Thank you Chad for doing the comparison, and thank you mattquaker for providing F8500 and VT60 for the comparison. It is great to have recent and factual comparison.
VE Shootout results were great at the time, but things have changed with both F8500 light output drop and the new VT60/ZT60 high panel brightness calibration method that Chad discovered to warrant new comparison.
56 fL light output on F8500 is interesting. I remember reading F8500 reviews where F8500 was hitting light output above 80 fL. Personally, I never found my ZT60 too dim, so 56 fL light output on F8500 is not an issue for me. However, I am no longer sure that F8500 is a better choice than ZT for very bright rooms or for the individual who feels that ZT or VT is too dim because VT, ZT and F8500 light outputs are now quite close, and F8500 black level is inferior to VT and ZT.
I am curious what caused such a dramatic drop in F8500 light output, so these are my theories.
1. Samsung has discovered that high light output is damaging to F8500 or reduces F8500 panel lifespan, so light output cap was put in new firmware.
2. To fight the floating blacks that are being reported, the light output had to be reduced.
3. This is just a temporary issue with F8500 due to error/incompetence, and it will be fixed in a future update.
4. Finally, I have another a more farfetched theory. I recall reading the story where Samsung was caught boosting its phones benchmark test results with special code. Could a similar strategy be at play here? Perhaps, F8500 was never designed to operate long term with high light output, so after F8500s were reviewed by review outlets, the sets were dialed down with new firmware to more reasonable light output levels to avoid damaging F8500.
Regardless, I still think that F8500 is a good set. Considering ZT/VT prices are quickly entering absurd territory, I would still buy F8500 if I was on the market for a new tv, but I am sure glad that I had an opportunity to buy ZT.