Are you looking for a monitor with very good color reproduction for image editing? Here are my current top 3 recommendations!
Below you will find all the points you should consider when buying. If you don’t want to read everything, here’s my quick overview.
My recommendations are based on my personal experience from 15 years of photography and PC hardware.
What should you look for when buying a monitor for photo editing?
What size monitor makes sense for photographers?
How big your monitor should be depends primarily on the size of your desk and your budget. For most photographers, 24 inches and 27 inches will work. If you have a lot of space, you can also consider 34 inches.
I currently use a 27 inch monitor on a desk 80 cm deep.
However, my recommendation is now a 24 inch monitor. I find the combination of size, resolution (Full HD) and price-performance ratio optimal.
Is an Ultrawide monitor worthwhile for image editing?
In my opinion, a monitor with an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10 is good for photography. Out of your camera usually come images with an aspect ratio of 3:2 or 4:3. An Ultrawide monitor with an aspect ratio of 32:9, for example, makes little sense here because you don’t need the space in the width.
Which resolution – Full HD, WQHD or 4K?
A higher resolution is better because you can obviously display more on your monitor. What do I mean by that exactly? If you edit your images in Photoshop or Lightroom, then you simply have more space for the tools, layers and palettes.
Still, it doesn’t make much sense to buy a 15-inch monitor with 4K resolution, for example, because the displayed programs will then be much too small. Windows 10 has a scaling feature for this circumstance, but in my experience it doesn’t work properly for all programs yet.
Which terms mean which resolutions?
- Full HD: 1920 x 1080 px
- WQHD: 2560 x 1440 px
- 4K: 3840 x 2160 px
I therefore recommend: 24 inch monitor with Full HD, 27 inch with WQHD and 34 inch with 4K.
Graphics card and performance
If you take a monitor with a high resolution, then your PC or laptop should also support it. The graphics card plays a decisive role here. Full HD is no problem for almost all graphics cards, even for the smaller OnBoard variants. While newer on-board graphics cards also support resolutions like 4K, this is not always the case with older ones. For image editing, a dedicated entry-level graphics card is almost always worthwhile for which higher resolutions aren’t a problem.
Color spaces – sRGB, Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB
Roughly speaking, the color space tells you which colors the monitor can display.
Especially common are the two color spaces sRGB and Adobe RGB, whereby Adobe RGB has the larger color gamut.
So how do you decide which of these color spaces you need? If you primarily show your images on a monitor, then sRGB. If you primarily print your images, then AdobeRGB.
Even larger than Adobe RGB is the ProPhoto RGB color space, but in practice only a few printers support it.
I use sRGB, because I print my pictures for exhibitions from time to time, but my pictures are primarily to be seen on the Internet.
What is Wide Gamut?
Monitors with wide gamut have a larger color space. If you want to know more about this topic, you can find a good article on cleverprinting.de.
Brightness – adapting to the room
This brings us to the next point. Depending on how your room is lit, the brightness also plays a role. If you work in a very bright room, then your monitor should offer sufficient brightness. Conversely, the brightness of your monitor should also be lower in a dark room with less lighting.
In practice, the maximum brightness of a monitor for image editing is quite rarely an issue because you are probably working on that monitor indoors anyway. Rarely is it then so bright in the room that the maximum brightness of the monitor is even necessary.
The contrast gradations that your monitor can display are also relevant.
The three points color space, brightness and contrast are primarily dependent on your panel. Therefore, you don’t really have to worry about them as long as you choose the right panel.
Panels – the technology in the monitor
Decisive for your choice of a monitor for image editing should also be the technology of the screen. This is what the other values depend on. Without going into the details of the technologies, I would recommend a monitor with an IPS panel. This is relatively viewing angle independent and offers a good color space, brightness and contrast.
Monitor for photo editing reviews
The number one address for monitor reviews is Prad.de. Here you can find very detailed reviews with measurements for all values that are important for a monitor.
Get more image quality out of your photo equipment without having to buy a new camera and lenses!
Monitor for photo editing: My current top 3 recommendations (Monitor for photographers)
Below you will find my recommendations for monitors for image editing. I update this list regularly.
No matter which monitor you choose, I recommend calibrating your monitor. I use a Spyder4Pro for this purpose. The latest version of this calibration device is the Datacolor SpyderX Pro.
Cheap monitor for image editing – My price-performance tip up to 300 Euro
For a budget up to 300 euros, I recommend the Dell U2419H. I’ve been using the predecessor of this monitor for a few years and I’m happy with it. It is 24 inches, has a Full HD resolution with 1920 x 1080 pixels and can be connected via HDMI and DisplayPort.
From the factory, it delivers slightly warmer colors and should therefore be calibrated in any case. After that, it provides a good coverage of the sRGB color space. As already mentioned above, I recommend the SpyderX Pro as a suitable calibration device. Monitor and calibration device together will cost you about 340 €. With this you have a good and solid setup for the color representation of your images with a very good price-performance ratio.
Brightness and contrast are also good and suitable for most rooms.
Medium price segment
My recommendation in the mid-price segment is the BenQ PhotoVue SW270C. For around 750 euros, you can get a good monitor with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels here. It is interesting that there is a light protection screen in the scope of delivery, which is otherwise reserved for the more expensive models. The 27-inch monitor can be hardware-calibrated and subsequently delivers a coverage of 99% of the Adobe RGB color space. A comprehensive adjustment option and thus good ergonomics should also be emphasized.
Upper price segment
The price for dedicated monitors for image editing usually only starts at 1,000 Euros. In this range, the manufacturers NEC and Eizo are ahead.
Probably the best monitor for image editing comes from Eizo. It is the CG2731. It is currently the reference for monitors in this field. The 27 inch monitor has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and delivers excellent values for contrast, brightness and color reproduction. The Adobe RGB color space is covered by 99%. A special highlight is an integrated measurement system, with which the monitor calibrates itself fully automatically. Despite the relatively high price, the overall price-performance ratio is still extremely good.
Tip: Monitor for image editing and gaming
Due to my own motivation, I have long been looking for a monitor that is equally suitable for image editing and gaming. My requirements:
- Viewing angle stable
- Precise color reproduction
- 144 hz
I have been using the Acer Predator XB271HUbmiprz for a few months now. It is a 27 inch monitor with IPS panel and 144 hz. It also meets the other points from the list above. The sRGB coverage is 100%. I’m extremely satisfied with it so far and now I don’t have to have two monitors on my desk.
Tip: If you are also thinking about a new computer, I have summarized my recommendations for a PC for image editing and a laptop for image editing. I also have an overview of all the posts on PC hardware if you want to read more.
Bonus: Ergonomics for image editing
When orienting your workstation, make sure that the monitor is 90 degrees to the window. You should not have the window in the back, because otherwise there will be reflections on the monitor. If there is a window behind your monitor, the light from outside will blind you. Therefore, the monitor should always be sideways to the window.
If you are sitting upright, the top of the monitor should be at eye level. If you work on your computer in the evening or at night, you should turn on another light source in your room, which is much more comfortable for your eyes.
Do you have any questions about monitors for image editing? Write me in the comments! If you want, I can also let you know when a new post is published, so you won’t miss anything.