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Best Monitors for Photo Editing in 2020 (Top 9 Picks)

When we refer to the best monitors for photo editing we don’t necessarily mean the most pricey or the most technologically advanced piece of hardware out there under the sky. Because at the end of the day we as photographers and professional photo editors, don’t necessarily want the most expensive tool out there. What we need, instead, is something that matches most of the requirements, like the BenQ SW271 27-inch 4K Monitor Photo which is currently the most popular option amongst our readers:

Our Pick

BenQ SW271 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS 3840x2160 UHD, HDR, AQCOLOR 99% Adobe...

BenQ SW271 27″ 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS

Exceptional Color Accuracy

Provides you a wide range of colors (100% sRGB and DCI-P3 color spaces). USB Type-C for easy connectivity. It’s ideal for photographers and photo enthusiasts.

In a sense, we need something that ticks most of the boxes. The best monitors for photo editing are the ones that are a perfect synergy of performance, looks, and price.

We have gone through dozens of monitors. We have done all the hard work so that you don’t have to go through that again. All you need is to pick the one that best matches your expectations:

BenQ SW271 27
BenQ SW271 27″ 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS Our Pick
100% of the sRGB color gamut, 4K (UHD), USB-C port;
BenQ SW2700PT 27
BenQ SW2700PT 27″ 2K Photographer Monitor Also Good
2K QHD resolution with IPS, 99% Adobe RGB, professional monitor capabilities;
BenQ PD3200U 32
BenQ PD3200U 32″ 4K IPS Monitor
4K/UHD resolution, supports up to 1.07 billion colors, 100% sRGB color space;
Benq SW240 Photovue 24
Benq SW240 Photovue 24″ IPS Monitor
99% Adobe RGB, 1,920×1,200 resolution, color mode hot-key;
ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD 27
ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD 27 Budget Pick
Resolution of 2,560×1,440 (2K), good viewing angle, premium IPS panel;
Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q 27-Inch 4K IPS
Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q 27-Inch 4K IPS
Supports 99.9% sRGB, up to 1.07 Billion colors, ideal for multiple monitors;
HP Pavilion 32
HP Pavilion 32″ QHD
Resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 (4k), supports 100% sRGB color gamut, unique designed stand;
LG 27UD58-B 27
LG 27UD58-B 27″ 4K UHD
4K UHD 3,840×2,160 IPS monitor, good allrounder monitor;

These are 2020’s Best Monitors for Photo Editing:

  1. BenQ 27″ 4K PhotoVue Photographer Monitor (SW271) – Our Pick
  2. BenQ SW2700PT 27 inch 2K Photographer Monitor – Also Great
  3. BenQ PD3200U 32-inch 4K IPS Monitor
  4. Dell UltraSharp U2718Q
  5. LG 34UC80-B 34 inch 21:9 Curved Ultrawide QHD IPS Monitor (Out of Stock)
  6. Benq SW240 Photovue 24 inch IPS Monitor
  7. ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD 27 – Budget Pick
  8. HP Pavilion 32-inch QHD
  9. LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD

1. BenQ 27″ 4K PhotoVue Photographer Monitor (SW271)

BenQ SW271 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS 3840x2160 UHD, HDR, AQCOLOR 99% Adobe...
The 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.

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 the 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.

BenQ SW271 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS 3840x2160 UHD, HDR, AQCOLOR 99% Adobe...
  • 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...

2. BenQ SW2700PT 27 Inch 2K Photographer Monitor

BenQ SW2700PT 27 Inch QHD 1440P IPS Photography Monitor | Aqcolor technology for...
The BenQ SW2700PT 27″ 2K 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.

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.

BenQ SW2700PT 27 Inch QHD 1440P IPS Photography Monitor | Aqcolor technology for...
  • 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...

3. BenQ PD3200U 32-inch 4K IPS Monitor

BenQ 32 inch, 4K UHD Monitor, IPS Panel, sRGB and Rec. 709 PD3200U
The BenQ PD3200U 32-inch 4K IPS Monitor

You would probably wonder whether  32 inches is pushing the envelope a bit too much. After all anything above 27” kind of seems like a redundancy. However, when you look at the BenQ PD3200U you wouldn’t necessarily say that it is too big.

