ISF Calibration, is it worth it?


Established Member
Why spend money on ISF Calibration?

I can see why you want to adjust your settings with DVE, in getting blacks black and whites white without losing details and getting the color reasonable right. But why trying to match as closely as possible to a standard with IFS? The human eye adapts to it's environment. On the moment I walk from the living room in my kitchen the light of the fluorescent tubes seem blue/slightly green but after a minutes my eyes/brain have compensated to the color temprature, when walking back to the living room the opposite happens, at first I see everything yellow/red but then my eyes adapt again. Perception of colors depends on your current lighting conditions; if I look standing in the sun thru the windows of an office to a white wall in this office this wall appears to be blue but if I'm in this office looking at the same wall it will look white.

So if I look to an IFS calibrated screen in different lighting conditions my perception of the colors on my screen will vary as well. With daylight it will look warmer than during night with tungsten lights illuminating the room . These variations are far bigger than the variation between a screen setup by it's user with DVE and a IFS calibrated screen.

I think IFS calibration is only critical if I was going to output the images from my screen for printing or reproduction, which I think very few plasma owners will do.


Ex Member
To tell u the truth a plasma in a living room isnt something I would ISF for, but if I had a dedicated bat cave with a projector and all my sources going into a scaler then ISF is more then worth it after spending thousands on the setup.


Ex Member
There is another small thread on this.

This is my take

I'm gonna upset a few people with this but it is just an observation.

I have recently changed my 506 for a 507. There is a big difference in colour performance amongst other things with this set but it seems far better calibrated out of the box than the 506. Just turning the contrast and colour down give an exellent image. The tweaks I have made to each input using the user setting are very small unlike the 506 which needed major work.

I had my 506 calibrated, But almost straight after I changed some of the settings as on most things I was watching, things like colour saturation was rediculously high and faces just looked red. A few things looked great. But general everyday "TV" did not. I know that settings were almost magical 6500 by the results shown on ......... laptop.

( By the way he even came out on a Sunday to fit in with me so this post is not knocking the service or the ability of the calibrators).

The visit did teach me a lot re calibration espacially greyscalling and sharpness levels.

Now having got my 507 I am finding this easier to calibrate, and needs far less tweaking than the 506, however something struck me last night.

I was thinking do I need to get this Isf'd or not and why did I spend the money last time only make changes almost immeadiately after.

Then it hit me.

Surely the source material and the source itself needs to be 6500.

Example, watched Man Utd V Man City on Prem Plus HD, some of the cameras covering the game seemed to be calibrated differently from each other, just look at the differing grass colour next time. Same with Match of the Day, every match covered had wildly different colour grass as did the cameras within that game. Same on Casualty, same scene differing camera angles, skin tones diffferent. In fact this is generally the case with all soaps. Another example on this, if two channels are broadcasting the same thing, just look at the difference in colour, eg something like the Queens speach on Xmas day, it will be same recording but will vary in colour from channel to channel.

Yes I know tv broadcast calibration is different to the film industry but it is the same from DVD.

During my 506 calibration, ...... took time to ensure the output from the DVD player was 6500. So now I know that panel & DVD are 6500. I have a couple of disks twice, eg Fith Element, one DD one DTS, I was seeing differing colour gamut between what is the same film just with different sound, same with Chitty Chitty (4:3 to 16:9), Grease (2.0 to 5.1) & Armagedon (film on 2 sides to dual layer), yes they may have been remastered and which one is acurate, anyway, I expected 6500 the first time!!!

I noticed these things with the calibrated 506. Thinking about it I noticed this as a kid on my parents fab 22" GEC TV (the one with wooden sliding doors) when BBC & ITV showed Testcard F at the same time, BBC always looked better. (Some things don't change) ((seriously sad too I know))

I now have a picture that I'm very happy with on my 507, taken about 2 weeks to get "right" for me. Superb colour, suberb greyscale which means good colour and detail in dark scenes.

So my point.

What the hell is the point of paying several hundred pounds to have a panel calibrated to 6500 when the quality control from broadcasters and the DVD processing plants is so poor.


********, very interesting and some valid points made. I have been debating whether to do it myself via a DVE disc and see what I can achieve for myself. However must say that out of the box settings on my 58 look awesome to my untrained eye.

How do you rate the DVE discs.

Cheers, John...

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
I would have posted on Bumptious other thread but I have been very very busy last week. In fact today is my one day off till xmas I think.

The reason you have calibration done is to ensure your panel performs to the standards set down in the specifications for playback of video in this country. 6500K is not a target for calibration of anything. DVD players do not output 6500K. It is a correlated colour temperature of a colour, in fact of many colours, on the CIE diagram. DVD players output digital signals or voltages. The display interprets the final signal it is given in to light. The colour that light should be is written down in the specifications for our broadcast system. For black and white it is specified as a co-ordinate on the CIE chart. There are also specifications for red, green, blue and the secondary colours. The monitors used to create and monitor our tv programming are designed and built to these standards. If you wish to see the content as accurately as possible then your tv should as closely as possible mimic these standards.

