Front projector question...

Posted by: RickF

Front projector question... - 02/09/10 04:36 PM

Is there a way to tell by the specs of a particular front projector whether it does or does not work better with ambient lighting?

Seems like I've been told the Panasonic projectors do better in darker room whereas the Epsons will work a little better in rooms with a little more ambient lighting. True or false?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 05:31 PM

Take paper specs with a grain of salt, especially contrast and brightness ratings. No way to tell IMO other than waiting for tests & reviews where actual measurements are taken.

Yes, typically the Epsons are capable of higher max output but contrast and colour will suffer. This is not unique to Epson though.
Posted by: PhillipD

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 06:30 PM

Yeah sure is see link depending on the throw distance, fl, screen gain, and zoom used as well as the PJ's over all ANSI lumens. Plug what you are looking for in the link and see what it gives you. The ultimate test is in your own room with the amount of light you wish to have on while viewing.

Projector Pro Calculator

Later
Phil
Posted by: PhillipD

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 06:31 PM

What panasonic and epson were you lookign at?
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 06:38 PM

Phil I've been comparing the Panasonic PT-AE400U and the Epson PowerLite 8500UB.
Posted by: PhillipD

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 06:40 PM

Ohh the 8500UB is said to be a very nice unit I read the review here not too long ago I am sure you have too but here it is again.

8500UB Review

Shoot out between the two
Epson 8500UB vs Panny AE4000
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 06:43 PM

I've pretty much narrowed it down between the 4000 and the 8500UB and right now I'm more and more leaning towards the Epson although it will be another month or so before I ultimately decide, I need to do an AVR upgrade as well.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 06:45 PM

Where would we be without the help of Projector Central!
Posted by: PhillipD

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 06:51 PM

Epson has a two year warranty Panasonic only warranties the projector for a total of 2000 hours (or two years, whichever comes first). As a result most fairly heavy users - all of us who watch TV, sports, and movies (gaming too), will run out of warranty before two years is up.

The Epson also supports anamorphic lens and has a lamp life of 4000hrs compared to no anamorphic lens support and a lamp life of 2000 hrs.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 07:05 PM

I've been checking that out Phil, also an acquaintance owns an older Epson and really likes it .... he was the person telling me that the Epson works a little better in a room with more ambient light. The room I'll be installing the projector in isn't a dedicated theater so at times a *little* ambient light may come into play, not much though.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 07:13 PM

A little ambient light is ok Rick, you don't want to stub your toe on something. \:\)
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 07:33 PM

I've been on several good trips in broad daylight Randy ... 'been a while though. \:D
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Front projector question... - 02/09/10 09:13 PM

 Originally Posted By: RickF
Phil I've been comparing the Panasonic PT-AE400U and the Epson PowerLite 8500UB.


Of those two the Epson will be brighter, both in fully calibrated mode as well as max lumen mode.
Posted by: PhillipD

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 02:45 AM

I bet you would have never guessed I am an Epson owner too LOL a couple of years old now.
Posted by: cb919

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 08:59 AM

Hi Rick,
I actually just installed the Panasonic PT-AE4000 in a new HT build for my in-laws (no Axioms - though I tried!). I am a noob when it comes to projectors and I know nothing about the Epson, but if there's any specific questions I can answer on the Panny feel free to PM me. For what it's worth, here are my initial impressions (on a 120" anamorphic Stewart Firehawk screen) :

- when 1st ceiling mounted, it was tough to find the menu item to flip the image cuz the whole menu was upside down too. That was actually a laugh for the 1st 10 minutes!

- image quality is good, but does suffer when ambient light increases too much. We knew that going in, but we also have good control of the lighting conditions

- with ambient light low, image quality is great - really nice colour - although black levels/detail still don't compare favourably with a good plasma

- fan noise is very quiet in eco mode, I find it too loud if not in eco-mode (projector is ceiling mounted between 2 rows of seating)

- I love the feature of it automatically detecting the input signal and switching between 16:9 and anamorphic settings. That is just too cool when you switch from the movie menu to the actual movie and 10 seconds later the whole image zooms to fill the screen without touching a button!

