Best Monitor for Photo Editing and Photography 2015

If you are a digital photographer, you will need a computer and a monitor to see your photos in order to evaluate or retouch them. And if you want a job well done, as often happens in photography, you can’t use just any monitor, you have to choose with care.

This may mean knowing how to decipher mysterious new acronyms and compare technical characteristics that seem to be made to be understood only by an engineer.

Of course you can find monitors that are extremely costly, designed for professionals with deeper pockets. But luckily there are affordable alternatives that are, in any case, a leap in quality when compared to the monitor based on a laptop or a desktop computer.

In this article I introduce the main features to consider in the selection of a monitor for photography and photo editing.

Vade retro portable

Purchasing a new monitor may be particularly useful if you use a portable computer, as many people do today. Reading the characteristics which follow, you’ll discover how laptops concentrate all the negative aspects.

In addition, a good monitor for photograph must have the option to be calibrated. Calibrating the monitor on a laptop is usually more difficult and sometimes we do not do so precisely.

What are the characteristics to assess in the choice of the monitor?

As is the case for any technology product, if you start delving deep into the technical specifications for computer monitors it seems like the lists are as numerous as confetti. Fortunately, however, the number of features to keep in mind for photographic use is limited.

Let’s look at them one by one.


This is an easy-to-understand feature, certainly, the larger monitor is better. The difficult part is deciding which is the minimum size that allows us to work comfortably while not spending too much.

From what I’ve read, and according to my personal experience, I would recommend you do not drop below 24 inches. If your budget is very tight you can settle for a 23-inch.

Monitors of this size are large enough to justify the expense. Furthermore, they allow you to view your pictures at a good level of magnification and simultaneously hold all the toolbars and panels typical of photo editing software and post-photographic production.

In particular, these dimensions relate to screens with proportions of 16:10. I believe the old 4:3 is no longer available, while the 16:9 favor the width too much when compared to the height and can make awkward access to functionality of the various programs.

The monitor’s 16:10 fits perfectly into pictures taken with the landscape orientation and also leave a generous amount of space for the various toolbars arranged vertically in many image editing programs.

Finally, this is the dimension that at the moment it offers the best price/performance ratio.

TN or IPS?

The Twisted Nematic (TN) is a very well known form of technology and it is also considered to be the oldest as well. Its best feature is that it gives short response times, which is why it is great for a gaming platform, but unfortunately is not good for a photographic use. When combined with LED lighting, a Twisted Nematic monitor can provide a lot of brightness and use less power than other technologies of its kind.

However, TN also has features that are not as advantageous. For instance, it has color distortions that happen when viewing wide angles. These monitors have 6 bit color technology. They are not able to show all the colors of the 24 bit color range that most video cards can show you, which add up to around 60 million colors. There are huge differences in certain products, but the ones that are on the low end will have a color for just the medium range angle changes. You will be able to recognize a Twisted Nematic monitor because of such color modifications, if you are looking at the picture from the top or from the sides.

In Plane Switching (IPS) is a contemporary technology that uses other types of technologies such as S-IPS, AS-IPS, H-IPS and E-IPS. The main reason that you want to use IPS panels is because they are either 8- or 10-bit technology. They produce a minimum of 125 percent of the colors that are available in the NTSC gamut. Also, these colors are not distorted when you look at them from various angles. The majority of them can be viewed well beyond 170 degrees. Previously, the only problem had to do with emphasizing the black colors, which usually meant that there were going to be some problems with the contrast. Also, IPS panels tend to be pricey and they are also slow at first.

Manufacturers have begun to produce Super IPS panels, but at cheaper prices. The response times have been reduced a lot and the contrast has been greatly enhanced. Also, the color display and the selections to calibrate the colors are a lot better than other panels of this kind. There is no distortion, even when you are viewing at shaper angles.

IPS monitors have not really been affordable, but the gap is starting to close. Just one year ago, most IPS monitors were three times expensive than the regular TN monitors. However, the 23 inch screens can be bought for around three hundred dollars these days. If you want professional graphic monitors that utilize IPS technology, you will have to still pay about a thousand dollars for it.

So the IPS monitor is the best monitor for photography mainly for two reasons:

  • Allows you to play a very large number of colors (close to 100% of the color space sRGB),
  • Provides a visual angle very high.VA is another good technology, but it is not used as much. Similar to IPS panels, this type of technology utilizes a minimum of 8 bit technology, provides good coverage and the colors are not distorted when shown at different angles.

