Very simply, if I need a monitor for editing photos, I will look for a high-resolution display, something with a great viewing angle and the ability to represent true colors.
Now, colors are something that is dependent on the fact that you calibrate you monitor from time to time. Even if the monitor comes well calibrated out of the box, over a period of time it loses that calibration. So, you have to recalibrate it as you go.
You also need the monitor to display a certain resolution and be of a certain size. For a photographer or a creative professional (someone who does photo editing for a living), it is pertinent that the monitor is at least around 27-inch. I feel 27″ is a great size for photo editing. The resolution should be around UHD / 4K.
In any case, don’t go for too large a monitor if the resolution is anything less than UHD / 4K. This is because with larger pixels the image is likely to become blurry. Ideally, you would want a dense pixel concentration to give a smoother experience and higher detail.
Apart from that, you need your monitor to support 100% of the sRGB color gamut. This will ensure that the images that you print to match the colors that you see on the monitor. Here are a few monitors that we feel are great choices for the purpose of photo editing. We have sorted them in terms of their pricing band.
12 of the Best Monitors for Photo Editing in 2019:
|BenQ 4K PhotoVue Photographer Monitor (SW271)||View On Amazon|
|Dell UltraSharp U2717D InfinityEdge Monitor||View On Amazon|
|ASUS Designo MX27UC 4K UHD||View On Amazon|
|BenQ SW2700PT 2K Photographer Monitor||View On Amazon|
|BenQ PV3200PT 16:9 4K Video Editing IPS Monitor||View On Amazon|
|LG 32UD99-W 16:9 HDR10 FreeSync IPS B076CTL3BD||View on Amazon|
|Samsung WQHD LED Monitor (S32D850T)||View On Amazon|
|ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD||View On Amazon|
|HP Pavilion QHD LCD Monitor||View On Amazon|
|LG 27UD58-B 4K UHD||View On Amazon|
|AOC Q3277FQE Class MVA LED Monitor||View On Amazon|
|PRO Eizo ColorEdge CG2420||View On Amazon|
Let us have a look at each monitor in detail:
1. BenQ 27″ 4K PhotoVue Photographer Monitor (SW271)
What I like about the BenQ SW271 PhotoVue 27 inch 4K HDR Photography IPS Monitor is that it supports 100% of the sRGB color gamut. The fact that it also supports 99% of the Adobe RGB color gamut isn’t all that important for me.
- 27 INCH 4K UHD RESOLUTION: Exceptional clarity of fine details
- HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE (HDR): for sharpened brightness and incredible details.Dimensions (HxWxD mm) (w/o Base) (with shading...
- AQCOLOR TECHNOLOGY: 99% Adobe RGB coverage, hardware calibration support for accurate colors for photography. Card Reader...
- USB TYPE-C: Transmit data and video signal with one cable for easy hardware calibration. Video Signal Data : Horizontal...
- HARDWARE CALIBRATION WITH PALETTE MASTER ELEMENT SOFTWARE: Tune and maintain the color performance of the monitor at its most...
I don’t print my own photos and most photo printing labs use sRGB. This way I can rest assured that the colors will match when the prints come back and there will be no surprises.
The Intenet too uses sRGB as the default color space, any picture that I edit and then upload to a gallery or a forum or social media will look exactly the same as it does on my computer. Usually, when your editing color space is AdobeRGB and then you upload in sRGB the colors look dull.
The other thing that I like is this is a 4K (UHD) monitor and that means a resolution of 3840 x 2160.
Additionally, this monitor incorporates IPS technology and that means it has a wider display angle, unlike the TN panels. The aspect ratio of the monitor is 16:9. The refresh rate is 60 Hz. The contrast ratio is 1000:1.
The monitor uses a 14-bit (3D) LUT. Thanks to that you have a large wider color gamut than what is possible with other 12-bit or smaller LUT systems.
BenQ 27″ 4K monitor comes with a USB-C port which allows you to plug in an external calibration tool (among other devices for both charging and data) for sustained true color output and accurate color reproduction.