- annoyed that it does not seem to have discrete power codes and input selection codes available for the Harmony, but I am working on this with Logitech support, so it might be resolvable

- black casing looks very nice IMHO

- user guide sucks at describing what the features actually do - i am still figuring stuff out by trial and error 3 weeks later

- not specific to the Panny, but I have learned to try and avoid ceiling mounting in a basement if possible due to floor joist vibrations when there's heavy footed walkers (or my kids!) upstairs, though that can have added artistic impressions to actions sequences with the whole image shaking along

Cheers,
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 09:21 AM

Thanks Dan, that's the kind of real time information I like to read about ... as the time draws closer I may just have a few questions for you.
Posted by: cb919

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 09:41 AM

No problem. Of course I doubt the basement celing mount is a concern for you in sunny Florida!
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 09:43 AM

No we don't have that problem, unfortunately.
Posted by: alan

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 10:31 AM

Hi Rick,

If you are a purist, all front projection images look relatively terrible with ambient light present. You can certainly see the image and enjoy a program while chatting with friends, pouring drinks and the like, but in terms of black levels, contrast, richness of color and so on, front-projected images with ambient light present are lousy compared to those viewed in a dark room.

I recall a Panasonic demo a year or so ago of their new projector, at CES, and the Panasonic rep had the light on in the viewing theater while he was extolling the wonderful image quality (NOT) behind him. I thought at the time, doesn't this idiot realise how terrible it looks?

If you have proper light control in the room, then great, you can adjust room lighting for the occasion.

Alan
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 11:23 AM

The Emir of Electronics is right. Good light control is a must. If there are any windows in the viewing room, make sure they're heaviliy curtained if you plan for daytime viewing.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 01:35 PM

Hi rick, for me it also came down to the 4000 and the 8500, finally choosing the 4000 but based on what Iím hearing from you so far I think youíd be better served by the 8500. But I have a couple of questions.

1. How bright do you plan on having your room and how big of a screen and what screen ratio?

Depending on your planned ambient light and screen size, screen selection may be more important an issue than projector selection. If you plan on a 16x9 screen the 4000ís zoom emulation feature is meaningless.

2. How do you plan to use the projector, movies, HDTV, gaming?

Your use will play to the relative strengths and weaknesses of each machine.

3. Do you want more pop/wow which often makes a better initial impression or do you want to better be able to see whatís happening in the darker parts of the screen which IMO makes for a better overall viewing experience in the long run.

4. Is initial cost or total cost of use more important?

The 4000 wins the first but the 8500 the latter.

Something else to keep in mind about placement. While everyone seems to say always put the projector as closes as you can to the screen IMO thatís a throw back to when projectors werenít bright enough and needed all the help they could get. Closer does give you brighter but farther give you better contrast. Also very close can cause issues with image focus and detail between the center and edges of the screen. Not likely visible watching normal video, however, it could be an issue if using the projector as a computer monitor.
Posted by: LordHits

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 03:10 PM

I have an Epson 6100 and if i have to buy another projector, I would go Epson again simply because their customer service is top-notch. I had a de-focusing issue with mines and after calling them up, they shipped me a replacement and told me to just return mines in the box that the replacement came with. Fedex shipping on their dime too. I was most impressed.

I can't compare the Epson to the Panasonic as i have mines in a totally light controlled room. I have had the Epson for over a year with 500 hours on the bulb and it still looks good now.
Posted by: Potatohead

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 03:33 PM

FWIW, I have the 6500UB and it has been great, although I only have about 350 hours on it. Picture quality is utterly fantastic. I had some family over the other day and they were completely blown away.

With that said, I love Panasonic product as well, but the Epson in Canada is much more reasonably priced comparitive to the US market.

