Originally Posted by coderguy
The Panasonic does not have blacks close to the Epson 5010. The advantage of Native On/Off is also not just in black levels which is where the Epson is better, but the higher On/Off lets us run a slightly higher of a GAMMA curve which increases POP in the image. No matter what projector you buy, if you do not calibrate it, the added benefits will not be completely apparent (although there are a few projectors that need calibrating a lot less than some).
The Epson 5010's Native Contrast is 5,000:1+ after calibration. The Panasonic ae7000u after calibration generally ends up at 2,500:1, sometimes 3,000:1. The JVC RS45's Native On/Off is 50,000:1 (10x the Epson and 20x the Panny). This difference isn't as drastic between the RS-45 and the Epson as it sounds, partly because the Epson's IRIS makes up for about half the difference or a little more. However, with my RS-45, I can actually run a gamma curve far higher than most can and still receive proper looking images, as I have it mounted at farthest throw and am getting just at 50,000:1 Native on/off. The JVC's are messed up in shadow detail OOTB, but can be fixed.
If I had to trade the JVC for another projector, I could live with the Epson 5010 or Sony hw30, but I could not live with the Panny 7000.
There is a BIG difference between Panny and Epson blacks precisely because one starts at around 2500:1 Native On/Off and the Epson at 5000:1+ before the IRIS is even engaged. There is actually more difference between say 2,500:1 and 5,000:1 perceptibly by the eye than even 10,000:1 and 20,000:1, especially exagerrated is the difference due to the IRIS multiplier of On/Off being disadvantaged on lower On/Off projectors like the Panny 7000.
Projector IRIS's are handicapped based on where the projector starts for its Native On/Off.
The Panny ae7000u maxes out around 7,500:1 even with the IRIS enabled in REC 709 mode. In Cinema mdoe it does get more aggressive, but the picture will suffer greatly. For the Epson, it can do around 20,000:1 On/Off with the IRIS and even much greater than that in some cases with not as many visible effects as the Panny's Cinema MOde IRIS (which some have called bouncy).
The Epson has better 3D than the Panasonic IMHO (I've seen both), it has a far brighter best mode, and far better black levels. The only reason to buy the Panasonic ae7000u is if you are a GAMER that cares about lag and you need CIH.
If you just need CIH and don't care about gaming lag or care about 3D as much as the Epson gives, then the JVC RS-45 is the one to buy. The RS-45 mostly only bests the others in movies though. The Epson 5010 or Sony hw30 are the only two projectors I'd buy if I didn't own the RS-45. The Panny ae7000u was ok, but if I'm going to live with black levels that high, then I'm not going to pay that kind of money for black levels at that point, I would just buy a cheaper projector from previous years (8700ub), and then get an Acer 9500bd to pair with it for 3d.
In otherwords, Eson 8700ub + Acer9500bd is superior to the Panny for just a little more money. Another option is get you a refurb'd JVC HD250 or old RS10 and an Acer 9500 for all NON-MOVIE viewing. Even a refurbished Epson 6500ub/8500ub/ or refurb 8700ub + Optoma hd33 or Epson 3010 would be another decent choice over the Panny