Photographers and photo editors know how important it is to use the right monitor when editing photos. Not only does this help make your job faster and easier, but it also gives you peace of mind that your image will look exactly as you intend it to be.
|Preview||Product||Screen Size||Resolution||Panel Type||Price|
|Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q||31.5 inches||3840 x 2160||IPS panel|
|BenQ PD3200U||32 inches||3840 x 2160||IPS panel|
|Viewsonic VP3881||38 inches||3840 x 1600||IPS panel|
|BenQ SW2700PT||27 inches||2560 x 1440||AHVA-IPS panel|
|ASUS ProArt PA329Q||32 inches||3840 x 2160||IPS panel|
But finding the right one won’t be easy, especially with all the options in the market. Not to mention the various marketing strategies that make you even more confused than you already are.
If that’s the reason you’re here, you’re in for a treat. In this article, we covered all the best monitors for photo editing in 2020– from the best of the best, to the best you can get when you’re on a budget.
Does Choosing the Right Monitor for Editing Matter?
Yes, of course!
You see, graphic work will require more than just a display. There will be plenty of colors you will also be working, which means, color accuracy and broad color range will help you develop stunning results.
Moreover, there is an overwhelming number of choices and display types on the market today, and only one specific LED type is considered most appropriate for editing images: IPS panel technology.
With all that said, let’s cut to the chase and look at the best monitor for photo editing you can get in 2020.
5 Best Monitor for Photo Editing
1. Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q
Best 4K For Professionals
Screen size: 31.5 inches | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 6 ms (GtG) | Viewing angle: Horizontal: 178°
Vertical: 178° | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: 8-Bit+FRC (1.07 Billion Colors) | Panel Type: IPS panel | Weight: 18.9 lb / 8.6 kg (without stand)
Robust, detailed UHD (Ultra-High-Definition) image quality, excellent performance, and expensive (yes, expensive), that’s the Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q. It may be costly, but all the features packed into this one monitor justifies every bit of money you’ll invest in this monitor.
You see, this is a 32-inch monitor with a 4K resolution. This offers you the largest possible screen real-estate for your images and your photo editing software. And since it’s an IPS panel, you can assure that color reproduction will be accurate and phenomenal.
If you’re a photo editor looking for the best monitor for your future projects, this will give you all the headroom you need to produce quality output for the next couple of years, or at least until you decide to update your monitor. After all, this monitor is intended solely for professional work.
The screen of the monitor is matte finished and does a great job of keeping glares and ambient light reflections at bay without compromising the picture quality. If you’re going to compare the picture quality of this monitor to the majority of other premium-grade monitors for editing, the color performance is noticeably superb.
The Dell PremierColor and CustomColor software customization features are nice to have. But Dell incorporated a new wide color gamut technology, which further augments the capabilities of these software. As a result, the level of modification you can do lets you achieve the best color output for your needs.
But even with all the adjustments, the out-of-the-box color setting is already admirable enough for most users. So unless you need to, I wouldn’t advise tinkering with the settings at all.
If you’re just starting with your photo editing career and looking for a monitor that provides you with everything you need, this should be a perfect choice. Note that you can always customize the settings to your preference down the line, which should serve as a future-proof investment that’ll deliver.
Simply, this monitor is a powerhouse of a monitor. While it may not offer stellar performance for gaming, it does offer all the critical specifics that a professional photo editor will need. It’s among the premium-grade monitors for editing intended for home and office users who are serious about getting the best color coverage on top of having superb color calibration features.
2. BenQ PD3200U
A More Affordable 4K Monitor for Photo Editing
Screen size: 32 inches | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 4 ms (GtG) | Viewing angle: Horizontal: 178°
Vertical: 178° | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: 10-Bit (1.07 Billion Colors) | Panel Type: IPS panel | Weight: 8.5 kg (without stand)
Similar to our top pick, the BenQ PD3200U is designed for professional users. Specifically, this is inclined towards CAD/CAM users, graphics professionals, and content creators. A 32-inch monitor that also packs plenty of features centered towards graphics modes.
The good thing about this monitor is that it doesn’t cost as much as our top choice. But in terms of performance, it doesn’t fall far behind.
Looking at the design, it has a matte-black finish with half an inch bezel. While it may not provide any significance in terms of editing experience, it does help give you more space to work with. And you know how every it of space can help when editing photos.
One good thing about the design is that it offers plenty of adjustment features such as tilt, swivel, pivot, and even lets you adjust the height. In some cases, editing will be easier if you use a portrait view, and this monitor allows professional photo editors to do just that.