It does look better with lights off, of course. I do watch sports and what not sometimes with some lights on, and it looks alright if the light doesn't reflect right onto the screen which completely washes out any blacks or darker colors. When the lights are off there is enough reflection off the screen to see where you're going in the room if that concerns you.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 04:04 PM

Here's an comparison review from late 2009 that compares the PT-AE4000 vs HC8500UV.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/10/10 07:18 PM

Thanks for the review Brain, that pretty much mirrors just about all of the other reviews I've read so far regarding the closeness of these two projectors and how it pretty much comes down to just a few subtle difference and personal preferences.

 Originally Posted By: grunt

Something else to keep in mind about placement. While everyone seems to say always put the projector as closes as you can to the screen IMO thatís a throw back to when projectors werenít bright enough and needed all the help they could get. Closer does give you brighter but farther give you better contrast. Also very close can cause issues with image focus and detail between the center and edges of the screen.


Dean, I plan on using a 16x9 120" screen that will pull down in front of our 73" TV and will be primarily used for movie watching and occasional TV watching, the room isn't inherently dark but can be darkened with curtains if needed but because of it being a part of the main floor plan we'd like to keep it as flexible as possible between music, movies, TV and socializing ... in other words we don't want a dedicated and always dark HT room.

Regarding your statement above and keeping in mind that I'm totally new to the front projection scene, is the recommended throw distance set in stone depending on the screen size or is there a distance variance based on where you may want to place the projector? I'm asking because whenever we built our room I did pre-wire for a projector but the pre-wired distance is 19' from the screen rather than the recommended 16 some odd feet from both Panasonic and Epson, although with a little effort I can extend the wires and cable to the recommended distance.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 01:31 AM

The throw distance isn't set in stone. Many will tell you that you
should/must put the projector as close to the screen as you can for the
increased brightness. However, with the brightness of today's projectors
that's no longer as big an issue. I have my projector 19 feet back from a
16x9 134" 1.4 gain screen. Not only does this give me better contrast it
minimizes any chance of hearing projector noise since my seating is only
about 15 feet back. One thing you don't want to do is put the projector at
either extreme of the zoom distances as it limits your ability to size it
properly to your screen.

Based on everything you've said up to now I would steer you toward the 8500
despite being a happy 4000 owner unless you already know that you prefer
better shadow detail to black levels. I've been comparing my new Samsung
LED HDTV to my AE4000. When I first turned it on the brightness and black
levels of the LED blew me away compared to the 4000. As I compared both
images I realized I actually preferred the better shadow detail of the 4000
over the LED, however if I wasn't comparing the screens I wouldn't have know
I was missing anything in the HDTV image.

While I think either of these projectors would serve you well I think the
8500's strengths play better toward your intended use than those of the
4000.

It wouldn't hurt to call "ProjectorPeople.com" and talk to one of their
reps. They usually get to see demos of the projectors and if you can talk
to a rep who's seen both they can give you a better opinion of which to get.


Cheers,
Dean
Posted by: korkster

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 09:58 AM

Hi Rick,
I have the Panny 4000 and love it, but I'm in a basement dedicated theater with total light control. One thing to keep in mind, and something that led me to the Panny instead of the Epson, is that I think the Epson only has manual focus and zoom whereas the Panny's is motorized and can be adjusted with the remote from your chair. Just some food for thought, but in the end the picture is the main thing, and I agree with everyone else that the Epson may do a little bit better in a room with some ambient light.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 10:37 AM

Rick,

Ambient light, as well as reflected light affects a projected image greatly. Lumen output of the projector is only one aspect to consider. If you are set on, or expect ambient light, then your choice of screen will be just as important as the projector. Youíll need to go with either a grey or silver screen. You will need to invest some money in the screen as the Ďbudgetí grey screens have a negative gain, with will adversely affect the image. That means you are stuck with a positive gain grey or silver screen, and both cost more.

The bulk of internet forum type folks go directly to the Panasonic and Epson units due to their low cost. Unfortunately, you miss many other great projectors that would cost just slight more. I would not limit yourself to the two models you have mentioned. They have their warts that their relative low cost tends to mask.

Did you ever figure out if you like the DLP look or not? Itís totally different than LCD or the JVC and Sonyís.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 10:45 AM

Morning Mike!

