Squibbly's Z4 thoughts

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by squibbly, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. squibbly

    squibbly
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    329
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +4
    Got the Z4 from Ivojo on Tuesday (thank you Ivojo, delivered as promised and with no fuss whatsoever), but only just managed to fire it up today (my procrastination towards redecorating the attic room finally caught up with me!). Anyway, after two days of serious painting and furniture shifting I finally got the baby fired up and playing. I should say that as big as it is, it was a little lighter than I expected (some plastic there where I would have preferred metal).

    Some info for you: The Z4 is hooked up via component to a Pioneer 868AVi which is outputting 570p. It would be hdmi, but my Lindy cable (posted Friday), seems to have been misplaced by our postal system and I have to wait 15 working days before they'll declare it lost and Lindy will send me a replacement. I'm projecting onto a blackout cloth at present (Beamax 1.2 white screen is on order, but takes 7-10 days), which is pinned onto the back wall. I see no vertical banding, only creases in the cloth! The image is about 2m wide and I'm viewing it from about 3.5m. The room is now a dark red as is the rug, but the sloping roof space is clad with varnished pine, and to colour this red was a bridge too far for the missus. There is some reflection off my CD stacks as well.

    I have done absolutely no tweaking at all yet, just flicked through some of the settings to see the different tones and also to check out the dynamic iris.

    So far (since it got dark!) I've watched Rear Window and Blood Simple. I have to confess that neither of these are probably the best source to show off the image, being a 1950s film and a budget noir, but hey, that's what I fancied watching, cos they're good films.

    I thought both films were rendered clearly. The images sucked me in and I only occasionally scouted around it so that I had something to write here! I can only see screen door from about 1x screen width and even then it isn't a bother to me. It's about what I'd notice when watching a TV that close.

    I have viewed in the main using the first cinema setting (pure?) and also on Living (which produces a higher CR) and I have to say that I haven't noticed the iris one bit. Not even a spasm. Maybe I'm just not sensitive or there haven't been massive shifts from light to dark, but despite looking for it I have completely failed to detect its operation.

    The image is nice and crisp, and it's a relief to view after what DLP did to my eyes. It is actually restful, where as DLP got my eyeballs all hot and bothered until I actually dreaded watching it (when I borrowed one for a week that is). I did notice some slight noise around sharp edges, but this could be some of the factory sharpness settings which I haven't messed with yet.

    I can't comment on the colour yet, because Rear Window has a very 50s colour palette (which looked as I remembered it from my CRT) and Blood Simple has quite washed out tones. I'll comment further when I view more.

    My only criticism is that the black level on the cinema setting is just OK. That is, it's about as good as a Screenplay 5700. Admittedly, the Screenplay was in a proper blacked out room whereas mine is somewhat reflective in parts and the image is on a blackout cloth! So it's probably fair to say that I will be working on this by a) trying out ROne's tweaks and experimenting with the other settings, b) damping down my reflective surfaces (and when I get the screen I can actually use the blackout material for what I bought it for!). It's still perfectly fine though and doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the film, it just doesn't yet have that glossy black I saw on an Optoma H77 (looking forward to Projector Central's comparison, here!).

    I will now say this from experience, when you read someone else's thoughts on these things when you're thinking of buying, you tend to amplify the faults (read above, you may now be worried about the black level, other reviews worried me about the iris), since you have no point of reference. The image from the Z4 is very very good. I now have a 92" screen in my house and it looks fabulous. What impresses me the most is that I can watch all my favourite films and my enjoyment is greatly increased by the size and quality of the image. I continue to be staggered that it is possible to get a cinema quality image (and this is the crux, the Z4 image is to me as good as most modern cineplexes') using a £10 DVD as the source, with a projector that costs sub £1300 IN YOUR OWN HOME.

    To put it into perspective, before we buy we all get hung up on the pros and cons of which one to get. It's an important purchase after all. I've probably seen about 5 or 6 models now (mostly Themescenes and Screenplays). Well they all threw a good image. The Z4 looks great, I'm sure that the Panny will look great, and the TX200 and TW600 and HS60. Demo some if you can (I didn't see an LCD before I bought it, but then since DLP was out, I had no choice). I can't imagine many would be disappointed. I certainly am not as I plough into my Coen brothers movie season, soon to be followed by all Marilyn Monroe's films from 1950 until 1962.