However, that said, you can’t use the USB-C port as a docking station for the purpose of connecting a laptop. The system comes with the Palette Master Element Calibration Software and that allows you to use most good quality calibration hardware.
There is one bad news for any gamers reading this, the monitor does not have Free-sync. That means for any games that you normally play at a higher frame rate, there is bound to be some amount of jerks and tears. This, however, does not impact photo editors.
Related Post: BenQ PD3220U Review
2. Dell UltraSharp U2717D 27″ InfinityEdge Monitor
This 27 inch Dell UltraSharp InfinityEdge monitor comes with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. Again, it is less than the UHD / 4K that we love, but still useful nonetheless as its better than the full HD display on most monitors.
- See more with Dell's InfinityEdge borders. Measuring at roughly 7.3mm thick, you'll be able to stay focused on what's on the...
- With a 2560 x 1440 QHD display, the UltraSharp 27 has 1.77 times more screen space compared to a Full HD monitor. Extra...
- In-Plane Switching displays (IPS) provide you with wide viewing angles and vivid color reproduction. Combined with a 99% sRGB...
- 1 x DisplayPort 1.2 - 1 x DisplayPort-out - 1 x Mini-DisplayPort 1.2 - 1 x HDMI 1.4 (MHL)
The monitor incorporates IPS technology as well as the useful anti-glare technology for better viewing angle and better contrast even when used in a brightly lit room. The monitor comes with a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and support for up to 16.7 million colors.
Related Post: Best Laptops for Photo Editing
The refresh rate of the monitor is 60 Hz. Clearly, if a gaming monitor is what you are looking for this is not what you should be looking at. Among the things that we don’t like, are that there are no USB-C ports but only USB-A. Plus, the 3.5mm port accepts a mic but there is no headphone support which is kind of strange.
3. ASUS Designo MX27UC 27” 4K UHD
The ASUS Designo MX27UC is a 27″ monitor that comes with the IPS technology and a 4K / UHD resolution. I.e., the display is 3840 x 2160. IPS displays are great for viewing as they offer wider viewing angles and better contrast when doing so compared to TN panels.
- 27” 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) AH-IPS monitor with a wide 178° viewing angle. Display viewing area(H x V) : 596. 7 x 335. 6 mm,...
- ASUS Eye Care technology with TUV Rhineland-certified flicker-free backlighting and blue light filter minimizes eye fatigue
- 3W x 2 stereo, RMS, with 3Wx2 Amplifier, Sonic Master sound optimization technology was co-developed by ICE power | Bang &...
- Award-winning frameless design and sundial-inspired base with a metallic, icicle gold finish. Designo MX27UC features an...
- Support 4K video/data transmission and power delivery with a single USB Type-C port to pair perfectly with devices such as...
The ASUS Designo MX27UC has a display of 178˚. The unique frameless design gives it a stunning appearance. The bezel actually measures 0.1 cm in thickness.
For extended use of the monitor, such as when editing batches of photos and videos after a shoot, you need a way to be able to preserve your eyes. The monitor comes with the ASUS Eye Care technology as well as a blue light filter technology which reduces the strain on your eyes when using the monitor for long periods.
There is a 29″ and a 34″ version of this monitor. But they don’t offer the same high pixel density resolution as the 27″ version. Whichever way you look at it, the 27″ is my favorite as it is just the right size for a great photo editing experience. The static contrast ratio is 1300:1.
The monitor displays 1.07 billion colors. It supports the entire sRGB color space, and thus give a more accurate color representation and better consistency across all your displays, the web, and your printer. The response rate of the monitor is 5 ms.
In terms of connectivity, the monitor comes with several connection options along with the all-important USB-C port.
4. BenQ SW2700PT 27 inch 2K Photographer Monitor
The BenQ SW2700PT is a 27” monitor powered by IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology. It has a display resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels (109 ppi) and a contrast ratio of 1000:1.
