Last Updated on February 1, 2022
In this modern tech era, realistic and stunning pictures simply don’t rely on professional cameras. The best output depends on a color-accurate and best monitor for photo editing because everyone loves blooming colors and realistic (real-life) scenes in their pictures.
So, it is obvious that you ask what monitor specs are important for photo editing because a small detail can bring tremendous results to the table, which you know better.
More so, selecting your new monitor for photo editing (Pchotoshop) can be a little hectic as there are too many brands and models, making it difficult to get the best one for beginners and even for experts. However, you could look into the below features; some are optional and can bring true-to-life colors to your photos. Others are mandatory, which can uplift your photo editing career.
Starting off, in order to produce high-quality pictures, photographers and editors need true-to-life color reproduction on the screen. Less accurate monitors aren’t capable of displaying the full spectrum of colors. As a result, you may find your photos a bit oversaturated or out of balance.
Moreover, photo editing monitors tend to have different panel technology and a broader color spectrum than the panels that are used in consumer-grade displays. Professional-grade photo editing displays have been calibrated beforehand as well.
This monitor is built with photo and video editing in the head and ensures optimum brightness level, wide viewing angles for color grading, and exact color precision. The best way to see your work is to have a color-accurate monitor, whether you are a professional photographer or an enthusiast.
Primary Features of the Best Monitors for Photo Editing
There are a lot of features available in monitors. It is important to ensure that what you see on screen is as accurate as possible when evaluating a professional-level monitor for photo editing. There are a variety of factors that affect color, performance, and image quality.
- Your photo will look picture-perfect on the screen when you have peak color accuracy.
- Color calibration optimizes the look of your colors.
- A high-quality modern display is based on unparalleled panel technology.
With features such as a perfect design, wide viewing angles, and multiple connectivity ports, your perfect fit comes with other components too. Let’s find out!
Must-Have Specs In Your Best Monitor For Photo Editing:
Panel technology is an important consideration when choosing a monitor. The “panel” of a monitor is its main part – also known as the screen. Further, it features glass substrates, LCD layer, color filter, and polarizing substrates. Think of it as a high-tech sandwich.
In fact, it is the orientation of the liquid crystals that determines the way your monitor explodes colors. And, it varies from Panel to Panel and technologies. Three major types of monitor panels are:
Twisted Nematic (TN) Panels:
TN panels are the first love of Gamers due to their fast response times, which reduces screen flickering, and motion blur in fast-moving objects. However, TN panels have an inferior viewing angle compared to other panel types. Colors and contrast can shift when you move if you change viewing angle, such as moving to the front of the screen.
Watch out for viewing angle numbers in monitor specifications with a TN panel since they are highly misleading. Most brands claim that their TN panel-based monitor offers 170/160° horizontal and vertical viewing angles is based on a lenient contrast test, so you should disregard this claim. These figures aren’t picture-perfect for photo editors.
Most laptops have TN panels, so they aren’t optimized for photo editing. Keeping a consistent viewing angle and positioning yourself in front of the screen makes them more convenient but not ideal for editing your photos.
In-Plane Switching (IPS) Panels—Recommended For Photo Editors:
IPS displays are the best to show all the colors consistently from any angle, making them the best for photo editing. Due to this, they are better than TN panels and VA panels as well, which are yet to cover. Similarly, color reproduction is also a high point of IPS panels. Photo editing is generally easier on monitors with IPS panels than those on TN panels.
IPS panels are further classified into three sub-categories, including S-IPS, e-IPS, H-IPS, and P-IPS. IPS panels have the same essential benefits regardless of their type, though different types vary in terms of color depth and response time. In comparison with other IPS panels, e-IPS panels are typically more affordable due to their lower color depth (e.g., 6-bit).
Super PLS (Samsung) and AHVA (AUO) are similar technologies to IPS panels in terms of behavior.
However, one of the major downsides of IPS panels is “IPS glow.” Basically, it’s the backlit bleeding that appears all across the screen when viewing much darker objects and screens in subdued light. Furthermore, you can eliminate IPS glow by buying an expensive IPS display monitor, but it’s obvious to say gamers should avoid IPS displays.
Vertical Alignment (VA) Panels:
As far as viewing angles and color reproduction are concerned, these types are not as good as IPS panels but better than TN panels. So they fall in the middle. Most leading brands integrate VA panels in their line-ups despite being rare (older) technology.
The contrast ratio of VA panels is generally higher than that of IPS panels, and VA panels are more capable of displaying darker tones and blacks overall. When soft-proofing, it is difficult to emulate the dynamic range of a print, and so big contrast ratios are not always as desirable as they are for photo editing.
