Panasonic TC-P50GT30 3D Plasma HDTV Page 2

The gamma is fixed in all Picture modes except Custom, where the Pro menu offers several fixed gamma options. Initially, the Custom mode's enticing adjustments and the potential for separate calibrations for 2D and 3D lured me in, but this proved to be a mixed blessing. I could regale you with the contents of 50-plus pages of calibration notes (I write large) accumulated over several days of multiple setup attempts. But I'll try to be a little more concise.

Gamma affects the brightness in the mid-brightness region. The most commonly recommended playback gamma hovers around 2.2. But, as measured, the gamma options available in the Custom mode's Pro menu were questionable if you want an accurate reproduction of the source. Even the highest available gamma setting (2.6) measured below 1.7 in 2D, and at some brightness levels in some settings, it clocked in at under 1.0. The Custom mode's 3D gammas were slightly better up to 70 IRE, but they still measured nowhere near the numbers indicated by their settings.

I abandoned further attempts to use the Custom mode for 2D. Fortunately, calibration in the Cinema and/or THX modes, as performed in the service menu, was good to excellent. The 2D color points were also virtually spot on, although in all cases, the intensity/brightness of the individual colors measured higher than optimum. Turning down the Color control helped, but since it affects all colors simultaneously, it couldn't precisely correct all of them.

The calibrated Cinema mode produced satisfactory gamma results in the GT30. The calibrated THX mode worked nearly as well as Cinema, but the Cinema mode's gammas were a bit closer to the ideal 2.2. 2D images looked more fully saturated and three-dimensional in Cinema than in THX, though these differences were subtle. I'm talking about the illusion of three dimensions in 2D playback here, not the use of the set's 2D-to-3D conversion feature. Properly set up, a good HDTV is inherently capable of producing a believable sensation of depth from 2D sources—something we seem to have forgotten in the race to 3D nirvana.

I also noted that after I made adjustments in the service menu, the measured results in normal operating mode were sometimes different. These differences were significant enough on the GT30 that I had to jump in and out of the menu to make my incremental adjustments until the out-of-service-menu results were satisfactory, a tedious process.

Apart from having to do calibrations in the service menu, there were no downsides to using the calibrated Cinema or calibrated THX Picture modes for 2D. But Cinema and THX don't offer the ability to do separate calibrations for 2D and 3D, even in the service menu, which defaults to 2D as soon as you open it. Custom mode, which does offer separate calibration controls for 3D in the user menu, suffered from the low gammas I mentioned earlier. However, while these were a bad bargain for 2D, I found that they produced a noticeably brighter, punchier 3D image than either Cinema or THX. A low gamma enhances 3D brightness, a benefit for plasma technology, which has less inherent brightness than LCD.

Oddly, while the 2.6 gamma setting in 3D measured closer to 2.2 across most of the brightness range, that setting (and 2.4 as well) looked dark and gloomy. For reasons that remain puzzling, the lower gamma settings—2.0 or 2.2, which actually measured far lower than that—looked much better. These gamma settings appear to have been cannily crafted to add significant brightness without washing out the picture or producing any other visible, distracting artifacts.

Other than the common failure to properly handle 2:2 pulldown, and a failure to cleanly upscale 480p material to 1080p (see the Scaling block on the Video Test Bench chart), the GT30's HD video processing was good. The SD processing (upscaling and deinterlacing from 480i to 1080p, not shown in the charts) was borderline on 3:2 SD (marginal on two different tests, but a pass on a third). The set also failed a 2:2 SD pulldown test.

2D Performance
The GT30 offers gorgeous color on most sources, even with its somewhat inaccurate color gamuts (the points were spot on, but the intensities of the colors diverged from the HD standard, even with the color control turned down). However, the set exhibited a slightly pink tint across most of its screen when it displayed a full-screen white field of even moderate brightness.

