Sanyo Z2 or Panasonic AE500?


Prominent Member
Oct 13, 2003
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I hate the internet! Life was so much simpler when you just walked into a shop, went "ooooohh!!! that looks cool!" and handed over the cash blindly.

Now I get to fret over dust blobs, VBs, red balance, poor de-interlacer etc etc etc *sigh*.

So here's the setup. Our source is a Sony S725 DVD, sending component interlaced signal. We're planning on a 96" screen using a 3.0-3.7m throw. We'll be sitting more or less below the PJ.

We could mount a Z2 in a couple of places using less than 2/3 lens shift and no keystone correction. The AE500 might need a little vertical keystoning since I'd like the screen down quite low. We might use the iris on the Z2, but we'll be mostly watching movies in pitch dark I think (fairly light walls though, so contrast will be suffering).

In conclusion:

In the blue corner we have the AE500, with VBs, some keystone adjustment required, marginally less flexible with regards to room lighting.

In the red corner is the Z2, complete with red tint needing scary tweaking to fix, the constant fear of dust blobs, iffy performance with an interlaced signal, and also some VB issues.

Which is the lesser of the 2 evils folks?
I have an AE300, which plays on a 7' screen - I too sit abuot 3m away and directly under.

I have vertical and horizontal keystone on it as I did not quite get my ceiling mount in the right place, and to be honest - I dont notice any detriment to the picture. ( mind you, I only had to make a small adjustment )

I also watch in pitch dark ( with light walls ) and.......

I am still and always have been extremely impressed with the picture quality. I have had no problems with it and I still get very excited on movie night.

Check out my website on the link below for some pics of it in action.

Hope this helps you decide.
Yandros, fighting for the Z2 corner, depends on how much of a perfectionist you are. I havd dust blobs and have only noticed them in one scene in one film. because i dont notice them Im not going to clean it till I do. Same with VB notice it once in a while, until it becomes noticeable Im not tweaking.

regarding red push. cant say Ive noticed. Ive aviad it and Im happy with the image. Dont understand the scary tweaking bit. Maybe youve read too much about buns first Z2.

I use a sony 735 source using componant interlaced and maybe its because its a first projector, but I wouldnt say the image was iffy. Ive played the avia test cards through it and as far as I can tell its better than any other way of getting the image.

Not a knock out blow, I know, but not seeing a 500 Icant give a comparison and say which is best

Oh and 3 months on, we still get the wow factor and grin while watching fims.

Where abouts in the Uk are you. Im in north west and happy to demo
The Z2 can have a bit of annoyance in the mid reds, but it is actually quite easy to fix to an acceptable level...... pretty much no more than changing one service menu setting. I wouldnt be scared.

Are you intent on buying from someone local that you could see the machine? Were this the case you should insist the fix any red you see, if they dont know how, just them to me! :D

Z2 for me and still the best money I’ve spent on HC yet. Now at 150hrs and no dust blobs with no red push that I can tell. The disc and the way it’s encoded has a lot to do with the VB side of things. Just keep in mind that you can’t have perfection at any price for any machine and you will find choosing a lot easier. For the two machines you have listed, I’d say score draw… :smashin: :smashin:
I think the worst problem with both these projectors is the vb (how much it actually bothers you is a different kettle of fish). My impression is that the AE500 is somewhat worse on the vb side than the Z2. Further advantage of the Z2 is lens shift and lack of smoothscreen technology which, imho, is totally unnecessary on projectors of this resolution where screen door is not an issue anyway. However, you might prefer a soft picture!

Further consideration should be given if you can get the AE500 cheaper than the Z2 – in that case is the Z2 actually worth the extra dosh to you?

When I was looking I kept reading about screendoor on LCD projectors believing it to be major problem which led my to look at DLP, but then they suffer from rainbows, so I looked at CRT projection, too expensive and bulky, so back to LCD.

You could play this going around in circles game forever, the best thing you can do is demo a projector.

I went for the cheaper Z1 and am still blown away by it. I think at the end of the day if you watch the film and not the technology things like screendoor don't become an issue.
Thanks for the replies so far guys!!! In particular, thanks for putting some of the niggles into perspective, it's what I'd hoped you'd all say.

nunew33 - thanks for the offer. I'm down in Essex though so it would be a bit of a hike.

Our local dealers are a bit useless to be honest. I won't name and shame, but one chain has only 1 projector "specialist" store and they're demoing just a single £4000 DLP PJ. Another chain again only recommends high end DLP. A 3rd chain has moved exclusively to DLP.

The ones I've been impressed by so far are av-sales and Ivojo.
Both have been very helpful over the phone and both recommended the Z2. Trouble is, av-sales recently replaced it in their demo room with the AE500. So I can take a trip to Kent to see an AE500, but the Z2, which has always been the favourite for me, might have to be a leap of faith - I can't find one to demo!!!!

I've been following the AE500 vs Z2 debate over on avsforum and the lens shift remains the key feature it seems. I was out with the tape measure again last night. For the ideal screen position (apparently) of eyeline at 1/3 from bottom of image, we need 70cm drop on the ceiling mount without lens shift or keystone. This is really heading into the unacceptable zone methinks since our room height is only 2.4m. Even though it's over the sofa I can still see people suffering from concussion. With a Z2 we can mount it further back near the rear wall and higher, but the AE500 would either need to be about 30cm higher with keystone correction or we have to accept a higher screen position.

Decisions decisions!
DLP is a no-go btw for 2 reasons...Firstly, my girlfriend tends to be prone to eyestrain with even the best TV/PC screens, so knowing my luck she'll HATE DLP. Secondly the throw of the lenses are usually to long for our room size (screen to rear wall will be 4.14m)
Dunno if this will be relevant to the debate, but doesn't the Panasonic only come with a 1 year warranty? I think the Z2 has a 2 year warranty. I might be wrong, but it's probably worth checking into. Cos a broken out-of-warranty LCD projector will be terrifyingly expensive to fix
If you want to see the Z2 on demo, Nexnix had one a few weeks ago, and probably will still do. They are based in Horsham, but from what I understand they will not be stocking the AE500, due to an ongoing arguement with Panasonic.

Hope this helps

Yup, Z2 has a 2 year warranty. I'd noticed that Nexnix had a Z2 too, but it's a bit of a hike down there. It might come to that though (unless I can find one in central London).
Yandros, if this is your first pj then it may come down to ease of set up the Z2 with lens shift is very easy took me all of a few minutes to get a picture on screen and it means you dont have to place it dead centre or use keystone. I imagine you will be blown away whichever one you get. I have a Z2 and have only had to adjust the red and brightness using avia. The image via pal interlaced from my 757 was the same as a pal progressive from the hd935 so no problems there. I have about 250 hours usage on the lamp so far and it still amazes me.
Dont read these threads until you get a pj otherwise you will be humming and arring for a few more years :D

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