It’s also important to note that the port placement is different from the average monitor as the two full-size HDMI inputs and the other two DisplayPorts are on the right side of the cabinet. And speaking of connectivity, you’ll also find two USB 3.0 downstream ports just below it, along with a headphone jack.
Additionally, you’ll also find one upstream USB 3.0 port and a connector for the included hockey puck controller, which is located at the base of the stand. This controller lets you change the settings and assign hotkeys to change picture modes on the fly.
Honestly, this can be tricky to some, as it’s easy to maneuver the controller to the wrong setting accidentally. However, after some adjustment time, you’ll get used to it and shouldn’t be a problem down the line. This also has a built-in KVM switch, which allows you to plug a mouse and keyboard into the monitor to control two computers simultaneously.
BenQ is also thoughtful enough to include an Eye Reminder, which is basically an IR tracker that alerts you to take breaks in between projects to rest your eyes. Since it’s easy to sink yourself into photo editing projects, having this as a reminder is helpful.
Apart from customization, you also have plenty of selections at your disposal with the PD3200U. On top of having the opportunity to adjust the brightness, contrast, color temperature, and sharpness, you can also select one of the eight built-in Picture Modes, including the Standard, REC. 709, CAD/CAM, Animation, sRGB, Darkroom, Low Blue Light, and your personal preset.
The monitor also features a DualView feature, which lets you have two virtually separated monitor displays, each having their separate picture modes. In terms of color performance, this offers phenomenal color accuracy and outstanding image clarity as it’s initially intended for content creation.
Overall, it’s a feature-rich monitor that you should consider if you find our top pick to be a little out of your budget range.
3. Viewsonic VP3881
A Great Ultrawide Pick for Photo Editing… If that’s What You Need
Screen size: 38 inches | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 1600 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 5 ms (GtG) | Viewing angle: Horizontal: 178°
Vertical: 178° | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: 10-Bit (1.07 Billion Colors) | Panel Type: IPS panel | Weight: 17.6 lb / 7.98 kg (without Stand)
Another monitor on our list is the ViewSonic VP3881. If you desperately need more real-estate space for all your photo editing needs, this ultrawide monitor should be more than enough. Its sole purpose is to be used by professional photographers, photo and video editors, as well as content creators who need accurate colors.
Out of the box, it comes with a pre-calibrated color space that already renders photos and videos beautifully. This means starting photo editors won’t have to worry about making customizations to get the right color calibration ideal for photo editing.
However, if it doesn’t meet your specific needs, you can always make adjustments as it comes with a rich master menu that allows you to adjust the color, brightness, contrast, and more. So, unless you really need to, I don’t advise you to tinker with the settings. Don’t worry; the pre-calibrated color settings already look pleasing, reasonably vivid, and authentic.
To get the best viewing angle, you can make plenty of adjustments with the monitor, such as tilt, swivel, and change the height.
One feature this monitor is known for is its curved display. This has a curvature rating of 2300R. This rating means if you were to place the same monitor side by side, you would form a full circle with a radius of 2,300mm or 2.3 meters. That means a curved monitor with a lower curvature rating has a more pronounced curve.
The curvature may not be as pronounced as its competitors in the market, but it’s more than enough to ensure that you see everything you need from a comfortable angle. To add to that, the VP3881 also has a good set of connectors at the back:
- 2x HDMI inputs
- 1x DisplayPort input
- 1x USB Type-C port
- 3x USB 3.0 downstream port
- 1x USB 3.0 upstream port
- 2x 3.5 mm jacks
Even though it comes with speakers, the sound quality isn’t phenomenal, and you’re better off using the audio-out jack to get better audio quality if you don’t have any choice.
The OSD controls are located at the back of the right part of the monitor. Upfront, you’ll need some “getting used to” to avoid pressing the wrong buttons. Fortunately, pressing any of the OSD buttons opens up the master menu, allowing you to change and switch between settings.
Since the monitor uses an IPS panel, you can expect that color reproduction is as excellent as the curved viewing angles. But, unfortunately, this has a slow 14 ms response time. While you can make it faster, up to 7 ms, it still isn’t as fast as a TN panel.
So, if you’re planning on playing competitively on the sides, you’re better off getting another monitor with 1 ms response time to compete.
Ultimately, this monitor is great and is primarily intended for content creators. We only recommend this if you need a wide area to work on since it has an ultra-wide aspect ratio.
4. BenQ SW2700PT
The Best 27-inch Monitor With the Perfect Type of Panel Technology
Screen size: 27 inches | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 5 ms (GtG) | Viewing angle: Horizontal: 178° / Vertical: 178° | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: 10-Bit (1.07 Billion Colors) | Panel Type: AHVA-IPS panel | Weight: 13.01 lb / 5.9 kg (without stand)
Professional photographers and content creators know how crucial it is to choose a monitor that can provide you with all the features needed to achieve excellent photo editing experience. While color calibration and color adjustments are essential, the screen panel type and technology is also just as essential.
