Panasonic VT50 Self Vs. Pro Calibration - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Is it better for me to buy the auto calibration kit from spectracal or to just pay to have a professional (NOT Geek Squad) come and calibrate my VT50? my thought is if I can auto calibrate I can do it annual myself instead of paying someone as calibration tends to change over time (not a one time deal). Looking for some input.
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post #2 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jab336 View Post

Is it better for me to buy the auto calibration kit from spectracal or to just pay to have a professional (NOT Geek Squad) come and calibrate my VT50? my thought is if I can auto calibrate I can do it annual myself instead of paying someone as calibration tends to change over time (not a one time deal). Looking for some input.

what meter does that kit come with? you'll want to pair any colorimeter with a spectro (for accurate results that are comparable to pro equipment)

a good pair would be a standard D3 with a used i1Pro Rev.D... that way you get the accuracy of the i1Pro spectro with the speed and low light sensitivity of the D3 colorimeter

equipment like this would pay for itself over time as you'll want to calibrate your TV every 6 months to a year for best results... you can also calibrate any other displays in your home
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post #3 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I was looking at spectracal's autocal kit that comes with an i1oempro and calman4 plus the auto cal. It's 545 and I think it's worth investing vs. continuing to hire someone.
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post #4 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jab336 View Post

I was looking at spectracal's autocal kit that comes with an i1oempro and calman4 plus the auto cal. It's 545 and I think it's worth investing vs. continuing to hire someone.

that comes with the standard D3 colorimeter (also called OEM i1Display Colorimeter)

You'll want to pair it with a spectro like the i1Pro for best results as colorimeters on their own (tables only) can give unreliable readings on some displays. Of course, you won't know which displays give reliable readings and which don't without having a spectro to check the D3's results against.

Check out this article for more info:

http://www.tlvexp.ca/2012/04/do-cali...-stim-devices/
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post #5 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 04:28 PM
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You do realize that if you are going to use a Pattern Generator, you will need to add the Pattern Generator Addon to as well to automate the patterns, unless you want to manually (you will need to know which pattern to switch to when prompted) do your patterns or use a USBUIRT to work with a player...

full auto end to end is starting approx $1K (with used Accupel)...

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post #6 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
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According to Alex from spectracal the $545 package has everything needed to auto calibrate a vt50. If I want to calibrate another display I need a disc or color generator.
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post #7 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 05:24 PM
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Yeah I think the VT50 has the internal patterns, correct?

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post #8 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 05:29 PM
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Using the PC itself as the generator.. there are too many variables with the video card and it's drivers to make that an adequate approach for most people.. sotti, one of CalMAN's developers, is around.. post the question to him here in this thread about video card issues and generating patterns with known and proper output..

I suggest AVSHD709 as long as your BR player has no issues.... PS3, Panasonic 210/215, OPPO is great when setup properly.. see smackrabbit's testing data..

You will want to understand the patterns anyways, so manually navigating is actually a good thing for learning...

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post #9 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 05:34 PM
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Agreed, PC is not the way to go unless that is also your main source of content.

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post #10 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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As far as I know from talking to the sales people at spectracal. The auto cal will get the vt50 as close as any pro using a patter generator. But again this is why I ask the question of either hiring a pro or doing it myself?
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post #11 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 05:43 PM
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why not both? I encourage Enthusiasts to hire one of the Professionals who also walk you through basically a step by step during the calibration... a great learning experience.. at least hiring one is an option in the future.. start as an Enthusiast now...

just a thought.


I also updated my last post above since your reply..

Lastly, I don't agree unless the PC's output has been verified to a known reference..

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post #12 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jab336 View Post

Is it better for me to buy the auto calibration kit from spectracal or to just pay to have a professional (NOT Geek Squad) come and calibrate my VT50? my thought is if I can auto calibrate I can do it annual myself instead of paying someone as calibration tends to change over time (not a one time deal). Looking for some input.

Do it yourself. After going through all of the pain of learning, it very rewarding in terms of your set looking nice and the knowledge that you gained. Like most of us here, you start to get addicted to it.

It terms of equipment, buy used. People are getting rid of the old units for faster units. For instance, many people had the C5 and upgraded to the C6 and now that the new I-1pro2 is out, people will dump their I-1Pros. In terms of patterns generators there are older unit like the Sencore VP403 older Acuppels or just using the the BR player for patterns. If you get in to and you go the inexpensive route, you will end up spending more money. I went from just the BR disc with no generator then using the PC generator (free) to ordering DVDO DUO (with pattern generator) and the list of upgrades goes on. If I were you I would at least start with a processor with a pattern generator. There are people selling the XD radiance pretty cheap, only problem with this is you will need a a splitter or a BR player that has 2 HDMI, due to the fact the older Radiance's don't pass DTS-MA.