    Matte screen or Glossy Screen?

    Glossy Screen

    Matte screen

    Indoors, the glossy can still reflect a great deal of light.

    If you make a turn at any electronics store, you’ll notice how the monitors of portable and those for fixed computer screens have glossy screens.

    The glossy appearance favors the contrast and vibrancy of colors and is designed for the use of the computer that is dedicated to the entertainment, but unfortunately, as far as sexy may seem, these monitors have several disadvantages that are particularly evident in photographic work.

    For example, the glossy screens reflect the sources of light and even the shapes of what lies in front of the monitor, by altering the perception of what is shown, saturation and contrast do not correspond to the content of the photo, especially once it is printed.

    The monitor is not glossy are said matte. They are easily recognizable in each case, you’ve worked a monitor of this type.

    If you buy on the internet, you can’t recognize at a glance if a monitor is matte or glossy. You should be able to discover by looking between the technical characteristics or possibly looking for on Google the name of the monitor associated with the word glossy.

    My advise:

    If they will be shown on just one screen, both of them are no problems. If they will be utilized for print, then opt for matte, which will have better saturation as a result of the glossy screens. Glossy is not the same as what you will get with print.

    Standard Gamut or Wide Gamut (Extended Gamut)?

    RGBAll physical devices have restrictions when it comes to the types of colors that it can provide. An inkjet printer does not have the ability to produce a better shade of yellow than what is provided by the ink cartridge. The shade of red that your monitor shows is restricted by the hardware that is utilized in the LCD panel. This is known as the device’s color gamut.

    A majority of monitors have a color gamut that matches the SRGB color gamut. You might already know that the sRGB color gamut does not have as much as the more commonly utilized Adobe 1998 version. Also, a lot of the Adobe colors that can be printed via your inkjet printer are actually not in the range of the SRGB colors. As a result, your camera can provide these colors and they can be printed with your printer. However, you cannot see them on your monitor. Basically, you will view an estimate of these colors because they are restricted by the monitor’s color gamut.

    Wide gamut monitors get rid of this issue because what they have is matched up with a bigger amount of what the Adobe 1998 has. You can find this amount in the monitor’s specs. The benefit of this is that you can view colors in your pictures that look brighter than the regular gamut monitor. This gives you the ability to see all of the colors in your pictures.

    It is best to have a wide gamut display because this is the way of the future. This is practically what is available right now. To utilize this type of display, you have to know about color managed workflows and possess a display that has the right calibration. You also have to utilize a color managed app such as Photoshop. This is not that hard to manage, but you have to know exactly what you are doing in order to be successful with it.

    However, if you really want to use sRGB, then you should buy a display that is available with a sRGB that is programmable. This will restrict the gamut of colors that can be displayed.

    LED Monitors

    You are entering the market monitor LCD backlit LED. in this case too there are different types, corresponding to different acronyms.

    For photographic use, ask attention to buy a monitor RGB LED and not el-wled . The second option does not provide a color reproduction sufficiently faithful.

    Coverage of the color space

    The digital tools are not able to see all the colors that the human eye perceives. Then, it is important that cover the largest possible portion.

    The amount of colors covered by monitor is calculated in proportion to the color space sRGB or Adobe RGB, at least as far as the photographic monitor more accessible.

    In regards to this characteristic, then, search monitor that reach at least 95%. You’ll find many who declare a cover very close to 100 %. Not always as stated corresponds exactly to the reality, however, there is often very close.

    Viewing Angle

    The first LCD monitor for your computer suffered from an angle of view very reduced. What does that mean?

    With a reduced visual angle, moving left to right, top or bottom with respect to the central axis of the monitor, the colors are transformed and the contrast changes . You can imagine how it is absolutely recommended in a monitor to use for photo retouching.

    The monitor of more recent production, allow you to move to the right or to the left relative to the monitor without noting obvious changes in the image. Choose a monitor with at least 120° of visual angle horizontal and possibly the same for the vertical.


    On this aspect there is little to say, the available resolutions are not a lot, especially, the resolution is also determined by the size of the diagonal.

    For a monitor by 23 or 24 inches, the size that I advised before, do not fall under a native resolution of 1920 * 1200. Recalls that LCD monitors should be always used to their resolution, so don’t think you can use a resolution higher or lower than the one specified.

    Digital connection

    Now all of the monitors should be equipped with a digital connection, HDMI or DVI. Be careful not to buy a fund of magazine that has only the VGA.

