Samsung PN60F8500 3D Plasma HDTV HT Labs Measures

HT Labs Measures

Full-On/Full-Off Contrast Ratio: 18,729:1

All the 2D measurements here were taken in the Movie mode. The Cell Light was set to 17, Contrast to 89, Brightness to 50, Dynamic Contrast to Low, Color Tone to Warm 2, and Gamma to –1.

The full-on/full-off contrast ratio above was calculated at the settings indicated from a measured peak white level of 31.84 foot-lamberts and a full black field reading of 0.0017 ft-L. Higher Cell Light settings can produce a brighter picture. But I found that setting this control to 14 or 15 in normal, evening room lighting (13 for movies in a darkened or near-dark room) produced the most comfortable 2D viewing, as long as the room lighting does not bounce directly off the set’s reflective screen.

Color-tracking charts were generated in SpectraCal CalMAN,

The RGB Balance charts show how well a display adheres to the D65 standard white point; the tighter the match of the three primary colors, the nearer the result is to D65 at each point in the brightness range. Delta E is a figure of merit showing how close the result is to this standard D65 white point. Most experts recommend a Delta E value of 4 or less, though some recommend a Delta E of no more than 3 for a visibly ideal result.

Pre-calibration in the Warm 2 Color Tone (color temperature) setting, the gray-scale Delta E averaged 3.61 (3.08 to 4.48 from 40 percent to 90 percent, min 1.28 at 20 percent, max 6.61 at 100 percent). Post-calibration, using only the two-point calibration controls, the Delta E averaged 0.82, with a maximum of 1.49 at 100 percent. The gamma averaged 2.2 (low 2.1 at 80 percent, high 2.31 at 90 percent) in the –1 setting of the Gamma control.

The CIE chart shows the postcalibration color gamut, which closely matches the Rec. 709 standard. In the Auto setting of the Color Space control, the average 2D color Delta E was 1.4.


In 3D, prior to calibration, the grayscale Delta E averaged 10.88. This falls just over the “clearly visible but not necessarily objectionable to all viewers” Delta E range (5 to 10). The main deviation was excessive red at all points. Those who choose not to have a 3D calibration performed might find that a different setting of the Color Tone control, Warm 1 or even Standard, is a better choice for 3D than Warm 2. After calibration, the gray-scale Delta E averaged 3.08 (under 3.94 from 30 percent to 90 percent and a maximum of 7.0 and plus blue at 20 percent). For 3D, I chose the Custom Color Space setting and adjusted the controls to improve the average 3D color Delta E from 5.09 (Auto, pre-calibration) to 1.37 (Custom, post-calibration).


With a Gamma control setting of –3, the 3D gamma measured an average of 1.28! More significant, perhaps to the 3D saturation instability mentioned in the review, the 3D gamma averaged 1.48 from 20 percent to 60 percent but dropped to an average of 0.95 (!) from 70 percent to 90 percent. But because of a unique characteristic of plasma HDTVs—they gradually reduce screen brightness as the source level increases because of real-world power supply limitations—measuring gamma in either 3D or 2D using normal procedures can be iffy.—TJN

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robbi1121's picture

I would love to love this tv. But, until Samsung begins to even acknowledge brightness pops and the continuous gray bars in letter box washing out, I won't ever buy another one from them. I currently have the 59d8000, but I also have the panasonic vt60 64 inch. Probably the best picture I've ever seen with the Panasonic.

Robert Zohn's picture

robbi1121, I was the first one to discover the brightness pops and personally reported it to Samsung engineers. Samsung was able to repeat and see the problem in their lab, acknowledged it and completely fixed the brightness fluctuations in early May with firmware 1102, last week further enhancements were released with firmware 1104.

Regarding the cropping bars I've personally seen more than 60 F8500s that we professionally calibrated and have not seen grey cropping bars. We put a Klein 10 meter on the CinemaScope 2.35:1 bars and the MLL was measured at .00167fL, which is very dark.

I agree that Panasonic's VT60 is an excellent display, but suggest you take another look at the F85000 that is properly set-up and in a good viewing environment, I think you will like what you see.


Robert Zohn's picture

Tom, love your review, very accurate and well written.


Rob Sabin's picture
Thanks for the comments on our review, Robert. I'm always fascinated when experts from different corners and media entities look at the same TVs and come to essentially the same conclusions. Gives you some faith in the world and really separates video from audio, where any given set of ears may hear the very same things but have a completely different opinion on whether it's any good at all. That's what I love about evaluating video -- it is what it is... and there's no arguing about it among educated eyeballs. At least THAT part of our job is easy. Now, if we can just get people to turn off the interpolation modes in their LCDs and understand that soap opera effect does not make an HDTV "better." Sigh... :-) -- Rob
coreying's picture

This may be a question for Robert Zohn or Rob Sabin, but does anyone know whether the PN64F8500, which competed against the Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 and TC-P65VT60 in the Value Electronics HDTV Shooutout, had the "Black Optimizer" enabled or not?

The "Audience" and especially the "Experts" rated the black level of the Samsung to be worse than the Panasonic's, and then when the Panasonic's were compared to the Kuro, it was noted there is still a way to go.

Yet Thomas in this review has stated that in comparison to his Kuro the black level ranges from "couldn’t quite keep up" to "essentially indistinguishable."

AlaskanAVGuy's picture


Samsung F8500 (0.0017ft/L) (214.74) = 126,317:1

Panasonic ZT60 (0.0011ft/L) (114.90) = 104,454:1

Panasonic VT60 (0.0012ft/L) (81.90) = 68,250:1

Thomas J. Norton's picture
It's been at least eight months since the Samsung and the Panasonic VT60 were returned, so I can't duplicate your findings. But there's a philosophical difference here. Our contrast ratios were all taken at approximately the same peak white output on all the sets, a peak white that we consider appropriate for comfortable viewing in a darkened room—30 to 35 foot-lamberts. A dark or nearly dark environment makes sense for movies, the type of program material most in need of good black levels. It also more closely approximates the theatrical experience.

No one argues that the Samsung isn't capable of a higher peak brightness than the Panasonics. If you do most of your viewing in a very bright room this might be important. But a brightly lit room will dramatically increase the measurable black level and make the contrast ratio that was measured in a dark room irrelevant.

BFlynn's picture

First, I have to say thanks everyone for their insight.

My wife has ordered me this television, as a surprise. I'm looking forward to it showing up. I know these settings are calibrated for watching a movie in a dark room, but what should I change for optimal sports viewing? Most of our Saturday afternoons are spent watching football games, and our teams seem to always have the 3:00pm game.