If you are a photographer or photo retoucher who is looking for the best monitor for photo editing that has an appropriate color indication and picture, this article will help you. I’ve chosen 15 photography monitors for different budgets, that FixThePhoto retouchers use for photo editing. Be sure, each monitor will provide only the best picture.
What you see on your monitor can differ from what the other people see on their monitors. That’s why you need to stick to the monitor colors standards, so they will be real or close to them. It means that if a person can’t see accurate colors, you’ll ask him/her to calibrate the monitor. For this purpose, you should pick the best monitor for photo editing precisely to the following characteristics (or you can buy the best laptop for photo editing with a high color accurate monitor):
If the monitor meets all these properties, then you can use it for your photo editing tasks.
Price: about $1000
Specs: 27-inch, 3840x2160 UHD, 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
The BenQ 27” 4K PhotoVue (SW271) monitor has 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB color space support. I like that the monitor is 4K UHD, meaning it offers a 3840 x 2160 resolution. The aspect ratio of BenQ SW271 is 16:9, and it has a refresh rate of 60 Hz. Also, this model is made with IPS technology. The contrast ratio is 1000:1. The monitor employs a 10-bit interface with a 14-bit (3D) LUT. It includes a USB-C port which provides a reliable color output and accurate color reproduction. Sadly, you can’t use the included USB-C port as a dock-station for connecting your laptop, but it’s still a great computer monitor for video editing.
The BenQ SW271 is shipped pre-calibrated and has a Delta E ≤ 2 in 99% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB color spaces, making it possibly the best color monitor on the market. The system includes software used for calibrating the primary palette elements and is compatible with high-quality calibrating hardware. Even though BenQ SW271 has HDR support, its limited peak brightness of 350-nits and the contrast ratio of 1000:1 don’t allow for a full HDR viewing experience; that’s why the HDR10 support is mostly suited for photo editing.
The monitor doesn’t have Free-sync, which is bad news for gamers. This means you can expect some screen tearing and frame drops while playing games you usually enjoy with a higher frame rate. Of course, that doesn’t affect the work of photo editors in any way. All in all, this is the best photo editing monitor for its price which is why it earned the “Our Choice” title.
Price: about $4200
Specs: 32-inch, 7680x4320 8k, 100% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
This is 32-inches monitor and has a resolution of 8K (7,680 x 4,320). If you ever had a complaint that you can never see your high-resolution images on a full screen and in full resolution on a monitor, you will find the response to your requests. Here is Dell UP3218K. Dell UP3218K - 8K monitor. These are 4 full-screen monitors located in one monitor. The greatest advantage during photo retouching, is that with this monitor you can see a much larger area that cannot be viewed with lower resolution monitors. The monitor has a resolution of 33.2 million pixels and a high pixel density of 280. The monitor covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color space, as well as 100% of the sRGB color space. The monitor supports up to 1.07 billion colors. The monitor's brightness is 400 cd/m², and the contrast ratio is 1300: 1. The IPS panel provides a wider viewing angle (compared to TN panels). 178˚, to be exact. In addition, the monitor includes some useful patented technologies, including the ComfortView, as well as flicker-free technologies that ensure that harmful blue light will not be a problem.
Price: about $2400
Specs: 27-inch, 2560x1440, 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
The next monitor in our list is Eizo CG277-BK, a monitor specially designed for professional graphic design and photo editing. Despite the fact that it has a lower resolution than many modern monitors on a modest 2560 × 1440, it offers some interesting features. The monitor comes with a factory calibration capable of 99% rendition of the Adobe RGB color gamut, but also includes an internal sensor that offers a continuous color calibration so that the display could be color-matched. The monitor also has a brightness of 300 cd/m2, which allows you to display brighter colors. The monitor also has a flawlessly sensitive contrast coefficient of 1000: 1. The monitor comes with a shading hood to block light during operation.
Price: about $229.99
Specs: 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 Full HD, 76% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
ViewSonic VP2468 is a 24” Full HD 1920x1080 IPS screen and is the best monitor for Photoshop editing and similar beginner-level tasks. Even though there are cheaper 24” monitors with a full sRGB color space available, ViewSonic VP2468 offers amazing connectivity and ergonomics. Most importantly, it arrives pre-calibrated and is ready to be used straight out of the box. This monitor supports 8-bit color depth by employing anti-aliasing (6-bit + 2-bit FRC). It also has a 14-bit 3D-LUT (Look-up Table) with a color palette of 4.39 trillion for better color and grayscale reproduction.