To start off, the BenQ PD3200U offers 4K/UHD resolution. The monitor supports up to 1.07 Billion colors. The underlying panel technology which is IPS serves to create a larger viewing angle for the benefit of the user. And speaking off the large display area, it would come in handy when you do a bit of video editing.

But that is not all. What a majority of online content creators want is a monitor that complies 100% with  the sRGB color space. And that is something that the BenQ PD3200U does. But along with sRGB the BenQ PD3200U also complies 100% with the Rec 709 color space.

Related Post: BenQ PD3220U Review

Supports Input from Dual Computer Systems

Additionally, the BenQ PD3200U comes with a built-in KVM switch. What this switch does is it allows the monitor to control the input from two different computers while using a single set of input devices (mouse & keyboard). That means you can switch back and forth between two different computers, say your laptop and your desktop easily.

BenQ 32 inch, 4K UHD Monitor, IPS Panel, sRGB and Rec. 709 PD3200U
  • Exclusive AQColor technology covers a wide variety of color spaces such as Adobe RGB, sRGB and Rec. 709 ensuring the colors...
  • View files side-by-side with DualView. Easily compare photos and videos in specialized CAD/CAM, Darkroom or Animation display...
  • Ergonomic features allows you to customize your viewing experience with a tilt, twist or turn. Adjust the screen height or...
  • Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM) Switch allows users to display files, photos or videos from two different computers on a single...
  • Eye care technology prevents eye strain, fatigue and irritation with Low Blue Light technology, Brightness Intelligence and...

4. Dell UltraSharp U2718Q

Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q 27-Inch 4K IPS Monitor
The Dell UltraSharp U2718Q

The U2718Q is a 27-inch 4K HDR monitor powered by IPS technology.  Being a 4K monitor equipped with HDR10 it maximizes its visual impact by producing higher contrast and extremely detailed representation. The pixel per inch specification is 163.

The monitor supports 99% of the sRGB color space, along with 99% of the Rec.709 and 80.7% of the DCI-P3 color spaces. And yes the monitor supports HDR 10. So when you edit your HDR images they are represented in a much better contrast and detail when compared with traditional monitors.

sRGB vs. Adobe RGB vs. CMYK

A quick word on this topic. For all practical purposes, sRGB is the preferred color space of the web. But if you are interested in printing, then you should look for monitors that cover a maximum of the Adobe RGB color space. Because that is closer to CMYK which is the default color space used in printing.

IPS Technology

The underlying display technology is IPS. The advantage of this is that the monitor has a larger viewing angle. Perfect for photo editing and displaying purposes. The actual viewing angle is 178 degrees and you can swivel and pivot the display to fit your needs. Up to 1.07 Billion colors are supported.

Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q 27-Inch 4K IPS Monitor
  • Exceptional details, ultimate efficiency — a 27” 4K screen with incredibly thin bezels — ideal for multiple monitor...
  • Hone in on every task with a multi-monitor setup and experience a virtually seamless view thanks to ultrathin bezels
  • Dell HDR combines greater depth of colors, remarkable clarity and a high contrast range of shades to create strikingly...
  • Connect up to six compatible RF devices or Bluetooth 4.0 through Dell Universal Pairing. Dell Display Manager Compatibility....
  • From the #1 monitor Brand worldwide for four consecutive years*. Brightness 350 cd/m².Pixel Pitch:0.1554 mm x 0.1554 mm

5. LG 34UC80-B 34 inch 21:9 Curved Ultrawide QHD IPS Monitor

A curved monitor is not essential for everyday use. It ‘s more of a gaming requirement and probably more of a lifestyle statement than a real utility. But the only reason one would buy a curved monitor is to improve the working experience. A curved monitor like the LG 34UC80-B 34 inch gives an immersive experience that mimics a true-to-life representation of a scene.