    Also, check which ports are available on your computer. Don’t worry, however: adapters exist able to convert any format.

    Best Monitor recommended for photo editing

    Monitors that incorporate all the features that i listed abut on prices between 300$ to 400$.

    With a little patience, however, you can find offers that will make saving a few dozen euros. As I wrote before, if your budget is tight, of the features that I have described can find a compromise on size, but not on the other.

    My recommend:

    Here are some models that i have identified are looking for a monitor for you.

    Model Price and Reviews on Amazon Screen Size/ Aspect Ratio/Type Resolution/ Refresh rate
    Pixel Pitch (Smaller is Better)  Color Response Time / Panel Type
    Color Gamut Typical Contrast Ratio /Brightness LUT Bit Depth
    Price above $500
    EIZO ColorEdge CG277 Go to Amazon 27″/16:9/Matte 2560×1440 @89hz 0.233mm 1.07 billion 6 ms/IPS sRGB >99% 1000:1/300Nits 10 bit
    LG UM95 Go to Amazon 34″/21:9/Matte 3440×1440 @60hz 0.312mm 1.07 billion 5 ms/IPS SRGB > 99% 1000:1/320 cd/㎡ 10bit
    Acer XR341CK Go to Amazon 34″/21:9/Matte (curved panel) 3440×1440
    0.233mm 1.07 billion 4 ms/IPS 100% sRGB 1000:1/300Nits 8 bit
    Dell UltraSharp U3415W Go to Amazon 34″/21:9/Matte(curved panel) 3440×1440 @60hz 0.233 mm 1.07 billion 5 ms/IPS 100% sRGB 1000:1/300 Nits 8 bit
    Samsung WQHD S32D850T Go to Amazon 32”/16:9/Matte 2560×1440/60Hz 0.2767mm 1.07 billion 5ms/AMVA+ 100% sRGB 3000:1/300Nits No provide
    BenQ BL2711U Go to Amazon 27”/16:9/Matte 3840×2160
    0.155mm 1.07 billion 4ms/IPS 100% sRGB 1000:1/300Nits 10 bit
    Price between $200 and $500
    Dell Ultra HD 4K P2415Q Go to Amazon 23.8″/16:9/Matte 3840×2160 @60hz 0.13725 mm 1.07 billion 8ms/IPS 99% sRGB 1000:1/350 Nits 10 bit
    BenQ  GW2765HT Go to Amazon 27″/16:9/Matte 2560×1440 @60hz 0.233mm 1.07 billion 4ms/IPS 100% sRGB 1000:1/350 Nits 8 bit
    Dell Ultrasharp U2415 Go to Amazon 24″/16:10/Matte 1920×1200
    0.274mm 16.7 million 6ms/IPS sRGB 99% 1000:1/300 Nits 8 bit
    LG UM67 Go to Amazon 34”/21:9/Matte 2560×1080
    0.311mm 16.7 million 5ms/IPS sRGB > 99% No provide/300Nits No provide
    Acer G257HU Go to Amazon 25″/16:9/Matte 2560×1440 @60Hz 0.216mm 16.7 million 4ms/IPS sRGB 100% 1000:1/350Nits 8 bit
    Price under $200
    Asus MX239H Go to Amazon 23“/16:9/Matte 1920×1080  @60Hz 0.2652mm 16.7 million 5ms/IPS No Provide 1000:1/250Nits 6 bit
    HP Pavilion 27xw Go to Amazon 27“/16:9/Matte 1920×1080 @60Hz 0.311mm 16.7 million 8ms/IPS sRGB 98% 1000:1/250 Nits No provide


    My recommend:

    Read More:
    Best Gaming Monitor
    Best Monitor for Macbook pro

35 Comments - Leave a comment
  1. Pantelis Mor says:

    Hello from Greece,

    Nice job. I learn a lot from your article. I want to buy a monitor for photo edit.

    I saw these monitors
    Dell UltraSharp U2715H for 550 euro
    BenQ GW2765HT for 450 euro
    Asus PB278QR for 490 euro

    I think for Benq. It’s the cheapest. What are the difference between these models ? is it worth to pay about 100 euro more for the dell ??


  2. Lorena Cerisano says:

    Your information is very informative.
    I’m almost ready to purchase monitor but need clarification on a few things per your review.
    I’ve narrowed my decision to 3 monitors. Need your input please.
    1) You have ViewSonic 23 inch but don’t mention the ViewSonic VP2770-LED 27-Inch. Any reason why this 27″ is not listed?
    2) Would you consider this ViewSonic VP2770-LED 27-Inch a better monitor for photo editing compared to the BenQ GW2765HT? pros and cons.
    3) Also, what are pros and cons for these 2: BenQ GW2765HT or BenQ BL3200PT
    Thank you!