This model supports hardware calibration with the help of the ViewSonic Colorbration set which you can purchase separately. Another useful characteristic is the built-in uniformity function which guarantees the brightness and color uniformity on the entire screen. The monitor’s color accuracy and premium functions are worth much more than the item’s price making it the best monitor for photographers in its price range.
Price: about $600
Specs: 27-inch, 2560x1440, 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
Professionals prefer this model because of the resolution of 2560 × 1440 (WQHD), which is considered as the best in its class. Thanks to its capabilities, the technologically advanced display BenQ SW2700PT perfectly stands out among other monitors. Its sharp images demonstrate excellent color saturation with a vivd bright contrast. With a screen resolution of 2560 × 1440, SW2700PT monitor boasts an impressive 27-inch WQHD matte panel. This monitor provides hardware calibration, allowing the user to access screen-processing circuits. In addition, SW2700PT uses a 14-bit Look-Up Table (LUT), which controls color management and provides accurate and smooth color rendition. Users will need to purchase their own colorimeter, but by downloading BenQ Palette Master Element free proprietary software, they can save any selected settings in their quality. This monitor for photo editing is perfectly designed with excellent additional features, such as a built-in USB 3 hub with the SD card reader and a convenient remote control that allows you to quickly and easily change settings.
Price: about $440
Specs: 27-inch, 2560 x 1440, 79% Adobe RGB, 99% sRGB
Calibrated by the manufacturer, P2715Q provides first-class color rendition from the very beginning and guarantees almost real-life images to any user. Primary screen tests showed that in fact it could cover 79% of the AdobeRGB spectrum and 100% of the sRGB spectrum. In addition, the contrast ratio is remarkable, reaching 690: 1 at maximum brightness. According to photographers, DELL P2715Q photo editing monitor exceeds expectations due to excellent color and image quality, as well as color rendition due to 4-resolution and IPS panel. Keep in mind that currently only a few other monitors offer wider color gamut. In addition, most low-cost 4K screens can control only 70 to 75% of the AdobeRGB spectrum. It means that the P2715Q is definitely ahead of its time. However, you definitely want to get a display that is closer to 100% Adobe RGB. Moreover, the contrast ratio on this monitor is truly considered one of the best on the market today. It was one of the monitors that offers exceptional image quality at an affordable price, providing a solid frame, an ergonomic rack and a fully functional 3840 x 2160 pixels UHD.
Price: about $1400
Specs: 27-inch, 3840x2160, 100% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
If you need to work with sRGB, Adobe RGB or HDR, Dell UP2718Q is the best photo editing monitor for under $1500. It has a 27-inch screen and UltraHD resolution of 3840x2160. With brilliant 1,000-nits maximum brightness, an incredible 20,000: 1 contrast ratio and wide color gamut, Dell UP2718Q provides amazing image quality. The secret weapon underlying its capabilities is local dimming across the entire array, which adjusts the backlighting through 384 separate dimming zones, providing bright image quality and high static contrast. In addition, the monitor is calibrated by manufacturer for 100% sRGB and Adobe RGB. In addition to stunning HDR image quality, Dell UP2718Q 4K monitor supports KVM. The monitor also offers superior design and connectivity. Connect options include DisplayPort 1.4, mini DisplayPort, two HDMI 2.0a.
Price: about $870
Specs: 27-inch, 3840x2160, 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
We will take look at ViewSonic VP2785. This monitor for photo retouching has a 27-inch screen with 4k resolution (3840x2160). The monitor is calibrated at the factory to achieve 99% of the Adobe RGB color gamut, which offers a wide selection of accurate and vivid colors. ViewSonic actually claims that the monitor boasts a palette of 4.3 trillion colors. This display also has a connect options variety, what makes it even more convenient to use with the addition of an integrated KVM switch that allows you to quickly switch between inputs. The monitor also has a very ergonomic and adjustable rack, as well as a built-in light sensor that allows you to automatically adjust the backlight, which can help reduce eye straining. In addition, the monitor uses a 14-bit Look-Up table, which provides accurate and smooth color rendition.
Price: about $379.99
Specs: 32-inch, 2560 x 1440, 99% Adobe RGB, 99% sRGB
HP Pavilion is a 32” photography monitor with a 2569 x 1449 resolution. This is a tad disappointing since such a big screen can easily support a 4K UHD resolution and give a clearer and more detailed image, which is what a photographer needs for picture editing purposes. The viewing angle of the monitor is 178o, while the 8-bit color depth supports up to 16.7 million colors. The monitor offers 100% sRGB color space support and is made using IPS technology. The dynamic contrast ratio is 80000000:1 with a response time of 5ms. This is a solid choice for photographers and designers who require an additional good monitor for photo editing to see how their content will look from their clients’ point of view.
