Are you thinking of buying a photography monitor For photo Editing? You are probably wondering if it’s really worth upgrading to a high-end monitor. You will see that generally the best monitors are referred to as “professional”. These monitors are specially designed to offer color accuracy. So, in short, the answer is yes, it’s worth it. Especially now that the prices have dropped.
Most displays don’t even come close to offering the same benefits as a professional monitor. Professional monitors reproduce colors accurately. On the other hand, why waste time taking great photos if you don’t have a suitable monitor to view them?
Best Budget Monitor For Photo Editing
Monitors designed for photography offer a wide color gamut. Why limit the variety of colors you can work with? Professional monitors also offer many technologies for color enhancement. This way the images will be reproduced on the screen more accurately. These possibilities are ideal – and very often fundamental – for those whose work depends on the accuracy of the images.
A monitor should be able to work with images that represent real subjects. A less accurate monitor cannot faithfully represent the real image. When you use a monitor with a limited color gamut, the photos you edit are not the same ones you took (at least in terms of color). As a result, any changes made to inaccurate colors can actually only make what you’re trying to fix.
Until recently, monitors advertised as “professional” were only sold at a high price, making them inaccessible to many. Thankfully, many monitors with color-specific fundamentals are now available at a moderate price.
Best Budget Monitor For Photo Editing | Comparison Table 2021
|LG 27UL500-W 27-Inch UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Monitor with Radeon Freesync Technology and HDR10, White||LG||Check Price|
|ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27” WQHD (2560 x 1440) Monitor, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709 ΔE < 2, IPS, DisplayPort HDMI DVI-D Mini DP, Calman Verified, Eye Care, Anti-Glare, Tilt Pivot Swivel Height Adjustable||ASUS||Check Price|
|Philips 278E1A 27" Frameless Monitor, 4K UHD IPS, 109% sRGB, Speakers, VESA, 4Yr Advance Replacement Warranty||Philips Computer Monitors||Check Price|
|Dell S2721QS 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Ultra-Thin Bezel Monitor, AMD FreeSync (HDMI, DisplayPort), VESA Certified, Silver (Renewed)||Dell||Check Price|
|BenQ PD2700Q 27 inch QHD 1440p IPS Monitor | 100% sRGB | AQCOLOR Technology for Accurate Reproduction Black||BenQ||Check Price|
|BenQ SW271 27 Inch 4K HDR Professional IPS Monitor |10-Bit with 14-Bit 3D LUT Hardware Calibration| Aqcolor for Accurate Reproduction | Detachable Shading Hood, Black||BenQ||Check Price|
|Dell Ultrasharp U2719DX 27-Inch WQHD 2560x1440 Resolution IPS Monitor with Infinity Edge Bezels, Black||Dell||Check Price|
|ViewSonic VX2452MH 24 Inch 2ms 60Hz 1080p Gaming Monitor with HDMI DVI and VGA inputs, Black||ViewSonic||Check Price|
|ViewSonic VP3268-4K 32-Inch Premium IPS 4K Monitor with Advanced Ergonomics, ColorPro 100% sRGB Rec 709, 14-bit 3D LUT, Eye Care, HDR10 Support, HDMI, USB, DisplayPort for Home and Office||ViewSonic||Check Price|
Best Budget Monitor For Photo Editing | 2021 Reviews
What to look for in When Purchasing Budget Monitor For Photo Editing | Ultimate Guide 2021
Professional monitors offer a mind-boggling amount of features. When considering purchasing a photography monitor, your goal is to maximize the accuracy of what is displayed on the screen. Several key characteristics affect color, performance, and image quality.
Among these, the main ones are:
- Full coverage of sRGB / Adobe RGB color spaces
- Various options for the gamma value
- A powerful 3D LUT
- A low Delta E
- Compensation for screen uniformity
- A panel built with good technology
- Matte surface
- Hardware calibration
- Quality design
- Good connectivity
- Ideal screen size and resolution
Below you will find a summary of everything you should look for in each of these areas.
Color space coverage
The best photography monitor offers the widest color space possible. Gamut is the full range of colors visible to the human eye. Making the most of this range is what makes the colors of a photo, illustration, or painting truly beautiful. The range of colors produced by digital devices varies from model to model, as do the results you will get. This applies to cameras as well as processing software, monitors, and printers.
Color spaces represent certain color sets included in the infinite palette of possible colors. Each color is derived from an abstract mathematical model. Larger color space will contain more colors. The human eye can see around ten million colors, which is, therefore, the physical limitations of our color space.
Different digital devices are designed to work with different color spaces. The wider the range of colors a device can use, the better. In theory, an infinite number of color spaces can be defined. In practice, digital photography, video editing, graphics, and color processing technologies all rely on a handful of standard color spaces.
