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Battle of the Budget Projectors: Epson 8350 vs Panasonic PT-AR100u

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I apologize if this is a duplicate thread. I have been lurking in a few threads as I try to figure out what projector to build my family room "theater" around. I have narrowed my search down to these two "budget" projectors. It looks like many others are considering either of these projectors as well.

To help use those to soon be making the jump,I would like to hear from 8350 and AR-100u owners on a couple items:

1. Was either of these projectors in consideration when you were looking, and was one selected?

2. What was the biggest deciding factor when selecting your "budget projector?

3. Your view of biggest pros/cons vs either projector?

4. Are you happy with your decision, would you do it again?

Thanks!
post #2 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke Broadway View Post

I apologize if this is a duplicate thread. I have been lurking in a few threads as I try to figure out what projector to build my family room "theater" around. I have narrowed my search down to these two "budget" projectors. It looks like many others are considering either of these projectors as well.

To help use those to soon be making the jump,I would like to hear from 8350 and AR-100u owners on a couple items:

1. Was either of these projectors in consideration when you were looking, and was one selected?

Yes, plus a few others. I selected the AR100U.

2. What was the biggest deciding factor when selecting your "budget projector?

Brightness. Ability of handle ambient light. Price.

3. Your view of biggest pros/cons vs either projector?

Pros: Brightness, color saturation, contrast, sharpness (1080p) and decent black.
Cons: None. For my family room it was exactly what I was looking for.

4. Are you happy with your decision, would you do it again?

Yes, and yes.

Thanks!

You're welcome.
post #3 of 48
I purchased the AR100U to replace a failing InFocus SP4805. My main reasons for going with the AR100U were 1) price, and 2) lens shift. I planned to use the same mounting position on the wall as my old projector, so having lens shift was a must for me. I know the 8350 also has lens shift but at the time the AR100U was $200 less than the Epson.

Cons (for both projectors): white case color, not having powered zoom/focus/lens shift and no lens memory. I doubt you would find those features in any projector of this price range, but still it would be nice to have those features.
post #4 of 48
These were the 2 I looked at. I selected the Epson because it was plenty bright and has better contrast and black level. If you need all-out brightness and will mostly have some ambient light, I think the Panasonic wins. In a more traditional dark theatre setting, the Epson wins.
post #5 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thanks for those of you that chimed in. The room I will be using is multipurpose. I wont have windows to contend with so that is a plus. However, the room will be used for hosting football parties and other events where darkness just wont be an option. On the other hand when its just me at night gaming I will have total light control.
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke Broadway View Post

Thanks for those of you that chimed in. The room I will be using is multipurpose. I wont have windows to contend with so that is a plus. However, the room will be used for hosting football parties and other events where darkness just wont be an option. On the other hand when its just me at night gaming I will have total light control.

In the same boat as you.... so this thread is excellent for me to keep an eye on to see the responses. So thanks for making the thread and free bump.
post #7 of 48
Either will work OK. Just decide which situation is the more important situation for you.
post #8 of 48
I actually just purchased the Panasonic as well. My setup is a multipurpose room with some ambient light. My major battle is the reflected light from the walls and ceiling in the room, but the Panny does amazing.
I too game with the projector (xbox 360) and I cant believe the picture quality with my Panny. Love the brightness and clarity, also love being able to see across the maps on MW3 and spot snipers before they can see me. Dont know if this is due to the projector or the 109'' screen, but its awesome!!
post #9 of 48
The panasonic has a good gaming mode for low input lag. The epson is going to have at least 80ms of lag which will put you at a disadvantage. Panasonic would be my choice.
post #10 of 48
From the readings I've seen, the 8350 doesn't have much gaming lag. The ar100u is MUCH brighter than the 8350, much...

