Best Monitor for Photo Editing

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This is a round-up review of the best monitor for photo editing in 2020.

If you’re looking for a great external display for laptop or desktop, keep reading to discover which 27″ and 32″ photo editing monitors we recommend.

This guide is for the average photographer’s needs, although we’ve also included one professional Eizo monitor which offers the very best color accuracy, for those with higher demands.

shk-fs-table__imageEizo ColorEdge CG2730With automatic self-calibration, this monitor offers optimal color accuracy for professional photographers. View Price

(If you make a lot of prints, monitor calibration will always be necessary, since all monitors lose color accuracy over time.)

Ever wanted to know what to look for in a monitor for photo editing?

We’ll address that, and also answer the common question: Do I need a 4k monitor for photo editing?

Let’s have a closer look at what monitor for photo editing is right for you.

Best Monitor for Photo Editing in 2020

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageEizo ColorEdge CG2730BEST FOR PROS
  • 27”
  • 2560 x 1440
View Price →
shk2-table__imageBenQ PD3220UHIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • 32”
  • 2560 x 1440
View Price →
shk2-table__imageDell U2719DXGREAT VALUE
  • 27”
  • 3840 x 2160 (4k)
View Price →
shk2-table__imageBenQ SW321CPOPULAR CHOICE
  • 27”
  • 3840 x 2160 (4k)
View Price →
shk2-table__imageAcer R240HYBUDGET CHOICE
  • 24”
  • 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
View Price →

 

Eizo ColorEdge CG2730

color monitor photo editing ips panel 27 inch resolution

Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 13ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,5000:1 | Color support: Adobe RGB: 99%, DCI-P3: 98% | Weight: 8.9kg

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If you’re doing anything where color accuracy is of prime importance, this is one of the best monitors for photo editing.

A monitor’s color accuracy can be a hard concept to get your head around, especially when you’re just starting out with photography and image editing.

One way to think about it is that a monitor with perfect color accuracy will display an image exactly as your camera captured it – it will be able to perfectly translate the data in your image’s file to the screen.

If you’re wondering what to look for in a photo editing monitor, color accuracy is only one piece of the puzzle towards getting a perfect print, but it’s an essential first step… and with the Eizo ColorEdge CG2730, you’ll have it covered.

The Eizo’s IPS panel has a 6ms grey-to-grey response time, and a backlight system which ensures absolute output uniformity, with brightness dropping by a max of just 3 Delta E… i.e. nothing you’d ever notice!

It offers 99% Adobe RGB, 99% DCI-P3 and sRGB, combined with a 10-bit panel and 16-bit LUT for the ultimate in color accuracy.

In layman’s terms, all you need to know is that the Eizo ColorEdge CG2730 offers the most incredible color range, with your images representing on-screen exactly what your camera captured.

While other monitors may claim to have near-perfect color accuracy, impressive contrast ratios, HDR, UHD, 4K and whatever other buzzword in their list of statistics, this rarely gives the complete picture, with some measurements being taken from the centre of the screen, ignoring the surrounding edges.

As with a high-quality lens, the way that it resolves an image at its extreme edges is just as important as how it fairs in the centre, and a high-quality monitor should be no different.

With the ColorEdge CG2730, a monitor recommended by Howard Kim, one of the world’s leading professors in color management, you can expect that no corners have been cut to deliver the best edge-to-edge performance and color accuracy for the most demanding of professional photographers.

Eizo produce several of the best monitors for photo editing, but in our opinion, the CG2730 comes at that sweet spot, balancing price with performance to appeal to most professionals.

In fact, the CG2730 prides itself so highly on delivering the most accurate colors of any monitor on the market, that it includes a built-in calibration device – it’s almost like Eizo doesn’t trust you to use a 3rd party screen calibrator… so it brought it’s own to the party!

Using the included monitor calibration software, you’re able to choose a frequency for the built-in ‘colorimeter’ unit to pop up from the front of the screen like a windscreen washer, and run a quick fully-automated test to see if your colors are still 100% accurate.

It may seem like overkill, and to most photographers reading this it probably is, but for the select few who demand perfect results during delicate portrait edits, and every time they make a print or send a file to a client, the Eizo ColorEdge CG277 really is the gold standard.

 

All monitors lose their color accuracy over time and need to be calibrated. By including an inbuilt calibration tool which can perform tests even when the monitor is not in use, the Eizo ColorEdge CG277 stands head and shoulders over the other best monitors for photo editing.

With all the excitement surrounding 4k monitors, it’s interesting to see that Eizo doesn’t actually offer 4k in this 27″ monitor. This supports the theory that 4k resolution doesn’t necessarily lend well to this size display, and should perhaps be reserved for larger monitors.