What’s unique about the BenQ SW2700PT is that it uses a different type of panel similar to IPS technology. The 27 inch 2560 x 1440 resolution monitor offers vibrant and accurate colors. Since it mainly falls under the IPS technology, viewing angles are excellent. But the AHVA panel technology is what’s notable about the monitor.
You see, this type of panel delivers accurate colors and displays 99% of Adobe RGB color space. This is why we intended to include this on our list as a budget 27 inch that offers remarkable features and capabilities.
Another surprising feature that this monitor has is the 14-bit Look-Up Table, which essentially allows precise color management and smooth color gradation. The monitor also comes with a processing circuitry that will enable you to adjust the color settings directly to the monitor instead of having to make color adjustments via your graphics card output.
Note that it doesn’t come with a colorimeter, but BenQ’s proprietary Palette Master Element is free and can be downloaded to make essential calibrations and even save those presets. Essentially, the color quality of the monitor is surprisingly high, and the added “shields” do a great job of keeping ambient light from messing with the screen.
These “shields” have two removable clips used to attach to the side bezels. So, if you don’t need these, you can simply get rid of them. The bezels of the monitor aren’t that thin, but they also aren’t that thick.
If you need to edit your projects in portrait mode, you can do so since you can pivot the panel. Apart from that, you can also adjust the height, tilt, and swivel the monitor. Similar to the BenQ monitor featured above, the OSD controller has the same puck-shaped device. It comes with three preprogrammed picture presets upon plugging it into the back of the monitor.
At the back, you’ll find three connections: 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 1.4 input, and 1x DVI dual-link input. You’ll also find a USB 3.0 upstream port and a headphone jack and a mini-USB port intended for the OSD controller. Photographers will also find the SD card reader convenient since it makes it easier to access images directly from their cameras.
In terms of selections, it’s got plenty. Specifically, it has a total of 10 Color mode settings, including brightness, contrast, sharpness, sRGB, Adobe RGB, Black and White, sharpness, standard, photo, and Low Blue Light to reduce eyestrain.
Overall, the monitor is a worthy investment if you’re looking for a smaller (around 27 inches) display for your photo editing needs.
5. ASUS ProArt PA329Q
Great All-Rounder Monitor for Photo Editing
Screen size: 32 inches | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 5 ms | Viewing angle: Horizontal: 178° / Vertical: 178° | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: 10-Bit (1.07 Billion Colors) | Panel Type: IPS | Weight: 27.6 lbs / 12.5 kg (without stand)
This 32-inch 4K resolution ASUS ProArt PA329Q monitor offers stellar color quality and reproduction without being too expensive. Despite offering high-caliber specs that can compete with some of the premium-grade monitors for photo editing, it’s one of the cheapest on the market.
The monitor has a great physical design that doesn’t look cheap at all. And since we all know that being flexible will surely benefit photo editors, the monitor comes with plenty of adjustment settings such as tilt, swivel, and even allows you to make height adjustments to get the perfect viewing angle.
This has a 4K resolution, so you should have enough space to work on. And it offers superb and well-rounded features, although more inclined towards photo editors and content creators than gamers.
Performance-wise, the monitor doesn’t fall short. It has a 10-bit display panel backed by an internal 14-bit Look-Up Table to achieve a more stunning color reproduction. It also comes with an Adobe RGB coverage of over 100%. This means the monitor isn’t joking about producing high-quality images and stellar color accuracy.
Furthermore, it also has HDR. And since it’s on a 4K display, you can guarantee outstanding output. The factory-calibrated settings are also enough for most users, but Acer is thoughtful enough to include a calibration datasheet to set the sRGB and Adobe RGB modes.
It also comes with plenty of connectivity options at the back:
- 4x HDMI 2.0
- 2x DisplayPort 1.2
- 1x SD Card reader
- 3x USB 3.0 ports
It’s also worth noting that the PA329Q offers a robust four-way Picture-in-Picture mode for viewing content from four different sources via any of the HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 ports. If you think it’s going to be taxing for the monitor, you’re right. But at the same time, the monitor comes with excellent ventilation to stay relatively cool even after prolonged use.
Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Monitor for Photo Editing
To maximize production, you need to have the right mindset and the right peripherals. In the case of photo editing, having the right monitor can help make your work a lot easier and faster.