Winner = IPS Panels
It was long believed that web photos must possess a 72ppi resolution. Increasingly, we know that monitor screens are oblivious to image resolution. Despite appearing to be 72ppi when reopened, images saved for the web do not have resolution attached, even when saved for the web using Photoshop’s “Save for Web” feature.
Although, numerous factors impacting on how clearly you will be able to see an image onscreen, such as;
- The lighting of your room
- Fabric in front of your monitor,
- An aspect that dictates clarity is the pixel density of your screen.
A higher pixel density means a clearer picture, all other things being equal. If you Google “resolution calculator” or “display resolution,” you’ll find an easy means of calculating PPI with a few simple measurements.
For example—Most monitors consist of 90-100 pixel density or PPI, while the PPI on 27” iMac 5K display is 217. Well, a huge screen with that level of resolution is impressive.
An extremely dense pixel pitch gives photos a flattering look similar to how everything on a smartphone is sharp, but it is less critical for photo editing.
Perfect Screen Size:
While choosing a monitor, don’t go with the hype “bigger is better” because it can cost you a lot. Obviously, viewing your photos on a large screen is nice, but we recommend you should opt for the biggest screen you can afford (i.e., 24-inches) and not compromise on other indispensable factors just for the sake of a bigger screen.
Following this, don’t be fooled by pixel dimensions alone, but don’t forget that big screens need big resolutions to appear as sharp as smaller ones from the same distance. Consider the pixel density.
The cheapest monitors have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is probably not recommended for photo editing. So, if you have the budget, opt for at least a 16:10 aspect ratio since it enables you to view colors and edit photos from a more vertical and wide-angle. It is also the best fit 3:2 ratio used in almost all pictures.
IPS panels do not have this problem. It is still useful to have a bright display. Most of us do not work in complete darkness, though.
Nowadays, many monitors allow you to rotate them by 90 degrees. You can use it if you love to edit portraits. Previously, it was only found in expensive top-level monitors, but it is common these, so take advantage of it.
Photo editing doesn’t require an epic response time; however, if you’re in the video editing space as well, opt for less than 10 ms.
Black levels on IPS screens will never be as deep as those on OLED screens. IPS and IPS also differ in terms of black levels. Try to find a black level that is as dark as possible. However, there is no standard for measuring black levels.
Make sure the monitor calibration options are adequate if you are going with a budget-friendly monitor for photo editing.
There is a service menu on most midrange and professional displays. You can calibrate it from RGB (0,0,0) to (255,255,255). Or you can calibrate it from 1 to 100. This will work for many professionals.
Look-Up Table (LUT):
The most optimal monitors for photo editing will have hardware-embedded LUTs “Look Up Table,” which makes them inevitable and gives a boost in color corrections. Furthermore, LUTs deliver on-the-fly adaptability that adds color gradations as needed based on the image being viewed. It’s an automatic function that applies complex color correction calculations to compensate for gamma.
LUT (Lookup Tables) is amazing for color correcting and effects. Most people only ever use 8-bit LUT’s, but you don’t have to settle for 8-bit anymore! You can now buy high-quality 14-bit LUT’s. These will add vastly more color precision to your footage when it comes time to perform color correction.
Even more, most professional monitors are equipped with up to 16 or even 14-bit LUT power, delivering about 4.39 trillion colors – that’s a whopping 260,000 times more color precision than an average consumer monitor!
Standard VS. Wide Color Gamut:
Well, there’s no perfect answer whether you choose a standard monitor or wide color gamut; however, there are some benefits and disadvantages of both technologies. Let’s have a look at some of the most prominent ones;
Standard Gamut Monitor:
Wide gamut monitor
In most cases, connectivity shouldn’t be a problem these days, but it varies wildly from store to store, from manufacturer to manufacturer, and from model to model. Consider the following while buying the best monitor for photo editing;
- Are you going to have a multi-monitor set up?
- Do you want to use a dedicated or integrated graphics card? Go for FreeSync and G-Sync in this case.
- Check out input and output slots on your card.
- Does your new monitor come with all the necessary adapters and cables?
- Do you need a separate adapter to convert the output from DVI to VGA, from HDMI to microHDMI, from HDMI to DisplayPort, etc.?
So now you know the basic requirements to buy your next monitor for photo editing, but still, at last, we want to say, type of panel matters a lot. The other features are icing on the cake if you buy the best IPS (or equivalent), built-in speakers, G-Sync enabled monitor you can afford.