sanyo Z4 to the Sony VPL-HW40ES
OK, so this puppy finally showed up today. I knew it was going to be bigger than my Z4. But I got a chuckle at just how much bigger. It's also the coolest LOOKING projector I've seen in a while. Imagine the original FAT 32 Sony Playstation 3, and you'll get an idea of the black plastic finish. (And you'll know how easy it fingerprints.) Very cool looking regardless.
A friendly note that I guess I never realized... the power and inputs to this thing go in from the side, not the back. It makes access for me a little trickier but no big deal.
I played with this and the older Sanyo Z4 for about 5 hours this evening. I've always been pretty happy with the picture I squeezed out of the Z4. And it's still trucking. About 650 hours on the current bulb that's in it. (I changed the previous bulb around 1,300 hours because I had the spare and was worried I'd never get around to using it before I replaced it. :-P)
So I tried a few settings that other people posted here and I ended up going with a slightly different version of my own. (THIS IS FROM MEMORY, I'LL double check tomorrow night.)
Picture mode: Reference
Reality Creation – OFF
Lamp power – Low
Motionflow – OFF
Contrast – 80
Brightness – 55
Color – 58
Hue – 51
Colour temp – Custom 5 - D65 - see gain and bias below.
Sharpness – 30
NR – Off
MPEG NR – Off
Film mode – Auto 1
Contrast enhancer – Off
Gamma Correction – 2.4
XV Color – Off
Color space – BT.709
Color Temp (custom 5):
Gains: R15, G-30, B-26
Bias: R-5, G0, B-2
All of this projected on an SMX 106" acoustically transparent screen. The projector is about 10.5' back. This picture is older and is with the Z4 in place, but it gives you an idea where the projector is in the room. My front row is now about 9.5' feet away from the screen, so it feels pretty big.
I can't quite remember if the color temp is right, but the others should be. It made for an ever so slightly punchier picture (white and color wise) but still pretty close to some other settings.
First off, the color accuracy really is as impressive as everyone says it is. I could never quite get that last 10% on the previous projector and this scratches that itch nicely. This was a moderate improvement over the Z4.
Secondly, if you're super sensitive to screen door, this projector is on the list of ones that you will not be able to see it. Seriously, you could be standing 4 feet away and there's no having it. This was a big improvement over the Z4.
Third, I did have to panel align. Roughly -4 Red horizontal, and -4 Blue Vertical. Turning it on and off, extremely thin white lines on black back grounds got ever so slightly whiter with no edges of color from misalignment.
Fourth, yes, it's a very quiet machine. The Z4 was no slouch in their area as well, so no blow out on that one.
Fifth, it IS bright. I must have checked 10 times to see if the lamp was set to high, and every time I smiled seeing low on there. (Note: It's hiding under a setting that's not very intuitive, "cinema black pro")
As for the blacks, I can see why it's not listed as a strong point. It's definitely better than the Z4, don't get me wrong, but it's not night and day, more like a 30% improvement if you want a number put to it. The Z4 had an iris, and I was always noticing it, even if I had the setting turned way down, so I'm happy to see it gone.
I said I'd post some pics comparing them. I haven't done the over exposed ones yet, but here's a few to get things started.
Let's start with these TOY STORY 2 pics. I think they're a friendly reminder that you CAN'T completely trust a camera's picture. For starters... Z4's blacks simply aren't this good. LOL This happens because these are just properly exposed photos. Here's an important note, it took a 2 F-stop adjustment to get comparative exposure out of the two projectors, a friendly reminder at just how many more lumens the Sony puts out. You'll also note that as good as the Z4 looks... the 40ES is that much better. And the crop shows just how much more detail is there for the viewer. Plus, check out how the two smaller shoulder robots on the Z4 are slightly different in color! (Greyscale isn't uniform!)
MORE TO COME...