Price: about $300
Specs: 27-inch, 2560x1440, 79.1% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
BenQ GW2765HT. This is one of the best photo editing monitor, 27-inch with an impressive resolution of 2560x1440 WQHD. The IPS matrix offers good viewing angles that remain true to their 100% sRGB color gamut. The rack is adjustable in height, and the monitor has two built-in speakers. This BenQ monitor also has ZeroFlicker technology and a low blue light built in to reduce eye straining. The monitor operates at pretty high mill speed of 60fps at full resolution, but can be turned off up to 1080p to work at 75 frames per second. Although it may not be fast enough for most games, it offers a smooth experience for normal use.
Price: about $600
Specs: 27-inch, 3840 x 2160, 72% Adobe RGB 72 %, 100% sRGB
ASUS Designo MX27UC is a 27-inch monitor for photo editing that comes with IPS technology and UHD resolution of 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) with an IPS matrix. ASUS Designo MX27UC has a unique borderless design that gives it a stunning appearance. The frame actually measures 0.1 sm. thickness. To use the monitor, for example, when editing batches of photos, you need a way to keep your eyes safe. The monitor comes with ASUS Eye Care technology, as well as blue light filter technology, which reduces eye straining when you use the monitor for a long time. Static contrast coefficient is 1300: 1. The monitor displays 1.07 billion colors. It supports the entire sRGB color space and thus provides more accurate color rendition and better consistency at all your displays, in the Internet and on your printer. The response rate of the monitor is 5 ms. As for connectivity, the monitor comes with several connect options, as well as USB Type-C port.
Price: about $770
Specs: 32-inch, 3840 x 2160, 87% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
LG 32UD99-W is one of the best 4k monitor for photo editing, 32-inch UHD IPS-monitor with HDR 10 and height-adjustable rack, ultra-thin 1.3 mm, with USB-C and the quick charge ability. LG 32UD99-W is 32-inch monitor with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (UHD). High resolution helps to get more detailed image. This is useful when you edit images with a big amount of details in it - landscapes, pictures, black and white portrait of an old person and so on. The viewing angles are 178 degrees. The monitor has a brightness level of 350 cd/m² and has a response time of 5 ms. There are faster monitors, no doubt, 1 ms is not necessary. The monitor supports the DCI-P3 color standard of 95%. In addition, you get HDR capabilities. Which means you can get much better (and detailed) image in the dark to medium and bright tones, which will give you the best result. This technology is designed for games with black stabilizer technology, which will also be included in the system to help find details in shadow areas and will be useful during editing HDR images.
Price: about $5,700
Specs: 31-inch, 4096 × 2160, 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB.
If you need a DCI 4K monitor for professional photo editing, take a look at Eizo ColorEdge CG319X. Unlike standard 4K UHD monitors with a resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels, Eizo CG319X has a resolution of 4K with a resolution of 4096 × 2160 pixels. In addition to providing higher resolution, the monitor covers Adobe RGB: 99%, DCI-P3: 98% for flawless color accuracy with real 10-bit depth and 24-bit 3D LUT. It also supports HDR (HDR10 and HLG formats). This display is especially interesting - a built-in screen calibration tool at the top, that ensures that your monitor is 100% calibrated, even during the work. You will also receive exclusive ColorNavigator software for easy color management and customization. In addition, Eizo ColorEdge CG319X offers many features, such as Out Of Gamut Warning, Luminance Warning, Safe Area Market, that will allow you to see how does your work look on other display devices with different proportions and color gamut. Shading hood comes the monitor. Connectivity includes two DisplayPorts1.4, two HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0. Although Eizo ColorEdge CG319X is too expensive, it is the best monitor for working with color currently available in the consumer market.