    And then I powered down the Z4 and the little lens cover swished over the lens like a door on the USS Enterprise. Ahh, lovely.

    Squibbly
     
  2. rdundas

    rdundas

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,682
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Grangemouth
    Ratings:
    +117
    Spot on. I feel the same. I have it in a blackout room with an owl screen and I must say I am happy with blacks so far. Going to watch some more dark movies tomorrow to confirm
     
  3. Timbo21

    Timbo21
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Messages:
    4,689
    Products Owned:
    4
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +340
    Squibbly, are you getting any of the JG effect? :eek: Or, do you not suffer from this most terrible of afflictions with the new Z4?

    Regards,

    T. :)
     
  4. crackazz

    crackazz
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    87
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +2
    nice read!

    what are your thoughts and opinions on the performance of the infamous iris? do you really notice the slow reaction?
     
  5. ROne

    ROne
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2000
    Messages:
    782
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +8
    In Living and Pure cinema the iris is most effective in terms of performance and transparency, in other words you can't see it move much at all but produces nice contrast.

    Welcome to z4 world.
     
  6. squibbly

    squibbly
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    329
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +4
    Timbo

    Are you inventing a new LCD phenomenon there?

    Squibbly
     
  7. dunamis

    dunamis
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    200
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +5
    I'll hazard a guess that this is the...
    Judicious Green effect...nope
    Justifiably Gobsmacked effect...hmmm, maybe.
    Jealous Girlfriend effect?? Sounds about right. ;)

    dunamis
     
  8. squibbly

    squibbly
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    329
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +4
    Watched the digitally remastered director's cut of Cinema Paradiso last night, using ROne's Living settings on his tweak thread. The picture was fantastic, to the point that the wife scolded me for going on about it so much. The OK black level on the previous viewing was completely transformed into one far darker and filmic. Additionally, the slight edging artifacts I first saw had completely disappeared. A fabulous image in my opinion.

    Still couldn't see the dynamic iris work.

    I'm now finding myself concurring with Projector Central's somewhat gushing review. It was a completely immersive experience last night. The colours were vibrant and overall this was as good an image on a projector as I have seen. I am trying to be objective here, and not be the new adopter refusing to find fault with his machine. The only slight glitch I saw were some thin horizontal lines on the white subtitles for a fraction of a second as they appeared on the screen, but this wasn't distracting.

    I have to admit to being gutted in being forced down the LCD route due to the eyestrain DLP gave me. I really had my heart set on a Benq PE7700. However, the Z4 image has none of the apparent weaknesses I'd expected from LCD. It really is wonderful to behold.

    Squibbly
     
  9. PJTX100

    PJTX100
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    8,144
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +564
    LCDs weaknesses have been blown out of proportions for some time now, even the venerable Z3 etc wasn't shabby. :)
     
  10. Zag

    Zag
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Messages:
    948
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Poole
    Ratings:
    +69
    Good to hear your initial impressions Squibbly. I should be playing with my own Z4 now but due to a minor mix-up I'm going to have to wait until Tuesday now...

    Ohhh the agony.

    What are your thoughts now Squibbly on the absolute black level of the Z4?? I had another look at my mates Z3 the other day and found the best blacks very gray and not as good as my H30's. Although the fact that my mates cinema room has a white ceiling, white sofa and small mirror next to the screen may of played a part in it.

    How do the absolute blacks and contrast compare to the DLP PJs you've looked at??
     
  11. Timbo21

    Timbo21
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Messages:
    4,689
    Products Owned:
    4
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +340
    No, I thought you invented it ;)
     
  12. magnole01

    magnole01
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Squibbly,

    Like you i am also hugly impressed with my new baby, i have just taken it out the box and plugged it in. i had a minor crisis when i could only get black and white picture but a few calls later and a friend of mine guided me in the right direction and there i was immersed in a world of 100"+ pure bliss.

    This is my first pj and really didn't know what to expect, but i can truly say i am blown away in my little world of home cinema. Even the wife and kids are caught up in the excitement.

    I will in the next few days read all the tweaks on this forum and will report back with the results.

    God we really are a lucky bunch !!!!!!!!!.
     
