I chose Z5 over ax100 (compared the two in shop):
- less fan noise
- slightly sharper (I don't mind minor SDE)
- no iris-noise etc. (though ax100 is better than ae900 in this matter)
- two HDMI inputs
- dust cleaning holes
- lens iris to adjust lumens
- no need for those extra lumens (rather small 80" diagonal screen)
- better warranty
- historically Sanyo has better build quality than Panasonic in this Z1-5 / aex00 -class
And, I have this setup:
- 80" diagonal grey draper 0.8 gain screen
- some ambient light, but proper light control (though some white walls)
- seating distance 3.3 meters (about 1.5x the width of the screen)
- FL-DAY colour filter in front of the lens (cuts light about 30%)
- use the lens manual iris in closest possible (-63) position for dark room viewing
- use the lens iris in open (0) position for ambient light watching
- lamp in eco-mode
- settings in dynamic-imagemode, contrast -14, lamp-iris in auto1 mode, dynamic gamma in auto2 mode, all about default
And: I enjoy the image very much. Better than ae900. And there is plenty of light for my setup, and if lens iris is open, the light is enough for some ambient light viewing too.
Of course the ax100 was brighter, but it wasn't so bright that I expected (eyes works logarithmic, not linear, that's why we can see in almost total darkness and thus the bright sunlight won't make us blind, and there is much more lumens in sunglight than in ax100 ;) ). And I wasn't in need of those extra lumens.
And to sum up: I didn't want third panasonic due to build quality. I had ae700 and ae900 and BOTH did flicker in low lamp setting sooner or later (after 300 hours approxemately), and they both had iris noise that did make me crazy. Of course I could had them fixed, but I didn't want to lose my pj for months in repair.
I like in Z5:
- lens iris (manual lumen control, did hope this for ax100, because it really colud benefit the iris due to extra lumens)
- contrast is better than ae900 (and PC did say it is slightly better than ax100, but I will wait cine4home tests and measurements for actual numbers)
- the ax100 was WAY sharper than ae900
- ax100 did not have any colour fringing around pixels when lens shift was zero (ae900 did smear the colours around pixels badly)
So I'm happy with my Z5 and I can rest my nights in peace. We only have two reported Z4 lamp blow-cases in here Finland forums (similar to this place). But we have many ae700/ae900 lamp blow-cases and flicker cases. And we have already one, who did have bad iris noise in ax100 (got it to repair). And there were one flickering ax100 in low-lamp mode here in these forums. SO: I don't trust that panasonic did so much better with ax100, so I was afraid to buy it.
Here are few threads in here, we have similar in Finland forums too:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=733870http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=524209
And I have read somewhere that the UHM type lamp isn't the most reliable type compared to UHP (Sanyo, Sony) and UHB (Hitachi) UHE (Epson). But of course there are statistical differences every time and bad and good production in different times in 'lamp factories'.
Here is a quote:
There are quite a few different types of lamps. The most common lamp used today are UHP (Ultra-High Performance) lamps. There are also metal halide (UHM), ultra-high energy (UHE), ultra- high brightness (UHB), video projection (VIP), and mercury arc (NSH). UHP lamps were introduced by Philips and tend to retain their quality until the end of their useful life. UHP lamps also last longer, they require less power for the equivalent amount of brightness. On the other hand, UHM lamps tend to diminish in quality over time. UHMs offer the poorest performance and brightness out of the group we looked at." At:http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/cool...82t-110000023c
But it is too early to say the build quality of z5 is better than ax100, but I was afraid to buy the pana. And I hope all ax100 owners will have a long lasting unit and the quality is better than ae700 / ae900.
And finally I say the both units did throw fantastic picture and my old ae900 is very shy to both of these Z5 / ax100 and other (epson, hitachi) this autumn same price-range projectors. And sorry for a bit messy post and slightly bad language.
Now: let's watch some movies and have popcorn :)