  3. DPC says:

    The Samsung S32D850T is awesome, though to avoid contrast shift problems the monitor needs to be 36 to 40 inches away from the eye. Have it closer and contrast shift will start to cause blooming and even minor hue shift. At 3~3.5 feet away the colors are visibly identical to the Dell U2713HM next to it.

    If you can tolerate being three to 3.5 feet away from the monitor, the added contrast is a real boon; the Dell pales by comparison (pun not intended). Though with the Dell, one can be 2 feet away or closer.

  4. MANOJ NAYAK says:

    Shop No. 201, II Flor All Hatami Complex Shoping Center

  5. Norbert Drage says:

    Well-written article in terms of content, but I’m a little surprised that neither Eizo’s nor NEC’s professional offerings made it into your shortlist.

    The features like colour space, colour calibration, build quality, accessories (hoods, calibration spiders, etc.) as well as connectors (most will use DisplayPort as standard) are geared towards professionals and the only real thing holding these back from even more wide-spread adoption is the price..

  6. Rishab says:

    Hello, thanks for the wonderful article. I’m an amateur photographer and looking for a job in the field of management. As a hobby am doing photography and I hope one day I’ll be able to make some money from it. I have a normal laptop on which I work on my photos using photoshop and camera raw. I’m looking for an HD screen in low budget, so I would request you to kindly suggest me a screen (or 2) which are good for me at this stage. I would go by your suggestion for the size and brand, but it must be good and cheap too. My preferred budget is US$100 but I can go up by not more than $150. I believe I can get a good screen in this budget. If you talk about my interest, I was looking for an IPS HD screen and one of my friends recommended me Dell 2240L IPS monitor. Please suggest me a good IPS HD LED screen for my post processing work. I would be grateful to you. You can email me or post your reply here. FYI, I use Nikon D3200 and I have a 50mm prime lens, Tamron 18-200mm lens and a tripod. I’m also looking forward to a Wide angle lens (Tokina 11mm).

    • DPC says:

      For IPS, go for the Dell U2713HM. Compared to the U3014 (also AH-IPS) the U2713HM has slightly better contrast, better response time, and is 50% less in price. These two models have had some users complaining of image retention. But both exceed your $150 limit.

      The Dell S2440L? I used one. It’s great. And is about $200 (less by now). It’s an AMVA panel, probably, but the 24″ screen size negates a lot of issues with 32″ AMVA panels that have to sit farther back before contrast or hue shift are noticed.

  7. Alex says:

    Thanks a ton for a super informative article!! I was wondering if a lot of these same properties, requirements, or tips would apply to video editing as well. I work with photography often but video even more. A lot of the models you have described here have shown up in my research as well (I’m in the $200-$500 range). Do you know anything about video editing monitors, or if any one model here has features that would help it perform best that you would recommend? Thanks, Alex.

    • Clay says:

      They’re pretty much the same with photo and video editing, it’s the color and pixels that matter. I use the Dell P2415Q 4k for editing video. Remember that video is just moving pictures so many of the same principles apply.

  8. Jose A. says:

    Very valuable information as I go from a vague understanding to a working knowledge on how to select a monitor that suits my photo editing needs. Thank you!

  9. JJ says:

    hello, sorry I’m having a hard time understanding the English in this article. The sentences are not very easy to understand. Just some friendly advice! Maybe needs a little editing.

  10. Hi from Greece! Very good article!
    I am professional photographer and i currently work with an 2010 iMac 27”. I want to change screen and go for a matte finish. Do you think that Samsung WQHD S32D850T has better color accuracy from my iMac monitor? Consider that i am calibration with external hardware calibrator every 2 months and my work is studio advertising photography.
    Thank you.

    • DPC says:

      Your iMac, depending on year of manufacture, typically uses the same AH-IPS that the Dell equivalent to the time uses.

      About the Samsung – the S32D850T is great once calibrated, and IF you keep it three feet or more away from you as contrast shift (and even hue shift) can occur if placed too closely to you (e.g. 24″ has obvious contrast shift issues and even slight hue shift.)

      Keep it 36+” away and you will not see any visible difference in hue to an AH-IPS panel. You will see deeper black and more lush imagery, which is a sight to behold. Especially at night, or when taking DSLR snapshots to illustrate the differences, 3000:1 vs 1000:1 shows a very respectable difference.