The CIE color space defines the entire spectrum visible to the human eye. The sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces are well known, especially in photo editing. They are graphically represented as triangles included in the CIE space.
Here are some curiosities about the most common color spaces:
- sRGB is the lowest common denominator of color space standards and has many applications, such as on the Internet.
- Adobe RGB is a standard known mostly among graphic designers, photographers, and other creatives and is used as a space for editing.
- NTSC, EBU, Rec.709, and Rec.2020 are color spaces often used for video, film, and TV broadcasting.
- No monitor can reproduce colors that are outside its color space. For example, a monitor that covers only the sRGB space cannot show all the colors included in Adobe, which is wider.
Here is a typical example: you take a photo with a camera that uses the Adobe RGB color space, then display the same image on an sRGB screen. The image you will see on the monitor will have some missing colors. Saturated colors that are outside the sRGB gamut will still be present as data, but cannot be displayed.
Here’s yet another example: Imagine you’ve taken photos with a camera that uses the sRGB color space. If you are viewing these images using a generic display that only covers part of this color space, some colors will not be displayed.
Conclusion: When viewing photos on a monitor with a color space that is smaller than that of the device with which they were taken, the missing color data will reduce the level of detail. The result will be unclear images and less vivid colors.
Advice on the color space of a photography monitor: Professional-grade monitors for photo editing and color processing include very large color spaces that offer great accuracy and vivid, detailed colors. You will need a monitor that offers at least full coverage of the sRGB space. Monitors with Adobe RGB color space are the best option for photo editing.
Gamma preset and adjustment options
Put simply, gamma is what makes images displayed on a screen vibrant. Adjusting the gamma is crucial to getting the best possible result for your shots. The term gamma has various meanings. As for digital devices, gamma can be defined as the mathematical value with which the brightness (also known as luminance) of each pixel is encoded. The goal of gamma is to make a digital image appear as vibrant as possible.
Here is the opinion of a professional:
Gamma is an important but rarely understood feature of all imaging systems. Gamma defines the relationship between the numerical value of a pixel and its luminance. Without gamma, shadows captured by digital cameras would not appear as they do to our eyes (on a standard monitor). Gamma is also called gamma correction, gamma encoding, or gamma compression, but all of these terms refer to a similar concept. Understanding how gamma works can help you improve your exposure technique, as well as get the most out of image processing.
What is important to know is that the gamma of the monitor affects how the individual pixels of an image are displayed. Monitors use the display gamma to adjust the output of an image. A higher display gamut results in darker images with more pronounced contrast.
Experts agree that a gamma value of 2.2 offers the right perceptual relationship between the various tones. Most monitor manufacturers nowadays develop displays with a default gamma of 2.2, and most displays have a native gamma of 2.2. A good professional-grade monitor for photo editing allows the user to easily adjust the gamma to make adjustments. The correct term for this is monitor gamma calibration, and digital color professionals find this a critically important function.
Here’s how another professional thinks about it: “Gamma correction is important to accurately display an image on a computer screen. Gamma correction controls the overall brightness of an image. Images that are not properly corrected may appear discolored, or too dark …
Changing the gamma correction not only affects the brightness but also the proportions between red, green, and blue. ”
The most common values for gamma presets are:
- Gamma 1.8 – Enhance visibility and detail in dark scenes
- Gamma 2.0 – Enhance detail and lighten dark scenes
- Gamma 2.2 – Native value for general use
- Gamma 2.4 – Enhances detail and makes colors more vivid in bright scenes
- Gamma 2.6 – Enhances black and white scenes, great for viewing documents
Recommended gamma options for a photo editing monitor: Gamma determines how vibrant and lifelike your images will be. A native gamma of 2.2 is taken for granted. Make sure your monitor allows you to adjust other gamma settings. Presets can make your life easier.
A powerful LUT
The best professional-grade monitors for photo editing have a Look-up Table (or LUT) built into their hardware. LUTs greatly enhance a monitor’s color reproduction capabilities and offer dynamic adaptability that adds gradations of color depending on the image being viewed. LUTs automatically apply complex correction calculations to adjust gamma for optimal color mapping.
The power of a LUT is measured in bits. A higher bit count indicates better color adjustment skills and a wider color palette. Common monitors are typically 8-bit. These general-purpose monitors offer a palette of 16.7 million colors. Professional photo editing monitors are equipped with 10, 12 or 14-bit LUTs. The best LUT, the 14-bit one, offers approximately 4.39 billion colors, which is 260,000 times higher color accuracy than that of a non-professional monitor.
LUTs are available in two standard formats 1D or 3D. Colors displayed on monitors with a 3D LUT are better than those with a 1D LUT, which has more limited possibilities. By offering more shades, 3D LUTs produce smoother and more harmonious color gradations. The colors reproduced by a 3D LUT are even more vibrant and accurate.
