I've been asked to post my review of the 50pz85u on this thread.
Originally posted 03-09-08Part 1:
So my Panny 50pz85u came today and I've spent the morning putting it through the ringer. This is an incomplete review because I haven't seen it yet in total darkness. I will compare the set to the pio 5080 because it's the only other plasma I've owned. I'm the opposite of a panasonic fan-boy. Nor do I necessarily feel pio deserves all of the praise it gets.
This set is phenomenal! It can torch like an LCD if you want it to, which is great for daytime viewing, but the blacks are still deep, rich, and detailed. Despite the nay-sayers I've seen on this forum, the contrast is undoubtedly increased (although, again, I haven't seen it in darkness). The blacks aren't as good as my 5080 but the brightness puts the pio to shame!
The styling is nice. It's thinner than the 5080 and matches my ps3 much better. The dreaded speaker-shelf at the bottom is just quite simply a non-issue. I don't know what everybody's talking about with that. It's barely noticeable. I guess it would stand out a little more if you plan to mount the TV on a wall, but using the stand it just kind of blends.
The 1080p factor makes a huge difference to people like me who notice SDE from 8ft away.
Unlike my kuro, this set is 100% buzz-free. Even on a completely white screen.
Unlike my kuro, this set suffers from ghost reflections, but this is only noticeable when viewing certain content such as text on a black screen from extreme angles.
The colors are quite accurate and uniform, I'll know more about this in the dark and after finishing my run with the break-in DVD. However, the picture looks smooth and crystal clear. The image is obviously much sharper than the 720p pio. There is more dither and video noise than I saw with the 5080 however, especially in bright spots (unusual huh?). Overall, I think the 5080 has better processing.
I was pleased to see no more banding or false contouring than the 5080 shows.
This set handles diagonal lines flawlessly. Even in video games it's thus far "Jaggie-free".
After about an hour of gaming I started to notice definite occurances of green-fringing on fast movements. I have never seen this phenamenon before so I don't know if it's a panasonic specific issue. I've only seen it on games so far. I investigated the issue and everything I read online seems to hold this as an issue common to all plasmas including kuros. But I never noticed it before. See this article. http://www.hdtvtest.co.uk/news/2007/...hosphor-trail/
Now that I've seen it, it's hard to ignore, but I'm sure I'll just get used to it like interlace flicker on my SDCRT.
I put in planet earth on Blu-ray to do my jutter test. I cued up the mountain episode with it's constant slow pans. I can honestly say this set does not jutter any worse than my 5080 which supposedly shouldn't jutter at all due to it's 72hz feature. Even my wife agreed with this. That said... I am very happy I did not wait or pay for the 800u. I wonder if running at 48hz might make the green-fringing worse for 800u owners.
I'm freakin' thrilled with the new panasonic 50pz85u and I feel bad about my previous panny trashing. The next generation of panasonic plasmas will be the leap into the future, but the 85u is a huge improvement imho.
I'll post more thoughts as I conjure them.Part 2:
So after spending a night at the movies with my new PZ85u I can make a more complete assessment.
I watched Walk The Line in SD DVD which runs the gamut from very dark to very bright as a test.
Once the sun went down and I turned out the lights, the screen had a healthy dark gray glow which bummed me out a bit. Not LCD gray or anything, but it's definitely no Kuro in the blacks department. I still think the blacks are a bit better than last years pannys though. The weird thing is that when you first turn on the display, the initial black is very bright, it then corrects itself. I don't have any black crush or dynamic features enabled which could cause this.
I think the real reason panasonic is claiming this crazy increase in CR is the brightness increase. Which wasn't much help with the lights out. Rather than deep dark blacks we've been given bright vibrant (and quite beautiful) whites. As this is a big selling point over the kuros for me, it is not a replacement for what they offer.
To my suprise, at no point during the movie did I detect any dithering or noise from my seating position 7ft away. The SD processing is quite amazing, at least on par with the 5080.
Where this TV really shined was during the many shots with Johnny and June on stage with stage lights in the background which bloomed from near white and gradually fade to darkness. Even going up close to the screen I could not see any indication of banding. The gradients were smooth and gradual. I'm really quite astonished by this. And with it's 5120 grays the 800u stands to do even better in this area.
During slow pans I could certainly see judder. I was not particularly distracted by this, it's something we're all used to seeing - I actually kind of hate the look of those 120hz LCDs. Whether the 800u will exhibit less of this is yet to be seen.
I was glad at the end of the film when I realized I had not seen a single instance of green-fringing during the movie. It obviously requires specific circumstances to occur and seems to be more of a gaming-related issue.
So the only thing I missed from my beloved 5080 was those deep rich blacks, but I feel it's a fair trade since normal use for me will be dim to medium light rather than no light. Ambient light often made my kuro's blacks appear "crushed" causing me to lose a lot of detail in dark scenes like the police car stuff in Superbad. But I don't miss the blacks as much as I missed the whites on the 5080. That was my main reason for chickening out on the 5010... it was even dimmer!
So it's a really great TV and I'm really stoked! It will serve me quite well until there are 50" OLEDs to make me forget all about it. I can't wait to be done with my break-in period so I can really test out this thing's top-end glory. Call me crazy... It's just my aesthetic... I like the BRIGHT with the dark! This reminds me of the wait to get my Kawasaki Ninja over 5000rpms, painful!Review Update
For those who don't know... I recently purchased a 50pz85u to replace my pio 5080. I mentioned before that the 85u showed very little banding or false contouring during my tests. I stated that it holds it's own with the kuro, but I need to update that statement. IMO the 85u shows even less banding than the 5080.
I screened some shots where I'd spotted banding on the 5080 and was amazed to find the 85u handled the gradients noticeably better. And it does this without any type of blurring or noise. I'm usually hard-pressed to see any banding at all unless I get within a foot or so.