      The only other issue with that Samsung, as with all other 32″ models using AMVA panels, is that there is a vertical banding problem in many units due to a manufacturing issue. A third in from each side, a band can be seen under certain circumstances and might show up while playing games. I’ve seen such banding on cheaper 40″ TVs as well. Size seems to be an issue with the chance of greater issues such as this. The larger the screen tends to increase the chances of visible banding. Even my Dell U2713HM here has banding, but one really has to look hard to find it.

      The Samsung S32D850T definitely deserves to be on the list of best monitor for photo editing.

  11. Roger Brookstein says:

    Most interesting and helpful review, thank you. Desk space is limited so which of your recommendations can be wall mounted please?

  12. Robbo says:

    U2713HM is not a wide gamut display, but the U2713H is.

  13. Colleen says:

    What about the HP Pavilion 27xi 27-Inch IPS LED Backlit Monitor
    CDN$ 337.21 Is it better than the BenQ GW Series GW2760HS 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

  14. Craig Burrows says:

    Thank you for a very good review. After spending a long time researching it is this page that was most informative. Now I just hope I made the right purchase.

  15. Adeline says:

    Hi, Thanks so much for this article.
    Dell released new 4K monitor P2415Q, I cant find difference between this one and Dell UP2414Q other then the price.
    I would use it for photography, editing. It is an investment for me but I dont want to waste money on the same result, which one would you vote for?

    • Jane says:

      The UP2414Q has Premier Color; essentially it’s targeted at professional photographers and others that need what’s called a wide Gamut to their color sensitive work, or at least an increased accuracy to the available color gamut range.
      If your not going to be doing important work on the monitor that relies on very accurate color reproduction, go ahead and pick up the cheaper P2415Q without worrying much about it – it will still be a pretty amazing monitor.

    • I’m just returning a Dell 4K UP2414Q, because it CONTINUALLY stays in sleep mode, after only 3 days of trying to get it set up. The reviews I’ve read in Dell’s website are full of this same comment. My 2nd. choice is ASUS 4K PB287Q…but it has a TN panel instead of the IPS that I need for photography and graphics work. I don’t know what to do. I’d try a Dell replacement of the same but with so many like reviews, I hate to take the chance. Ideas?

      • Adeline says:

        I know, I read the reviews and they all say the same. They didnt release an update of the software that does that..
        I really need an accurate color, and the performance.. but anything comparable costs a lot more. And this one is not working perfectly either.. same problem..

  16. Andreas says:


    Appreciate the article.

    Which Dell monitor is better for Photoshop editing: U2713HM or UZ2715H?

    thank you

  17. Shelly says:

    What is your opinion about using a Samsung 32″ 5203 LED TV for editing?

  18. Tobias says:

    Very well done article,it really covered everything I needed to know. I’ve looked around and bought the Dell UP2414Q from your advice since I am limited to 24″ due to space on my desk and it seemed like the best one. Thanks for writing this!

  19. gat says:

    are you sure it’s an ASUS VG248QE not an ASUS PA248QJ? VG is a TN panel, while PA is the IPS panel?

  20. Refit says:

    Thanks, this is useful. However I don’t understand how Dell 2412M is in your list of best buys. It goes against all your parameters – it is 6 bit, uses WLED, and covers only 71% of NTSC colours.

  21. Nuno Oliveira says:

    I really apreciate all these information, acording to your recomendation would you buy the Dell UltraSharp U2412M ? it is not to big, is a 16:10 ratio, 100% srgb coverage and 99% adobe rgb. my only doupt is if the 1000:1/300 Nits are enough.
    I hope you can anwer :-)

  22. Depewmad says:

    Great article Major help in making it easier to find a good monitor

  23. Akshay says:

    I really appreciate this write up. It is very detailed and informative. Very good comparison of different markets that are currently available in market. Thanks for making photographer’s lives easier.

    I will appreciate if you can comment on a monitor I am looking at I loved the features.
    Asus PA279Q 27″

  24. Alain Desgroseilliers says:

    This very interesting article will help me to find the best monitor for my photography viewing

  25. Barry says:

    I am very pleased I can across this article.

  26. miguel Vasq says:

    thank you for such a good article. The technical info is very valuable and make photographers to make better choices.

  27. Jay says:

    Hi, I would like to thank you for such an informative write up. It was exactly what I was looking for. Well done!

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