Actually our 73" Mitsubishi is DLP and the only thing that I'm not particularly fond of is the 3Dish look I sometimes see from it, it gets obvious whenever an up close of a person's face is on the screen .... almost as if there's a slight border line outlining the face.

What are some of the other brands would you recommend? I know I went through this a couple of months back but I sort of put everything on the back burner until now because we'll be doing the upgrade in the near future.
Posted by: PhillipD

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 11:13 AM

 Originally Posted By: michael_d
Rick,

Youíll need to go with either a grey or silver screen. You will need to invest some money in the screen as the Ďbudgetí grey screens have a negative gain, with will adversely affect the image.This means you are stuck with a positive gain grey or silver screen, and both cost more.

Not all grey screens that are in the "budget" range have a negative gain. I feel my screen is a "budget" screen and has a +1.8 gain. I do not feel it has any advers effects that I can think of. It is not a Stewart or SMX but is does the
job well I am also not reproducing any IMax quality pics either.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 12:49 PM

Whatís your screen Phil? You might be surprised to find youíve been BSíed. I do not know of any grey screen with a true 1.8 gain. My Stewart Firehawk is Ďsupposedí to be a 1.3 gain. Itís not, Iíve measured it at 1.15. Please donít post pics. Screen shots are a complete waste of time and effort.

Rick Ė

Sounds like you may have a preference for an image with more of a film look to it then. One of the desirable traits of DLP (desirable to those who like it) is that 3D look you are describing because DLP has a much higher ANSI contrast ratio than LCD, LCOS or DILA. The white outline however is calibration related. Try turning down your sharpness controls and see if it helps that.

As far as other brands, there are many. All have their proís and conís, and it really comes down to which ones you can live with, and which onesí you canít.

I have a preference for LCOS projectors, which are JVC. They have the best native contrast ratio of all projectors with the exception of CRT. I like blacks to look black and not grey. The entry level JVC RS 15 (also 550) is one heck of a machine. If you think you might get into display calibration, the RS 25 has an outstanding CMS. The RS35 is basically a RS 25 with higher quality control and hand selected parts. Iíve been very happy with my RS20 and you can find them used for under $4000. Great projector.

The Sharp 20K is a great projector. You can find used Marantz VP15siís for great price too.

It really depends on what float your boat. Thatís why I suggested you spend some time looking at a few different projectors, take some notes then talk about what it is you like and what it is you donít like. Then we can narrow it down for you instead of just giving you a recommendation for the cheapest projector out there.

There are only two internet based projector reviewers I pay attention to. Greg Rogers and Art Feierman. Art runs /owns Projector Reviews. http://www.projectorreviews.com/1080p-projector/index.php

If you have a subscription to Wide Screen Review, Greg Rogers does a fantastic job reviewing projectors. http://www.widescreenreview.com/
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 03:07 PM

Rick, this months Home Theater Magazine is a special projector issue. I don't know if it will be of any help or not, but it might be worth checking out! I can send it to you if you want....
Posted by: PhillipD

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 04:23 PM

 Originally Posted By: michael_d
Whatís your screen Phil? You might be surprised to find youíve been BSíed. I do not know of any grey screen with a true 1.8 gain. My Stewart Firehawk is Ďsupposedí to be a 1.3 gain. Itís not, Iíve measured it at 1.15. Please donít post pics. Screen shots are a complete waste of time and effort.


Ahh true that...for the money I am sure it is not then. Just going on the specs of what the company had listed. If your Firehawk does not measuer then I am sure my $500 screen will not. Are you using a luminance meter that reads in lux (fc) to get your readings? If so what model are you using? That would be a neat little addition to have.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Front projector question... - 02/11/10 08:13 PM

I use an inexpensive meter. Probably the best one available for a home user though. The pro's use meters that run over 5 grand and read crazy acurate.

This is mine. http://www.amazon.com/AEMC-CA813-LIGHTME...d=2QH5SJW2ML0FJ