Just my .02
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post #13 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I am leaning toward the auto cal package for the cost to start. If I want a better meter or other item then I will go for it.
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post #14 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jab336 View Post

As far as I know from talking to the sales people at spectracal. The auto cal will get the vt50 as close as any pro using a patter generator. But again this is why I ask the question of either hiring a pro or doing it myself?

Auto calibrations are good but I've found they can be improved manually with a touchup.

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Lastly, I don't agree unless the PC's output has been verified to a known reference..

There is no doubt when compared to reference is the standard but there is a little program called Calibration Tester which can be used to negate the PC mucking up the signal. It's too large to meet forum posting requirements but if you PM me with your email address I'll be glad to pass along the zip file and you can check it out. Edit: hold requests - that site isn't working correctly, yet. Thanks

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post #15 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 08:01 PM
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I'll weigh in on this biased or not. Not sure if Spectracal stated that their autocal would deliver the same results as a seasoned professional. If that is true, I have serious concerns as to the direction Spectracal is taking. If learning how to calibrate is what interests you, then go for it! Nothing more satisfying than a job well done and done on your own! However, if you are doing this just to "save" money. You likely won't. Most displays drift over time, yes, but generally, one to two years is the norm for touch ups. 6 months between calibrations is a bit overdoing it. The cost to do it right will be in the neighborhood of $1000-$1500 DIY. Considering most displays have a life span these days of 5 to 10 years, a pro cal every two years (most calibrators do not charge full price for touch ups), you are likely looking at less money for the pro over the life span of the display then you would spend DIY. You also get to sit back and drink a beer as someone else works and, if you hire a good calibrator, know the job is done right the first time. The bottom line really is, how interested are you in taking the time to learn? You need to look at investing 50 to 100 hours minimum before you become knowledgeable AND proficient. Just my hooha for today!

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post #16 of 199 Old 05-07-2012, 10:29 PM
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There's currently some problems with CalMAN's autocal on the VT50, and I am not sure if the blame lies with CalMAN, Panasonic, or the particular VT50 that I am reviewing.

Here is an excerpt from my upcoming 65VT50 review:

I began by calibrating the THX mode's white balance in the service menu, which was a familiar, easy task. The results were good, and fairly similar to what I obtained with the GT50 I reviewed recently.
The VT50 adds some significant calibration adjustments in the VT50's Custom and ISF Day/Night modes that could possibly improve upon the performance of THX mode. Since Panasonic did not include a serial port on the VT50, I had to use the Ethernet connection method to calibrate the VT50's ISF Day and Night modes with CalMAN. I found several problems once I started the Day mode calibration. First, when I started CalMAN's auto calibration routine, I noticed that while it was having success smoothing out the grayscale, it tried and tried to adjust gamma with no change. I watched as CalMAN read the 90% step, found it was too high in level, and brought the 90% luminance control down, down, and down some more; all the while not making the slightest bit of difference in the reading. CalMAN finally gave up and went down to the next step and repeated the process at 80% on down. The end result was an improvement in grayscale tracking but little improvement over most of the gamma, which was in fairly bad shape (much worse than THX mode) to begin with.
I discovered that, strangely, any of the luminance controls, whether 10%, 60%, or 100%, controlled only the luminance in the 0-15% range. The 80% control had no impact whatsoever at 80%, but it had a significant effect from 0-15%. That happened whether or not I had the brightness and contrast at the CalMAN recommended 50 and 100, respectively.
The on screen display, when I had it up, would indicate that I was adjusting the correct control.
I thought that I would leave all the luminance (multipoint gamma) adjustments at their default positions and just take all 3 colors up or down to calibrate the gamma. At that time I discovered that there was a strange interaction preventing the success of that technique. If I lowered green, red and blue were raised. If I raised red, blue and green were lowered. If I lowered all 3 colors simultaneously, there was absolutely no change in any respect.
Similarly, there was no change in gamut luminance with the luminance control while attempting to calibrate the CMS.
Interestingly, the Custom picture mode, which the ISF modes are based on, did not have these problems.

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post #17 of 199 Old 05-08-2012, 06:37 AM
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@Chad B, I hope you can forward these problems to Panasonic and calman so they can address these issues.