Price: about $880
Specs: 27-inch, 2560x1440, 99.3% Adobe RGB, 146.4% sRGB
One of the best NEC monitors for photo editing is NEC MultiSync PA272W-SV 27-inch monitor with a resolution of 2560x1440. The contrast ratio is 1000: 1. The monitor is equipped with AH-IPS technology, which provides a better viewing angle than standard monitors with other technologies. The monitor brightness is 340 cd/m² and gives the best white and blacker shades. The response rate of the monitor is 6 ms. In addition, you'll get 1.07 billion colors. The monitor has a 14-bit 3D Look-Up Table, which ensures that when you edit your photos, you will get much more color support. The NEC SpectraView II color calibration tool. Basically, the tool is a combination of improved color measurement sensor and advanced calibration software, all in one. This tool ensures that the monitor covers 99.3% of the AdobeRGB color space and 146.4% of the sRGB color space. If you are going to print and not quite sure about which color space to use, then sRGB should be your operational color space; and this monitor covers the entire sRGB color range. On the other hand, if you know what you are doing, then Adobe RGB is for you, and this monitor also covers almost all the color space you need. The monitor comes with DisplaySync Pro controls. This ensures that you can connect up to 2 computers to your monitor and use them with one keyboard and mouse without any problems. The device comes with five image profiles. All of them are customizable. In addition, the MultiProfiler software, that comes with the monitor, provides full control over these image profiles, as well as the ability to download any color ICC profile directly to the monitor for better control over color space.
Price: about $1200
Specs: 32-inch, 3840 x 2160, 99.5% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB
ASUS PA329Q has a large 32” 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) screen with a frame rate of 76 fps. It’s one of the best computers for digital photography and is perfectly suited for photo editors who frequently work with large images or those who design posters and billboards. The monitor’s calibration allows reproducing 100% rec. 709 and an unbelievable 99.5% of the Adobe RGB color space. It also supports the even more demanding DIC-P3 and rec. 2020 schemes, which is great for photo editors since they have special demands regarding color compatibility. The calibration technology used for this 4K monitor for photo editing is ASUS ProArt. Regardless of whether you’re using a desktop PC, laptop, or a Mac, ASUS ProArt offers color accuracy settings and uniformity compensation that make the job of repeatedly calibrating the brightness and colors easier.
|BenQ SW271OUR CHOICE||VIEW MORE|
|Dell UltraSharp UP3218K||VIEW MORE|
|EIZO CG277-BK||VIEW MORE|
|ViewSonic VP2468 MonitorBUDGET||VIEW MORE|
|BenQ SW2700PT||VIEW MORE|
|Dell P2715QUNDER $500||VIEW MORE|
|Dell UP2718QBEST DELL||VIEW MORE|
|ViewSonic VP2785-4KBEST 4K||VIEW MORE|
|HP - Pavilion 32BEST HP||VIEW MORE|
|BenQ GW2765HT||VIEW MORE|
|ASUS Designo MX27UC||VIEW MORE|
|LG 32UD99-W||VIEW MORE|
|Eizo ColorEdge CG319X||VIEW MORE|
|NEC PA272W-SV||VIEW MORE|
|ASUS PA329Q||VIEW MORE|
If you want to ensure that your photo editing work is done in high-quality, you can’t buy the first monitor you’ve set your eyes on. Instead, you should consider purchasing a monitor that is designed specifically for image editing. Obviously, you can buy an expensive photo editing monitor since most of them are designed for professionals, but there are several reasonably-priced alternatives available as well.
There are at least four different LCD technology types when it comes to the best monitors for photography. They differ greatly in how they reproduce color and tones. When it comes to editing your images, accurate color reproduction is incredibly important. You need to have a full understanding of what these technologies offer to get the best results when working on your images.
TN (Twisted Nematic). This is the most popular and cheapest matrix type. Such monitors are great for watching movies and playing video games thanks to their high screen refresh rate. They have a significantly limited viewing angle and don’t display accurate colors. Also, such monitors can only reproduce 6-bit colors since they are employing anti-aliasing. Thus, they offer a very limited color space.
IPS (In-Plane Switching). IPS monitors for photo editing have a color depth starting at 8-bit (without anti-aliasing) and offer wider viewing angles, while also reproducing accurate colors. Some older generation IPS monitors have a rather low response time, but in most cases, 5ms is considered to be more than enough. Such monitors are quite expensive and are mainly used for professional design and photography.
MVA (Multi-domain Vertical Alignment). This type represents the middle ground between TN and IPS. They offer excellent viewing angles and effective image refresh rates. They have better brightness and color reproduction capabilities than TN monitors but are worse than IPS. These monitors have a color depth of 8-bit.
PVA (Patterned Vertical Alignment). PVA is an alternative version of MVA, but with a higher contrast ratio. The last “S-PVA” offers great view angles, a fast response rate, an 8-bit color scheme, and high-quality color reproduction.