We have picked the LG 34UC80-B not just for its curved panel only. It offers QHD resolution (3440 x 1440). The underlying display technology is IPS. We know that IPS panels offer the largest viewing angles. So, if you are displaying your images to your clients etc., several viewers would be able to see the images on the computer screen without any weird color or loss in contrast. But even that too is not the primary reason why we have picked the LG 34UC80-B.

The LG 34UC80-B supports 99% of the sRGB color space. And it supports HDR 10 as well. Up to 1.07 Billion colors are supported. The web, as they say, runs on sRGB. A nearly hundred percent compliance of the sRGB color space means accurate colors when you edit your images and publish them online. And with HDR 10 the monitor is able to produce stunning contrast assisting all of your HDR process flow.

6. Benq SW240 Photovue 24-inch IPS Monitor

BenQ SW240 PhotoVue 24 inch Color Accuracy IPS Monitor for Photography
The Benq SW240 Photovue 24-inch IPS Monitor

The Benq SW240 is a 24-inch monitor with color accuracy technology. Compared to the BenQ PD3200U this is a much smaller unit. IPS technology used in the construction ensures a much larger viewing angle when compared to VA or TN panel made monitors.

Even though this a budget photo editing monitor, costing just under $400, it supports 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB and 95% DCI-P3 color spaces. This is useful because it basically caters to a wide range of editing requirements both print and web. Additionally, the monitor uses a 14-bit Look-Up Table.

The Benq SW240 comes with a unique Hotkey which allows a user to switch between the different color modes. So, you switch between Adobe RGB to sRGB to Black and White and any other color modes supported by the monitor very easily.

Additionally, the package comes with the Palette Master Element software. This allows the monitor to be properly calibrated when it loses its calibration over time.

All in all, this is a nice option for photographers looking for the best monitors for photo editing but don’t have deep pockets.

BenQ SW240 PhotoVue 24 inch Color Accuracy IPS Monitor for Photography
  • HASSLE-FREE/AFFORDABLE: For easy, accurate out-of-the-box setup without the additional cost of calibration plus easily tune...
  • 24. 1 Inch 1920x1200 Resolution
  • 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB. 95% DCI-P3 Color coverage with 10-bit IPS panel with 14-bit 3D LUT – ideal for amateur and...
  • Color Mode Hot Key allows you to swiftly switch between 3 preset color modes without having to press other OSD buttons; you...
  • Ideal monitor for the photography novice looking for affordable, professional equipment that needs virtually no setup and...

7. ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD 27

ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD 27 Inch 1440p Frameless IPS Widescreen LED Monitor with HDMI...
The 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.

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.

ViewSonic VX2778-SMHD 27 Inch 1440p Frameless IPS Widescreen LED Monitor with HDMI...
  • 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 : 3-year coverage with access to our US-based customer service team

8. HP Pavilion 32-inch QHD

HP Pavilion 32-inch QHD Wide-Viewing Angle Display (V1M69AA#ABA),Black/Silver
The 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.

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.

HP Pavilion 32-inch QHD Wide-Viewing Angle Display (V1M69AA#ABA),Black/Silver
  • 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.

Related Post: Best DSLR Field Monitors

9. LG 27UD58-B 27-inch 4K UHD

LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD IPS Monitor with FreeSync
The LG 27UD58 B 27″ 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.

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.

LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD IPS Monitor with FreeSync
  • 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

Photography Monitor: FAQs

What is a Good Refresh Rate for Photo Editing Monitors?

Well, to be honest, if you are looking for a photo editing monitor you shouldn’t be bothered about refresh rates. Because you don’t need the screen to refresh at a high rate for editing what is essentially a static image. High refresh rates are a necessary requirement for gamers. Not for photo editors. A standard 60Hz refresh rate, is thus, more than enough.

Between IPS, TN, and VA Which Display Technology is the Best for Photo Editing Monitors?

TN panels are known for their faster refresh rates. But they are not so good when it comes to viewing angles. VA panels in some sense combine the best of the two worlds. But IPS panels with their greater contrast and larger viewing angles are teh best for photo editing.

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