Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, choosing the best monitor for photo editing is crucial. The choice of a monitor significantly affects the quality of the final photos. With so many seemingly attractive monitors for photo editing in the market, choosing the best can overwhelming. You need not worry as below is a guide on how to choose a monitor for photo editing.
You probably know that a monitor’s resolution is a crucial feature, but do you know what to consider? Resolution determines the clarity and sharpness of the screen. Having sharp, clear images means that you will see more details on the picture.
Do I need a 4K monitor to achieve this? The answer is no. However, the least resolution you should go for when it comes to photo editing is a Full HD – 1920 X 1080 monitor. The best is 4K resolution, which is the highest limit you can get. If your budget doesn’t allow a 4K monitor, a Full HD one is also good, especially with monitors whose screen size is 30 inches and below.
For final quality photos, ensure that you shoot in the highest possible image quality settings on the camera. Even with a monitor with the highest resolution, images shot under low-quality camera settings will be less sharp and less visible.
A bigger screen might seem better, but this isn’t always the case. While you may want to have a big enough screen for you to see the finer details, it is vital to keep in mind the resolution of the monitor relative to the screen size. For instance, a 30 inches monitor with 1080 pixels will not be as sharp and bright as a 24 inches monitor with the same 1080 pixels. The combination of resolution and screen size determines the monitor’s PPI (pixels per inch). PPI is usually indicated under the monitor’s specs, and the higher the PPI, ideally higher than 100, the better the image sharpness.
Also commonly referred to as screen technology, panel technology includes a liquid crystal display layer, substrates made of glass, and several polarizing layers. Panel technology controls the manner in which pixels turn on and off when an image is displayed on the screen. It, therefore, determines how good or bad videos and pictures look on a monitor.
There are three main types of monitor technologies, and the key difference lies in the orientation of their liquid crystals.
TN panels are popular among gamers because they have quick response times, which eliminates ghosting and blurring of moving images. The disadvantage of this panel is that it has inferior viewing angles. The contrast and color of an image changes when you move closer to or further from the screen. As such, a TN Panel is only ideal if you can sit in a fixed position when editing for a constant viewing angle.
With this panel, the color and clarity of an image remain consistent irrespective of the angle you view it from, making it better than TN panels when it comes to photo editing. Its pixels also change quickly, which prevents blurring in fast videos, a common challenge with VA panels. As such, the best monitor for photo editing and gaming is one with IPS panel technology.
VA panels are the middle point of TN panels and IPS panels. While they are inferior to IPS panels when it comes to viewing angles, they are better than TN panels. VA panels display dark colors better because of their ability to block any light coming via a pixel when showing something dark on the screen. The disadvantage of VA panels is that they change pixels slowly, which results in the blurring of fast videos.
If you are into advanced photography, you will need either AMD Radeon Pro or Nvidia Quadro graphic card. Otherwise, non-professional graphics cards such as AMD Radeon are good enough.
Color gamut is the full array of colors that can be identified by the human eye. Monitors differ in their color space coverage, and this gives differing results.
A monitor with a standard gamut is cheaper, doesn’t require instant profiling or calibration, is not susceptible to banding, and is ideal for events photography. However, it tends to lose color, especially green colors, thus not suitable for landscape photography. On the other hand, a wide gamut displays greens, skies, and such colors better. However, it is more expensive and susceptible to banding. The choice between a standard and wide gamut will purely depend on your preferences.
Price is a crucial consideration. Your budget for the best monitor for photo editing in 2020 should be a minimum of US $500. Whatever amount you decide to pay for the monitor, ensure that you get superior features that give value for your money.
In this modern era, the best monitor for photo editing in 2020 should have an array of output ports such as DisplayPort, HDMI, USB, etc. Such features facilitate connectivity with your current and future devices. USB ports allow charging of gadgets and audio connectivity in the case of advanced ones such as USB 3.1 port.
Although brightness is not one of the first features you need to look for, it is still an important feature to consider to help you see an image in the best way possible, especially if you edit in a dark room.
A standard screen will not deliver clear, consistent images. By purchasing a monitor with an ideal resolution, screen size, preferred color gamut, and perfect panel technology, you will gain a more comprehensive color range, clear display, and sharp images. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank as there are several budget-friendly monitors for photo editing you can choose from.
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