- 27 inch 2K QHD resolution with IPS Tech: exceptional clarity and fine detail, wide viewing angle
- Aqcolor advantage: 99% Adobe RGB color space, 14-bit 3D look up table (LUT) and Delta E≤ 2, accurate color reproduction.
- Efficiency Boost: hotkey Puck lets you easily switch between Adobe RGB, sRGB, and Black & White mode, or set the hotkey Puck...
- Custom calibration: each SW2700PT arrives pre-calibrated with factory report, hardware calibration, palette master element...
- Professional monitor capabilities: included shading hood minimizes ambient light, Advanced Black & White lets you preview B&W...
The monitor has 99% coverage of the AdobeRGB color space. It also supports 100% of the Rec. 709 / sRGB color gamut.
A built-in calibration tool using the image processing chip is a better and more reliable method of keeping the display honest. Also, the monitor comes with a proprietary calibration application.
Though not a huge advantage for photo editors the response time of the monitor is 5 ms. What, however, is of advantage, is the support for 1.07 billion colors.
Despite the fact that we are dealing with monitors for photo editing and that is the primary focus, a monitor is not always used as a photo editing tool. In fact, it rarely has that privilege. Thus, it is frequently switched from photo editing tasks to browsing and even gaming.
There is this quick ‘mode-change’ option named OSD controller that allows you to make that change whenever you want to use your monitor for anything other than photo editing.
A feature of the BenQ SW2700PT 27” is the detachable hood. This hood is a nice touch, especially for users who might be sitting in areas where controlling the ambient light may not be possible. The hood also makes it possible to work in outdoor conditions as well, in bright scenes where glare makes it difficult to review images after they have been shot. Thus, this is a useful tool for location shooting purposes.
The monitor comes with an array of connectivity options but what it does not have is a USB-C port.
5. BenQ PV3200PT 16:9 4K Video Editing IPS Monitor
We bring in another BenQ in this discussion. This is the BenQ PV3200PT. This is a 32″ monitor with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (UHD). Additionally, the monitor comes with a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The brightness level of the monitor is 350 cd/m².
- 32" Large Screen 3840x2160 UHD Resolution
- 100% Rec. 709 with IPS Technology
- Hardware Calibration with Color Accuracy. OS Compatibility- Windows 7,Windows 8,Windows 8.1Windows 10,MAC
- Palette Master Element Color Calibration Software
- Brightness Uniformity Function. Brightness: 350
Being an IPS panel has its own advantages as the viewing angle is pretty big – 178˚ to be precise. The response time of the monitor is 5 ms. The monitor supports up to 1.07 billion colors. The refresh rate of the monitor is 60 Hz.
The monitor supports 100% Rec. 709 color space as well as 100% of the sRGB color space. The monitor comes with a 14-Bit LUT which enables a much larger color palette compared to others. There is an interesting hardware calibration tool integrated into the monitor.
The system allows you to recalibrate the image processing chip inside the monitor and keep the settings in the graphics card of your computer unchanged. Thus, you get to see consistent results and the monitor does not get affected by the settings in your graphics card.
The system comes integrated with the Palette Master Element software. What you need is a calibrator (external) and you can recalibrate your BenQ PV3200PT from time to time and keep it performing in its optical state for years.
Plus the BenQ PV3200PT comes with an OSD controller. This special remote control ensures that you can switch between different display settings as and when needed.
6. LG 32UD99-W 31.5″ 16:9 HDR10 FreeSync IPS
The LG 32UD99-W is a 31.5″ monitor with a resolution of 3840 x 210 (UHD). The higher resolution as I have mentioned several times over helps in getting a more detailed image. That comes in handy when you are editing images which have a lot of detail in it – landscapes, product shots, black & white portrait of a senior individual and so on.
- 32 inches UHD 4K IPS Display (3840 x 2160)
- HDR 10 For PC; Viewing Angle: 178 (Top Bottom) / 178 (Right Left)
- DCI P3 95 percent Color Standard
- Pivot & Height Adjustable Stand
- Ultra Thin 1.3mm Bezel.Brightness Peak 550 nits
The LG 32UD99-W features in-plane switching technology which ensures that you have a wider viewing angle than other standard monitors. The viewing angle, by the way, is 178˚.
