Since normal dark scenes don't allow for a drastic shut down of the iris, I would say that under normal viewing of dark scenes, the difference isn't this great. Further, the Panasonic, as reported at the time, was a pre-production unit and does exhibit a bit of hot spotting in the lower left and upper right corners. Another reason why a production PT-AE3000 is likely to be closer to the Mitsubishi in black level performance. Anyway that you figure it, though, the HC7000 comes out ahead, though slightly. Confirming my comments about the iris on a black scene, look at those pause icons in the lower left. Under bright scenes they look the same. Here, the Panasonic is far more overexposed, indicating that it's iris can't, or won't close down as far, on a fully black screen.