I just got back from the Panasonic Hollywood Lab facility in Universal City, as a guest of AVS' Daniel Hutnicki - thanks Daniel!
Panasonic's representatives from the Projector Business Unit in Japan were there to demonstrate the new Panny 7000/5000. Thanks Panasonic!
It was only about an hour duration or so, but here are some quick impressions. Art's blog already mentioned quite a bit that I won't bother repeating.
First stop was in their large screening room, where they have one large wall (30' across or so) which is all screen (1.0 gain white - Art mentioned 1.1, but our host for the day said 1.0). They started with an overview of the business, the work that the Hollywood lab is involved with, and a presentation outlining the new features and changes in the 7000. They then demonstrated some material with side by side 4000 and 7000 projectors, both shooting onto the screen wall - the screen sizes were modest, I'd say in the range of 80-90"? (16:9)
The 2D performance was an incremental improvement over the 4000 - ever so slightly sharper / more detailed, a little brighter (both were in Cinema1 mode), and slightly blacker blacks. Red hair was more red, perhaps due to the new bulb the 7000 uses.
As far as 3D performance - this was my first experience with a 3D projector, outside of a (non-home) movie theater. I haven't experienced the crosstalk/ghosting issue in person before, but based on my understanding of it, I didn't see any hint of it. I did see a very slight background "flicker" from time to time when I moved my eyes or refocused - not sure whether this is par for the course with the current state of the art. I didn't find it objectionable - but I'm not a huge fan of 3D just yet in general - my eyes want to constantly refocus, and at the theater sometimes I have to take off the glasses just to get my eyes to focus and then put them back on. The 3D mode was noticeably less bright than 2D mode - but not what I would call "dim".
They also showed some examples of applying 3D emulation to 2D content - they showed Astro Boy, and a non-animated military movie, forgot the title. It added some depth, and was interesting, but not really quite 3D. There are a number of 3D emulation settings that determine how the "parallax" images are spaced apart, but we didn't have time to experiment with those.
Q: What would the calibrated lumens be?
A: They couldn't say at this time. Art's review of the 4000, which was speced at 1600 lumens, came out to I believe about 430 lumens - so it will undoubtedly be less than the 2000 spec lumens, but we'll have to see how much less - hopefully less drop off than with the 4000.
Q: Is the light path sealed (dust blob issue)?
A: No, not possible with LCD, but they have done some tweaks in this area.
Q: What about the other projectors that Panasonic is releasing this year?
A: Can't really talk about them yet.
Q: How quiet is it?
A: Very - they speced 22 dB - I was sitting behind the projector sitting about chest high, three feet away, couldn't hear it. I could faintly hear the 4000 for comparison.
As far as the dual triggers - they briefly popped up some menu settings, which seemed to indicate they could be set up to trigger not only on power, but on aspect ratio change - so might support dropping down a second screen when the aspect changes.
Originally Posted by whitetrash66
$3499 street price?
That's the MSRP - on the 4000, it streeted for about $500 less than the MSRP, so this one likely will also sell below street - although maybe not right away.
Bottom line: the 4000 was on my short list when I was projector shopping a few months ago, but I opted for a used JVC RS20 because I wanted to support a fairly big screen (136" wide), and I didn't think the calibrated output of the 4000 would be sufficient. If I was shopping now, the 7000 would definitely be on the short list - probably at the top. But I would wait and see what cine4home or Art's reviews say as far as calibrated lumen output before buying one, if you're planning a large screen.