The brightness level of the monitor is a good 350 cd/m² and it has a 5 ms response time. There are faster monitors out there, no doubt about it. But given the fact that we are primarily discussing photo editing applications, we don’t need 1 ms or anything near that. Those are best for gamers and are outside the purview of our discussion. The monitor supports DCI-P3 95% color standard.
The refresh rate of the monitor is 60 Hz. Though there are monitors with even higher numbers and for gaming and watching videos those might be useful, a higher refresh rate is not necessary for photo editing.
Having said that it is hard to ignore the fact that the best monitors are usually the ones that come loaded with features for the hardcore gamer. The LG 32UD99-W being a gaming monitor comes with some gaming features as well.
For example, it has the AMD FreeSync technology. This technology is designed to tune the monitor’s refresh rate with that of the frame rate output of the graphics card ensuring a smoother experience. This is for a smoother gaming experience.
Plus you get HDR capabilities as well. That means you will be able to get a much better (and detailed) image across the dark to medium to bright tones giving you much better viewing experience.
Though actually designed for gaming along with the black stabilizer technology that is also incorporated into the system, to help find details in the shadow areas, this technology will come in handy when editing HDR images.
Among the connectivity options, you have several really, the one that stands out is the USB-C port. It is the latest and the fastest and gives you both data and charging capabilities.
The Samsung 32 is a 32″ large monitor with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (WQHD). Though the resolution is slightly better than full HD, it is not at par as the UHD resolution of the BenQ that we have just finished discussing.
- 2560x1440 WQHD, which is about 1.8 times clearer than Full HD
- Aspect Ratio : 16:09.Product dimensions with stand 29.18 x 24.80/19.68 x 11.02 inches,Product dimensions without stand 29.18...
- Resolution : WQHD(2560x1440)
- Response Time : 5 (GTG)ms.Power Consumption (Max):100 W
- Mounting type: Wall-Mount: VESA 100 × 100mm, Bracket 200 × 200mm
The aspect ratio of the monitor is 16:9. The monitor supports 100% of the sRGB color gamut. The viewing angle of the monitor is 178˚ allowing you a much wider viewing angle. Though you would hardly be looking at this from the side, it is good to have this feature. The aspect ratio of the monitor is 16:9.
The Samsung 32” WQHD LED Monitor (S32D850T) – a great pick for those who want to edit their photos on a big screen (and are on a tight budget).
What is practical, however, is the presence of Eco light technology. This technology ensures that the monitor’s display is adjusted automatically when the brightness of the room changes.
What is missing on the system is the USB-C port. There are several Type-B and A ports along with the other ports but this is what is missing.
8. ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD 27
The ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD is a 27″ monitor with a resolution of 2560 x 1440p (2K / WQHD). The monitor incorporates IPS technology. The presence of IPS technology ensures that you have a much wider viewing area compared to the normal (Twisted Nematic) screens.
- FORM & FUNCTION: With modern design, 2K WQHD (2560x1440p) resolution, and premium IPS panel, this monitors look as good as it...
- AMAZING AT ANY ANGLE: A SuperClear IPS panel ensures stunning views no matter your vantage point
- ENHANCED VIEWING COMFORT: Flicker-Free technology and Blue Light Filter for all-day comfort
- FLEXIBLE CONNECTIVITY: The VX2478-SMHD supports laptops, PCs, and Macs with HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort, and Mini DisplayPort...
- INDUSTRY-LEADING WARRANTY: 3-year coverage with access to our US-based customer service team
The screen supports a contrast ratio of 1000:1 (dynamic contrast of 80,000,000:1) and supports up to 16.7 million colors. Additionally, the monitor supports 100% of the sRGB color gamut.
The viewing angle of the monitor is 178˚. The monitor comes with a special anti-glare coating that suppresses disturbing screen reflections and glares. The refresh rate of the monitor is 68 – 100 kHz. The vertical refresh rate is 45–65 KHz.