The calibrated GT30 also had a noticeable brownish shift in dark grays, plus a subtle tinge of green, which was most noticeable on black-and-white material. It was less visible in color, although once I began to look for it, I could see it in flesh tones. All of the GT30's color deviations were subtle and thus easier to spot in side-by-side comparisons than would be likely in a solo evaluation. None of these appeared to be related to the calibration, nor could I correct the issues with the Tint or Color controls.

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COMMENTS
luckyman777go's picture

My 65GT30 has better PQ than the 55VT30 I exchaned it for,the overall picture qaulity is stunning.

I,do not know what gives with the smaller
screen sizes of the PANASONIC GT30 series,but they are not in the same league as the larger screen sizes.
I,looked at both the 50" & 55"versions of the GT30 and they did not look any where near as good as the two larger sizes,and I, owned the 55VT30 for a little over a month,and it did not look as good overall as my 65GT30. I have none of the issues,others have complained about, with MY 65GT30, the VT30,however,was another story. What is up with The GT30 series? in comparison to the ST and VT series that seem to test better overall,especially in the smaller screen sizes.
my 65GT30 performs near perfect.

Very good review!

luckyman777go's picture

My 65GT30 has better PQ than the 55VT30, that I exchanged, for the GT30, the overall picture qaulity is stunning.

I,do not know what gives with the smaller
screen sizes of the PANASONIC GT30 series,but they are not in the same league as the larger screen sizes.
I,looked at both the 50" & 55"versions of the GT30 and they did not look any where near as good as the two larger sizes,and I, owned the 55VT30 for a little over a month,and it did not look as good overall as my 65GT30. I have none of the issues,others have complained about, with my 65GT30, the 55VT30 however,was another story. What is up with The GT30 series? in comparison to the ST and VT series that seem to test better overall,especially in the smaller screen sizes.
My 65GT30 is excellent,I have 0 complaints.

Thanks for, the informative, detailed review!

riverajuan's picture

Hello,

I am new to this site, but have been reading all your reviews on the tvs and after so much research and trials with different led tvs and lcds and not happy with the results decided to go plasma.

I decided on the 50gt30 which I have own for the past 15 days from a purchased from BB.

I am extremely happy with this set and have not seen or experience any of the problems mentioned here and in other sites (fluctuating brightness, etc.

My only worry or concern has always been image retention which is not a concern with led tvs.

What do you recommend, keeping the plasma has been the best quality picture I have seen so far or going with an led and if so which led do you recommend that has good blacks?

Your advise will be greatly appreciated

DSharkey's picture

Listen, for all of the people looking for a TV that fits in to the category of "I need a TV that is bigger and better than my friend's and father-in-law's, a TV that looks amazing and provides the best viewing experience I can get for under $2k", then this is it.

I did hours of research and read tons of blogs/reviews from people on Amazon, CNET, Crutchfield, etc and there is one basic theme. The majority of the posts include specs and technical functionality that means nothing to me or my wife at the end of the day unless I spend another two weeks learning. And for what? I want a bad ass TV period.

Panasonic Plasma HDTVs are excellent TVs. They definitely have different brightness levels, colors, etc compared to LCDs, LEDs, yada yada yada. The three levels of Panasonic Plasmas vary and the basic just is you pay for what you get.

Here are the things I would advise you to look for (all of these are included in the GT model):

Screen size
1080p (if you are going to spend the money on anything bigger than 42 in, otherwise 720p is fine)
THX Certified (this is the biggest feature...makes ALL the difference)
HDMI inputs (especially if you have game consoles, a blu-ray, cable set top box: that makes 3 already, want an extra?)

These items are the most important for me and talking to others these seem to be the most important to them too. So save yourself some time, and buy this TV. You will not go wrong. I have had my TV for 3 months and placed at 9 feet away, it feels like I go to the IMAX every time I turn it on. Clear, crisp, vibrant picture. What more could I ask for? Oh yea...beer anyone?!?

P.S. Before you're will buy this TV, I suggest check for best deal at: Dealsfine.info/panasonic-tc-p50gt30/

Good Luck!

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