In terms of the hardware itself, the Eizo ColorEdge CG277 won’t win any design awards – its chunky bezel and overpopulated button panel certainly aren’t there to look pretty! Add on the modular proofing hood with the anti-glare interior, and you’ve got the ideal proofing station, ready to switch into vertical orientation with a few small adjustments.

On the rear of the screen sit a small selection of ports: DVI, HDMI, Display Port and 2 USB inputs. Testing with a 2015 Macbook Pro meant attaching the Display Port cable from the monitor to the laptop’s Thunderbolt port, plus an additional USB cable in order to access an external drive attached to the back of the monitor.

There’s no USB-C input for newer Mac laptops, so you’ll need to invest in a USB-C to Display Port cable, as well as a USB-C to USB dongle if you haven’t already got one.

In summary, the Eizo ColorEdge CG277 is non-4k, offers rather limited connectivity options, is completely unattractive to look at, and has a rather hefty price tag, but it’s unapologetic and quite deservedly so.

This is a monitor with one sole purpose – to display colors as accurately as possible, and for this, it excels.

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST PRICE OF THE EIZO COLOREDGE CG2730

BenQ PD3220U

best image quality ips panel 10 bit 4k features with fast refresh rate

Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: 99% AdobeRGB, 95% P3, 100% sRGB | Weight: 10.4kg

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When it comes to finding the best monitor for photo editing, you’re bound to come across screens from BenQ. The brand has become synonymous with delivering excellent color accuracy desired by designers, video editors and of course photographers.

The BenQ PD3220U is one of the most stylish monitors on the market. For those that crave modern aesthetics in their tech, this monitor will blend in with even the most minimalist of desk set-ups.

Thanks to its elegant framing, thin bezel edge and minimalist stand the PD3220U looks perfect set up next to all your high-tech Apple products, and works flawlessly connected to a Macbook Pro.

With the unique single-cable solution adopting Thunderbolt 3 tech, the system transfers audio, video, data and 85W of power while also charging your Macbook Pro. What’s more, you can use a daisy-chain approach to link up to additional monitors via USB-C connection.

The PD3222 also features ports for HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, USB-3, audio and SD cards.

The BenQ PD3220U delivers stunning 4K resolution and is tailored to operate seamlessly with your Mac through the use of its M-Book mode. Using the included Hotkey Puck G2 or the associated Display Pilot software you can optimise the synchronised color matching with your Mac.

The G2 Puck is ideal for quick and accurate control of screen brightness as well as setting custom keys for everyday functions. As for the Display Pilot software, it’s compatible with both Mac and Windows and provides necessary tools to improve design work and control monitor settings.

The BenQ PD3220U is a whopping 32-inch monitor providing visual creatives with an expansive canvas for their work. The monitor delivers 4K, 3840×2160 resolution with wide viewing angles. You can also position it horizontally or vertically.

The monitor punches out a stunning 300 nits of brightness to make your work pop. In addition, the contrast ratio is perfectly tuned for visual creatives.

impressive refresh rate 4k high end resolution ips panel 10 bit contrast ratio

The best monitor for photo editing definitely needs to offer the best color accuracy. The BenQ delivers on this need thanks to an upgraded color gamut, with patented AQColor technology supporting 95% DCI-P3 and Display P3, 100% of sRGB and Rec. 709 color spaces with 10-bit color.

That’s quite a mouthful, but in essence, you have a staggering amount of color accuracy and replication that’s both Calman Verified and Pantone Validated. The PD3220U also comes per-calibrated directly from the factory and includes its own unique calibration report card for reference.

For the most discerning visual creatives, the BenQ PD3220U features bespoke display modes for optimised and professional-grade results. This range of modes is tailored to suit various editing genres including CAD/CAM, Darkroom and Animation.

For the videographers, it’s compatible with HDR10 ensuring that you can view HDR video accurately.

One of the biggest challenges in working with the digital medium is the strain on your eyes. Fortunately, BenQ has worked to address this with their eye-care processes. The monitor filters damaging blue light with their Low Blue Light Tech process.

Further to this, the monitor works to minimise eye fatigue from flickering with their flicker-free technology, meaning you can spend many more hours editing your photos in front of your computer.

The BenQ PD3220U deserves its spot on this guide to the best monitor for editing photos and managing graphic mediums. With its 4K resolution, massive screen size and capabilities in optimising color accuracy, you may be surprised how sharp and vibrant your work actually looks!

