Photography isn’t a cheap discipline. Not only do you have to contend with the process of investing in the best camera and find a way to feed your lens collecting addiction, but there’s also all the associated gear and the necessity of getting a computer powerful enough to handle your editing needs. But many photographers and editors neglect an important accessory: the computer monitor.
The most powerful rig and the best editing software won’t mean much if the results you see on the screen aren’t up to snuff. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you do need to be thoughtful. We’ve picked 11 of the best monitor models and provided you with all the information you need to find the best monitor for photo editing.
10 Best Monitors for Photo Editing
1. Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q 27-Inch 4K IPS Monitor
If you are looking to get one of the best monitors for photo editing, Dell is a brand that's got you covered. Dell's Ultrasharp lives up to its name. It offers one of the best and most substantive sceeen sizes along with a super crisp 4K resolution. This 27 inch 4K monitor also offers HDR support, and it looks great from a wide variety of angles without losing the sharpness or quality of its color. The ergonomics here are also strong, so you won't have to worry about straining your neck if you're up late hours trying to get the last edits out the door.
This is a one of the best monitors built with power users in mind, and if you find yourself using multiple equipment or sharing an office space, you'll love the ability to connect up to 8 different RF or Bluetooth devices and make the most of screen sharing. There are few simpler ways to share your photos directly with the monitor than with Dell Universal Pairing. All told, it's a great device worth of being in this best monitor for photo editing review.
2. Eizo ColorEdge CG319X LCD Monitor
We jump the gap from a great, cheap monitor for photo editing into one of the best and most expensive commercial IPS photography solutions around with the Eizo ColorEdge. $5000 may seem like a lot of money for a dual DisplayPort computer monitor, but this is a beast of a model is one of the best monitors for photo editing as it is built to accommodate the needs of the most serious professionals. It's obviously an improvement on the more conventional consumer models in terms of core specs like resolution, viewing angles, and size, and the 4096 x 2160 resolution mimics the actual 4K you'd find on movie screens. That makes the Eizo Coloredge one of the best video editing monitors around too.
Of course, some improved specs, even those that push the limit of what's available, isn't enough to justify this severe price jump. Fortunately, this model comes with a number of specialized photo editing features and supports automated color adjustment to suit the specific demands of your professional process. You even get multiple preset modes include sRGB Adobe RGB, Rec.709, and Rec.2020.
3. ASUS PA248Q ProArt Professional Monitor
ASUS' ProArt monitor doesn't come close to the level of precise refinement that the Eizo ColorEdge offers, but then few if any other monitors do. But this display is worth being in this review of best monitors for photo editing due to the fact that it offers strong visual acuity, a remarkably smart on-screen display, and plenty of ergonomic options for a less than a tenth of the price. It may not be the most elite monitor, but it's more than generous enough to suit the needs of most hobbyists and professionals.
If you're looking for connectivity options, you'll find no lack of them here. The ProArt boasts four distinct USB 3.0 downstream ports in addition to a USB 3.0 upstream, VGA, DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI. If you find yourself working with multiple devices, this budget, best monitor for photo editing will be a godsend. Then there's the OSD which includes plentiful options including photo specific features like the ability to display photos in accurate print size. This photography tool also comes in two different variants as well as two different sizes. You get a sRGB display as well as an Adobe RBG display. The two sizes include a 24 inch display and a 32 inch display for better viewing angles. Both variants allows you to choose the one that best suits your business while providing you with nothing but the best color accuracy.
4. ViewSonic VP2768 PRO 27 1440p Monitor
Viewsonic isn't reinventing the wheel with their VP2768, but they have done an admirable job of making that wheel roll as best as it possibly can. By specializing solely in the traits that are good for photographers, they've managed to deliver one of the best monitors for photo editing for about $400. This 27 inch IPS screen offers a phenomenal level of quality in terms of both color accuracy, performance, and grayscale. And it's generous with the number of ports it offers, which includes an HDMI, DisplayPort, USB, and mini DisplayPort inputs.