Other than that, it'd be interesting to see someone do a full shoot-out, but they also need to throw in a few DLP's if you want to talk about gaming comparisons for projectors (only fair).
post #11 of 48
Thread Starter 
From what I have seen the 8350 lag is 18ms not 80. The panny is very close at 20ms.
post #12 of 48
Projectorreviews just put the PT-AR100U as the best 2D only projector under $2000.

http://www.projectorreviews.com/1080...rd_winners.php
post #13 of 48
It would be nice to see some ambient light tests of these two. So many comparisons are done in perfect darkness. But to see a comparison of the two with some/ a lot of ambient light I think it would be informative.
post #14 of 48
The ar100u is better in ambient light than the Epson 8350, it can maintain a much more accurate picture at triple the lumens. The Epson can only get 75% of its brightness in complete green torch mode. I don't need to see a comparison to know that, I've seen the lumens measurements.
post #15 of 48
I just purchased the Panny, and the Epson 8350 was a serious contender. I chose the Panny due to its high rating on the Projector Reviews website for several reasons. I have an eight foot celing in my media room, and I absolutely require lens shift for a projector to work in my set up. Also, while I have good light control, my child likes lots of ambient light, so the brightness of the Panny projector is helpful.
post #16 of 48
How about Optoma HD23 vs Panasonic PT-AR100U?
Edited by WereWolf84 - 6/29/12 at 7:19pm
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cme4brain View Post

I just purchased the Panny, and the Epson 8350 was a serious contender. I chose the Panny due to its high rating on the Projector Reviews website for several reasons. I have an eight foot celing in my media room, and I absolutely require lens shift for a projector to work in my set up. Also, while I have good light control, my child likes lots of ambient light, so the brightness of the Panny projector is helpful.

I believe the Epson 8350 can lens shift more than the Panasonic PT-AR100U. However, you are correct about the Panny being better in ambient light. How do you like it so far?
post #18 of 48
I have narrowed it down between these models, exactly a week ago and it came down to the better black levels of the Epson 8350 over the Panasonic and the fact Epson offers the largest zoom available for all projectors I have looked at from under $1,000 to $3,000.

Also, lens shifting and adjustable legs helped too
post #19 of 48
I’m in the same boat as the OP and others: it’s come down to a decision between these two projectors.

The PJ will be going into a basement area with little to no ambient light. The space itself is not very big, maybe 12 x 15 x 8.

This is going to be my first PJ and I want to make sure that I make an informed decision. I’ve been lurking around the forums for a while now and from what I understand, if ambient light isn’t a concern, then the Epson would provide the better picture of the two. Is that right?
post #20 of 48
Although these two projectors are often pitted against one another they are actually intended for different purposes. The 8350 is for the dedicated home theater with no (or little) ambient light usually located in a basement while the AR100U is designed for the living or family room where ambient light is more prominent. Initially the AR100U can be too bright even in eco-mode for a man-cave unless the screen is really large but i have found that after putting 500+ hours on my projector that the brightness has come down a notch. I should really re-measure the lumens on my screen and compare them to my original numbers. I have no problems watching Blu-rays at night in my family/movie room on my AR100U, they look great, but I'm also aware that the 8350 (which I've never seen) likely has better blacks with its lower lumens.
post #21 of 48
Good info, Mr. G. It seems like this more or less confirms what I already suspected. Since mine will be going into a basement with little to no ambient light I'll probably end up purchasing the 8350. Thanks for the help!
post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Although these two projectors are often pitted against one another they are actually intended for different purposes. The 8350 is for the dedicated home theater with no (or little) ambient light usually located in a basement while the AR100U is designed for the living or family room where ambient light is more prominent. Initially the AR100U can be too bright even in eco-mode for a man-cave unless the screen is really large but i have found that after putting 500+ hours on my projector that the brightness has come down a notch. I should really re-measure the lumens on my screen and compare them to my original numbers. I have no problems watching Blu-rays at night in my family/movie room on my AR100U, they look great, but I'm also aware that the 8350 (which I've never seen) likely has better blacks with its lower lumens.