Additionally, the system has a response time of 5 ms which gives fast access to the system when working (rather playing games).
Related Post: Best TVs for Photo Viewing (Top 7 4k Smart TVs)
There is a useful Viewing Mode option on the monitor which ensures that you can toggle between the different modes based on what you are looking at (editing photos, playing games or surfing the net). This automatically adjusts the brightness of the display screen as well as contrast and color temperature for a better viewing experience.
9. HP Pavilion 32-inch QHD
The HP Pavilion is a giant 32″ monitor with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. This is kind of a disappointment as the extremely large monitor real estate could have easily supported 4K / UHD resolution and give a sharper and more detailed picture. For photo editing purposes that is exactly what we photographers require.
- Unforgettable QHD picture: Brilliant details and captivating definition with 2560 x 1440 resolution. HP monitors are designed...
- Highly accurate color: Standard 100% sRGB color space for ideal color reproduction. Perfect for photos, videos—all your...
- 2 HDMI (with HDCP support), 1 DisplayPort 1.2, Integrated USB 2.0 hub with 2 Downstream and 1 Upstream ports. Native...
- Open and accessible: The display is suspended above a distinctly unique open-wedge designed stand, providing convenient...
- Seamless entertainment: With a 7ms response time, your action-filled content will look crisp and fluid without motion blur.
The monitor has a horizontal frequency of 68 – 100 kHz and a vertical frequency of 46 – 65 kHz. The viewing angle of the monitor is 178˚.
At par with all the good monitors that we have discussed here. 8-bit color depth supports 16.7 million colors. The monitor supports 100% of the sRGB color gamut. The monitor incorporates IPS technology which means the viewing angle is a bit better than TN displays.
The dynamic contrast ratio of the monitor is 80,000,000:1 and the response time is 5 ms.
Just like the ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD above, the HP Pavilion V1M69AA#ABA too comes with a few viewing modes.
You need to switch the modes using the gaming mode hotkeys. Though this has been designed for gaming aesthetics you can always try out different settings based on the kind of work that you are going.
10. LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD
I have mixed emotions when I am about to write about the LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD. You will know about it when you have finished reading this part. The LG 27″ is a 4K / UHD monitor.
- 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS monitor
- Freesync OS Compatibility Windows 10
- On Screen control with screen Split 2.0
- Game mode & Black stabilizer; Brightness: 250 cd/m2, color depth (number of colors):10bit(8bit + A FRC)
- HDMI 2.0 (x2) and DisplayPort
I love the higher resolution, especially, when the display real estate is large to support. The LG 27UD58-B is big. The extra resolution means you can easily get a larger view of the images you are editing without having to minimize the image too much. Something that every photographer/photo editor loves.
The viewing angle of the monitor is 178˚. It allows you a larger viewing angle. Additionally, the monitor comes with support for 1.07 billion colors. The response time of the monitor is 5 ms.
The monitor covers 72% of the sRGB color gamut and has a maximum brightness of 250 cd/m2. That is kind of lame. The aspect ratio of the monitor is 16:9 while the refresh rate is 60 Hz.
Primarily a gaming monitor, the LG 27UD58-B also comes with some gaming specific features like the LG proprietary FreeSync technology. The rare moments when you choose to play PUBG or GTA, you will experience less tear and jitters. Though, not something that is the first priority for any photographer. The other feature is the split screen technology that allows you to divide the screen between two windows when you are multitasking.
A major issue with the monitor, however, is the absence of a USB port. This is a major drawback of the monitor. Another issue of the product is that you can adjust the height as well as tilt it, but you will not be able to swivel or pivot the monitor. The curved stand that comes with the monitor does not allow those functions.
So, as you can imagine, what the high resolution and the big display wins for the LG 27UD58-B, the low brightness level and the lack of a USB hub (and the USB-C port) loses it.
