** Disclaimer **
The unit is well packaged and the lens is held in place with some foam inserts to stop it from moving around during transit. You get a remote, some batteries, manuals, CD, a locking power cable (nice) and lens cover. You get 12mths warranty (although the US gets an additional 12mths on mail in). The unit I got had a seal saying it was quality checked at Panasonic Aust.
Its big, as they all are, with a nice matt black finish. It has a cover that flips up to get access to the lamp. The lens is offset to the right. There is a separate power switch. There are rubber feet for adjustments and overall, feels solid. It has quite a nice array inputs - 3 HDMI, Component, Composite, Svideo, PC, 2 triggers, RS232 control, Kensington lock hole, and external IR emitter for glassess sync so your pretty well covered. IR emitters are included.
I have a fixed 110" screen. The screen is about 1.0 gain and around 4m away. The PJ is "desk mode" and up high on a shelf level with the top of the screen. I used a Blu-Ray of Star Trek from a PS3 for screen tests.
The lamp came with 0hrs on it. The unit powers up pretty quickly and is fairly quite in normal lamp mode. First impression, the picture really pops. Focus is good, my Sony was a little better but not by much. On a black screen there was no obvious bleed and uniformity was good. My Sony was a little worse in this regard but these are vastly different technologies.
The blacks are definitely better than the Sony and the dynamic range is excellent. It handles the blacks in some of the opening scenes of Star Trek admirably for a DI system. I'm seeing things I did not see before with the Sony. The picture is quite engrossing. The whites are also handled with ease. Clouds are well defined and you can see details quite clearly.
I used my old HDMI cable and it works fine even for 3d (YMMV). I dropped the lamp to eco mode and the fan drops in speed and is very quiet.
Where do I begin. This thing has more than enough tweaking to satisfy most and even the more demanding of us. The lens shift range is excellent for me, again YMMV, the front cover just slides out and you get access to the shift control and you see the IR emitters there as well. [Note to Pannasonic - the joystick on my unit came off, freaked me out but lucky for me I just snapped it back in and all good] A lot of folk are complaining about the lens shift joystick, it is a bit fiddly but when you get used to it its ok. I could get it to adjust to quite small tolerances and once its locked you never need to change it again. One thing I noticed, when you adjust the lens shift the IR leds move as well to point in the direction of the screen, nice touch.
The PJ comes with a great range of built in test signals. Grey scale, focus (x2), colour bars and grid. One annoyance is that you can't use focus and zoom on the grid but not a big deal. The waveform monitor is a plus when you wnat to get that little bit extra and it can auto adjust levels based on the current scene.
In all modes the DI (Dynamic Iris) is not noticeable at all. With the Sony you could see the DI at work in some scenes. I must say I did not see this on the Panasonic yet and you can't hear it in operation. You can switch it off or on, no manual control. I think it works well enough for me. The Sony had this feature and I never used it. In a couple of modes you can hear the colour filter slide in to balance to one of the in built standards. You lose brightness for colour accuracy. In these modes the brightness was on par with my Sony which had quite a few hours on the lamp. I found the Normal mode to be quite good for colour and the picture is quite bright. In any mode there are more than enough adjustments to get the picture any way you want it.
Black levels for me are excellent. I can only compare with a night shot from Star Trek where Kirk is riding in to the bar. The fields can be clearly seen as well as the detail in the clouds and the car park. This was not the case with my old Sony, which to be fair is a few generations behind.
The star field in the opening scenes of Avatar are clear and depending your mode choice you can even see the nebula field in the background. Stars in the scene with the planets in the foreground are quite clear and as far as I can tell all visibly rendered. The star field occupies the top right 1/4 and I checked with the waveform monitor for stars and as far as I could tell, in the section I checked, they were all on screen and visible.
Again, I can't compare with anything else but for me this is impressive. One mode, [D-Cinema] really crushes black and is really next to useless but I haven't done any tweaks so the jury is out on this one. The other modes are quite good and one [Rec 709] is really for those who want a somewhat accurate picture, but you will sacrifice a good deal of light.
Thats it for now - I will update for 3D and other items as I play more.
Edited by gobberon, 16 November 2011 - 12:51 PM.