Power, they say, is nothing without control. That might just prove prescient for Optoma’s otherwise impressive new 4K laser projector. The Optoma ZK507 is a serious bit of display hardware. It’s a native 4K model, rather than a pixel shift model and delivers up to 5,000 lumens.
Designed for larger venues, the high brightness of the laser technology bodes well for installations with lots of ambient light. It has a number of further features that could be appealing depending on your needs including HDR support, numerous options for remote control including ethernet and a maintenance-free 20,000 hour laser light source. However, if the Optoma ZK507 does have an obvious weakness, it involves the projector’s optical system and flexibility of setup. Time to find out more.
Price and availability
The Optoma ZK507 is currently available for as little as $3,999 in the US, while UK pricing is around £4,499. This is not a cheap a cheap projector, but then with a native 4K DLP chip, laser light source capable of 5,0000 lumens and numerous additional features, it was never going to be. Indeed, it’s comparable to or actually cheaper than similar projectors, such as the BenQ LK952.
Design and features
The Optoma ZK507’s showpiece feature is the combination of a native 4K DLP chip with a powerful laser light source. The inevitable consequence in terms of physical proportions is a hefty projector. It’s nearly half a metre wide, over 15cm tall and tips the scales at just under 10kg. It’s neither discreet nor terribly portable.
The DLP chip, for the record, is good for the full 3,840 by 2,160 pixels. The real 4K deal, It doesn’t use any pixel shifting technology. Optoma says the full on/off contrast performance is 2,000:1, while dynamic technologies lift that to 300,000:1 in certain conditions.
The colour wheel, meanwhile, is a four-segment item, HDR10 is supported and Optoma claims 75 per cent coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space. The latter would not be hugely impressive by home cinema standards at this price point, but is arguably less of a concern for a projector intended for business use and large venue installations.
On the optical side, the throw ratio is 1.39 to 2.22 with a manual 1.6x zoom, reflecting that large venue remit. You won’t be able to generate a terribly large image in a small room, in other words. While we’re talking optics, lens shift is provided, but only vertical. It’s also worth noting that the lens control, including shift, focus and zoom, is all manual, rather than remote control via servos. Depending on your intended usage and installation, this could be a fairly serious impediment.
Input wise, the Optoma ZK507 packs a pair of HDMI ports, plus legacy VGA support. However, it’s a little disappointing that only one of the HDMI ports is 2.0 specification. The other is HDMI 1.4 and thus won’t support 4K at 60Hz.
For starters, the lack of horizontal lens shift limits your options for offset installations. But arguably more problematic is the manual lens control, at least at this fairly lofty price point. Being able to fully adjust the picture by remote control can be critical when the installation, such as on a high ceiling, implies difficulties for routine physical access.
Projection type: DLP
Resolution: 3,840 by 2,160 (native)
Lamp type: Laser
Lamp life: 20,000 hours
Colour wheel: Four segment
Brightness: 5,000 lumens
Throw ratio: 1.39 to 2.22
Zoom: 1.6x, manual
Lens shift: Vertical +15%, manual
Inputs: HDMI 2.0, HDMI 1.4, VGA, ethernet, audio 3.5mm
Outputs: Audio 3.5mm, S/PDIF, USB-A power 1.5A
Dimensions: 498 x 331 x 154mm
On the audio side, there’s a built-in sound via dual 5W speakers that will get you by in a pinch, but isn’t suitable for any serious work. Perhaps most usefully of all, there’s audio out in both 3.5mm and S/PDIF formats. That’s very handy if your video source doesn’t have its own audio out, such as an Amazon Fire Stick or Google Chromecast.
The final significant string to the Optoma ZK507’s bow involves remote control, albeit not of the lens. Along with the obligatory and comprehensive infrared remote, the Optoma ZK507 also supports control and monitoring via multiple interfaces over ethernet, including http, Telnet, Cestron, PJLink and several more. It’s also optionally compatible with Optoma’s 4K capable QuickCast Pro wireless projecting solution, which includes support for both Android and Apple iOS devices.
With 5,000 lumens of pure projection power, this is a seriously punchy projector. To access that peak performance, the Optoma ZK507 must be set in presentation mode which also ramps up the cooling fans. Given the performance and brightness on offer, noise levels are reasonable even in the brightest mode. The Optoma ZK507 will also turn its hands adequately to cinema duties in a more light-controlled environment. ‘Cinema’ mode reduces both light output and noise levels to those reasonably comparable to a dedicated home cinema projector.
What you won’t get is colour accuracy comparable to a home cinema model at this price point. Most obviously, visible banding is visible in some colour gradients. For a pure home cinema machine, that would be borderline unacceptable at this price. For a large venue and business projector, it’s less of a distraction, albeit still slightly disappointing.
For its intended remit, however, the Optoma ZK507 is mostly an eye-popping success. It’s bright and vibrant and will burn through significant ambient light, both artificial and natural, in order to provide a decent viewing experience in poor conditions. Contrast performance is also impressive, especially given the high brightness levels.
As for setup, it is a little finickety. Achieving a consistent focus across the entire screen is a fine, though achievable, balance. The lack of horizontal lens shift can likewise present an impediment if your ideal installation location is a little offset. But, overall, most users should be able to achieve a super sharp and clear 4K image.
On that note, the Optoma ZK507’s native 4K chip is a noticeable upgrade over the pixel-shifting alternatives that approximate a 4K pixel grid. The increased sharpness of native 4K over pixel-shift 4K isn’t always obvious with video content. But when displaying presentations and data on a very large screen, it’s a real boon and adds obvious quality and precision. If you’re looking to really impress with your presentations, this projector will not disappoint.
Optoma’s big format laser-powered beamer has plenty going for it. It’s seriously bright at 5,000 lumens making it ideal for installations with poor light control. The native 4K DLP chip also makes for huge detail and precision, giving presentations real punch and clarity. The Optoma ZK507 also has a wealth of options for remote control and monitoring over ethernet, plus optional support for full 4K wireless projection. The audio-out features could also come in very handy.
Where the Optoma ZK507 falls a little short involves flexibility and maintenance of installation. It lacks horizontal lens shift functionality and all lens adjustments must be done manually. That could be a problem depending on the specifics of installation and how often you physically access the projector. In strict terms, the Optoma ZK507’s colour accuracy isn’t exactly stellar and as cinema projector it would be sub-optimal. But that’s fine given the large venue and business remit, which the Optoma ZK507 largely nails bar a few setup and control limitations.