Bumptious is correct in that the broadcasters have to keep up their end of the deal and keep standards high. This is not always the case though and it's quite easy to spot if you just sit and watch a news channel for a while. uts to different studios or OB units will show massive differences in colour casts. Generally it is unless you are watching this OB stuff. Drama and film will have been turned from film to video properly. If you want to see the Matrix or Traffic with the correct "look" then you need your display operating to the standards. Different versions of films may well have different colour appearance. This may be due to remasters or directors cuts or whatever. It is perfectly feasible that the new telecine of the film was done by a different person who chose a different look. Film has a much larger gamut of colour than any of the tv systems so decisions have to be made as to how to get as close an approximation of the style of the film on to video. Often on major blockbusters the DOP may be involved in overseeing this stage I believe. I think I read that the LOTR films were looked at again by the DOP for the extended versions so the original release may look different to each extended version on same display. Rather than this meaning the quality control is bad in DVD production it means that if you don't have your monitor calibrated properly you will be unable to view the extended version in the manner in which the Director of Photography feels it best emulates his ideas for the film.

Some of the things I do on an ISF are not laid down in specifications though. Some things, that can make a serious difference to image quality, are down to knowing what some settings on your display or sources do and how to set them optimally. This is part of my service but is not to do with colour and greyscale calibration. I am talking about noise reductions, sharpness, video processing modes. These alone can make a huge difference and do. In fact just last week I visited a chap and with two simple changes to parameters on his dvd and plasma I made what many here would consider a several hundred if not thousand pound increase in performance.

DVE is an excellent tool and it is one I use myself. I actually use the Pro version though as it has more patterns on it which are useful to me and my test equipment.

Is ISF calibration worth it? The bulk of my clients seem to think so. For open discussion I will disclose that Bumptious is one of my clients.


Just for information: Here are the BEFORE measurements of the two Fuji 50" panels I looked at yesterday. These are just the relative red green and blue levels of the greyscale, out the box settings as I found them in clients homes. The target would be to have each red green and blue line on top of each other. As has been said, this is just one facet of an ISF calibration

They are 58us and 40us models


  • 58us RGB Levels Histogrambefore.jpg
    58us RGB Levels Histogrambefore.jpg
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  • 40us RGB Levels Histogrambefore.jpg
    40us RGB Levels Histogrambefore.jpg
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Established Member
I bought a DVE disc (amateur version) and have used it to set up my PHD8.

It is a fairly simple process but to be honest I have done it twice and both times I have had to lower both the Colour & Contrast levels afterwards to produce a picture quality that I am happy with.

I was amazed to read recently on these forums that someone had their panel set to Dynamic! and loved it that way:cool:

I suppose it only goes to show that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.


Ex Member
Calibration does indeed depend on the environment and habituation, but I don't think its news (!) - even your average joe on the street would realise this. Most people want to calibrate a plasma to look good in dim light or complete darkness, so would deem it worthwhile. I think there are more serious problems when it comes to calibrating a plasma, I have a thread on this in the calibration forum.

Gordon - could I ask what mode and colour settings those Fujitsu's were on? What does the % refer to, ie % of what (I have calMan which gives RGB %'s so the sum is 300%, which makes sense)? Do you have before and/or afters (if you can change these on the Fujistus?) of the primary and secondary colour points also?

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hi Dingwall: They were on FINE settings with contrast brightness etc done but the ctemp at the customers out the box settings. I am not going to post the after measurements or the device primaries and secondaries. The RGB levels are just relative levels. I never actually considered what the % was at side as it is irrelevant to how I carry out the calibration. It was just to show that there is a non linearity in gamma of some colours and that the default colour temperatures I came across were not correct.



Established Member
ISF? Some of the best money I have ever spent. There is no doubt about it and I've never regetted having it done for one moment.

And Gordon? He really does know what he is talking about and what he is doing. He's also a really great bloke too.:smashin:

DVE is an excellent tool (you should get the NTSC version as well as PAL if you watch Region 1 DVDs). It cannot replace ISF calibration but is a very good starting point.


Ex Member
Hi Gordon,

Do you remember what the temperature settings were?

I ask about this and the colour points as I had a very thorough demo of the Fujitsu 42" over the weekend and was extremely impressed overall (the best panel I've seen) including its colours. The 50" just didn't look as good, or even much like it despite matching settings and over 3 hours of viewing/playing. In fact, we loved the 42" so much that we are downsizing from 50".

If the RGB levels were way off though, I would consider calibration as well. But I would like to know the colour points before this as I think this is very important.

If those RGB levels are relative, what are they relative to? They only seem to make sense if they are absolute values to me. The numbers can't be relative to what they should be, as they would then total 300. They can't be relative to one colour, as no colour has a fixed value. If they were absolute values, the excess blue would then be something like 135-40%. If this is the case, then I believe the Fujitsu's RGB levels are similar to other plasmas 'standard/normal' settings, and the nice colours are not due to this...

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