Sony PFM-50C1 plasma display Calibration
The Sony PFM-50C1 was calibrated with the FSR Color Analyzer from Progressive Labs. Custom color-coordinate lookup tables were created by Cliff Plavin of Progressive Labs using a spectroradiometer, after which gray-scale calibrations were performed using 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1024x768 sources.
The PFM-50C1's phosphors were a bit off from SMPTE "C" coordinates. Cliff measured 0.315x, 0.339y, and 6310 kelvins out of the box in Medium color-temperature mode with a 75 IRE window. This means you can use the panel without a calibration if you have to and get a close—but not accurate—gray scale that tracks within 340K from 18% white to 100% white.
But you can do better, even with just the Sony's RGB drive controls. After calibration with the FSR Analyzer, I measured 6510K with a 50% gray field, tracking from 6640K at 0.14f-L to 6660K at 30.18f-L. In effect, I raised the entire gray scale 100-150K; it then "hovered" at around D6500 from 18% gray on up. The accompanying chart shows the final gray scale. After testing dozens of plasma monitors, I can tell you that getting both the low and high ends of the gray scale to track evenly is a frustrating exercise, so I usually finish a calibration by setting a 35-50% gray bar as close to D6500 as I can and leaving it at that. [My experience has been better, though limited to four plasmas I've reviewed in the recent past.—TJN]
After gray-scale calibration, brightness was clocked at 16.2ft-L with a 100 IRE pattern across the full 16:9 screen, and 21.1ft-L with a 4:3 white field. The PFM-50C1 uses an automatic picture level (APL) circuit to protect against burn-in, and it can't be disabled unless you go deep into the service menu. These reduced brightness levels might be a problem for you only with video games and computer images—the peak contrast readings I measured show the panel can pump 25-40f-L of brightness with small white fields.
Last but not least, I measured the contrast using three patterns: the ANSI 16-panel checkerboard, a 50% white/black field, and a small-area 100 IRE window. The average ANSI contrast measured 167:1 with the checkerboard, while the 50% black/white window actually yielded a lower measurement of 154:1 (the panel's automatic picture-level circuit kicks in with large white fields). The small-area 100 IRE window against a black background resulted in a peak contrast of 289:1.—PP