I'm still waiting for my DVE disk, I can't do anything serious yet to dial the Z5 in. I followed coderguy's instructions and it is quite decent for a start but the green gamma must be a bit off or so. I can see where the "orangey" red is rising its ugly head but one should be able to tame that a bit. The advanced image menu is so deep, it really leaves it to the operator to screw around with all parameters.
It becomes quickly clear that one might even have to dial in nuances between movies again e.g. between Miami Vice and Deep Blue and King Kong were quite a few differences in skin tones visible, obviously personal choices by directors rather than flawed transfers.
In regard to BLACKS we should remember that this is an LCD PJ, even if it is an advanced one at that, but here at home with almost total light control I have no complaints about the black levels. I have a white ceiling and that will always compromise darkness somewhat. Once you get through the calibration process and start to watch engaging movies you'll forget about the black levels, the eyes actually adapt quite well to a given contrast ratio over time as long as we don't get bored with the movie.
I run my Z5 with an OPPO 981 and at 720p it looks real nice, better than 480p somehow (less SDE makes a difference), I see some macro blocking with some movies but I'm optimistic that I can dial most of that down or get rid of the movie, I see very little mosquito noise and SDE is not an issue at a regular seating position.
My screen isn't finished yet and so I'm watching on a 55" DoAble board right now which might have a gain of 1.2 or so. Brightness is almost too high on it tonight.
For first impressions: I'm quite happy, it's actually a bit higher quality than expected, next week my second Z5 will be here and then I will run them next to each other to see what difference there is, if any.
I really like the film-like quality of the Z5, it's sharpness, the wonderful BLUE and GREEN colors it produces in water scenes, the 2x zoom for convenience of mounting, the absolute quiet fan, 2 HDMI and component inputs and what have you...for a great price after rebate.
There is no close competitor anymore right now, the panny 100 has made a lot of unhappy campers here in the forums, with teething problems on panel alignment it seems. I almost bought a panny myself, I just hope they can fix their problems soon, it's more than a handful of people suffering from it.
In general I feel that the current state of technology is truly impressive with projectors, they provide a level of quality now that rivals small theaters. We all tend to want better and cheaper and more features...but sometimes we should just sit back and enjoy what we have.
The Z5 is GOOD ENOUGH for now, at least for me. After all I still need money for food and Netflix.
more later when my DVE disk gets here