But finding the right one is not going to be easy, especially with the market’s overwhelming choice today. Honestly, it shouldn’t be hard, as long as you refer to the following before making any decision:
Mind the Resolution
When editing photos or videos, you’ll want to see as many details as you can at a glance. This is where resolution comes into the picture. The higher the resolution, the more details you will see when editing photos.
Ideally, you’ll want to aim for at least a full HD (1920 x 1080) monitor. If you can spare a few more, get a Quad HD (2560 × 1440) monitor as this makes the entire screen bigger, allowing you to fit in more tabs. If money isn’t an issue and you want the best, a 4K monitor should give you the best clarity.
However, resolution alone isn’t the only thing you should look at, as it has to be paired with the right monitor size to get the best results.
Consider the Size
Pairing your monitor’s resolution with the right size will make things look even better. If the monitor resolution and the size doesn’t match, images will look pixelated– and you don’t want that to happen.
To get the best image quality, aim for at least a 24″ monitor for a full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution monitor. A 27″ monitor for Quad HD (2560 × 1440) resolution monitor should give you the best image quality and more areas to work with. Similarly, if you’re going to use a 4K monitor, aim for at least a 27″ monitor to get the best results.
When shopping for a monitor for photo editing, you must look at the monitor’s proper color display. It should at least meet the standard industry color spectrum, covering at least 90% of sRGB and 70% of the AdobeRGB spectrum.
The standard 8-bit color space on the internet is sRGB, short for standard red, green, blue. Most computer monitors and mobile devices use this. On the other hand, the AdobeRGB 1998 color space has a gamut that’s over 30% than sRGB. But that doesn’t make AdobeRGB better than sRGB.
While it’s true that AdobeRGB has more colors, you can’t always see the colors since the AdobeRGB gamut is much higher than the average screens are capable of displaying.
The brightness of the monitor is something you should factor in. Having a bright display is useful when editing, and although it may not be the case for IPS monitor, you should still consider getting a brighter monitor.
LCD monitors are used for editing as they offer color-gamut compatibility, brighter levels, and high-quality contrast ratios. To date, there are three types of LCD panel technologies you’ll find:
- IPS (In-Plane Switching) – The best LCD panel for photo editing. It offers better viewing angles, produces better color quality, and stellar color reproduction.
- VA (a type of LED panel) – Is the next best choice for editing. They may not offer on-par image output as an IPS panel, but they do provide better performance than TN, at least for editing photos.
- TN (Twisted Nematic) – Aren’t ideal for photo editing due to its poor color reproduction (compared to IPS and VA) but offer the best performance for gaming.
Needless to say, you should aim for an IPS panel to get the best color fidelity and stunning color reproduction.
Another feature you should check when browsing for a monitor you can use for editing photos is color calibration. This type of setting allows you to adjust the brightness, color reproduction, and contrast.
It’s a rule of thumb that you should not work with images without a monitor that can be calibrated. This small investment allows you to ensure that your image will look the way you intended it to. After all, no one wants to send a picture that only looks beautiful to you and looks wrong to others.
One way to calibrate your monitor accurately can be achieved by using a “colorimeter”. This used to be an external device placed on the monitor screen to measure and adjust the on-screen color. But as technology evolved, these are now built into the monitor. Keep in mind, though, that not all monitors have these, and those that do tend to cost more.
Viewing Angle and Adjustments
Colors tend to wash out when viewed from a different angle, especially on TN panel monitors. This is why photo editors must choose an IPS panel because they produce better color reproduction and have great viewing angles.
Sometimes, it’s also better to edit photos in a portrait view as it makes it a lot easier. In this case, some colors will appear washed out unless you use an IPS panel. Ideally, you’ll want a monitor that can be adjusted in different ways to maximize your productivity.
Height adjustment, tilt, pivot, and swivel are some of the changes you can make in some monitors. Opt for these, and you should be able to maximize your productivity rate when editing photos.
There you have it– our list of the five best monitors for photo editing in 2020. If you’re still confused, our in-depth buying guide should help you pick the right one. But ultimately, it shouldn’t be hard to make a selection.
- We recommend the Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q if you want the best in the market, it’s sole purpose is to be used by professional content creators and photo editors.
- The BenQ PD3200U is a good alternative if you think the UP3216Q is out of your budget range.
- If you’re looking for an ultrawide display, the ViewSonic VP3881 should give you all the space you need.
- Do you have a limited workspace? Then the 27 inch BenQ SW2700PT should fit just fine.
- Lastly, the Asus ProArt PA329Q is a great all-rounder monitor if you’re unsure. Since it doesn’t cost as much as the other 4, it should be worth considering, especially when you just started with your professional career.
Which monitor you think will give you everything you need? Do you have any recommendations you’d like us to add? Tell us in the comment section.