5 Best Monitor for Photo Editing in 2021: Best Budget and Premium Screens

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Best Monitor For Photo Editing In 2020
Best Monitor For Photo Editing In 2020

Professional photographers know how important it is to use the right monitor when editing photos. Not only does it streamline the editing process, but it also ensures that your image will look exactly as you intended.

PreviewProductScreen SizeResolutionPanel TypePrice

Dell Ultrasharp Up3216q

Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q31.5 inches3840 x 2160 IPS panel

Benq Pd3200u

BenQ PD3200U32 inches3840 x 2160 IPS panel

Viewsonic Vp3881

Viewsonic VP388138 inches3840 x 1600IPS panel

Benq Sw2700pt

BenQ SW2700PT27 inches2560 x 1440AHVA-IPS panel

Asus Proart Pa329q

ASUS ProArt PA329Q32 inches3840 x 2160IPS panel

But finding the right monitor won’t be easy, especially with all the options and various marketing strategies that make it even more confusing.

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 on a budget.

Does Choosing the Right Monitor for Editing Matter?

Yes, of course!

Graphic work requires more than an ordinary display. You will also be working with colors, so color accuracy and a broad color range are essential.

Moreover, there are several display types on the market, but only one specific LCD type is considered the most appropriate for editing images: IPS.

Let’s cut to the chase and check out the best monitor for photo editing you can get in 2020.

5 Best Monitor for Photo Editing

1. Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q

Best 4K Monitor for Professionals

Dell Ultrasharp Up3216q

Tech Specs:
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)

Pros
  • Outstanding color accuracy
  • Consistent image quality
  • Elegant design
  • Right size for 4K resolution
  • Plenty of ports
Cons
  • Stand versatility could be better
  • Expensive

The Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q may be costly, but all the features packed into this monitor justifies every bit of money you’ll invest in it.

The UltraSharp UP3216Q is a 32” 4K monitor, offering the largest possible screen real-estate for your photo editing software. And since it’s an IPS panel, the color reproduction is accurate, and the viewing angles are phenomenal.

If you’re a photo editor looking for the best monitor for current and future projects, the UltraSharp UP3216Q will give you all the headroom to produce quality output for the next few years. After all, this monitor was explicitly designed for your line of work.

The screen of the monitor is matte finished and does a great job keeping glares and ambient light reflections at bay to maintain picture quality. If you’re going to compare this monitor’s picture quality to other premium-grade alternatives, the color performance is noticeably better.

The Dell PremierColor and CustomColor software are nice to have. Dell also incorporated a new wide color gamut technology, which further augments the capabilities of these software. It gives you a great level of customization to achieve the most accurate color output. Moreover, the factory color preset is already good enough for most users.

If you’re just starting your photo editing career, this monitor should provide you with everything you need. It gives you the ability to customize the settings to your preference down the line, serving as a future-proof investment.

The UltraSharp UP3216Q is simply a powerhouse. It offers all the critical features for a professional photo editor. It’s among the premium-grade monitors for editing suitable for home and office users keen on getting the best color coverage and superior calibration features.

2. BenQ PD3200U

An Affordable 4K Monitor for Photo Editing

Benq Pd3200u

Tech Specs:
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)

Pros
  • Stunning UHD resolution
  • Great factory color calibration
  • Large screen real-estate
  • Competitive price
Cons
  • Lackluster design
  • Narrow AdobeRGB color gamut

Similar to our top pick, the BenQ PD3200U is designed for professional users. Specifically, it is geared towards CAD/CAM users, graphic artists, and content creators. 

The PD3200U is a 32” 4K monitor that packs plenty of features for enhanced image quality. This monitor doesn’t cost as much as our top choice, and it doesn’t fall far behind performance-wise.

Looking at the design, it sports a matte-black finish with sleek half-inch bezels. It offers plenty of ergonomic features such as tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustment. In some cases, it’s easier to edit photos in portrait view, and this monitor allows you to do just that.

It’s important to note that the port placement is different from the average monitor as the two HDMI inputs and two DisplayPorts are on the right side of the monitor. Speaking of connectivity, you’ll also find two USB 3.0 downstream ports and a headphone jack just below the display inputs.

Additionally, there’s one upstream USB 3.0 port and a connector for the included hockey puck controller at the base of the stand. This controller lets you change the settings and assign hotkeys to change picture modes on the fly.

The PD3200U has a built-in KVM switch, which allows you to plug a mouse and keyboard into the monitor to control two computers simultaneously. BenQ was also thoughtful enough to include an Eye Reminder, 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 reminder is helpful.

The PD3200U gives you plenty of picture customization options for optimal color accuracy. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, color temperature, sharpness, select one of the eight built-in picture modes, including the Standard, REC. 709, CAD/CAM, Animation, sRGB, Darkroom, Low Blue Light, and your custom preset. It also has a DualView feature, which lets you have two virtually separated monitor displays, each having their separate picture modes. In terms of performance, this monitor offers phenomenal color accuracy and outstanding image clarity for content creation.

