The P50GT50 has sought and gained the support of not one but two independent picture quality organisations: the THX group, and calibration experts the Imaging Science Foundation. This has resulted in presets being provided by both organisations; the THX ones are already configured for day and night use to give what THX believes to be the best results for watching films, while the ISF presets are there for an engineer to use should you pay for one to come round and do the ISF calibration process.
We've found previous THX modes on older Panasonic plasma TVs to be strangely unsatisfying thanks to their softness and over-warm colours. But perhaps because of the improved capabilities of Panasonic's latest plasma TVs, the THX modes here really do represent a good instant movie option for folk not wanting to get involved with calibrating the P50GT50 themselves.
If you do want to fine tune images yourself, then as the ISF certification implies, there are plenty of tools at your disposal, including white balance and gamma adjustments.
One other tool of note is Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation system, which can interpolate extra frames of image data to reduce judder. Film purists probably won't like this feature, arguing that it makes films look more like video. However, if you're one of those people who just finds judder on a TV uncomfortable, then the IFC processing is accomplished enough to be worth experimenting with, at least on its lowest power setting, as it clearly reduces judder without generating many unwanted side effects.
Regular readers will know that Panasonic's 2012 plasmas have almost all been seriously impressive. So it's no surprise to find the P50GT50 a chip off the old block.
As we've come to expect, the star of its picture show is its black level response. Parts of the picture that should look black, do look black. Not grey, not green, not blue, but black.
Gorgeous. What's more, since plasma technology can control the brightness of each individual pixel, there's no sign of the sort of backlight inconsistencies and clouding problems so commonly seen with (especially edge LED) LCD technology.
This intensely cinematic black level response doesn't come at the expense of overall image brightness, either. In fact, bright parts of mostly dark scenes look extremely punchy and vibrant. It's this ability to deliver very bright and very dark content in the same frame without either being compromised that remains plasma's - especially Panasonic plasma's - greatest trick, especially given the amount of detail that can still be made out in those dark and dingy depths.