The VP2768 is a sleek looking display too, sporting a thin bezel that allows the screen to take front and center stage and an adjustable stand that allows you to arrange things in a way that's most comfortable for you. A number of specific photo editing features are packed in as well, including built in calibration and in-depth color adjustment settings. If you want a monitor devoted solely to photo (or video) editing, this is it. With its 4.39 trillion colors screen wide sRGB, Rec.709, EBU, and more, this is surely one of the best monitors photographers can buy.
5. BenQ SW240 Color Accuracy Photography Monitor
BenQ's SW240 is a testament to how quickly technology can change. In today's market, this is one of the best photo editing monitors you can buy. A few years ago, it would be unheard of to get color calibrated monitors at anything close to this price. This PC monitor for photo editing can display all of the colors in the Adobe Photoshop gamut, including sRGB, Adobe RBG, and DCI-P3. It also comes with both built-in calibration and a profile system that allows you to establish different standards for different styles of photography.
It's a monitor with strong enough features and capabilities to satisfy most professionals while also being easy enough for beginners to use. The basics of the controls can be picked up in a matter of minutes, and they're easily accessible. Calibrating the colors and defining your profiles is equally as simplistic, a refreshing change of pace from some of the more commercially oriented color accurate monitors available today.
6. LG 34WK95U-W UltraWide IPS LED Monitor
Looking for a big screen that produces big results? LG's mouthful of a monitor for photo editing and photography is an absolute monster that covers a full 34" diagonally and delivers photos and videos in a stunning 5K resolution. And despite the impressiveness of its specs, it comes in at a relatively modest price just over a grand. The image quality here is the obvious standout, as it manages to deliver some of the crispest imagery you've ever seen on an ultra-wide screen that allows you to see every pore in a close up.
With an awesome contrast ratio, viewing angles, and incredible color accuracy, this 37 inch display is one of the best monitors for photo editing photographers can invest in. This beauty features a Nano IPS that controls color 35 times better than the 100% sRGB color space. With its 60Hz refresh rate and 5ms response time, you are surely getting a screen that makes a fast and excellent output out of your digital prowess. The port inputs are abundant and include multiple HDMI and USB ports, a DisplayPort, and even a Thunderbolt 3.
7. ASUS PA329Q Eye Care ProArt Monitor
For a slightly lower price point, this ASUS ProArt model provides one of the best 32 inch 4k monitors for photo editing. But while its raw performance may not be able to match LG's monolith, this 4Kmonitor for photo editing is replete with great tools designed with the needs of photo editors in mind. That's in addition for great color reproduction among all of the major color gamuts including Adobe RGB and sRGB.
The OSD on this 32 inch display is on point as well. The five direction joystick is easy to use, while manipulating the six physical buttons becomes second nature in no time at all. That's a good thing, because this model comes packed with a host of features. Not only can you change standards like the brightness, input, and blue light filters, but you also have access to a huge selection of overlays that can help you with both layout and positioning. A number of color presets are available as well on this 16:9 aspect ratio screen.
8. ViewSonic VP2785-4K ColorPro 27 4K Monitor
Sitting in the number 8 spot on our best monitor for photo editing review is this 27 inch 4K monitor from ViewSonic. Now, while the cost may be on the high side, it's squarely in the range of best monitors for photo editing that any real professional can comfortably rely on. It displays in 4K resolution and offers an extensive selection of ports for connecting devices. The gamut coverage is very strong, and the adjustable stand offers the range to be flexible to the needs of just about all photographers. The inclusion of HDR support adds an extra layer of depth and clarity to photos and video.
This is a multi-computer monitor too, so you can comfortably set up two office computers and switch between them comfortably with a single mouse and keyboard. The menu itself is dense but easy to navigate, and it comes packed with a number of adjustment options and even a few display presets. There are even some gaming-specific visual presets, perfect if you're looking to take a break from work. You also get flexible connectivity as this screen comes with a host of ports including mini displayport HDMI 2.0, USB Type C, DisplayPort, and HDCP 2.2.