Overall, the PD3200U is a feature-rich monitor worth considering if you find our top pick to be out of your budget range.

3. Viewsonic VP3881

A Great Ultrawide Pick for Photo Editing… if That’s What You Need

Viewsonic Vp3881

Tech Specs:
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)

Pros
  • Curved ultrawide screen
  • Thin bezels
  • Accurate color reproduction
  • Factory corrected to attain brightness uniformity
  • Great build quality
Cons
  • Does not support wide-gamut color space
  • OSD controls can be tricky

If you desperately need more real-estate space for photo editing, the ViewSonic VP3881 ultrawide monitor should meet your demands. This monitor was explicitly designed for professional photographers, photo and video editors, and content creators.

The VP3881 features a pre-calibrated color space that renders photos and videos stunningly. That means beginners won’t have to tinker with the display settings to achieve high color accuracy. However, if the factory preset doesn’t meet your specific needs, you can make adjustments through the comprehensive master menu that allows you to modify the color, brightness, contrast, and more. This monitor also allows you to make ergonomic adjustments, such as tilt, swivel, and height to get the best possible viewing angles.

The VP3881 is known for its curved display. It has a curvature rating of 2300R.  The screen curvature on the VP3881 may not be as pronounced as some of its competitors, but it’s enough to ensure that you view everything comfortably. This monitor also has a good set of connectivity options 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 the VP3881 has built-in speakers, the sound quality is subpar, and you’re better off using dedicated speakers or headphones.

The OSD controls are located at the back of the monitor. It takes some time to get used to the button layout, but it gets easier over time. 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 excellent color reproduction along with stunning curved viewing angles. Unfortunately, this monitor has a slow 14 ms response time, making it unsuitable for gaming.

Ultimately, this monitor is intended for content creators. We only recommend it if you need a really wide screen for editing photos.

4. BenQ SW2700PT

The Best 27-inch Monitor With the Perfect Panel Type

Benq Sw2700pt

Tech Specs:
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)

Pros
  • Extensive color customization
  • Wide color gamut
  • Accurate colors
  • Great factory color calibration
  • Premium build
Cons
  • Does not have HDMI 2.0
  • Does not have ECO mode

Professional photographers and content creators know how crucial it is for a monitor to have features geared toward photo editing. While the ability to calibrate colors is essential, panel type and technology are also worth considering.

What’s unique about the BenQ SW2700PT is that it uses a different type of panel similar to IPS. This 27” 1440p monitor offers vibrant and accurate colors. Since it has a panel that functions similar to an IPS, viewing angles are excellent.

The AHVA-IPS panel displays 99% of Adobe RGB color space. Another remarkable feature of this monitor is the 14-bit LUT, allowing precise color management and smooth color gradation. It also comes with a processing circuitry that enables you to adjust the color settings directly to the monitor instead of your graphics card output.

Note that the SW2700PT doesn’t come with a colorimeter, but BenQ’s proprietary Palette Master Element is free to download, so you can calibrate the color reproduction and save presets. This monitor also comes with “shields” that prevent ambient light from distorting the picture.

These “shields” have two removable clips that attach to the side bezels. You can easily detach them from the screen if not needed.

If you need to edit projects in portrait mode, you can do so by pivoting the screen. 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 gives you three preprogrammed picture presets when plugged into the back of the monitor.

At the back, you’ll find three display connectivity options: 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 1.4, and 1x DVI dual-link. You’ll also find a USB 3.0 upstream port, a headphone jack, and a mini-USB port for the OSD controller. It even has an SD card reader, allowing photographers to conveniently access images directly from their cameras.

In terms of calibration options, the SW2700PT has plenty. It has ten 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 SW2700PT is a worthy investment if you’re looking for a 27” display for photo editing.

5. ASUS ProArt PA329Q

Great All-Rounder Monitor for Photo Editing

Asus Proart Pa329q

Tech Specs:
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)

Pros
  • Bright IPS panel
  • 4K resolution
  • Comes with a calibration software
  • Great overall design
Cons
  • OSD calibration can be finicky

The ASUS ProArt PA329Q is a 32”4K monitor that offers stellar color reproduction. Despite being able to compete with some of the premium-grade monitors for photo editing, it’s one of the cheapest options on the market.

The ProArt PA329Q has a sleek design. ASUS recognizes that ergonomics greatly benefit photo editors, so it equipped this monitor with adjustment settings like tilt, swivel, and even height adjustment.

The 4K resolution display on the ProArt PA329Q should give you more than enough space to work on. This monitor also offers some well-rounded features, although they’re more inclined towards photo editing and content creation than gaming.

Performance-wise, the ProArt PA329Q doesn’t fail to impress. It has a 10-bit display panel backed by an internal 14-bit LUT to achieve stunning color reproduction. It also boasts an Adobe RGB coverage of over 100%, solidifying its place as one of the best monitors for photo editing.