11. AOC Q3277FQE 32-Inch Class MVA LED Monitor
The AOC Q3277FQE is a large 32″ monitor with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. The monitor has a peak brightness of 300 cd/ m². The TFT Active matrix MVA panel produces exceptionally vibrant images. That said I don’t quite like the fact that the display resolution is so low. Being a 32″ monitor I would have preferred that the monitor has UHD / 4K resolution. That way the images would have been sharper with more detail.
- 32" (32" viewable) MVA display, 300 cd/m2 Brightness, 16:9 Aspect Ratio, 5ms response time
- 2560x1440 Quad resolution, 20M:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio. Pixel pitch (mm) (H x V): 0.277(H)mm x 0.277(V)mm
- Connectivity- VGA, DVI, HDMI, Display Port. Regulations-cTUVus, CE, FCC, RoHS
- Wall Mountable. Compatibile with Windows 10
The monitor has a response of 5 ms. Plus, it has a 178 ˚ viewing angle giving you a greater degree of freedom when it comes to editing (or watching videos). The monitor supports up to 1.0 billion colors and has a dynamic contrast ratio of 20,000,000:1. The panel has a color depth of 8-bit.
Monitor screens (as well as laptop screens) are fingerprint magnets. That is why manufacturers go great distances in order to create a panel that can resist such smudges and dirt. The AOC Q3277FQE has an anti-glare coating that not only prevents smudges and dirt accumulating on the panel but also lets the screen be easily viewable even in bright light.
There are several connection points on the monitor but what’s missing is the USB plugin and more specifically the USB-C option.
12. PRO Eizo ColorEdge CG2420 24″
The PRO Eizo ColorEdge CG2420 is a 24″ monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1200. The aspect ratio of the monitor is 16:10. This is slightly larger than the usual 16:9 aspect ratio of other monitors. The static contrast ratio of the monitor is 1500:1 and the peak brightness is 400 cd/ m².
- Wide-Gamut LED IPS display with built in color calibration sensor for professional photography, design, print and post...
- 24.1", 1920x1200 (16:10), 400 cd/m2 Brightness, 1500:1 Contrast Ratio, 99% Adobe RGB Coverage, 10 ms Response Time, DVI-D,...
- Five-year warranty and built to last and remain color accurate.
- 24/7 Tech Support Desk in North America
- Mounting type: VESA mount;
Thanks to the IPS technology that this monitor incorporates, viewing angle on the monitor is 178˚ which ensure that anything displayed on the monitor is discernable even from an acute angle. The monitor has a response time of 10 ms.
Also, the monitor supports 99% of the Adobe RGB color gamut. A unique feature of the monitor is the presence of a built-in calibration sensor. This sensor makes it redundant to use an external/third party calibration tool to calibrate the monitor from time to time. In order to calibrate your monitor all you need to do is select the presets and the ColorNavigator 6 software will create an ICC profile by employing the monitor’s LUT thereby calibrating the colors.
The ColorNavigator NX Quality control software comes preloaded into the monitor. That means you don’t have to recalibrate if you change your PC (connect your monitor to a different PC).
Related Post: Best Computer for Video Editing
Another feature of the ColorEdge is the Digital Uniformity Equalizer technology. This technology results in a uniform, and that way, better brightness, and chromaticity across the display.
This technology also does something even more important and that neutralizes the color temperature changes that result from a change in temperature of the monitor. This has a profound impact when you are editing your images and maintains the integrity of the colors especially if you plan on printing your images later on.
There are two aspects of this monitor which makes it suitable for using outdoors.
First is the light-shield and the second is the carrying handle. One thing we really like about this monitor is it comes with a light-shielding hood. If you are working in a brightly lit room and the glare of the lights is affecting your display and your work this is probably the thing that you would order with a monitor. You get this for free with the PRO Eizo ColorEdge CG2420.
Thanks to the carrying handle you can use it outdoors or change its location as often as required without the associated hassles.
What we don’t like about this monitor is its lower resolution which defeats the whole purpose of getting a big monitor. At 24″ they could have incorporated a UHD resolution.
Related Post: Best DSLR Field Monitors
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