9. BenQ 27 inch 4K PhotoVue Photographer Monitor
BenQ's SW271 is fit to be on this list of best monitors for photo editing because it's a serious piece of equipment with a price tag well below what you should expect for the specs. There are few monitors for photo editing that can offer the precise color referencing and pixel density you'll find in this model. Thanks to its 99% efficiency in the Adobe RGB color space, the color reproduction is absolutely pristine enough that you'll probably rarely find yourself using the impressive calibration tool. High dynamic range is also supported, and there's even a detachable shading hood that provides coverage and reduces glare which, in turn, provides you with even more precise results.
The stand of this 27 inch screen is also great, allowing you to swivel the screen at practically any angle you could imagine. If you're looking for features, you'll find a ton here. Special attention has been paid towards offering different modes for black and white photography, while the Hotkey puck makes it easy to swap between the different color modes. Picture in picture and picture by picture modes are also supported on this 16:9 aspect ratio screen.
10. ASUS ProArt PA32UC 4K HDR Monitor
There's a reason why ASUS ProArt monitors occupy such a prolific presence in this review of best monitors for photo editing. ASUS' photo editing sub-brand matches hardware quality and features with pricing at a point that few other manufacturers can only come close to touching. The PA32UC may be much more expensive than some of the other options in this review, but it offers the same amount of value for its pricing. The gamut coverage is some of the best in the business, and it comes with specific calibration for photography software.
All of the standard features you'd expect from a model focused on pros is here. You'll find legitimate HDR support as well as 384 local dimming zones. The ergonomic features here are especially strong. You can tilt, pivot, and swivel the monitor in practically any configuration, and both ASUS Eye Care and low blue light technologies are built in to reduce optical strain. Excellent color reproduction is carried out by the 99.5% Adobe RGB support on this 32 inch screen.
11. BenQ SW2700PT QHD IPS Photography Monitor
The BenQ's PhotoVue is a 32 inch display that tip-toes right around the border between professional and hobbyist monitor in terms of its pricing and resolution. However, it tells a more promising story when you take into account the color quality embedded into this exceptional monitor for photo editing. The ability to offer 99% of the Adobe RGB gamut is a big pull for a monitor at this price, but the PhotoVue accomplishes it. The 10-bit display is able to produce over a billion colors.
The calibration options further underscore the proof that this is a computer squarely constructed with the needs of professionals in mind. Both hardware and element calibration is included. BenQ is also generous with the features as well. The included hood is sturdy and allows you to focus your attention, but the matte finish on the monitor does an admirable job of reducing glare all by itself. Thanks to the HotPuck key, switching between sRGB and Adobe RGB hasn't been easier.
Best Monitor for Photo Editing Buying Guide
The qualities you need to focus on when choosing the best monitor for photo editing are going to be very different from what you’d consider when choosing the best general purpose or gaming monitor. That’s what this guide is for. We’ve broken down all the important variables so that you can better understand the most important traits when it comes to selecting the best monitor for photographers.
The one most limiting component of your search for the best monitor is going to be your price point. But just because you’re not working with a budget of $1000 or more doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good monitor for your needs. And even if you do have a huge sum of money to spend, you might just be wasting your money on something more expensive. If you don’t have the best quality camera to produce high resolution images, the computer to process them accurately, or the skills to make use of the hardware and features in your monitor, you’re going to be wasting your money. Getting the right monitor is about finding one that complements those three factors and offers a nice balance between resolution, size, features, and color quality. We’ll get into those more in later sections.
Resolution and Size
A higher resolution means more megapixels on the screen. The results are clearer and crisper images that allow you to achieve more detailed and precise editing. Obviously, a higher resolution is better, and that’s especially true when you’re dealing with the quality of photos (or videos), but you still need to be cognizant of your budget here. There are plenty of screens that offer great resolutions while still not managing to be the best for image editing. That being the case, a higher resolution is always going to be fundamentally better than a lower resolution, but the effect it may have on your actual photography might not be that profound.
Fortunately, you can easily find the right resolution by comparing it alongside your monitor’s size. A 24 inch screen should have a at least a Full HD resolution, while most 27 inch screens typically come with resolutions in the QHD range. Anything larger than that, such as a 32 inch display, should optimally work in the 4K range or higher. Of course, these are just hard and fast rules. Other factors can play an important role in the quality of a monitor, and monitor size to resolution isn’t always evenly matched.