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST PRICE OF THE BENQ PD3220U

Dell Ultrasharp U2719DX

budget option as best monitor photo editing

Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: QHD 2560 x 1440 at 60 Hz | Brightness: 350 cd/m² | Response time: 8 ms (normal); 5 ms (fast) | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: 99.9% sRGB, 99% Rec 709, 85% DCI-P3 | Weight: 3.9kg

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Dell is a leading worldwide tech brand that has been in the digital design world for decades. So it’s no wonder that they have a range of high-quality monitors for photo editing ideal for professional-grade performance.

When it comes to finding the best monitor for photo editing, the Dell Ultrasharp U2719DX stands out as a worthy contender.

The Dell Ultrasharp is another well-designed monitor that features a fine bezel edge that all but disappears under the brightness of the screen. The stand has a solid yet minimal appeal and allows for screen positioning to your liking. You can effortlessly pivot, tilt, swivel and adjust the height of the monitor to ensure optimal ergonomics and viewing capacity.

Your workspace is the ideal location for such a stylish screen. Plus, thanks to the extremely thin bezel known as InfinityEdge, you can work with multiple monitors side-by-side and have an almost uninterrupted view.

As far as connectivity goes, the Dell Ultrasharp U2719DX boasts a range of ports and terminals to support even the most complex editing workflow. It houses ports for HDMI, DP Connection (In and Out), Audio Line-Out and USB downstream and upstream ports.

The Dell Ultrasharp U2719DX delivers outstanding visual image quality making it one of the best photo editing monitors available. The 27″ monitor cranks out stunning detail and clarity, thanks to its QHD with a high resolution of 2560×1440 – approximately 1.8 times greater detail than a Full HD display. The image quality is impressive to say the least.

In addition, the monitor is guaranteed with 99% sRGB color accuracy from the factory, with extreme precision for photo editing. The W-LED unit offers a standard color gamut, which is roughly equal to the sRGB colour space for 99% Rec709 and 85% DCI-P3 color space coverage, ensuring video production is optimised.

The monitor also features In-Plane Switching (IPS) providing color consistency and vibrancy through the wide viewing angles. This is especially important for photo editing workflows that require multiple monitors across a desktop, with the viewing angles coming in useful when clients proof over your shoulder during studio work.

The Dell Display Manager software application supports the Dell Ultrasharp monitor. It’s an easy to master interface allows for tiling multiple applications across multiple monitors to maximise your workflow.

A handy feature for those connecting laptops to the Ultrasharp display is the Auto-restore function, meaning that when you disconnect and reconnect to the monitor, all your applications are in the same location.

One of the most important considerations when selecting the best monitor for photo editing is how well it protects your eyes during use. For all the professional photo editors reading this, you know all too well how long you can sit in front of a monitor!

Fortunately, the Dell Ultrasharp U2719DX is a TÜV Certified photo editing monitor, reducing the damaging blue light issue with a paring of the flicker-free screen and Dell’s ComfortView. As a result, you can be sure that when undertaking long periods of photo editing, your eyes will experience minimal fatigue.

While we have mostly focused on the photo editing capabilities of this monitor, the Ultrasharp is, in fact, just a great all-rounder. It’s a high-end monitor marketed for a range of uses and purposes including graphic applications.

While on the hunt for the best monitors for photo editing, take a closer look at the Dell Ultrasharp U2719DX.

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST PRICE OF THE DELL U2719DX

BenQ SW321C PhotoVue

great refresh rate features ips panel resolution

Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: 99% AdobeRGB, 95% P3, 100% sRGB | Weight: 25.6kg

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There’s a very good reason why BenQ monitors have featured twice in this guide to the best monitors for photo editing. They make incredible high-end displays with true color accuracy, color gamut, excellent contrast ratio, and impressive image quality and viewing angles.

Now we get to take a look at another BenQ 32-inch color monitor perfect for photo editing and creative workflows.

The BenQ SW321C is not a brand-spanking new model – in fact, it’s becoming a bit dated; however, it delivers exceptional performance. While not as sleek as some of the other featured monitors for photo editing, it does have some handy accessories for optimised workflows.

The larger BenQ is a little old-school with a broader edge bezel and a chunkier stand – it has the look of a more traditional computer monitor. However, it does come with a detachable shading hood to reduce screen glare from ambient light sources, helping enormously when soft-proofing images for accurate print output.

If you work in a space with lots of natural light and large windows, this will prove to be a lifesaver – it’s surprising that more of the best monitors for photo editing don’t include a hood.