  13. pringtef

    pringtef
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,074
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Ratings:
    +70
    Delighted with mine as well. Getting some screenshots done this weekend for posting and comments. No VB. No SDE unless i'm a couple of inches away from the screen, bright, and more than anything else, the picture just seems so sharp (even with sharpness at negative levels, and edge enhancement related options off)
     
  14. ROne

    ROne
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2000
    Messages:
    782
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +8
    I completely agree with that, I was always pleasantly surprised with my LCD toshiba MT1 all them years ago.

    When the CRTers used to decry them, I thought - no - LCDs will get developed to a good level - it was obvious that the cost effectiveness and practicality of the LCD would call the market, I've always been a firm believer in LCD technology if implemented well.

    In fact the only CRT I ever saw was rubbish and made me keep my LCD FP a few years ago ...
     
  15. ROne

    ROne
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2000
    Messages:
    782
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +8
    Hey Squibbly what have you owned before, have you had/seen many DLPSs.

    I've got to say I only ever saw one and I thought it poor.

    What can you say about the comparisons between the 4 and other projectors you have seen?
     
  16. pringtef

    pringtef
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,074
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Ratings:
    +70
    Slightly off topic, but do any of you chaps have your Z4 connected to your pc? I've noticed a slight colour variance across the screen. It's particularly noticeable with a screen that has static text. It starts off lighter on the left, then get's darker for a bit, then get's lighter, then darker, then lighter. In columns. Its not noticable in films at all, but can be seen in these circumstances.
     
  17. Comer

    Comer
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2001
    Messages:
    1,390
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Ireland
    Ratings:
    +86
    Have you overscan set to 0?
     
  18. pringtef

    pringtef
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,074
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Ratings:
    +70
    Just checked, yes the settings at this.
     
  19. pringtef

    pringtef
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,074
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Ratings:
    +70
    I've discovered this is a sync issue. Adjustment of the fine sync moves the
    "columns" left or right accordingly. Looking close up at the screen i can see movement in the areas that are darker. Going to have a fiddle around with Powerstrip.
     
  20. squibbly

    squibbly
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    329
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +4
    ROne

    I haven't owned any before. I first got interested about 2.5 years ago when a friend brought an LCD data projector along to a walking weekend and I plugged my PS2 into it. Several hours of playing Grand Theft Auto at 7 feet wide into the wee hours and I was hooked, and thinking of what it could do for my film viewing. It was pretty poor for contrast (probably a 480 line machine as well), but I loved the big image and at the time would have accepted that lower contrast for the impact.

    I then started reading here and other places and over time demoed the following: Themescenes H30 and H77, Infocus SP4800 and SP5700 (twice) and a SIM2, I think. I also borrowed an NEC DLP projector from work to check my sensitivity to eyestrain when I twigged that some of the longer demos seemed to give me a headache (I'd initially thought it was just a hangover after too much pop the night before - but it turned out to be a compete deal killer). I liked the image of all of them, but probably enjoyed the blacks of the H77 the best (though at the time it was suffering the 'clayface' problems on rapid movement). I could see rainbows on most of them, but not so that it affected my viewing. The more subtle 'hot eye' syndrome and an almost subconscious feeling that the image wasn't as stable as it appeared were a concern. The Z4 image is rock solid and as far as black level is concerned (once your excellent tweaks were programmed in ROne) I'd say it is the equal of all but the H77, and even then not far off.

    After years of reading PJTX100's protestations that LCD is unfairly slated against DLP, I now find myself completely agreeing with him (hats off to you, sir!). I would say that this misconception of DLP's superiority is partly because it's very difficult to demo LCDs in the UK, and that most people's experience of LCD is a badly set up data projector at work viewed in a bright room! The Z4 is a different beast entirely.

    I would also say that the Z4's 720 line display makes quite a difference in image quality and that some of the comments I've read about a 570 line DLP being as good as a 720 LCD are actually wrong. I could see the lines at 1.5x screen width on a 570 DLP, but I can't on the Z4. In fact screendoor is non-existent at that distance to the extent that I don't know why Panasonic are bothering with smooth screen. In fact another thing that I've found amazing on the Z4 is how clear a scaled up PAL signal is. I expected some noticeable artifacts given the processing going on, but I have seen scant evidence.