Ultra-wide monitors can be great for photographers, especially if you have a tendency to do a lot of multitasking or work with photos intended to be blown up on a large scale. But you should be cautious about using a curved screen for image editing. While they’re some of the best photo editing monitors when it comes to gaming or watching movies, curved monitors sometimes have a higher tendency of producing distorted images. They also make it hard to collaborate on a project with other creatives. The difference may not be too noticeable to some hobbyists or pros, but it’s definitely worth some consideration before dropping money on a big purchase. Models like the LG 34WK95U-W are some of the best options on the market as they offer ultrawide screens without the curvature.
Most modern computer monitors come in three different screen styles: Twisted Nematic (TN), Vertical Alignment (VA), and In-Plane Switching (IPS). If you’re serious about getting the best photo editing monitor, the IPS panel is the only one you need to concern yourself with. That’s because these are the best monitors for color reproduction. If you’re looking to create vibrant and nuanced photos, that’s going to be one of the most important points of reference.
However, it’s important to note that IPS panels tend to pale in comparison to TN alternatives is in refresh rates. These rates, measured in hertz, measures how often the screen refreshes. If you’re a gamer, that’s obviously going to be a big deal, as it determines the smoothness at which your character and the camera moves. If you’re a photographer or an editor, it’s going to be almost entirely negligible. VA monitors fall somewhere in the middle, offering better color reproduction than TN monitors but worse refresh rates than a typical IPS panel.
Going for a TN model for your editing monitor is a universally bad idea, but is there any time when you might want to look at a VA model? Hypothetically, maybe. If you’re looking for a monitor for photo editing and gaming, a VA monitor could fit the bill. But we wouldn’t advise it. Finding something that splits the difference between color reproduction and refresh rates isn’t going to serve you especially well on either front. If you really want a monitor that can excel as a photo editing model while doubling as a decent (albeit more casual) gaming monitor, you can check out the ViewSonic VP2785-4K.
The viewing angle on different screen types can vary significantly. As a photo editor, consistency is important, and that’s why you want a screen that’s going to show you the same results regardless of what angle you look at it from. This is called screen uniformity, and IPS panels are still the standard by which others are judged in this respect. A typical IPS screen will allow you to view the screen from 178 angles vertically or horizontally with minimal loss to degradation of the image, contrast, or color.
But even the best screens have flaws in how they natively displays images. Brightness is always going to be higher at the center of the screen. That’s why you should look for monitors that offer color uniformity compensation. This will automate the process of fine tuning your screen’s brightness to ensure the highest level of uniformity across the entire surface. While native uniformity for IPS panels are largely universal, the quality of the built-in functionality can vary significantly.
There are some other factors to consider in terms of uniformity as well. There are two types of finish for a monitor’s screen: glossy and matte. Any monitor marketed for photo editing will almost always use a matte screen. While glossy surfaces offer vibrant and saturated images that are great for playing games or watching movies, the goal of an image editing monitor is not to look good but to look accurate. Matte surfaces, by contrast, reduce any reflection on the screen, producing a higher level of consistency regardless of the level of lighting in the room.
Many screens also come with shading hoods. Most of these are detachable and built with specific monitors in mind. They can further reduce the risk of glare throwing off the quality of your image and prevent other distractions from seeping in. While a shading hood is a great addition to any monitor, don’t let it be the most informative decision in your purchasing process. There are plenty of aftermarket shading hoods you can buy if you decide you want one.
If you intend to use your screen in any professional capacity, or if you see yourself transitioning into a semi-professional space, you’re going to want to look a little more closely at the standards for uniformity. Most manufacturers make it a prominent component of their specs, and you might want to be cautious of any models that don’t have specs for uniformity.
Calibration for Photography
We talked earlier about how a monitor that makes your images look better than they are isn’t a benefit for image editing. It’s an easy way to fool yourself into believing your own photos are spectacular, but that’s an illusion that will quickly disappear when it’s printed out as a physical image or displayed on a screen that’s not optimized to show your image in the best light.
Color calibration follows a similar philosophy. The image that you see on the screen won’t necessarily look the same when it’s displayed elsewhere. So it’s important to make sure that the display on your monitor is as accurate to the original source file as possible. The more closely the image edits you perform resemble the actual results, the better your photos will look when they reach your audience.