In terms of connectivity, the BenQ SW321C features the same USB-C single cable system for high-speed data flow, whilst also providing a 60W power supply to your laptop. Plus, you can easily connect multiple monitors and ensure consistency in color representation across the board.

The included HotKey Puck G2 provides fast and simple access to a range of shortcuts for color modes and settings – particularly useful is the ability to adjust your monitor’s brightness – something that sounds simple, but can prove rather tricky when using a laptop with an external display.

When it comes to color accuracy, the BenQ models offer excellent bang for the buck. The monitors arrive with factory-calibrated color accuracy with a unique report card certifying the process.

ips panel resolution bigger than 27 inch good contrast ratio

The SW321C has a neat feature where you can see a preview of your image in a range of ways on the same screen. There are three sets of black and white film effects as well as the BenQ GamutDuo that allows you to view two alternate color gamuts – one next to the other.

Most importantly, the BenQ SW321C features AQColor for stellar color accuracy with 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709, and 95% P3 color spaces. The monitor also features a 16-bit lookup table (LUT) for optimal color rendering accuracy.

The screen delivers corner-to-corner color precision and brightness making it still one of the best monitors for photo processing and visual arts. Plus, for those that intend to print their work and still maintain true-to-life color, it comes with Paper Color Sync software and ART (Advanced ReflectionlessTechnology) panels.

For videographers, the BenQ SW321C effortlessly support both HDR10 and HLG formats. It accommodates 24P/25P frame rate for preview at native cadence without any hint of distortion. It also supports the professional-grade video calibration software Calman and LightSpace.

While the BenQ SW321C might be a little on the old side from an aesthetics point of view, it still packs a punch and confidently makes the cut for best monitors for photo and video workflows.

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST PRICE OF THE BENQ SW321

Acer R240HY

24 inch screen with ips technology and usb 3.0 hdmi usb and hdr support

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This Acer isn’t a specialist monitor for photo editing – it’s just a decent, all-round monitor at a very attractive price point.

We included the Acer R240HY in this round-up since aside from the Eizo (which is in a class of its own), this monitor is the only other non-4k monitor recommended here.

4k can be an advantage in some instances, but may be a hindrance in others, particularly when a lot of text is involved – at full 4k resolution on a 27″ monitor, text and UI elements of your screen become so small as to be pretty much illegible.

It’s great to have the additional detail of 4k when viewing photos or editing video, but you’ll need to compromise a little or choose a happy midpoint DPI resolution for mixed usage.

With the 1080P resolution of the Acer R240HY, this is no longer an issue and doesn’t give you the feeling that you’ve paid for something you’re not using, like when up-scaling your desktop by 120-150% DPI with a 27″4K monitor.

As photographers, we immediately assume we need the latest technology. 4k, even 5k monitors are marketed as the new norm, but in reality, you can happily edit away in Lightroom or Photoshop on a much lower resolution monitor, as long as your colors are accurate.

In addition, if you’re using an older computer, it may not actually have the required power to run a 4k monitor properly – a regular full HD monitor may be the only way to go unless you’re ready for an expensive upgrade.

If you’re doing any kind of editing on the Acer R240HY, I strongly recommend you invest in a calibration device such as the simple-to-use X-Rite ColorMunki.

The R240HY features a 72% NTSC color gamut – while colors look vivid on the Acer straight out of the box, without actually calibrating it, you’d be editing your images without any true reference point.

Connectivity-wise, the Acer R240HY is rather limited, with 1 HDMI, 1 DVI and 1 VGA input, meaning some dongling will be in order if you have a Macbook or any computer that relies on a Display Port connection.

There aren’t any USB ports either, so using the monitor as a dock for your external drives isn’t an option.

On the plus side, the thin bezel means that the Acer R240HY is a great option for a multi-monitor set up, with the edges melting into each other unobtrusively.

Due to its attractive, uncomplicated design, it looks great as a secondary display, next to your best photo editing monitor.

One thing to note with the Acer R240HY is its complete inability to swivel or adjust in height – the stand is fixed in place, with the screen only allowing a slight up/down tilt.

It’s worth noting that all the monitors in this review including the Acer feature VESA bracket mounting screw holes, so wall or arm mounting, is always an option.

All in all, it’s rare to find a good quality, 27″ IPS monitor with a nice external design for around $200, but Acer has done it with the R260Y.

Whilst connectivity options are lacking, and edge to edge performance is obviously quite far behind more expensive monitors, for some photographers willing to invest time into regular color calibration, this is a decent monitor for photo editing at an amazing price.

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST PRICE OF THE ACER R240HY

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Mark Condon

Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer based in Australia and the founder of Shotkit.