    I will however agree that the DLP image is, as is often stated, more 'filmic' than LCD. The best way to describe this is that the rain scenes at Helms Deep in The Two Towers looked wetter on the H77 than the Z4. Quite subtle really. But then the Z4's colour is more vibrant! I am looking forward to Projector Central's comparison of the H79 and Z4.

    Overall, I think £1300 is stonking value for the Z4, and, Benq PE7700 aside, I would suggest that the HD2+ DLP machines' correct pricing in light of this quality should be at around the £1500 mark. DLP should really ditch their lower res PJs and quickly. But then from what I've read here, I now think that the amount of people who are adversely affected by the colour wheels is in excess of 10% (but being one of the afflicted, I may notice these posts more than most).

    And I haven't even begun to mention how versatile the lens shift on the Z4 is. I set it up in about 10 seconds of twiddling with the two rollers on the side of the machine.

    My Lindy HDMI cable has arrived at last, so I will check this out tonight.

    The Z4 is quite simply the best 'big boys toy' I have ever bought. It's even more thrilling than the Binatone tennis game my dad bought me at the age of 10 and the Scalextric 500 I got at 13. Now that's saying something :thumbsup: !

    Squibbly
     
  21. PJTX100

    PJTX100
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    8,144
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +564
    Well it's only been 11 months actually but perhaps it seems like years. :D
    Great to hear the Z4 is surpassing your expectations...PJ :smashin:
     
  22. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Messages:
    5,665
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Bristol.
    Ratings:
    +309
    Interesting read that. This machine can only get better with the advent of hi-def tv, DVD and gaming. I suspect many projectors will improve overnight when displaying a better original source.

    Pete.
     
  23. ROne

    ROne
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2000
    Messages:
    782
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +8
    Thanks for those comments Squibbly, very interesting ...

    Pete, my beamax screen still going strong!
     
  24. Anim

    Anim
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    1,686
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Bollington, Macclesfield
    Ratings:
    +62
    Heres a toughy

    Whats the brightness like compared to say....oooo erm...a 2000+ hour AE100? *cough*

    I may just take the plunge and get a Z4 using a "buy now pay in 12 month" deal and panic in 12 months time when im selling everything on ebay in a mad rush :rolleyes:
     
  25. squibbly

    squibbly
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    329
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +4
    Rone's settings do take the brightness down a bit, but I find it to be plenty bright in a darkened room (92" diameter screen), where the only light is that bouncing from the screen. You always have the trade off of brighter image and less contrast. I think avbuzz measured brightness at 300-400 lumens dependant on setting, which for my set up is fine. I think you have to aim for 12-16ft lumens for cinema conditions, which is the lumens generated over the square footage of your screen times the gain of your screen. I've gone for a 1.2 gain for a bit of a boost when the lamp dims.

    Squibbly
     
  26. sainthalo

    sainthalo
    Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    646
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Ratings:
    +0
    You have a round screen? :D
     
  27. ROne

    ROne
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2000
    Messages:
    782
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +8
    Don't forget with the Z4 you have several ways of increasing lumens:

    Open the manual iris
    Turn on adaptive lamp modes
    Turn on full lamp mode
    Use auto Lamp iris

    Adaptive modes are the best because they don't effect your black level but do improve contrast: trade off? noiser fan.
     
  28. Major Payn

    Major Payn
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Messages:
    40
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Ratings:
    +0
    I am on the verge of purchasing either the Z4 or Ae900 after much reading on the subject I think I know most of the pros and cons. My leaning is now towards the Z4. What I wanted to know was if anyone had tried the Z4 with a Digibox/TV signal, ie NTL or Sky, and what the quality was like?

    I unfortunately have an NTL box and would like to be able to view certain sporting events.
     
  29. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Messages:
    5,665
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Bristol.
    Ratings:
    +309
    Great news. Totally out of the home cinema game as living in Australia at the moment. Glad the screen is complimenting the Z4 which I suspect is a great machine and one that would tempt me to get the old plastic out. I still have fond memories of my Z1....

    Pete.
     
  30. squibbly

    squibbly
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    329
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +4
    I actually opened the manual iris to -30 last night whilst watching Star Wars episode IV. Quite a dark film and it benefited from this adjustment. It also came out a bit red, which I adjusted manually.

    Squibbly
     

Share This Page

Loading...