Strangely the EU models reported no issues in calibration.
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post #18 of 199 Old 05-08-2012, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad B View Post

There's currently some problems with CalMAN's autocal on the VT50, and I am not sure if the blame lies with CalMAN, Panasonic, or the particular VT50 that I am reviewing.

Chad, I know in our early testing we did have a series of firmwares where the luminance/gamma controls did not work right but have been fixed. Chris G is going to contact you and see what firmware you tested with vs what we have in house for testing.

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post #19 of 199 Old 05-10-2012, 08:56 AM
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Chad, I know in our early testing we did have a series of firmwares where the luminance/gamma controls did not work right but have been fixed. Chris G is going to contact you and see what firmware you tested with vs what we have in house for testing.

We have tested this in house and yes the latest firmware does have issues with the multi-point gamma controls. We have contacted Panasonic on this.

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post #20 of 199 Old 05-10-2012, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Chad: I have time and want to learn calibrating. Is it ok to go with spectracal's DIY and auto cal in order to learn and play with the settings without shelling out lots of money on cal equipment since I just bought my vt50?
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post #21 of 199 Old 05-10-2012, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by derekjsmith View Post

We have tested this in house and yes the latest firmware does have issues with the multi-point gamma controls. We have contacted Panasonic on this.

Thanks for getting on that so quickly, Derek!
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post #22 of 199 Old 05-11-2012, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Chad I have decided to purchase the spectracal c6 package with dcg1400 and auto cal. Is this a package that I can learn with?
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post #23 of 199 Old 05-11-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad B View Post

Thanks for getting on that so quickly, Derek!

Heard back from Panasonic and it looks like one of the commands we are using has changed a bit with the latest firmware update, so we will need to update CalMAN. Chris G is testing the changes today.

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post #24 of 199 Old 05-11-2012, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jab336 View Post

Chad I have decided to purchase the spectracal c6 package with dcg1400 and auto cal. Is this a package that I can learn with?

Personally I feel the DPGs are too sluggish for extended use, but pray for patience and you'll be alright. It will be accurate at least.
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post #25 of 199 Old 05-11-2012, 12:11 PM
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Chad I have decided to purchase the spectracal c6 package with dcg1400 and auto cal. Is this a package that I can learn with?

You can get one of these http://store.spectracal.com/consumer...ontroller.html and Automate your Blu Ray player.

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post #26 of 199 Old 05-11-2012, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Chad so if I just go for the c6 plus autocal and use a disc I can save the money for when I get better and buy a better pattern generator?
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post #27 of 199 Old 05-11-2012, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jab336 View Post

Chad so if I just go for the c6 plus autocal and use a disc I can save the money for when I get better and buy a better pattern generator?

If it was me, I'd spend the extra money on a used i1Pro. Having a spectro will give you more accurate results and will allow you to essentially re-calibrate your C6 for free simply by creating a new profile once the meter has drifted noticeably. If you have a reference BD player, you can just automate it with the part mentioned by another poster above. You don't need a pattern generator for DIY use; it's optional.
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post #28 of 199 Old 05-12-2012, 01:59 PM
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Chad so if I just go for the c6 plus autocal and use a disc I can save the money for when I get better and buy a better pattern generator?

I'm not sure why you need a pattern generator at all. The VT50 has built in patterns that the CalMan can display, whether you're using autocal or not. I'm making an assumption here, based on how CalMan interacts with my iScan Duo. Using a pattern generator built into the device you're calibrating makes things SO MUCH easier.
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post #29 of 199 Old 05-12-2012, 02:16 PM
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I'm not sure why you need a pattern generator at all. The VT50 has built in patterns that the CalMan can display, whether you're using autocal or not. I'm making an assumption here, based on how CalMan interacts with my iScan Duo. Using a pattern generator built into the device you're calibrating makes things SO MUCH easier.

The Use of an HDTV signal generator is the only way to test your system if you are running video through an AVR for example. A generator will tell you if your video signal is being adversely effected by the AVR. I find they often clip white, clip black, and sometimes destroy gamma and truncate resolution. In any event you should also put test patterns from a test Blu-ray disc up to see what the Blu-ray player is doing also. For example the latest Pioneer (I forget the model #) clips white and black at the factory settings.

With all due respect to SpectraCal I have not yet been able to get satisfactory results from any of the Auto Calibration features with either the VT30 Pannys or the JVC projectors. Even if they do make it work it is only Auto for grayscale. You will still have to adjust the CMS, gamma, and black and white levels manually.

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post #30 of 199 Old 05-12-2012, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok I think I will drop the pattern generator.
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