Mr. G hit it pretty well - all I would add is that the 8350 is bright, not fireball-bright (like the 100) but for sunday football on a 100" screen wit 2 or 3 floor lights or some can lights in the room, but no direct sun it is plenty bright. In a fully-darkened room you can go pretty big on the screen, say 150" or so. While the 8350 uses one generation older panel, it uses the higher quality (larger) LCD panel, and this helps image quality detail, sharpness, and contrast.
post #23 of 48
I have a new 8350 and it is plenty bright! I have a dedicated theater room with an adjustable light and it is no problem to have a little light in the room. Picture is surprisingly very sharp for a LCD...I came from a DLP and was worried that it would not be sharp...but it is! Watching baseball last night, i could tell which cameras were older and newer. The shots on the baseball players were ridiculously sharp, detail of skin was awesome! If you get any HD sport that is not as sharp...it's just THEIR equipment they are using...not yours! Blue-rays are stunning for 1K projector.
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ishot3bucks View Post

I have a new 8350 and it is plenty bright! I have a dedicated theater room with an adjustable light and it is no problem to have a little light in the room. Picture is surprisingly very sharp for a LCD...I came from a DLP and was worried that it would not be sharp...but it is! Watching baseball last night, i could tell which cameras were older and newer. The shots on the baseball players were ridiculously sharp, detail of skin was awesome! If you get any HD sport that is not as sharp...it's just THEIR equipment they are using...not yours! Blue-rays are stunning for 1K projector.

After the first three months with my 8350, I agree on every point. biggrin.gif
post #25 of 48
Thanks for the excellent additional info. It's always nice to hear from people who are more knowledgeable than myself on the subject and to hear from current owners. I don't know about you all, but when it comes to A/V equipment and big purchases in general, I am the type who can't do enough research, learn enough, etc. about the product I'm interested in. And with so many options available, it almost becomes paralyzing when it comes to making an informed choice!
Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

Mr. G hit it pretty well - all I would add is that the 8350 is bright, not fireball-bright (like the 100) but for sunday football on a 100" screen wit 2 or 3 floor lights or some can lights in the room, but no direct sun it is plenty bright. In a fully-darkened room you can go pretty big on the screen, say 150" or so. While the 8350 uses one generation older panel, it uses the higher quality (larger) LCD panel, and this helps image quality detail, sharpness, and contrast.

When you say it uses the older but larger panel, could you give me an example of what projectors have the new panel? Would that be something like the Home Cinema 3010? I wouldn't be interested in the 3010, but I'm just curious.

Again, thanks for the help
post #26 of 48
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by MechaPoitier View Post

Thanks for the excellent additional info. It's always nice to hear from people who are more knowledgeable than myself on the subject and to hear from current owners. I don't know about you all, but when it comes to A/V equipment and big purchases in general, I am the type who can't do enough research, learn enough, etc. about the product I'm interested in. And with so many options available, it almost becomes paralyzing when it comes to making an informed choice!
When you say it uses the older but larger panel, could you give me an example of what projectors have the new panel? Would that be something like the Home Cinema 3010? I wouldn't be interested in the 3010, but I'm just curious.
Again, thanks for the help


The company that put my 8350 in said they DID NOT LIKE the 3010. They said its just not as sharp and the 3d was pretty weak? I did not see it but this was the techs putting my system together. These guys were brutally honest with everything and they were not just blowing smoke up my butt...they preferred the 8350 over the 3010. They also said the 8700ub and the 5010...blows away my 8350...so they know their products!!
post #28 of 48
All of the new 3D LCDs have the new (D5?) panels. They come in 2 sizes (~ 1/2 inch and ~3/4 inch). The AU100 uses the smaller one, which has a poorer image quality. You have to check specification for each projector, but I believe all the Epsons and the Panasonic 5000 both have the larger one.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

All of the new 3D LCDs have the new (D5?) panels. They come in 2 sizes (~ 1/2 inch and ~3/4 inch). The AU100 uses the smaller one, which has a poorer image quality. You have to check specification for each projector, but I believe all the Epsons and the Panasonic 5000 both have the larger one.
are you sure? according to specs, it seems that AR100U uses the larger sizes panel (0.74" same as PT-AE7000U) instead of smaller one, Epson 3010 uses the smaller size panel (0.61')
post #30 of 48
Werewolf, you are correct the AR100U and the 7000U use the newer inorganic 0.74" LCD panels. The 5000 model (PT-AT5000) he is referring to is the European version of the 7000.
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