Ideally, you want to look for monitors that offer hardware calibration. This hardware does more than simulate the image on your screen. Instead, it physically adjusts the processing chip in the monitor to match up to the output from your computer’s graphics card. That means that you’ll get accurate results regardless of the output you’re using.
This sort of color calibration can come in a number of different forms. Presets for color spacing and gamma allow you to manually establish settings for your various source devices and switch between them easily. That’s great for photographers who use multiple devices or offices with multiple editors. Even better is a built in colorimeter or “puck” technology. This automatically adjusts the LUT (which we’ll get into below) for the monitor without the need for external tools.
If your monitor doesn’t come with the best hardware calibration, it’s not the end of the world. You can buy separate colorimeters that can complete the adjustment for you. Just keep in mind that having one built right in can save you a lot of headaches if you plan on doing image editing with any regularity.
Color is essentially the alpha and omega of a good image editing monitor. An IPS screen can offer you better color consistency than other models, built-in calibration can adjust the monitor to match your graphics card, and a matte surface can reduce glare, but you also need to pay attention to the color gamut offered by your monitor. The color gamut refers to the full range of colors that can be seen by the human eye. In practical reality, few monitors are going to be able to display that entire range.
Out of the roughly 10 million colors that humans are capable of seeing, three different spectrums offer varying levels of coverage. In terms of scale, they’re sRGB, Adobe RGB, and Pro Photo RGB. Most monitors will tell you what percentage of each spectrum they cover, whether sRGB, Adobe RGB, or Pro Phot RGB. But the one professionals should be looking at most is the Adobe RGB spectrum. It covers the vast majority of colors that will be appearing in your photos. At the bare minimum, you’re going to want full spectrum of the sRGB. If you’re still an amateur or hobbyist, the sRGB spectrum might be enough for your editing needs. But as you start to advance as an editor, be careful to only invest in monitors that cover at least 95% of the Adobe RGB spectrum as you are surely going to find them more beneficial than their sRGB counterparts.
Another factor to consider is the LUT (look up table). These tables offer a further level of accuracy to color adjustment by adding color gradations as needed based on the image being displayed. LUTs are hardware-based (they’re the point of reference used for hardware calibration) so they can’t be readily replaced with an external devices. The efficiency of a LUT is measured in bits, and any professional image editing monitor worth its salt has a LUT of at least 10 bits. But more consumer-level computers may have them as low as 8, and the most impressive models can sport 14 bit look up tables.
You may be inclined to look at your budget now and go ahead to invest in the most expensive and high-quality image editing monitor you can find. That’s a sensible idea in theory, but you should consider your needs and your future in photo editing. The technology that goes into image editing monitors improves at a pretty rapid pace, and what may have been a cutting edge piece of equipment just a few years ago could be available at bargain basement prices today. Many photographers replace their monitors every couple of years to keep up with new hardware and software.
If you’re a photographer looking for the best the world has to offer right now, go for it. But consider where you’re going to be a few years down the line. If you’re just getting your start as a photographer, you may be better off investing in something a little cheaper. It will suit most of your needs as you learn the ins and outs of image editing. And by the time you’ve cut your teeth, there will be a whole new range of models capable of accommodating your newly acquired capabilities.
Do You Need 4K Monitor For Photo Editing?
As we noted earlier, the bigger the size and resolution of your monitor, the better it’s bound to be. 4K monitors are simply some of the best you can use for editing photos. They offer more precision, colors, and screen uniformity. If you have the budget, it’s best you choose 4K monitors over other lower resolution screen.
Is Curved Monitor Good For Photo Editing?
Basically, the answer is no as most curved monitors tend to distort images. Additionally, you may need to adjust the color and calibration settings each time you want to edit your images.
A photo editing monitor is a highly specialized device. It’s generally ill-suited to high-end gaming and capable but overpowered for more general use. If you’re looking to get an image editing monitor, chances are that you’ve already invested in a quality camera and a computer for editing them. Fortunately, you don’t have to overspend. You can count on all the models on our list to provide you with the reliable and high-quality performance you deserve.