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?
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.
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)?
All 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.
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.
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.
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.
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