Recommended LUT for a photography monitor: Having any type of LUT is better than not having one. Most complete professional monitors will include a 14-bit 3D LUT.
Low delta E value
Delta E measures how precisely the human eye perceives the difference between two colors. In photo editing, it is a tool that can indicate how accurate the color reproduction offered by a monitor is. Delta E (which can also be referred to as ΔE or dE) is the change in the visual perception of two given colors. This value ranges from 0 to 100. Differences less than zero are not perceptible to the human eye. A value of 100 indicates that one color is the exact opposite of the other.
The delta E value of a photography monitor is always specified. To meet users’ color accuracy needs, this number represents how accurately the color displayed on the monitor matches the “perfect” color value. The lower the number, the better the performance of the monitor.
The delta E of the human eye has a value of approximately 1, and a value less than this cannot be perceived. In reality, getting a “perfect” delta E in a monitor is not possible: even the most expensive display cannot have a delta E of zero.
Top-of-the-line displays can boast a delta E of 1 or slightly lower. The displays that come next – high-end, high-priced displays – have a delta E of less than 2. Many mid-range color monitors have a delta E of less than 3 or 4. Lately, they are available at a price moderate display with good technical specifications and a delta E of less than 2.
Delta E is recommended for a photography monitor: Delta E is a technical characteristic of the “lower type, the better”. Many professionals find that a delta E of less than 2 is perfect for their needs.
Screen uniformity: panel technology and compensation
Color uniformity on the screen is crucial for both accurate viewing and image editing. The factor that affects the color consistency of a monitor the most is its viewing angle. The wider the viewing angle, the less image quality, and color losses will be when your view moves away from the center of the screen.
Outside the viewing angle of a device, images lose contrast. They become blurry, blurry, colors lose saturation, brightness and contrast are reduced. For photo editors and other color-conscious users, this deterioration in image quality makes it difficult to view, evaluate and process an image.
The type of panel used in a monitor determines its maximum viewing angle. The TN panels provide a horizontal viewing angle of 170 degrees and a vertical viewing angle of 160 (170º / 160º). The panels with the best technologies, such as IPS ones, guarantee a horizontal and vertical viewing angle of 178 degrees (178º / 178º). The latest AMWA panels offer the same maximum viewing angle. IPS panels, however, remain the gold standard for professional-grade displays.
Optimal color reproduction, however, will always be in the center of the screen. Even the highest quality panels suffer from slight variations in color and luminance on different areas of the screen. Imagine a display divided into a number of equivalent sections: as the brightness varies across the screen surface, the same color will appear different in each of these sections. The best photography monitors try to overcome this problem by including a function for color uniformity compensation.
Color compensation adjusts chromaticity and dims brightness. The result is that the best professional monitors offer color uniformity across the entire screen. A technical specification that identifies uniformity compensation through brightness adjustment is indicated as Lv <5%, which refers to the fact that variations in luminance will be kept within the limits of 5%. General-purpose monitors have a variation of up to 30%.
Screen smoothness advice for a photography monitor: Features that improve color accuracy on the screen surface are a hallmark of professional monitors. A viewing angle of 178º / 178º is mandatory. You may also need a color uniformity feature that fits a wide range of color spaces.
Good quality panel
The type of panel a monitor is manufactured with affects several performance characteristics, which include:
- Viewing angle
- Color reproduction
- Contrast ratio
Flat-panel LCD monitors use panels with TN, VA, and IPS technologies. TN panels cannot provide the performance required for a photography monitor. IPS and VA (AMVA) technologies ensure a wider viewing angle, higher contrast ratio, and better color accuracy. These panels eliminate image distortions and color variations, ensure comfort and generally improve the user experience.
IPS displays have always been the favorite monitors of professionals. Lately, AMVA panels have also begun to offer professional-grade performance with color. However, according to many professionals, IPS monitors still reign supreme. These panels offer the best support for a monitor’s color space technologies and provide greater color depth and contrast ratio, which help achieve better color accuracy.
IPS monitors have become cheaper and more affordable. This is why they are chosen by an increasing number of photography enthusiasts and other color-conscious users. Here is an example of a 27-inch IPS monitor.
Photo monitor panel technology tip: Popular TN monitors have a limited number of color features. Look for an IPS or AMWA panel. Keep in mind that most professionals prefer panels with IPS technology.
The surfaces of a monitor screen can be glossy or matte. A glossy surface delivers crisp, vibrant images. The color saturation and depth of dark tones make glossy screens great for gaming and watching movies. As for photo editing, on the other hand, glossy screens are not a good option, since, especially in the brightest areas, they tend to reflect everything in front of the mirror almost like a mirror.
