Calibration report using these settings:
TV software/firmware version tested: 1017
Below you'll find the settings I found best for viewing the Samsung PN60F8500 in a dim room via the HDMI input. Your settings may vary depending on source, room conditions, and personal preference. Check out the Picture settings and calibration FAQ for more information.
Calibration notes: As always the Movie setting was Samsung's best, and it delivered a very capable picture without any adjustment. Grayscale and color errors were all modest, with the worst being Blue and Cyan, and neither was that bad. Notably, Movie also measured quite bright at 56 fL, which I consider too high for a dim or dark room (my target is 40).
Before I could get to adjusting graycale and color, I was faced with a new setting, and a few familiar ones, that had a large impact on picture quality. The new setting, called "Black Optimizer," is explained by a classic piece of gobbledegook in Samsung's menu ("This function can be represented to more rich black level and magnified contrast of low gradation by PDP waveform and signal compensation"), but the net result is that selecting "Dark Room" improves black level significantly. I measured 0% luminance at 0.002 fL in that setting, while the other two ("Off" and "Bright Room") came in at 0.007 (lower is better). I checked for obvious downsides, for example crushed gamma and floating/popping blacks, but didn't see any, so I chose to calibrate in "Dark Room."
The other unusual setting that had a major impact on black level, and which did necessitate a tradeoff, was Cinema Smooth under Film Setting. Engaging it with Dark Room active raised (worsened) black levels to 0.004. It does have a positive impact on video processing, as detailed in the review, but I still chose to calibrate with it in the Off position.
Those issues settled I pursued a normal calibration. After a basic 2-point grayscale calibration I to wrangle the 10-point system to improve gamma and grayscale, but found myself running out of range in at some levels to try to compensate for gamma variations. Unfortunately, looking at program material afterward I noticed color banding, specifically magenta in near-white areas, which disappeared when I switched the 10-point adjustments Off completely. For that reason I ended up skipping it.
There was also significant inconsistency in the middle of the scale at 50 IRE; the color and brightness of gray varied quite a bit from measurement to measurement, and there was little I could do about it (that's the reason why my final calibration resort has a big spike at 50; on other measurements taken in isolation, it could be totally flat). Peak white also fluctuated somewhat, although not nearly as wildly as 50.
As usual Samsung's color management system worked extremely well, although not quite as well as in the past. Blue was still problematic and I couldn't get it under the error threshold for "Good" in the Geek Box. Cyan also varied somewhat from one measurement to the next.
All told my calibration yielded only modest improvements over the default Movie mode. Perhaps another calibrator could coax better-looking charts out of the F8500, but I couldn't.
As I mentioned in the review I also experienced more temporary image retention on the F8500 than usual. For example, after adjustment I could see the imprint of my calibration window pattern, the menu and even the input on a black screen. The strange purplish artifact also appeared, only visible between 7 and 12 IRE field patterns (although those changed depending on the brightness setting). Full field images at these levels also showed a sort of cascading purplish effect along the top; faint, but still visible from up a normal seating distance. The retention was very temporary in every case, disappearing within a few moments of watching normal TV for example, and it didn't interfere with my enjoyment of any program material aside from what I noted in the review.
My PN60F8500 review sample was aged 120 hours before calibration and review, but there's no reason you need to similarly break it in before you apply the settings below.
Cell Light: 17
Picture size submenu:
Picture Size: Screen Fit
Position: [no change]
Auto Adjustment submenu: [Grayed out]
3D submenu: N/A
Advanced settings submenu:
Dynamic contrast: Off
Black tone: Off
Flesh tone: 0
RGB Only Mode: Off
Color space: Custom
White Balance: [see below]
10p White Balance: On
Expert Pattern: Off
Motion Lighting: Off [grayed out]
Color Space submenu:
Color Space: Custom
Red: Red 48, Green 4, Blue 4
Green: Red 22, Green 54, Blue 8
Blue: Red 0, Green 0, Blue 55
Yellow: Red 46, Green 55, Blue 7
Cyan: Red 26, Green 43, Blue 40
Magenta: Red 47, Green 0, Blue 55
White balance submenu:
10p White Balance submenu: Off
Picture options submenu
Color tone: Warm2
Digital Clean View: Off
MPEG Noise Filter: Off
HDMI black level: Normal [grayed out]
Film mode: Off
Motion Judder Canceller: Off
Black optimizer: Dark room
Light bulbs you shouldn't buy
There are plenty of dimmable LED light bulbs, but make sure you don't buy the ones that flicker when you dial them down.