When searching for the best monitors for photo editing, you should make sure that you’ve chosen the right screen size and resolution. Think about how limited your workspace is and if that’s not a problem, consider picking a model with a 24” screen or bigger. Such a size will make editing images easier for you. If you’re looking to become even more productive, you can work on two monitors simultaneously.
Definition-wise, a large monitor doesn’t always translate into a higher resolution. There’s no point in increasing the size of the screen without improving the resolution as then the images will become pixelated. Most regular monitors are 1920 x 1080 Full HD, meanwhile for a 27” monitor or larger you need a 4K (UHD) resolution which translates into 3840 x 2160 pixels. You can also work with an interim resolution of 2560 x 1440 (QHD, WQHD), but that depends on the screen and how important unpixelated images are for you.
When looking at modern 4K monitors, you might think that photo editing requires a huge resolution. That’s also not necessary. What you need is software that is optimized for improving the image quality while using a high-res monitor. If you don’t have such software, it can make your work more difficult. Moreover, such monitors can make your photos look too small or blurry. The main point is that the market doesn’t offer any good budget 4K monitors. So if you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on the best 4K monitor for photo editing, then it’s better to purchase a standard model with a 1920 x 1080 (FHD) resolution.
Color space describes the range of colors the human eye can perceive (the visible color range). Modern devices make use of different technology to reproduce colors in digital cameras, scanners, monitors, printers, tablets, projectors, etc. which create different color spaces. Various methods of measuring color ranges were used to develop standard color schemes which are recognized by all devices.
What is sRGB? This is a color space is commonly used in digital devices, Windows OS, and monitors. The main advantage of this color scheme is its narrow range. This limitation allows simplifying the process of displaying colors, making it the default option in digital devices and monitors. Over time, this technology was improved, and this narrow range was replaced by the Adobe RGB standard.
The Adobe RGB (RGB 1998) standard was introduced to broaden the capabilities and standards created by IEC, by providing a larger color space and more realistic color reproduction when viewing images on the screen, editing photos and printing them. This color scheme is substantially bigger than sRGB. Taking into account the ever-increasing number of LCD monitors that can display most of this color space, Adobe RGB is considered to be the standard among professional photo editors and specialists who work in the printing and publishing industries.
If you’re using a cheap laptop or desktop monitor, you’ll know everything about brightness uniformity or rather its absence. That isn’t a problem if you’re working on a digital table, but it’s a serious issue if you’re using the monitor for photo editing because you require equal levels of brightness on all parts of an image.
The differences in brightness usually come down to two things: the screen’s technology and the backlighting uniformity. IPS (In-Plane Switching) screens cost more but give better image quality and uniformity.
If you take your work seriously, then having the best monitor for photographs isn’t enough. You also need to have a good monitor calibrating tool since it secures the accuracy of your monitor’s color reproduction. Even though you can try to calibrate the monitor by the eye, using a calibrator makes this process simpler and guarantees the most accurate colors.
Before you start the calibration process, it’s recommended you make a few preparations to achieve the best results.
You can calibrate monitors for photo editing in several ways:
Calibration Using the Built-in Utilities in Windows and MacOS
MacOs and Windows have built-in tools that can help you complete this process step by step, which is especially useful if you’re a rookie in calibration. These free utilities can be your first step if you’re a beginner photographer or have a limited budget. Keep in mind that the settings will be limited by the type and model of the monitor. Different terms such as gamma, the white spot, etc. – may seem a bit complex at first, but each utility gives a simple explanation of their meaning.
The Windows 10 monitor calibration tool. The easiest way to access the calibration tool in the latest Windows version is to find “Color Calibration” in the search panel and follow the tooltips. In MacOs, the “Display Calibrator Assistant” is located in the system settings in the “Displays” tab. If you have trouble finding it, try to type in “calibrate” into Spotlight to scan all the folders and files of your computer. The result should show appear on the “System Preferences” panel, and then you can follow the tooltips to calibrate the monitor.
Calibration Using a Colorimeter Device
Built-in calibration tools are great for quickly fixing issues, but they are flawed in their nature. These calibration procedures are based on how each individual person perceives colors and are highly subjective. The purchase of a calibration device represents an efficient method of bypassing this drawback and making sure you have a color accurate monitor. If you’re looking for a superior level of accuracy and control, you’ll need to make a substantial investment, but there are also some reasonably-priced alternatives that work well on a budget and can help you achieve the correct colors on all your monitors. Setting up calibrators is easy and doesn’t require a lot of effort. You simply need to follow the guide included in the manual which is supplied by the manufacturer.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.