The ProArt PA329Q also has HDR, and since it’s on a 4K display, you can expect outstanding output. The factory-calibrated settings are good enough for most users, but ASUS is thoughtful enough to include a calibration datasheet to set the sRGB and Adobe RGB modes.

It features 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 ProArt 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. However, the monitor comes with excellent ventilation to stay cool even after extended use.

Important Things To Consider When Choosing a Monitor for Photo Editing

To maximize productivity, you need to have the right mindset and the right peripherals. In the case of photo editing, having the right monitor can help streamline your work.

But finding the right one is not going to be easy, especially with the overwhelming number of options on the market. However, shouldn’t be hard, as long as you consider the following aspects before making a decision:

Mind the Resolution

When editing photos, you’ll want to see as much detail as possible. That is why resolution is a vital consideration when choosing a monitor. The higher the resolution, the more details you will see when editing photos.

At the very least, aim for a Full HD (1920 x 1080) monitor. If you can spare a few dollars more, get a Quad HD (2560 × 1440) monitor as it allows for more screen real estate. If money isn’t an issue and you want the best, a 4K monitor should give you the highest clarity level.

However, resolution isn’t the only thing you should look into, as it has to be paired with the right screen size to get the best results.

Consider the Screen Size

Pairing your monitor’s resolution with the right screen size is essential. If the screen is too large for the resolution, images will appear pixelated due to low pixel density.

To get the best image quality, aim for a 24″ screen for a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution monitor. A 27″ screen for Quad HD (2560 × 1440) resolution monitor gives you the best image quality. If you’re going to use a 4K resolution monitor, aim for at least a 27″ screen or go as large as 32”.

Color Space

The ideal monitor for photo editing 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 standard. On the other hand, the AdobeRGB 1998 color space has a gamut that’s over 30% larger than sRGB. But that doesn’t make AdobeRGB better than sRGB.

While it’s true that AdobeRGB has more colors than sRBG, you can’t always appreciate the colors since the gamut is much higher than the average screens are capable of displaying.

Brightness

The brightness of a monitor is something you should consider, as having a bright display is useful for viewing dark details when photo editing.

Panel Types

LCD monitors are used for editing as they offer color-gamut compatibility, high brightness levels, and high contrast ratios. There are three common types of panel technologies you’ll find in consumer monitors:

  1. IPS (In-Plane Switching) – The best LCD panel for photo editing. It offers superior viewing angles, stellar color quality, and accurate color reproduction.
  2. VA (Vertical Alignment, a type of LED panel) – The next best choice for editing. It may not offer the image quality of an IPS panel, but it performs better than a TN panel, at least for editing photos.
  3. TN (Twisted Nematic) – It isn’t ideal for photo editing due to its poor color reproduction but offers the best gaming performance.

Undoubtedly, you should aim for an IPS panel to get the best color fidelity when photo editing.

Calibration Settings

Another feature you should consider when browsing for a photo editing monitor is color calibration. These settings allow you to adjust the brightness, color reproduction, and contrast.

It’s a rule of thumb that you should not work with images on a monitor that can’t be calibrated as your images may not turn out as you intended. Otherwise, you may end up producing pictures that look beautiful only to you and wrong to others.

One way to calibrate your monitor accurately is to use a “colorimeter.” This tool used to be an external device placed on the monitor screen to measure and adjust the on-screen color. But as technology evolved, it is now often integrated into the monitor. However, not all monitors have this feature and those that do tend to cost more.

Viewing Angle and Adjustments

Colors tend to wash out when viewed from a skewed angle, especially on TN panel monitors. Professional photo editors often prefer IPS panel monitors because they deliver better color reproduction and have excellent viewing angles.

In certain situations, it’s better to edit photos in a portrait view. Thus, you’ll want a monitor that can be adjusted and oriented in different ways to maximize productivity.

Height adjustment, tilt, pivot, and swivel are some of the adjustments you can make with some monitors. Opt for these, and you should see an increase in productivity.

Wrapping Up

There you have it– our list of the five best monitors for photo editing. If you’re still confused, our in-depth buying guide above should help you make the right decision.

To recap:

  1. We recommend the Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q if you want the best option on the market. It was designed for professional content creation and photo editing.
  2. The BenQ PD3200U is a good alternative if the UP3216Q is out of your budget range.
  3. If you’re looking for an ultrawide display, the ViewSonic VP3881 should give you all the screen space you need.
  4. Do you have a limited workspace? The 27-inch BenQ SW2700PT should fit just fine.
  5. Lastly, the Asus ProArt PA329Q is a well-rounded monitor. Since it doesn’t cost as much as the other four, it’s worth considering, especially if you’ve just started with your professional career.

Which monitor do you think best suits your needs? Do you have any recommendations you’d like us to add? Tell us in the comments section.

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