Opaque screens, on the other hand, prevent reflections, making them the most obvious choice for working with images. Professionals also believe they are the best choice for accurate color calibration. In a bright room, images will look better on a matte display than on a glossy one. If you are going to use the monitor in a lighted room, you should get a matte screen monitor.
Advice for the surface of a photography monitor: Most professionals prefer dull surfaces that reduce glare. While glossy surfaces offer richer images, many also consider them overly saturated.
Possibility of color calibration
Adjusting your monitor calibration improves brightness, contrast, and the way colors are reproduced. The gamma settings we discussed above are just one example of the many parameters for calibrating a monitor. Professionals consider color calibration to be crucial in digital photography.
No professional or even amateur photographer should ever work on images using an uncalibrated monitor. It’s a minimal investment that will ensure that the photographs you share on the internet or send to a photo lab are displayed or printed exactly as you intended. What’s the point of creating an image that only looks good on your monitor?
Generic monitors offer only minimal functions to ensure the accuracy of these types of adjustments. Professional monitors include color spaces and gamma presets that make these operations easier and more accurate.
To get an accurate calibration of your monitor, you need to use a colorimeter. Color measurement accessories and software offer a large number of functions. Colorimeters are positioned on the screen to measure and adjust the color that is displayed. This method ensures that the colors of the original image are reproduced as accurately as possible.
The best photography monitors offer a feature called hardware calibration. This is done by software that connects the graphics card to the monitor. With hardware calibration, the colorimeter changes the monitor’s internal LUT and stores the optimized results in the monitor display. The result is faster and more accurate.
Tips for calibrating a photography monitor: Gamma presets and color spaces are a good start. Using a colorimeter allows you to achieve the best results. A monitor with built-in hardware calibration offers greater accuracy and fewer headaches.
Ideal screen size
To work with photo editing it is advisable to use a screen of at least 24 inches. The optimal solution is a size of 27 inches or more. The goal is to be able to comfortably view your work while having space for all tools. Many decide to adopt a second screen: using two monitors allows you to view the image in full screen on one screen and work on the other.
Recommended screen size for photo editing: Choose the widest screen possible (and with the best resolution) that you can afford given your budget and workspace. Also, consider using a second screen to improve convenience and productivity.
Screen resolution indicates the number of pixels a monitor can display both horizontally and vertically. 4K monitors have a horizontal resolution of 3840 pixels and a vertical resolution of 2160 (3840 x 2160).
The higher the resolution, the more information your screen can handle. With a high resolution monitor you will be able to see more of the image you are working on without having to scroll up or down. Having more pixels also means being able to count on greater image clarity. High resolution monitors offer sharper images.
When it comes to resolution, most professionals agree that the higher the better. For a 24-inch monitor, opt for an FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. For a 27-inch monitor, 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution is ideal. For 32-inch monitors, however, 4K (3840 x 2160) UHD resolution is the best choice. UltraWide (21: 9) 1440p monitors (which are often curved) are also good options. When it comes to screen size, there are some important considerations to make:
First: do not believe that the resolution of the screen depends on the size of the same. Two screens of the same size can have different resolutions. Second, LCD displays should be used in their native resolution. Choose a monitor with a native resolution equal to the one you will be working with. Third, if you are considering getting a 4K display, make sure the software you use is compatible. A 4K screen can be a great photo editing tool, which works well in both Photoshop and Illustrator.
Recommended resolution for a photography monitor : Look for the highest resolution possible for your chosen monitor size.
A monitor with good design elements allows you to work more easily, efficiently and comfortably. Frameless monitors are ideal for maximizing productivity and available workspace, whether you use one monitor or two. An adjustable rotation stand adds configuration options to your workspace. A matte finish on the screen will reduce reflections and make both calibration and viewing easier. An ergonomic design and the ability to adjust the rotation and height will maximize comfort. Ambient light sensors dynamically adjust screen brightness, while presence sensors automatically dim the backlight as you move away from your workspace.
Look for the widest possible variety of USB, DisplayPort, and HDMI ports. Having more options will allow you to connect more easily both with the devices you have now, and with those you will use in the next few years. USB 3.0 ports offer the ability to charge the connected device, while USB 3.1 Type C ports give you both the ability to charge and play audio. The ability to connect two or more devices via a “daisy chain” will improve the flexibility of your workspace.
Professional photo editing monitors produce much more accurate color than generic monitors. A professional monitor offers numerous color features that will allow you to get the most out of your images. Whether for work or as a hobby you are involved in viewing and processing images via monitor, the time has come to finally see the images more clearly.
Common displays cannot offer chromatically accurate images. By investing in an image editing screen, you will gain in terms of color gamut, calibration capability and color management features, and you will be able to view more detailed and color-accurate images. Thankfully, there are now many affordable monitors available that will fit all your photo editing needs