Thanks to Chris at Cleveland Plasma I had a chance to spend about 4 hours with the brand new TC-P50G10 last night. I have calibrated many 800us, and am very familiar with them; I was pleasantly surprised at some of the changes in the G10, while other changes left me scratching my head. According to my wife, I have a tendency to be too technical when I talk about TVs, so please bear with me.
The main calibration was done with an i1Pro meter and CalMAN Professional 3.3.
From the factory:
Build date was Feb '09. I first measured the out of the box performance in THX mode and Custom mode with default settings. Attachment 1 is the THX results. Black was crushed quite a bit more than on the 800us due to too low of a black level. The THX mode defaulted to picture at 100, and light output was on the high side compared to most 800us before calibration. That, of course, is a good thing IMO. Grayscale measured cool, with red being de-emphasized. That's unexpected since all the 800us I've worked with have had a blue deficiency rather than a red deficiency in the grayscale. Gamma was about what I expected. However, when I measured the color gamut, I was surprised by a high dE in the magenta and very uneven color luminance, neither of which I've seen before in THX mode. Magenta was pulled strongly toward blue, and trying to compensate too much with the tint control pulled the yellow and cyan off target. The uneven luminance had blue much stronger than any other color. Turning the color up to 72 made most colors about right with blue being severely pushed. I was so surprised by this I pulled out the DVE color filters, and sure enough, looking through the filters blue was too strong while red and green were too weak.
Before calibration, custom mode looked promising. See attachment 2. The gamma, though it showed white crush, was not nearly as bad as the gamma on the 800u's Custom mode. The color primaries were too wide, but not to the extent that I see on many other displays. Light output was strong, but it was also very dependent on the measurement window size. Looking at a high APL contrast pattern, whites were not crushed; however, they were crushed on a low APL pattern. Looking through the DVE color filters showed perfect color decoding, though I prefer to trust either measurements or color isolation (these sets can not do color isolation) over the filters.
Just as in the 800u, the 48 Hz mode still flickers. They should have gone with 72 Hz instead of 48.
The service menu appeared unchanged from the 800u. I started by calibrating the warm 2 color temp preset using THX mode. After raising brightness to the point where the background was not lit up but everything above black was shown, I made some easy adjustments to the grayscale. I then exited the SM and did a full set of measurements. Things measured well in THX mode except for the high magenta dE and the color decoding issues. Gamma was a bit low, but still respectable. Light output was in the 37 ft-l range, which is good for THX mode. My opinion is that while 37 ft-l is adequate for darkened theaters, it is dull and hard to see in a typical living room environment.
I also calibrated Custom mode user controls using the same Warm 2 color temp preset. After calibration, Custom mode showed no signs of the terrible gamma it has in the 800u, though it was still on the low side. In the 800u, the gamma in Custom mode is dramatically different in the service menu than it is out of the SM. You may think the gamma is not bad on the 800u's Custom mode if you measure it while you are in the SM, but when you measure it in normal conditions (outside the SM), it deteriorates dramatically. The G10's gamma was acceptable (though not perfect) even out of the SM. While the filters suggested a color setting of 50 (default), the measurements suggested a color setting of 36, which I used. White crush on a low APL test pattern started with a picture setting in the mid 70's, so I backed it off to well before that point. Attachment 3 (pic at 56) and 4 (pic at 70) are the measurements for after calibration Custom mode.
I started viewing in THX mode. I looked at some familiar demo material on my DVE Blu-Ray, and immediately was groping for the remote to turn down the color. It was pretty much unwatchable at 72. After looking at many flesh tone scenes that I look at on every set I calibrate, a setting of 55 looked most natural. However, the picture had a slightly yellowish, "antique" cast. Tint was centered, but I thought a slight red bias helped a bit. Contrast ratio and black levels looked great
The real surprise was how stunning Custom mode looked! In addition to the great contrast, Custom had much more natural looking color. It was brighter and more vibrant, also, and the yellowish, antique look was gone. It was so good that my only criticism was that I thought I saw a bit of pumping action and brightness instability. That was minor and could probably be minimized further by reducing the picture control.
I decided to re-measure and see what effects my new THX color settings (color 55, tint R2) would have on the measurements, and I wanted to re-measure the grayscale to make sure the yellowish cast was not caused by a lack of blue in the grayscale.
Attachment 5 is the after calibration THX results with my new color settings. Grayscale was still perfect. The new color settings really didn't do anything to improve the disappointing color decoding, but they made the set much more watchable.
Contrast ratio measurements:
I took the contrast ratio measurements in a totally dark room and with a meter that is very stable and consistent with extremely dark measurements (my Milori Trichromat-1). I set it's exposure time to the longest setting to further maximize accuracy.
The G10 simply blew the 800u away with the contrast ratio measurements! By eye, I knew the blacks and contrast were going to be great and much improved, and the measurements backed that up.
800u: full on/off 2387, modified ANSI 551 (calibrated THX mode)
G10: full on/off 7399, modified ANSI 3892 (calibrated Custom mode)
Wow! That's very
Just a few years ago I was getting 1200-1500 full on/off from Panasonic plasmas and 400-500 full on/off from LG and Sony (yes, they made plasmas). 2-3 years ago ANSI results in the 100-200 range were common.
Comparison to a calibrated Samsung UN55B7100:
Please see my review of the Samsung for more info on it.
The G10 was in Custom mode. The Samsung's blacks were darker, but not to the same extent as with the 800u. It was easily noticeable in a totally dark room, but not a glaring difference. Ignoring totally black screens and concentrating on black areas of real pictures (what the modified ANSI measurements simulate) showed they were essentially even and both excellent in this regard in the middle and right side of the screen. On the left side, the Samsung's blacks looked a bit washed out with the ANSI checkerboard (due to the cloudiness, but this was not visible very often). The Samsung had more accurate looking color; flesh tones looked richer (without being overcooked) and more lifelike. Both were extremely sharp and detailed, and both had tremendous "pop". I noticed a tiny bit of pumping and brightness instability with the Panny, but it was not objectionable. They handled shadow detail similarly. If it were not for the slight pumping, the Panny's shadow detail would be much more apparent than the Samsung's. I think that characteristic is built in to the Custom mode, but again turning the picture control down a bit could help. The Panasonic was much better off to the side. This was a very close comparison, but I did prefer the Samsung overall. However, your environment, viewing angles, finances, etc may make the Panasonic a better choice for you, and I am very happy with the improvements to the contrast ratio and Custom mode in the G10.
Good news: Panasonic has fixed the THX color decoding issues in their latest firmware! I had seen the poor color decoding in several G10s and V10s since I wrote the review. But I was alerted to the possible firmware fix here on AVS and yesterday confirmed it with a newly updated V10. The update should carry over to the G10. Details about the update should be available here on AVS; I do not have them.
With the fix, THX color decoding is now excellent, and grayscale tracking is also the best I have seen on a Panasonic plasma, and gamma is even better. The green/yellow "antique" look in THX mode is totally gone!
THX mode is now the preferred mode to use on the G10 and V10, at least in light controlled rooms. In bright rooms, Custom is still a great alternative. I will be updating my rankings page to reflect primary use in THX mode, with Custom used in bright rooms. My opinion of the latest Panasonic plasmas has just taken a big jump. Great job, Panasonic!
I am replacing the old THX after report attachment with the new one. I believe the performance would be very similar whether it is a G10 or a V10. One thing to note in the calibration report: the 10% stimulus reading looks poor only because of the meter's limited accuracy at very low light levels.
V10 after calibration updated THX.pdf 136.279296875k . file