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Pioneer PDP-5080XD Calibration

by Andrew Fee
10 October 2007
TLC Broadcast

Greyscale & Gamma

Unfortunately, I have been having computer troubles (which is one of the reasons this review is so late) and as a result I no longer have the pre-calibration data.

As with Vincent's review of the 4280, however, the results on the Pioneer PDP-5080XD were very impressive, being very close to a D65 temperature on [Colour Temp] "Low" out of the box, though gamma on the default setting produced a slight S-Curve.

Post-calibration, the results were superb:

Greyscale

Greyscale is by far the best I have seen from any HDTV so far, and gamma tracks very closely to the 2.2 ideal. Below 10IRE shadow details are slightly darker than they should be, but it is still better than virtually all of the competition.

Gamma

Colour Chromaticity

My findings were also in-line with Vincent's here. While Pioneer PDP-5080XD offers a colour space 2 setting to bring the primary/secondary chromacities as close to the PAL target as possible, enabling this left the image very under-saturated.

When calibrated in Colour Space 1, the gamut is wider than it should be, but saturation is excellent, and while greens are off-target, it is no worse than most other displays out there, and the majority of people will find the image to be more pleasing like this.

CIE Chart

While Pioneer does offer what appears to be a great colour management system, it seems that making any changes with it have a negative effect on the greyscale, so they are best left alone, or at most, only very minor adjustments should be made.

Benchmark Test Results

Dead pixels None
Screen uniformity Perfect
Overscanning on HDMI, Component 2.5 percent (0% in [PC] mode)
Blacker than black Passed
Black level Easily the best for a flat-panel
Black level retention Stable
Primary chromaticity Good
Scaling Good
Video mode deinterlacing Excellent
Film mode deinterlacing Competent 3:2/ 2:2 cadence detection
Viewing angle Excellent (> 160°)
Motion blur On par with other plasmas
Digital noise PWM noise noticeable within ~12ft of the screen
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement
Image retention Negligible if orbiter enabled
Posterization The least I have seen on a flat-panel so far
1080p/24 capability (PS3) Accepts 24fps; no telecine judder

Screen Uniformity & Viewing Angles

Screen uniformity on the Pioneer PDP-5080XD was excellent with very minor variations that were undetectable by eye. Viewing angles were great, with virtually no change in the image horizontally, however there was a minor change in brightness when viewing from above/ below the set.

Reflections/ Glare

Pioneer has developed a new coating for the 8Gs which does a very good job cutting down on reflections / glare. As with the 7G displays, there are no internal reflections on their screens due to their Direct Colour Filter. While the new coating does a good job, the image does still wash out somewhat with high levels of ambient light, so if the display is going to be used in a mostly bright environment, an LCD might be a better choice.

Black Level/ Contrast Ratio

This is the main selling point of the new Pioneer 8G Plasmas, so how does it fare? Well, the black levels/ contrast ratio are definitely far ahead of other flat panels available. Contrast measured around 3000-3500:1 when peak whites were set to 30 fL.This means that black levels were very noticeably darker than any other flat panel that I have seen to date. However, when viewed in a completely dark room, blacks are still very noticeably grey when compared to a CRT.

When the CRT was calibrated and set to show the same level of shadow details as the Pioneer, the difference was a lot smaller, but blacks still weren't quite there with the 5080.

In anything other than the darkest scenes, however, contrast was noticeably higher than the CRT and provided a better image.

Colour Reproduction

Pioneer has always had a reputation for good colour reproduction, and it is well deserved. While the gamut on the Pioneer PDP-5080XD may be slightly larger than it should be, colour reproduction was wonderfully natural at all times, with even the most subtle colours being brought out in dark scenes. 


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