Just a heads up for those of you still on the fence, as to which to buy. I received my Z4 eval unit yesterday, and am working on the review. Spent time this afternoon shooting DVD and Hi-Def source photos with the Panny 900u and the Z4 projecting side by side.
I'll try to have the preliminary review up on my site late Sunday nite, but it will be a work in progress and take about a week, and by that time, maybe the Epson 550 will arrive for review.
But, here's a tidbit or two, between the Z4 and the Panny. Some of these thoughts you have heard from others.
1. The Z4 does appear slightly sharper on many things, although you can use the sharpness control on the Panny, but Sanyo seems to have the edge here.
2. Shadow detail, black levels, so far, all Panasonic. Not big differences, but I played with Panny's Cinema 1,2, and 3 settings and the Z4's Creative Cinema and Pure Cinema modes. Panasonic wins.
3. Highlights - took some images of both, where the Panny has more shadow detail, and is not losing highlight detail in the same scene. The Sanyo is losing at both ends.
4. Vertical banding. Detectable on both projectors, more noticeable on the Sanyo, but neither projector had what I would call a problem with VB
- unless you are looking at a perfectly gray area with no detail or noise (like a background screen). I figure if you have to stand 2 feet from the screen to find some VB
- who cares. Of course this may vary from projector to projector.
5. Pixelization. Slam dunk, the Panny LCD panels have almost invisible pixels. -comparable to DLP, anyway. Personally, I think this is one of the most significant differences between the projectors. I like to sit pretty close and the pixels on the Z4 would drive me crazy.
6. Color - edge to Panasonic. If you do a really good calibration I figure it will probably be a tie, but 99% of owners will plug in and go, and that gives the Panny the edge. Oh yeah - I like to talk about "sunny days". Shots on sunny days (like sunlight hitting a face, definitely look "sunnier" on the Panny.
Lastly - Perspective. These two projectors are so close overall, that any number of other differences may be your deciding factor. If you were looking for perfection (100%) you might say one is an 88 and the other a 90. Not a 72 and a 94. -art
So, drop by my site late Sunday and hopefully I'll have plenty for you.